Briscoe Disco

I always say one of the best parts about working at FirstEnergy Stadium is the community and family bond between the fans and the employees. The strength of that bond is visible in many ways, but it is at its strongest when one of its members is down for the count.

For more years than I can easily count, Adam Briscoe has been a constant fixture at Fightin Phils games. He has also become a strong presence at Reading Royals hockey games. A well-known figure on the Reading sports scene, Briscoe is most famous for his personal style of dancing known as the Briscoe Disco.

If you have not had the opportunity to experience the Briscoe Disco, let me try to explain it to you. Hold your arms out in front of your body and wave them up and down at a steady pace. Keep this constant motion going as you sit at your computer or walk around the room. You have now done the Briscoe Disco. If your arms are tired after doing it for a minute or two keep practicing because at Fightins’ and Royals’ games, it goes on the entire time.

At Fightins’ games, Briscoe walks through the stadium during the game encouraging fans to get up, dance, and cheer for the Fightins. Kids love to dance along with him and every Fightins’ win is celebrated with the Briscoe Disco.

While it is neat to watch the fans interact with Briscoe during the games, I was fortunate enough during my internship to see him interact more with people inside the organization. He would come into the office during the day just to say hi and after games the players would invite him into the clubhouse to hang out for a bit. Everyone knew if a game was cancelled, there would probably be a message on someone’s answering machine expressing Adam’s disappointment. As someone who does not drive, Briscoe has often received rides home from front office members and other game staff employees who are watching out for him and helping to keep him safe.

He’s a sports fan who loves coming to see the teams and fans as much as they love seeing him. This love has been more evident recently as the community has rallied behind him in a time of need.

Briscoe suffered some serious injuries recently after being hit by a car. The Reading sports community took the news hard and immediately took up the responsibility of providing Briscoe and his family with all the help they could. Both the Fightins and the Royals have offered their help to his family in their time of need. A donations page set up by the Royals organization is raising funds to help with any medical expenses the family is facing and has achieved just over half of its goal. Fans of both organizations have been sending get well wishes and thoughts to Briscoe via the teams’ social media pages, with many fans encouraging him to get well soon so they can dance with him again.

I have watched Briscoe at the stadium over the years and have even reached a point where he will say hi to me in passing. Knowing that he is someone who is not very outspoken, it makes me smile to think that he has seen me around the ballpark enough to feel comfortable with a simple greeting. I am keeping Briscoe in my thoughts and am hopeful that come this summer, he will once again be at the ballpark proudly belting out the lyrics to the National Anthem and dancing the Briscoe Disco with his many adoring fans.

Get well soon, Briscoe!

Confessional: There is no confessional question with this post. I simply ask that you send some good thoughts to Briscoe and his family. If you would like to, please feel free to share any stories you may have of Briscoe either at the stadium or at the hockey arena.

Field of Learning

I’m pretty sure that everyone would agree that the best days in elementary school were the class field trip days. It was a day spent out of the classroom and even though it was still educational it didn’t feel like learning. If you were lucky, you also had field trips in junior high and high school.

For students in the Reading area, one of the more popular field trips is to one of three Fightin Phils games in the spring. Each season the team has three games that are specifically geared towards school groups.

In many ways, the education day games are great. They provide the schools with educational field trips that are also fun; at each game there are scientific presentations that teach kids about things such as the laws of motion, and the kids are given the chance to discuss school and baseball during a question and answer session with Fightins players.

For a few hundred elementary school students, this is the best day of their school year. The day is similar to having three hours of recess and no actual classwork. For the middle school kids, it’s a day where they can act cool in front of their friends and buy any food they want without worrying about their parents getting mad. They don’t stop to think that when they get home, they will have to explain why they only have two dollars left of the twenty they left home with that morning.

There are also ways in which these days are not the best.

I would have to say the worst part of dealing with education days is dealing with all of the young kids who either run away from their chaperones or whose chaperones are not paying attention and have no control over what the kids are doing. It is hard enough to get a group of kids to all stand quietly and order one at a time, but when there is no adult in the picture to help out it gets even more difficult. I understand that the teachers are trying their best – I know plenty of people who work in education including my parents – and it can be hard to keep kids under control when they are in a new location and their excitement level is off the charts. All I ask is that you don’t send a group of first graders up by themselves to order food; that is why all field trips have chaperones.

Over the years I have seen some great chaperones. Both parents and teachers alike who have the students under control, have them all ready to order when they come to the window, and even some who have helped a student out who may be short a dollar or two and he or she really wants those sprinkles. There are definitely more positives to education day than there are negatives.

Despite the frustrations that may arise from dealing with so many children in this type of setting, I think the education day games are a great part of the Fightins’ organization and I hope they continue to have them each summer. It is just one of the many ways the organization stays involved with the community and it is a great way to introduce America’s pastime to a new generation of fans.

And besides, who wouldn’t want to watch five hundred ping-pong balls explode all over a baseball field?

Confessional: What was your favorite field trip in school and why?