I’m pretty good at answering questions. It’s kind of my job.
But there’s one question I’m always always ALWAYS bad at answering: “what do you want for your birthday?” [editor's note: it's my birthday today, so this problem was especially apparent in the days & weeks leading up to today.]
I never NEVER know what to say. It always comes from the people with the best of intentions and who love me the most, like my wife and my mom. This year, I even sifted through online gift lists and ThinkGeek, in case there was something I really needed, but just didn’t know it.
Then, it clicked for me this morning as I was walking through my neighborhood of Graduate Hospital in South Philly.
What I want for my birthday is the Taney Dragons to have a good time at the Little League World Series this week. I want their families to be there to support them — if they can — win or lose. I want all of the kids on the team to know that their neighborhood supports them, win or lose. That their entire city is rooting for them, win or lose.
I’ve been amazed by the love and interest for this team, from local restaurants and bars hosting parties, to the twitter-storm created during the Sunday night game, to the local and national media coverage for the game. I want to add my little piece of local love and support for the Taney Dragons.
That. THAT’s what I want for my birthday.
And, so instead of a Google Play gift certificate or the promise of a beer in the near future, what you can do is donate here. Donate to the Taney Baseball program. As they say, “all donations go to assisting our teams and improving our programs.” They’re taking donations starting at five dollars, which — lucky for you, given my snobby beer tastes — is less than the beer you’d buy me.
Starting this week, this bunch of actual neighborhood kids will be staring down teams from all over the world — many of them better resourced from the get-go. I can’t make Mo’Ne Davis a better pitcher (let’s be serious, very few of us could). I can’t give them a high five before the game. I won’t make it to Williamsport at all.
But I can ask you to help them out. And I hope that donation makes their experience a little more fun and shows that we have their back on Friday afternoon. And that’s what good neighbors do.
That’ll be my favorite birthday present this year.
If you do donate, let me know — either in the replies below or hit me up at @bshank.
EDIT 2:48PM ET: NO MORE $10 CREDIT CARD FEE. Props to whoever and however they made it happen. And to the people who told me about it.
EDIT 2:40PM ET: the donation site is currently asking for a $10 credit card fee. the payment administrator has told one kind contributor that it’s not supposed to be there and they are “working out some kinks”. Hopefully it’ll be fixed soon.