A Grand Slam

Sing it with me:  Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowd.

  If you’re an avid baseball fan in the greater Houston area, it’s likely that you’re disappointed with the Astros right now.  Maybe you’ve felt that way for some time.  They hardly ever win and there just isn’t much energy, enthusiasm or drive.  Let’s be honest – you might even be frustrated with them.  There doesn’t seem to be much to celebrate about the team or the job they’re doing on the field.
  Off the field, however, the Astros organization recently earned some major-league points with us.  Here’s the scoop:  A softball pitcher who’d played the sport for ten years, our daughter seemed like a really solid applicant for their Grand Slam For Youth Baseball scholarship.  She dowloaded and filled out the form, wrote her essay, secured her letters of recommendation, requested and picked up an official transcript, postmarked it by its due date, then waited and waited, fingers crossed that she’d get an interview.  But alas, the early June dates came and went and we pretty much figured that she hadn’t been selected as a finalist.
  We’ve gotten used to assuming that she hasn't been selected because we've found that typically the scholarship committees don't send letters of acknowledgement or rejection anymore.  No "thanks for your interest" or "we wish we had enough funds for everyone who applied" sentiments.  Not a word, which is so different from when we were going through this process.  And that can make it really frustrating, waiting and not knowing. 
  That’s what has set the Astros organization apart.  Not only did they honor our daughter with a letter to thank her for her application and to let her know that they weren't able to grant her a scholarship at this time, they also sent her a coupon for a gallon of Minute Maid orange juice along with four tickets to attend the July 18th baseball game at Minute Maid Park.  Talk about your grand slam.  She gets to take her friends (or family?!) to watch the Astros play the Nationals; what a treat!  She also gets to celebrate with this year's scholarship recipients.  It felt as though she’d scored even though she’d struck out on that scholarship.
  With the velocity and strength of a perfectly hit fast ball, a little courtesy can go a very long way.  Thanks, Astros; see you at the ball park.

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