The day started out like any other. Work started at 8:30, did some recaps, made some copies, went to a short meeting and then met at the bus at 10:30 for the Account Management Fun Day at The Diamond!
It’s Richmond, Virginia, in late June. It’s warm. But it’s not just warm; it’s hot, humid and sunny without a cloud in sight! But it’s going to be a good day. Picnic area (mostly) to ourselves. Free hotdogs and hamburgers. Free Beer! Free LARGE beers! And wait, we’re “working” and “on the clock” and they are letting us get away with this? Hell yes!
We even get to rub the belly of the pig!
We go to our seats, practically on the third base line.
Gotta love the sun. We make it about 20 minutes until we need a refill of beers and some shade. We make our way up higher in the stands for some reprieve from the broiling sun. No wind, but at least we won’t get burned. Fifth inning and it’s time for a bathroom break. Socializing and two innings later, it’s time for the raffle prizes. I walk away with nothing, but three, yes THREE of my fellow Financial Managers walk away with a prize. Today is a good day!
The Richmond Squirrels are down, by a lot, so we head back to the stands to cheer on our team! The clouds multiply and darken, but are still a ways off. They get ominous, but still we sit and cheer. If there’s anything certain about Richmond, it’s that when a storm is brewing, 9 times out of 10 it skirts around the invisible dome of weather. Or, if it happens to break through, it lasts 5 minutes. So, we sit.
The wind picks up, but it’s a warm wind. Unless it’s a cold wind, you stay put. Hmm, wait, that gust was a bit nippy. Someone a couple of rows over with their smart phone in hand gets up and says there’s a Tornado warning for our area. Oh Sure.
Seconds later, we see a tiny twister develop in the bull pen. Where’s my camera!?!? Then, the wind REALLY picks up. We get up and scramble for shelter. Nanoseconds later, the rain starts pounding down and the wind picks up even more.
For a while, it’s fun! Where did this come from?!?! Then, hats and sunglasses go flying off of heads and faces. Most get rescued, others do not. Hair gets whipped around; people are protecting their beers, SAVE THE BEERS!
Then, chairs start getting lifted and carried. Some even knock into people’s legs. Hmm, ok, getting a little scary. But there are some mighty men still sitting in the stands. Can’t be that bad.
Then, the ushers start screaming GET INSIDE! Some duck into a janitorial closet, others rush off to the enclosure of the restrooms and some of us duck into a VIP box and watch from the windows as all visibility is reduced to a rainy blur. We grab napkins and blot our drenched faces and soaking hair. We look around in disbelief at the other wet rag dolls. “Is this really a tornado?!?” Yes, yes it is.
We all watch in amazement as debris goes flying by. Flags are whipping. Lights are flickering. Then, as quickly as it started, it lets up. We cautiously make our way back into the picnic area, still drizzling a bit, but better than the cramped, stuffy room.
“Are the buses here, can we go?!?” We make our sopping way down to the buses. Head counts, tales of bravery and pictures are shared all around. We survived Account Management Fun Day 2012!
Can’t say I ever had a feeling of imminent, absolute danger. Can’t say that my life flashed before my eyes. But I can say I will take Mother Nature more seriously the next time someone says there’s a weather warning in our area.
A bit melodramatic? Perhaps. But 100% eye-witness account? You bet.