Community » Usher for the Oakland A's catches all the fun

Usher for the Oakland A's catches all the fun

During the day she's a teacher's aide at St. Bede Catholic School in Hayward. But on weekends and assorted evenings, Olga Miranda-Smalls works in guest services at the Coliseum in Oakland, directing fans to their seats at A's games. Miranda-Smalls, 53, grew up with Puerto Rican parents in Brooklyn, N.Y. She and her husband, Fed Ex truck driver Donald Smalls moved to the Bay Area in 1988. They have two daughters and one granddaughter, and live in Newark.
I was always a baseball fan. Oh, yes. My mom - when the Dodgers used to be in Brooklyn she would go. When they moved to California, she was so upset. The Dodgers were no good on her list anymore. But we picked up the New York Mets and we would go a lot. They're still my team. I'm sorry. I like my A's. But the Mets - they're my heart.
I work in guest services. I check tickets, tell people where to go, where to sit. I think this is my fourth season. It's been such a fun thing that I don't even remember. It's great because there's a schedule they send out every month, and you get to pick the games you want to work. You meet different people all the time, and they come from all over to watch the games. You have sections with season-ticket holders, and you get to know them. I met a guy who was actually going to different ball parks across the country since his son was about 5. I thought that was so cool.
I was working when Dallas Braden pitched his perfect game. I wasn't by the field, but I heard it. Everybody was in an uproar and you could feel the adrenaline going through the crowd. I was crying like everybody else.
If people are really rowdy, you tell them, "It's a family environment. Could you please keep it down?" That's a hard thing to do. If they're unruly and using foul language a lot, we call security. And they'll get escorted out.
We're not allowed to confront, 'cause it's scary. You get some of those big bruisers. Women, too. It doesn't happen often, but they'll fight against each other. "Your foot is on my chair." Sometimes they have families with them. They just don't care. It's like tunnel vision.We also do aisle tours, where we go up and down stairs looking for outside alcohol. If they have it in their possession, they're automatically kicked out. But a lot of times they'll throw it down and you don't have proof, so you just take it and throw it out.
I'm on my feet the whole time, That's the bad thing, 'cause my knees are starting to get arthritis. Of course, it doesn't help that I'm a little gordita.
I was in New York all my life until my sister, who I'm very close to, moved out here. I got pregnant with my oldest daughter, Amanda, and said, "It's time to move." The next year was the earthquake. Oh my gosh, I just wanted to go home. I was miserable. And I still am - Oh! - every time they talk about it.
Amanda lives with us, with her boyfriend and their 3-year-old. They're struggling, trying to get it together. What do you do? They're my heart. My daughter's like, "Mama, why don't we play lotto? If I win, you won't have to work anymore. I'm gonna take care of you." That's truly sweet.
I was in the eighth grade when I met my husband. We've been married 21 years but we've been together 41 years. He works nights, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. That's why we've been together so long, didn't I tell you?