I wanted to share with you guys the greatest experience of our vacation last week. We really did have an amazing time on our trip (and if you read my goose story on facebook, you know there was no shortage of laughs). This moment though, touched right to my heart and began to reignite a fire inside me……
It takes place at a Savannah Bananas baseball game (If you haven’t heard of them, google them, you won’t be disappointed) that Kyle, my Hubs, wanted to make sure we attended. They have sold out their last 74 games, its extremely hard to get tickets last minute. About 2 hours before the game, Kyle scored tickets that were being sold by a local children’s choir. When you park, the parking attendants are all dressed in penguin costumes. Even further than that, the ticket takers are dressed in banana costumes. So far, this was unlike any event, let alone a baseball game, than I have ever been to.
Once you get your banana shaped ticket, you come in to a menagerie of people, employees, players, and a squad of “Dad Bod Cheerleaders” welcoming you to the game. Everyone has a gigantic smile on their face and they genuinely seem happy to be there. We get to our seats and realize that they have a kids area with picnic tables and bounce houses for the kids to enjoy while parents get to watch the game (best idea ever, said every parent around the world).
We have the all you can eat wristband, we get our burgers, hotdogs, chips and soda, then make way to the picnic tables. The kids scarf down their food and rush off to the bounce houses. Kyle and I focus our attention to the game. If we thought we knew hat we were in for before, we had NO CLUE what the game, or what i said was a ‘circus’, was about to show us. We were entertained, it was like we were at a show. They have “banana nana’s”, who are the grandma cheerleaders, Banana Santa (dressed in a yellow Santa Suit and drives a VW van with Banana graphics all over the side), they had an 8 month old baby dressed in a banana costume, being raised on the field with the team of players kneeling down to the baby as the lion king song dedicating “Simba” is played over the loud speakers…..and it didn’t end there, they were playing the “Macon Bacon” that night and they had a person dressed in a pig costume and played the sad ASPCA commercials by Sarah McGLaughlin, in hopes of converting everyone into banana fans. This is all emceed by Teams owner, Jesse Cole, who always wears a yellow tuxedo and runs in and out of the crowd, making people welcome and loved.
As impressive as all that was, after the game was the best part. The kids were able to catch 3 fly baseballs. Once the game was over, they unlocked the gates and encourage the fans to come get autographs, run the bases, and chat with the players. The kids, myself, and theodore (My Service Poodle) all ran the bases with such joy and excitement. The kids each got autographs by each of the players, and what was more shocking, the players took time to talk to EACH of the kids. As we exited the ballpark, the entire staff, entertainers, and even owner, were at the gates waving goodbye to everyone and giving people hugs.
What was this insane show that I just witnessed? I had no idea but I was enamored with it. I decided to write the owner, Jesse, and email of my experience and what made such an impact on my heart…..here it is……
We started out on our usual summer road trip vacation from our home, in Florida, packed up in our RV with myself, the hubs, 3 kids (8,6,&4) and 4 dogs (2 standard poodles and 2 doodles). As much of a circus as it is, we do it because we want to make memories with our kids. Our two main stops were going to be seeing my sister in Oak Ridge, TN and my husband’s brother in Cosby, TN. We broke the trip up on the way there (because let’s be real, traveling 12 straight hours with the zoo that we have would be torture) by stopping at a state park campground in Macon GA. We stayed a couple nights, then made our way up to Oak Ridge and stayed at my sisters place for 7 days. We loaded everything up and went to our favorite campground in Cosby, Imagination Mountain. We went to Dollywood, did Cades Cove and saw a bear cubs ear (we try to see bears every trip there and fail miserably. This time we got to see an ear poking over the tall grass. Who knows, maybe next time we will see a paw 😉 ) we played in streams, we roasted s’mores. We laughed, we cried. It was amazing. We had to decide where we wanted to stop after our 5 nights there to break the trip up back home.
We had never been to Savannah and decided that would be our last stop. My Hubs told me above everything else, he wants to try and see the “Savannah Bananas” play. My response was “the what?” He explained it was supposed to be this crazy team that did hilarious things. (He showed me the Old Town Road Parody Video you did). We spent 2 days touring Savannah and were utterly exhausted. I was kind of happy he wasn’t able to score tickets just yet. The next game was this past Saturday night, it was the last night we were in Savannah, and to be honest, I just wanted to rest at the campground. At the last minute, 3 hours before the game started, he got us 5 tickets that a local choir was selling. I thought the highlight of my trip would be when my 4 year old tried to pet a Canadian Goose at our campground, the goose bit his ear and he came flailing and running down the dock. So much so that he fell right off the dock into the water. That kids sinks like a lead turd and can’t swim, so my husband jumps in after him and throws him back on the dock. All I could do was stand there clutching my fishing pole, doubled over in laughter. My only regret is that I didn’t get it on video.
But, going to the Savannah Bananas game was the true highlight of my trip. We are baseball people and our son is in travel ball and is aspiring to be a pitcher, saying we love the game is an understatement. You guys put on an incredible experience. I mean, hit it out of the park (pun intended), but that isn’t the reason why the Bananas game was the best experience of the trip.
