On Wednesday evening I had the pleasure of hosting corporate guests at Rangers Stadium. This was a particularly fun evening because both the Texas Rangers, and their rival for the evening, the Cleveland Indians, are clients. Both IT managers were there to share baseball stories and their experiences of working with us. The beer was resting comfortably in ice, and there was enough ball park food laid out for every one of us to indulge across all nine innings.
The game had not yet started but our suite was full. The 18 of us had split into small groups of 2-3 people making introductions, talking about the evening ahead, generally getting to know each other. While some people braved the 100 degree+ heat to enjoy the outside seats, I sat comfortably inside the glass walls with the A/C cranking along with about half of our guests. As we chatted, the pre-game activities began on the field below. Batting practice, interviews on the big screen, loud music designed to pump up the crowd. Our group talked pleasantly over all of this. And then it was silent.
Without a word, everyone had stopped virtually mid-sentence and turned their bodies towards the field. We stood silently without hesitation, most with hand on heart, as a young man sung our national anthem. When it was over, we all turned to each other and picked up our conversations, right where we had left off.
It was a striking moment for me. With the rising debt crisis, presidential election politics in full swing, and constant debate about everything from Healthcare reform, to whether Cher’s gender changed son (formerly daughter) should Dance with the Stars brewing it’s easy to forget we’re all Americans.
But at that moment, most of us strangers to each other, we ALL respected what it meant to be an American. As our politicians create fodder for Saturday Night Live Sketches, and our towns struggle to balance their budgets pausing for even just 5 minutes reminds us why we care so much and what it really means to be American. Cherish those moments – we’re going to need them.