I’m a little enthusiastic about baseball. I’ve played the game ever since I could walk, and I may have a 50-gallon tub filled with all the baseball cards I’ve collected over the years stored at my parents' house. I don’t know why my wife refused to let me bring them in the RV.
So when I found out my California job involved working with the cleaning and grounds keeping crew for the LA Angels minor league team, the Inland Empire 66ers, I didn't think I could be more excited--until I met a man more excited.
You assume that the players, the coaches and the season ticket holders all love the game, but have you ever thought about the cleaning crew?
Richard has led the cleaning crew here for four seasons and he is without a doubt the biggest baseball fan I’ve ever met. With enthusiasm, he showed me around the stadium pointing out the suites, educating me on team management, and telling stories of the legendary players who graced the field.
But more than anything else, he kept telling me one simple thing:
“I’m so glad Snagajob sent y’all out here to tell this story. So many people come to the baseball games and eat the peanuts and watch the players, but now they will know how many hours go into a baseball game before the players even take the field.”
All day under the blazing San Bernardino sun in 95-degree heat, we waxed one section of chairs in the 5,000-seat stadium, a feat that takes the team two to three weeks to complete. We power washed a pavilion, an outdoor bar, and the dugout. We vacuumed and steam cleaned the locker room carpet. We washed the showers, scrubbed the tile bathroom floor, washed the mirrors, the sinks, the toilets, the doorknobs--everything.
And then we got the call to hurry up because the team was coming in for an unscheduled meeting at noon.
Like I said, I played baseball my entire life but I’ve never seen the stadium like Richard does. He sees the worst parts of it–a million peanut shells and empty plastic cups, spilled nacho cheese on freshly waxed seats, clogged toilets and sweaty locker rooms. But he and his team respect their jobs with an unseen admiration. They see their work as the job that allows the magic to happen.
Just think of all the times you left your cup in your cup holder, or the thousands of sunflower seed shells I’ve spit in the dugout. Richard and his team clean the mess with a glow of purpose.
Instead of complaining, they make the most out of their job. They even try to be resourceful. "I'm trying to think of way to recycle peanut shells," commented crew member Jed with laughter as he described his job. "We pick up thousands of them after a game and throw them away, but think about if we found a way to reuse them."
"You have to take pride in what you do," said Richard. "That's what I look for in employees." And that is exactly what he found. It doesn't take long to see that the rest of the crew is just as passionate about their job as Richard.
"I love our team. We have a great bunch of guys. We have fun together," Roy said of the group of four guys who make up the entire cleaning crew for the stadium.
They are an extremely dedicated group of individuals, which was apparent when another worker, Tyrone, told me a little about his morning routine. "I wake up at 3:30 each morning and walk a couple miles to the bus stop to make it to work by 5:30," said Tyrone with a smile. I was absolutely amazed.
Despite how difficult and messy their job may be, each employee I worked alongside spoke nothing but positive things about their job, their coworkers, and their boss.
While you're searching for a job, remember to take pride in what you do.