Wednesday was our final day at TUS, and the students would finally find out their fate. We had breakfast as usual in the cafeteria from 7-8am. The mood was jovial and somewhat relieved as we were finally done and most were going home today. Our flight was leaving at 5:30pm, and I was anxious to get home. I have missed my wife and kids something fierce, and although I don’t really like to fly, I couldn’t wait to get on that plane. After breakfast we all assembled in the classroom for our individual meetings. Most students were dressed up in hopes of getting the call to the evaluation course. One of the instructors explained to the class the process that we would be starting in a few minutes. He explained that each student would be brought in to one of the 3 or 4 individual rooms to find out their fate. In the evaluation room, you would find out whether you were offered placement in the evaluation course, placed on the reserve list, or that they did not have anything for you. In the meeting you would not find out your ranking or ability level, but rather you would receive a report card in the mail. After your brief meeting, students were instructed to exit the building through a separate door away from the classroom. Students were told that they could congregate outside the building, but to stay away from students still waiting to learn their fate. For those moving on to the evaluation course, a meeting was scheduled for 9:30am. The evaluation course runs from the 6th through the 13th, so students wanting to stay on campus were told to make the necessary arrangements with the front desk. Accommodations for the evaluation course is paid for, but students are responsible for lodging costs for the next two nights. We were told that the meetings were in random order, so don’t read into who goes first or last.
As the first couple of student names were called, the tone of the room turned quiet and somber. I suppose reality was on the horizon and some students lives were about to be changed, possibly forever. We were all sitting at the round tables left over from the previous nights banquet, and there was idle nervous and quiet chat going on. I made some small talk at my table and tried to keep it light as I felt the anxiety level rise. A few more students went, and then it was my turn. I don’t know what got into me, but I wanted to lighten the mood. As I got up, I looked to the class and said, “Sorry guys, but I’m going to be taking one of your jobs.” They all erupted in laughter. I then told them in all seriousness that I enjoyed my time with them and I hoped for the best for everyone. I left the room with a round of applause and I hope I lightened the mood. I’m sure it was perhaps one of the most stressful times in some of the students young lives. In my room was three instructors, and of course I already knew my fate. They told me that from my original application paperwork, it was already known that I didn’t want to be considered for a job in professional baseball. (The sign up application asks you if you are looking for a job or not) They all thanked me for my hard work and that they appreciated that I chose TUS for my professional training. I thanked them as well and told them I had a wonderful experience and I appreciated all they had done for me. After we exchanged handshakes and goodbyes, I went outside looking for some of my fellow classmates to find out what happened.
There were only a few students congregating when I was finished with my meeting. I was mostly waiting for Bill and the others in my crew to find out how they had faired. As the students trickled out, there were no real surprises. By the end of the course, you could tell who would most likely go. I was most interested in my crew members results, and although not all went, I’m happy to report that three of crew 10 were selected to the evaluation course and one went on the reserve list. I’m sad for the three that didn’t make it, but I am thrilled that Ben, Aaron, and Dustin did. They worked hard and deserved the call. I hope they do well in the evaluation course and their “Super Chief John” will be rooting them on. I’ll keep in touch with them and see how they do. I stayed around until most of the students came out. Some were happy and some were disappointed, but most took it well. There were a few tears and a couple of students were visibly upset, but that is to be expected under the circumstances. After saying our goodbyes to some of the other students, Bill and I packed up the rental car and headed for Orlando. We gave another student a ride as he did not make it either. I was hoping he would not join us for the trip, but that’s the way it goes.
Our flight went well and we landed in San Diego at 7:30pm. It had been a long day but there was nothing better than to see my wife again when she picked us up. After dropping off Bill at his house, we headed home for a reunion with the boys. It was great to see them and be back after being gone for so long. Like Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home!”