My Latest Failed Quest

For teachers, summer is time to rejuvenate, vacation, and spend time entering contests that you are unlikely to win. And man do I love a good contest.

Besides entering my name in the in-between-innings-contests at Everett Aquasox games, my second-favorite failure was Sunset’s Virtual Room Makeover Contest wherein I entered a pithy Instagram comment that apparently wasn’t pithy enough. This is probably for the best because my husband would hate Justina Blakeney’s style and we wouldn’t have any money to implement her Jungalow recommendations anyways.

My favorite contest failure of the summer was Alaska Airline’s #ReadySetCano contest wherein the good people in the Alaska Airlines Social Media department hid a Robinson Cano bobblehead in various Pacific Northwest cities and tweeted out a picture and clue at pre-announced times. The winner got the bobblehead and a meet-and-greet with Cano at a future Seattle Mariners game.

I’m not really a bobblehead fan and meeting famous people has always seemed awkward, but I was all about the free airline tickets, $500 gift card, and Mariners tickets.

Therefore I glued myself to Alaska Airlines twitter feed. Bend was the first city up, quickly followed by Portland and Spokane. Every bobblehead was found in less than 10 minutes. A normal person can’t get anywhere in Seattle in 10 minutes by car, and I had two kids tagging along. Convincing the little one to get in her carseat would take three minute alone. Clearly I would need to already be near the location when the clue was tweeted out at 6pm. In running shoes. With the kids strapped into the jogging stroller.

Jogging Stroller Buddies

Previous clues were close to the center of town, so I decided that hiking to the top of Mt. Si or hitching a ferry across the Sound would be not required. (Unfortunately. My kids love ferry rides and can hike like champs) The Bend location was at a statue of a horse, the clues at Portland and Spokane were both in parks. Since they weren’t super-obvious landmarks, I decided that Cano would not be bobbling his head at the Space Needle, EMP, Pike Place, The Pacific Science Center or Safeco Field.  

After pondering the gum wall and the Fremont Troll (both would make good pictures for Twitter, and this was, after all, a marketing campaign), I decided to hedge my bets at the Olympic Sculpture Park. The location was picturesque, and it combined both attributes from previous clues: sculptures and parks. Plus, there was a possibility that I could get down to the Pier on time, which also seemed like a good spot for Cano.  


The kids, the double jogger, my fully charged cell phone, and I left the suburbs at 4:00. We got downtown quickly and found $1.75 street parking near the aquarium. That alone was a win.

We had ice cream and planned out our strategy.  

Ready Set Cano!

We spent a couple hours eating along the Pier, exploring the park, and running along the waterfront trail, scoping out possible locations.





I thought this chic resembled Shannon Johnson, the Social Media person at Alaska Airlines (yes, of course I’d twitter-stalked her! That was part of my strategy!), so I spied on her for awhile.

Not Shannon

But alas, the real Shannon Johnson was across town, setting up the Cano bobblehead at the site of where Sick’s Stadium used to be.

So we lost. There are no free airline trips or Seattle Mariner games in my future.

But I can’t even be mad because I love history and minor league baseball. Sick’s Stadium hosted the Seattle Rainers (a short-season A team, like my beloved Everett Aquasox) and the Seattle’s initial MLB team, the Seattle Pilots.

So instead of a bobblehead, I had a beautiful run, the kids has a great time checking out sculptures, and a deserving Rainier Beach resident got the bobblehead.

Fun stuff, Alaska Airlines.     


Jenna Vandenberg

Teacher, writer, runner, mom and wife.