Nationals blood drive proves fan would bleed for team


Jayson Werth of the Washington Nationals catches the ball in the outfield in the third inning of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on August 26, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Brian Garfinkel/GETTY IMAGES)
John Kelly
Columnist August 26, 2012

My Lovely Wife always says if you cut her she bleeds Nationals red. Until Saturday, I wasn’t sure I believed her. But there she was, stretched out on a cot in a conference room at Nationals Park, a needle in her arm and her blood slowly filling a plastic bag that dangled at her side.

Honestly, it wasn’t that bright Nationals crimson color. Maybe Ruth’s arterial blood is, but this was venous blood and it was more of a purpley-red shade. About 30 people at a time were donating their corpuscles to Inova Blood Donor Services. Over the course of Saturday, hundreds of units — 495 milliliters a pop — were donated at the park, liquid links in a life-saving chain.

John Kelly writes "John Kelly's Washington," a daily look at Washington's less-famous side. Born in Washington, John started at The Post in 1989 as deputy editor in the Weekend section. View Archive

The Redskins-Colts game was on the TV, but people were there for the Nats. “I did it for the tickets,” a young woman in a red, curly W shirt said at a recovery table, where donors could tank up on orange juice and cookies and start rebuilding their platelets. Each donor received two tickets to a future Nats game, a T-shirt and a behind-the-scenes tour of the ballpark.

Inova does similar blood drives with the Caps, Wizards, Mystics and the athletic department at George Mason University. How much must you love your team to be willingly exsanguinated for it?

Ruth actually gives blood fairly frequently. Her blood type is just unusual enough that it’s in demand. In fact, she’d tried to give blood a couple of weeks earlier but her iron was a touch low.

“Honey,” I said, “maybe you need Geritol.”

Husbands, this is not a good thing to say to your wife.

In the end, she took iron supplements for a week and went to Five Guys for lunch on Saturday. Her iron was so high when we walked into Nats Park that I was afraid she was going to rust in the drizzle.

(You may be wondering: Did I give blood? No. I take a bunch of medications that unfortunately preclude donating. But I’m hoping Ruth takes me to the game, despite the Geritol crack.)

Despite a rough trip to Philadelphia, our team is doing great. There’s never been a better time to be a Nats fan. As donors streamed into the home dugout and onto the field Saturday, they all looked a bit like Stephen Strasburg just off Tommy John surgery: Their puncture wounds were covered with blue or red bandages that crisscrossed around their elbows.

Did the light-headedness they felt come from giving blood or from imagining Washington in its first World Series in nearly 80 years?

Economy out of the toilet?

Here’s how I know the economy is improving: Contractors don’t want to distract themselves with my business. We needed our driveway replaced a few months ago and half of the concrete companies I called didn’t bother to call back. One came and took measurements but never sent an estimate.

Now we’re having some plumbing done — a shower pan replaced in a grotty basement bathroom, a few pipes replaced. I looked up plumbing companies in Washington Consumers’ Checkbook and called five. One asked if I was a current customer. When I said I was not, the receptionist politely told me they were not taking any new business. One called me back and left a voicemail message saying the same thing. Two didn’t bother to call back at all.

Only one plumbing company called back. They set up an appointment to look at the job, came by when promised and gave me an estimate. They start work this week. I feel ridiculously grateful for the attention.

Peruse this

Several readers took me to task for misusing a word recently. Hey, I probably use 3,500 words a week. So what if I get one wrong occasionally? Still, I don’t mind being corrected, especially if it will further the cause of correct usage. Fittingly, it was in one of my columns about the embarrassing mistakes people make. I mentioned that someone in a college book exchange was discussing philosophy with her professor “while perusing the store together.”

Apparently, you can’t peruse a store, even a bookstore. Wrote Janet Wessling: “I think you would be doing thousands of readers a favor by noting that the correct definition of ‘peruse’ means ‘1. to read through with thoroughness or care: to peruse a report. 2. to read. 3. to survey or examine in detail.’”

I’m always willing to help the hoi polloi, which is another term a lot of people get wrong.

To read previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/johnkelly.

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