My very first baseball game was on August 25, 1985. It was a Mets-Padres game at Shea Stadium and Dwight Gooden pitched his twentieth win of the season, becoming the youngest twenty-game winner in Major League Baseball history. My last game at Shea was on July 27, 2008, which was a 7-2 Mets victory over the Cardinals, this time with Johan Santana on the mound. While only one of these games was historically important, both were personally significant, and both were seen from the upper deck.
If you’re a Mets fan and have had the privilege of going to a game at Shea before it was torn down to make way for Citi Field, then I probably don’t have to describe to you the feeling of being in the upper deck of that stadium. But for the uninitiated, getting to those red-colored seats could be a vertigo-inducing climb that I am sure many mountain climbers have used in preparation for Everest. Then, once you were seated you had a better view of the planes flying overhead in and out of LaGuardia airport (at least until the flight paths changed) than you did of the players on the field.
I thought about this while I was reading Twitter this week, trying to stem the terminal boredom that can be summer school, which is what I’ve been doing instead of heading to ISTE. In fact, I noticed that I was not the only person not at ISTE because #notatISTE was actually trending at one point. I don’t think I’d actually have gone to ISTE anyway if I had the chance (I don’t even know what ISTE stands for); however, you could swap out NCTE for ISTE and I’d still be writing this post.
Because conference envy is a hell of a thing, no?
Pithy comments aside, the barrage of out-of-context conference-related tweets does tend to get pretty annoying, as I’m sure that random out-of-context yearbook camp tweets would be annoying; moreover, they serve as a reminder of my position. I look around my building (and, yes, at my paycheck) and I see that I’m the teacher equivalent of that guy in the upper deck at Shea, bringing binoculars to a game because the players on the field have the resolution of an Atari 2600 game. The diamond-vision camera will rarely make its way up here, there is no hope of actually catching a foul ball, and in the stadium’s entire history only one home run–a Tommie Agee shot on April 10, 1969–ever landed up here (although to be fair, most of the stadium’s seating was in foul territory).
Now, sit in the field level or maybe the loge and you’ve got more of the attention. The players might hear you, you’ll have a shot at a foul ball, and I’m pretty sure that you have more access to helmet fries and helmet sundaes. Or, to stretch a lousy metaphor, you’ve got your conferences, your bloggies, your edubloggies, your Bammys, your speaking fees, your articles, your … well, whatever comes with actually being recognized.
I’m not bitter, though. No, seriously. I’m not. What I would like to say, however, is that I hope those in the field level seats (and the Diamond Club members — I completely forgot about that) don’t forget that there are a lot of us in the upper deck. And I hope that their experience with all of the perks that comes with such an advantage doesn’t cause them to fall prey to a sort of Ivory Tower Syndrome, especially when those of us who are struggling to see what’s going on are also trying not to feel inadequate or angry that we’re not there.