By BOB PARASILITI
10:59 PM EST, February 19, 2012
Childhood dreams are the earliest rites of passage.
There isn’t a kid out there who doesn’t have some private fantasy about what they want to be when they grow up.
Some want to be a professional baseball player. Others set early sights on becoming a future president of the United States.
I’ve been there. I remember in my younger days, I died to play right field in my forgettable Little League career, longing to become the next Rocky Colavito, a former Cleveland Indians player.
The only things we had in common were the alternating consonants and vowels in our last names.
I soon came to find that wanting to play right field was asking to play left out. I had a better chance of becoming Rocky the Flying Squirrel (time dated … that’s my era’s rodent version of Sonic the Hedgehog).
And back in the days of Camelot in the White House, my mom held out for me to become president. That went out the window when she realized I was more interested in the Green Bay Packers than the Bay of Pigs.
So, here I am. Those who can’t play (or run large governments), write.
Still, the other day, I found out those boyhood dreams that my mother and I held aren’t completely dead.
A couple of weeks ago, I received an emailed press release. The Washington Nationals announced they were holding auditions for the Racing Presidents of 2012.
Oh, my mother would be so proud.
Not only would I get the chance to charge in from right field at Nationals Park — just like Bryce Harper someday — I would get to do it as George Washington.
That’s the ultimate two birds, one stone mentality.
The auditions were this past weekend, so I missed it, but it was kind of intriguing.
According to the release, the team invited “fans with presidential aspirations to apply for the chance to become a Racing President.”
For those who don’t know, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Teddy Roosevelt are a caricature quartet of charging chieftains, who race during the fourth inning of every Nationals home game. The 12-foot likenesses are the moving Mount Rushmore of baseball.
Unbeknownst to many, though, there is more to becoming one of these presidents than just throwing your hat into the ring.
The requirements include: Standing between 5-foot-7 and 6-foot-6 tall, being voting age and having the ability to run 200 yards in 40 seconds, wearing a 45-pound costume for hours and attending at least 35 games.
Now that’s a campaign trail.
In lieu of an endless number of debates, candidates are required to answer “six mascot-related questions.”
OK, I got this one.
Q: Mr. Candidate, Mr. Candidate. What kind of vegetables to you like?
Q: If you had two bottles of fresh fruit juice, what would you prefer?
A: Pom, Pom.
Q: What do you call the four round, spinning things at the bottom of a shopping basket?
Q: What’s the worst part of bowling?
Q. What’s your detergent of choice?
Q: Who is your favorite Wilson?
A: Flip (The Devil made me do it).
And I might be able to cover 200 yards in 40 seconds, even though the only thing that runs in my household is my refrigerator.
At the worst, I could be Teddy. He never won one of these races. He’s was a Rough Rider but an even rougher runner.
It’s like playing right field all over again.
So, what’s not to love? It’s the best of all worlds.
I’d get to wear a tailored uniform as a star with a major league baseball team. I’d fulfill my dream of running out on a real baseball field and my mom gets her chance to swoon and say “That’s my son, the president” in one try.
What could be better?
And the best part of it all … I can be a team player, but still have a big head.
Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7358 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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