Tampa Bay Rays Internship Day 8


Credit: Cole Wyman

Today was a lot of fun. I am not sure what the official terms are but an elementary school about a mile from the stadium that the team works with a lot through community engagement had their field day, which is annually sponsored by the Rays. I was fortunate enough to make the travel team. While the Rays street team handled rays themed inflatables and games. The community engagement department, including myself, handled lunch distribution as well as giving each kid a promotional item to take home. We ordered all the kids pizza, and boy did I ever see so much pizza. We must have gotten 4-5 separate deliveries because they couldn’t fit all the pizza in the cars. Handing out pizza to all the kids and engaging with them asking them questions was all a lot of fun. However, easily the highlight of the day was Raymond and Pete The Pelican (Rowdies mascot) join the lunch distribution team much to the kids’ excitement.

Getting all the pizza on plates and to kids was pretty hard, then add kids running up to the front and saying they didn’t get anything when it can almost be assured they are lying just makes the situation more difficult. On top of the natural chaos of trying to serve 100s of kids aged 6-10 at a time, just imagine this with two mascots literally running around the lunchroom trying to rile all of the kids up. This can seem very stressful, and the school teachers were having a hard time maintaining any peace and while they were probably just trying to help us, personally I loved the chaos as it was just a lot of fun to be in the middle of all this making happy kids even happier through the magic of pizza.

As we were putting the pizza on plates we started to notice that not only were we running out but a lot of the plates were sticking together. If my Mom ever taught me one thing in life it is to NEVER use two paper plates. With this in mind, I grabbed the entire stack of plates and spent about 20 minutes just separating them so the other could focus on serving. Once some reinforcements arrived in the cafeteria, we went back to the room with the promotional items. We hung out in here for the rest of the time and as kids would come by to grab some items they would stay for a little and talk, especially the older ones (4th and 5th graders). They were all nice and funny and it was great to get to know them. The best moment was when two kids saw that the room we were set up in had an old PS4 in the back so of course these two set it up and started playing 2k. Obviously, we knew they weren’t supposed to play but we just kind of let it slides. The kids spent the whole time talking about how they would run if a teacher came and the escape plans were quite humorous. Their game, of course, came to an end within two minutes as they spotted a teacher from afar and booked it into the corner to hide. From a Rays Baseball perspective, it’s cool to see a whole new generation whose parents might not ever take them to a game or buy them a jersey, who might not even know how to play baseball, become passionate about baseball and specifically the Rays.

At the end of the day, the organization was kind enough to gift each kid 2 tickets to a Rowdies game.