I have a service dog, his name is Theodore, he’s a fluffy red standard poodle in a bikini cut. The reason why I have him is because I have PTSD. In September of 2011, we were in a car accident that killed our son on our way to Disney to celebrate his 7th birthday. I saw him die, so naturally, it messed me up in the head pretty bad, resulting in PTSD. However, I have always been a “glass half full” kind of gal and I’ve been mentally strong my whole life. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that just that mentality helped me pull myself out of depression after losing my son, but it certainly helped. It took a lot of therapy and working on myself.
Usually when I go somewhere, Theodore draws a lot of attention and employees can be rude. All of your Employee Fans were absolutely amazing. They didn’t gawk, they didn’t ask questions. They simply greeted me with smiling faces and made me feel warm, welcome and a part of the crowd, the family. This still isn’t the reason that the game was the best part of the trip.
We had tickets for the bleachers, but opted to sit at the picnic tables so my crazy offspring could bounce in the houses. It gave my hubby and I a chance to actually watch the game and have fun (every parent on earth thanks you for a kids area where the game is still visible for parents to watch, but still not the reason why it was the highlight). My hubs (I should probably just tell you his name is Kyle, it would make it easier) anyway, Kyle came back to the table after getting a burger and said “yeah, the owner, the guy in the yellow suit, he wrote a book. It’s in the gift shop.” I’m a reader, I always have been. Naturally, I had to go buy the book. I went to the gift shop and upon checkout, your Fan Cashier said “If you see Jesse, he will sign it for you, you just have to ask.” My first thought was “an owner interacts with people? And willingly signs things?” So I sought you out (you definitely aren’t hard to find) and asked you to sign the book. (Don’t get too excited, still not the reason…)
After the game ended, they opened the gates and let the fans run the bases, get autographs, and take pictures. They didn’t rush anyone, we could take our time. They even let us ask questions and have conversations. (Where we are from, they never do that unless you pay extra). My kids were so excited! Each of them caught a ball and got the whole team to sign it! I was even more excited that my service dog didn’t poop on your field. Although this would be a great reason, it still isn’t it.
Back home, I am a PetStylist and I own my own small salon. I set out with the mission of changing the grooming industry because it’s really messed up with little to no regulations across the country. You don’t even have to have a license to be a dog groomer. I started at PetSmart 14 years ago, but opening up my own salon in November of 2017. I did things completely different than any salon in the area. I make videos, I actually get to know all of my clients and send flowers if they lose a pet. I host my own talk show each week to help other businesses go live and get their name out there. I’m HUGE on education and want to open my own Pet Styling academy to educate students correctly handling pets AND customers. Going above and beyond to make each of them feel cared for. I often get asked “why do you do things so different? If nobody else is doing them, isn’t there a reason?” And my response is “I’m not like everyone else, if you want to change an industry, you have to make your own path. Nobody ever changes anything by following in the footsteps of others.”
We are headed home today. We had a grueling 6 hour drive ahead of us, so I thought I’d crack open your book. In 3 hours, I had it read cover to cover. You helped ignite the fire back into myself that I AM
DIFFERENT and to KEEP being different. It resonated with me so immensely. Your book made me know in my heart that I’m doing what I do best and to not be ashamed of it. It made me realize that small steps are essential to getting to the big picture.
So much so, that I have a networking group myself and 2 business friends started because we weren’t happy with the status quo of networking groups in our area. In 8 meetings, we now have 22 members with a steady 40+ people in the room every week, all because we needed something different. Each of our memberships give back 25% of their dues, 50/50 raffle, and 25% of sponsorships to our local charity of the month. That local charity of the month gets to come in the last week and present to us what their charity is about and how we as business owners can help.
I am implementing the book club idea. We have an educational moment each meeting, helping everyone to learn how to grow their business. Each month, I want to feature a different book and discuss it during those educational moments. Because, being a sponge means squeezing your water filled knowledge onto others and there’s really no better way to start than with a book.
I know, I know. It wasn’t the most climactic reason that it was the best part about my trip, but it put a burning flame back into my heart about making customers first and spreading that passion into those around me. All things happen for a reason and I feel like this vacation happened so I could go to a Savannah Bananas game. Who knew an entertaining show, centered around Bananas could be so powerful? I surely didn’t, but I’m extremely happy I went.
Thank you for not being normal and sharing it with the world,
Pet Stylist/Salon Owner
Jenn’s Pup ‘n Suds
“We turn your Dirty Dog into a Handsome Hound!”
I would like to share his response with you……
Wow, blown away by this email. Thank you so much for sharing your story and the impact of the game and the book. So glad you and your family were able to experience the Bananas show!
I shot you a quick video from the stadium: https://youtu.be/mrwhtWxbmro
Keep spreading the passion, being different and making a difference in people’s lives!
I was then blown away by the fact he took his time to make ME a video. WHO DOES THAT? When you write the owner of a baseball team, you just expect to get a generic response that they send to everyone, but the change the recipients name at the top. But this guy sent me a video, took time out of his day to do that and he even sent his wife my email. I was just grateful for the experience and how his book left an impression on my heart (Which I HIGHLY recommend you read his book “Find Your Yellow Tux: How to be Successful by Standing Out” by Jesse Cole).
My entire vacation happened because I was meant to go to a Savannah Bananas Baseball Game. Have you ever had a moment where what you thought what you were doing was going to be Memorable, and yeah you had fun, but it turned out that the simplest thing was the most meaningful?