My internship with the Beloit Snappers lasted for three months and four days.
It took seven hours for the college gig to change my life forever.
The date was May 14, 1998, and I reported for duty at Pohlman Field with a fancy title of Media Relations Intern.
I was to assist full-time broadcaster and media relations director Bryan Dolgin in his duties, while filling in wherever else I was needed.
There was a lot of filling in.
My first day was a game day, and by 10:30 a.m. or so my head was swimming. The rest of the staff was full of seasoned minor league veterans. This was my first rodeo, and there was much to learn.
Batting practice had started, and the gameday staff was beginning to filter in. I was running hot dogs from stand to stand (this was NOT in the job description), printing off lineups and, in general, trying to avoid being fired three days after the end of my sophomore year at Iowa State.
It was around 6 p.m. when I was briefly chatting with Matt Harris, the club’s general manager at the time. It was a freakishly warm Wisconsin evening in mid-May, with temperatures in the 80s during the day.
In walked this pretty girl with a shock of curly hair. She hugged Matt, who turned to introduce me. This girl was wearing a pale green dress and a name tag that read “Madelyn.”
She was on the wait staff, back in the high-falutin’ days of Pohlman Field when such a thing was necessary.
“Hey Angie, this is our new intern, Josh,” Matt said. “He just started today.”
We shook hands, and noting her errant name tag, I asked if I could call her “Maddy.”
She laughed. I was in love. I told the other degenerate interns that this was it, it was over. No one else was allowed to talk to Angie.
Within two weeks we were best friends. We went to a wedding in the middle of Iowa, then ditched early to go see the Brewers play the White Sox at Comiskey Park. It was destiny. Had to be. My God, the Brewers even won that night.
That summer was a whirlwind. I met childhood idol Cecil Cooper. Jim Gantner was blown away by the pork chop sandwich curated by the first base grill. I danced wildly on the dugouts.
In a preview of things to come, Angie was certifiably not impressed with my unique moves, even suggesting to her 17-year-old sister that SHE should date me if she thought I was so funny.
It took a little while to convince Angie that I was the guy for her. A long time, actually, considering we spent all waking hours together between May and August.
Apparently I was an acquired taste.
We finally got together on the last day of winter break, because that makes sense. Less than a year after that, we were engaged. Seven months after that, we were married.
It’ll be 20 years in August. We have three kids now that alternate as the light of our lives and the cause to our certain future doom.
There have not been many easy days in these 20 years. There have been many times when our relationship teetered dangerously on the brink, another bad decision away from falling apart.
Things aren’t perfect these days. We aren’t the couple you might associate with the front of a Hallmark card, forever gazing into each other’s eyes.
But she works to tolerate me. I work to be more present. And somehow it works.
There are many things of which I’m grateful for that came from the summer of 1998, when a group of young men toiled through a thoroughly undistinguished season on the field.
Twenty-two years later, she goes by a few different names: Mom, wife, aunt, boss. But as we continue to evolve and I continue to chase her, somewhere in my heart she’ll always be Madelyn in the green dress from Pohlman Field.