Summer seems to have hit North Texas with a vengeance: yesterday and today, the high temperature topped out at 99 degrees. It's way too early for that, but it's supposed to chill out a little bit (literally, heh) before the end of the week. I remember just a week ago when I took an evening bike ride and barely broke a sweat; today, it was still the 90's by the 9:00 news.
This sudden heat wave coincided with our National Anthem gig yesterday; what a time to do a Saturday afternoon game, huh? It was 98 degrees by game time, and the promotions lady who was in charge of herding us from place to place (and, with a chorus of 16 or so, "herding" was indeed an apt description) said that it would be at least ten degrees hotter on the field. Since we had two guys over 65 in our group (including the conductor), we were hoping to at least not turn to our liquid form out there.
We went down the press elevator into the bowels of the stadium and eventually got to rehearse in the air-conditioned comfort of the press interview room, which we were sharing with a group of Marine recruits who were to be sworn in during a special ceremony right before we sang. We were treated very well; they brought us ice and water, led us to a restroom, and gave us plenty of notice when we had to go somewhere, so the whole experience was very relaxing for most of us.
Eventually, we were led down the tunnel used by the media and umpires, then up some stairs and onto the field. While we waited against the back padded area, the mascot, Rangers Captain horsed around (heh) with us a little bit, as did his Astros counterpart, some sort of bucktoothed bunny. He even tried to "conduct" us a bit while we were waiting.
Finally, it was our turn. Some mild comedy ensued as one of the two mics didn't want to stay standing, but it was fixed in time for us to go. All in all, I think it went really well; nobody really got freaked out by listening to the stadium reverb and sound-system delay, which made us sound like a much bigger chorus than we were. The audience really liked it, and I heard that several fans shouted out compliments to some of the guys as we walked back to the tunnel.
UPDATE: It turns out that someone with the Rangers took pictures, so here we are (I'm second from the left):
And here's our name up in lights:
Not everybody stayed for the entire game, but (reader and occasional commenter) Jim and I toughed it out for the entire thing, though we found some seats in the shade about halfway through. Our assigned seats were right down the third base line, and, after a while, it was just too hot. We all kept ourselves hydrated with soft drinks and water, and one of the guys' wives brought sunscreen, but it was funny to watch our section (not just us, but everyone around us) get smaller and smaller as the game went on.
The game itself was great; we beat the Astros, 18-3, behind eight Ranger homers hit by seven different players; four of them came in the eight-run second inning alone. The 'Stros were my team growing up, and I'll still root for them over anyone except the Rangers, but it always seems extra sweet to beat your in-state rival.
Oh, and our performance was videotaped by one of the guys' wives and will eventually be put onto a DVD; when that happens, I'll try to post it right here. I know that we didn't make the TV coverage (not surprising, since it was a regional game-of-the-week and not just the local broadcast), and I'm waiting to see if it made the radio feed or not; someone was supposed to be taping that as well. At any rate, it was a great time, and I hope we get invited back.
Finally... For the first time since late March, I paid under $2.00 a gallon for gas yesterday, at a QT near the Arlington/Grand Prairie border. I've since seen it that cheap at many other locations around town. Here's hoping it sticks for a while...