There is no doubt about it. I have the best job in the world because when I wake up in the morning I’m helping people every day. It is an incredible privilege to be in that position. It’s also such an emotional roller coaster. I’ve seen victims of disasters and the heartbreak of what that is like – it causes such personal sorrow. It’s not only devastating but truly indescribable.
On the other hand, every once in a while, because I’m with the Red Cross, I get to do something that is just delicious. I got a call from our New York chapter and somehow, someway, they worked with the New York Yankees and asked them if they would sponsor Red Cross day. Not only did the Yankees say yes but they put our text message up on their jumbotron and they talked about our mission. They had a presentation on how to be prepared for a disaster and I was asked if I’d be interested in throwing the first ceremonial pitch.
I have been a Yankee fan practically since I popped out of the womb – in fact, I’m a third generation Yankee fan. The Yankees are extremely important to the fabric of our family. It’s something we all had in common – we would call each other during games. We’d root by phone for all different kinds of games, whether it was a game of little consequence or the final game of a World Series. I had the privilege of going to some of those World Series games with my family so throwing this pitch was just an incredible honor for me personally.
I’m very proud to say that I stood at the base of the mound and threw the ball hard enough to go into Jorge Posada’s mitt. I felt this was quite an accomplishment because my biggest fear was that I’d throw like a girl. I told the TV producer capturing all this that I’d rather give a speech to the 57,000 people in the audience than to try to throw that ball.
The most amazing part of this for me was that my brother and my husband were there. I just wished my father were there. He passed away before I started working for the Red Cross and this was a moment he would have loved. I threw the pitch and then went into the stands to join my family. I looked at my brother and we both tearfully expressed our wish that Dad could be there. I’ll tell you it was some day, a really memorable day.