Sunday, July 27, 2014

On Rescheduling the Ringing

To: Those who had planned to demonstrate at the Diamond today
From: Terry Rea 
About: A Ring Around the Diamond
When: The demonstration is now scheduled to surround the Diamond with fun-loving citizens on Sunday, August 3, at 2 p.m.
Why: This event will create a picture to illustrate how widespread and passionate the opposition to building a Shockoe Stadium is. That includes those who are calling for saving the Diamond. Maybe some members of City Council will notice it.   

Explanation for rescheduling: When considering moving the time of the event, from today to next Sunday, I wasn’t happy about doing anything to sidetrack the momentum that had gathered. It surely went against my show biz background to not defiantly say, “The show must go on as scheduled, come hell or high water.”

But at 10 a.m. this morning, the Weather Channel said Richmond had a 75 percent chance of having rain falling at 2 p.m. and at 3 p.m. The grizzled promoter in me knew then we would be facing a greatly diminished turnout, if we went ahead with the original time, even if the weather surprisingly turned out sunny. So, like it or not, in my view it had to rescheduled. As I was the one who had established the event page on Facebook, I took the responsibility to make the call.

Of course, we now know the weather defied predictions and did turn out to be beautiful. That's life.

However, the purpose of the stunt in the first place was not to facilitate the building of an organization. No, it was to demonstrate for all to see how varied and substantial the opposition to the mayor’s plan to build a baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom is.

That’s because some of us want to protect a historically significant neighborhood. Others prefer pro baseball to stay put. Some of us want the city to spend more on schools and infrastructure and less on spectator sports. Others just don’t believe baseball in the Bottom is a good investment.

It was conceived as a way for the unorganized opposition, neighbors with different reasons to be there, to say as one -- we’re standing on common ground to encircle the Diamond.This event was not designed to launch a freestanding political organization. So driven by the thinking that by pressing on today it would foster camaraderie, didn’t fit our mission.

This morning at 10 a.m. we had to recognize that no matter how the weather turned out four hours later -- based on the forecast of a 75 percent likelihood of rain -- too many folks had already made plans to do something else. Which meant that by going on with the stunt today, as originally planned, we would have been setting ourselves up to underachieve dramatically -- probably with the media there to report that the event was a fizzler.

Now we have a whole week to make this bump in the road work in our favor. Moreover, let’s use this extra time to invite more people to ensure that next Sunday we do encircle the Diamond with thousands of folks who will go home afterward, happy to say:

“Rather than just complain, we did something. We went out to the Boulevard to march on the sidewalk around the ballpark with a bunch of civic-minded folks. We saw some funny signs. We ran into some old friends and met some new friends. All in all, we did no harm and we had a good time.”

-- Video by Barry Bless

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