(Going back a few days of the roadtrip… we are working to catch up with our blog posts still!)
After the big houses and fancy downtown of Atlanta, we didn’t know what to expect of Greenville, a small ‘ville’ that most of us have never heard of. Except, Greenville exceeded all of our expectations tremendously. Pretty awesome.
We met up with our hostess, Allison Mertens ’85, her husband Kevin and their 5 year-old son, Mac, for a Single A baseball game at downtown Greenville. This minor league team is a feeder team for the Boston Red Sox, and, amazingly enough, the stadium is a mini version of Boston’s very own Fenway Park! I felt right at home (*although I am from Taiwan, I am a MAJOR Red Sox fan.) There was a family green for people to bring blankets to relax on while watching the game. There was a replica of the Pesky Pole, but here it doesn’t block anyone’s view. And there was a mini green monster wall. The concession stand even sold the Fenway Franks, Dice-K rice bowl, and helmet ice-cream.
Since the theme of the evening game was ‘reverse night’, Sweet Carolina was sung at the end of the 3rd inning, players’ photos and stats were upside down on the large screen, and they made little kids run the bases between innings backwards. We totally got a good sense of some small town fun. Nothing is taken too seriously, and baseball is a full family entertainment. There was even a playground for the kids at the ballpark!
Al, our hostess, was wonderful. She booked the whole regional alumni association a suite, so we could have an air-conditioned room plus our own outdoor seating area. The only unfortunate thing was…since so many of the Greenville alumni were away for summer vacations, we had a showing of ONE alumna, Al. Regardless, we had a fabulous time. Al got us two Amherst alumni, Lou Greer (Amherst ’63) and another alumna. She even got us a MIT alum! Haha. The evening was great. Jen chatted with Lou about Amherst days and the Williams and Amherst rivalry. Al shared with us her Williams stories and being a part of the rugby team. And the Single A home team, Drive, took the game easily.
After the game, Al took us downtown and gave us a great introduction to the city. After being a textile mill town for most of its recent history, Greenville transformed itself super successfully over the past years. The town tore down a street to open up space for a beautiful park and a pedestrian bridge over the natural scenery in the middle of the city. Downtown was filled with cool, independent shops and quirky coffee shops, and there were even outdoor amphitheaters. Above all, Greenville locals truly exemplified Southern friendliness. Everywhere we went, people talked to us. Walking down the street, strangers wave to each other. Even when we were jaywalking, Al hollered at the drivers, “Hey, how’s it going!”
We had a great time in Greenville, enjoying the Single A baseball game, talking to Al, who was super friendly, confident and funny, exploring the downtown, and sleeping at Al’s house that is next to a zoo! We were serenaded by monkeys and flamingos! I can’t express my enthusiasm for Greenville in words.
The next morning was just… unfortunate. We woke up and checked to see when we need to get to Raleigh, NC. for our next event, expecting for a 5:30/6pm event as usual. Except, we found out that the event in Raleigh was a pool party at 11:30AM. OH GOSH. Not only were we late, Greenville was a 4 hours drive away from Raleigh. We missed the event completely. We were so disappointed in ourselves and our negligence. To any Raleigh readers out there: We are SO SO SORRY, and hope that you will forgive us in time, and to meet you someday.