In the Pennsylvania State House now known as Independence Hall, 240 years ago, the Declaration of Independence was adopted. This past weekend as millions of Americans celebrated the liberty that followed, we came together to remember our heritage. We are a nation built on hard work and perseverance. We fought for freedom those many years ago and have since fought to maintain it. When faced with war, we prevailed. When struck with economic depression, we overcame. At Tenshon, we take pride in being a part of this American tradition. All of our goods are manufactured right here in the US, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Another important part of American culture and a particular love of mine is baseball. Since its conception nearly two centuries back, baseball has earned the nickname of “America’s Pastime”. It is a beautiful game, simple enough for a group of kids to play in a sandlot, yet intricate enough to captivate crowds in stadiums like Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. There is something incredible about watching a white ball with red stitches sail over that yellow line in the outfield and into a cheering crowd, or witnessing the quick hands of a second baseman and shortstop and the stretch of the first baseman as they complete a double play just in time.
But merely watching a baseball game on TV or listening on the radio isn’t what makes baseball the amazing sport that it is. It’s the experience of being at the ballpark. It’s going to a ball game with your dad and remembering when he taught you how to throw a ball. It's the brotherhood of singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the 7th Inning Stretch. We cheer on our favorite players between bites of our foot long hot dogs and sips of lemonade while vendors walk up and down the rows selling peanuts and cotton candy. I can remember as a kid watching my dad put a handful of seeds in his mouth and one by one make his way through every shell, eating the seeds and spitting the shells out. To me, this was magic.
Over the years, many of baseball’s greats have been immortalized in literature, films, and memorials in the fields where they played. While many have come and gone, the impact they left lives on. Who can forget Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech in which he considered himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth” despite having to take himself out of the game due to ALS, now known as Lou Gehrig’s disease? He closed his speech by saying, “…I may have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for.” What about the lessons learned from Jackie Robinson? His words have stuck with me since I first read them: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
This is what baseball is really about. That’s why we were happy to be able to be a part of it when the Washington Nationals came to us looking for a way to shade a part of their stadium called the “Scoreboard Walk”. Nationals Park knows as well as anyone that a key part of the baseball experience is in the atmosphere of the stadium. In 2011, they redesigned the upper deck to include a number of new restaurants, real and synthetic plants, and shade sails. The four new boutique restaurants included Blue Smoke, Shake Shack, El Verano Taqueria, and Box Frites. Because no one wants to wait in line for their food with the sun beating down on them, 14 white shade sails were installed over the walk, creating a cool environment to relax and eat. Comfortable furniture was placed on the deck along with a small shaded stage for low-key concerts before the game.
All along the walk are synthetic turfs and real plants and trees. It is reminiscent of the backyard origins of baseball and brings life to the scene. It takes spectators back to the days when they would get neighborhood kids together for a game of baseball at the park. Again, the triangular shade sails keep them cool while they lounge or wait in line for delicious ballpark food. The sails are a creative way to provide unique shade for the upper deck, while introducing an interesting design to the area. According to Lara Morabito, a woman involved in the redecorating of the Nationals’ Scoreboard Walk, the sails were chosen for their practicality and appearance. She commented, “As a nod to the historic Navy Yard across from the ballpark and in attempt to bring down the ambient outdoor temperatures, we installed a series of shade sails by the young innovative company, Tenshon” (1). There is no doubt that our shade sails have an iconic modern look. The tensioned fabric looks great and stands up to wear and tear from the elements and time.
We were glad to support America’s pastime in providing convenient shade for those enjoying being at the ballpark. No one should have to wait in the sun for their hot dog. The 14 shade sails that line the Scoreboard Walk are much appreciated by Nationals fans wanting to escape the sun. The cool shade offered provides a comfortable setting to really soak in the wonderfully American experience of watching, cheering, and loving a baseball game.