Hello, it’s Sima

By: Sima Auerbach

What do you do on a hot summer Sunday? If your husband is throwing out the first ball on Jewish Heritage Day at the Binghamton Rumble Ponies baseball game, you head to the NYSEG Stadium. 
Neil was anxious and nervous. We got to the stadium a little after 1 pm for his scheduled 2:05 pm pitching debut, but that is the quintessential Neil. (We get to the airport three hours before our scheduled flight.) Because, as he always says, “You never know…” 
He was told to meet at the dugout near first base at 1:45 pm. I didn’t take my eyes off of him while he stood waiting. I could feel the butterflies in his stomach. Neil walked to the mound. He was announced over the loud-speaker to a thunderous applause from our section. He lifted his arm and the ball flew right to the catcher’s mitt! I could feel his joy and sense of getting the job done, and done well, I may add. I gazed at his smile as he walked back to our seats. It was a great day.
Neil’s words: “When Bonnie asked me to represent The Reporter and the community on Jewish Heritage Day, I had images of myself as Sandy Koufax of my favorite team – The Dodgers – and then I realized I am 79 and haven’t thrown a baseball since my 20s and I got nervous. I calmed down and remembered Jennifer Kakusian, the Federation office manager and a New York State All Star and Hall of Famer softball pitcher, and asked for help. We had about six practice sessions and she gave me some great tips. Thank you, Jen.”
Neil and I would like to offer: 
Thanks to The Reporter for setting this up. 
A special thanks to Jon Burgman for arranging all the details with the stadium, ensuring great seats for watching the game in the shade on this brutally hot day.
Thank you, Seth Distler, as well as our stadium liaison who came by to see that we were well.
Thank you to the members of our Jewish community who braved the heat and sun, and cheered Neil on: Roz Antoun, Rita and Larry Bleier, Rabbi Geoffrey Brown, Jon and Pam Burgman, Brendan Byrnes and Hollie Levine, Elsie Deutsch, Rabbi Rachel Esserman, Rabbi Barbara Goldman-Wartell, Sue and Howard Herzog, Marcia Hofstein and the Green clan, Sylvia and Stephanie Horowitz, Chaim Joy and Cathy Velenchik, Eileen Krigstein and Rich Carberry, Alan Krongold, Maria and Robert Kutz, Pat and Al Lavker, Lillian Levy, Neisen Luks, Walter Selan, Suzanne and Art Siegel, Sue Walker, Howard Warner, Barbara Wolfson and Barbara and Don Zelter. Thanks again! 
P.S. My regular Edy story will have to wait for another day. Today, it’s all about Neil.