For $5, you, too, can get a massage
‘And it feels so good,’ just ask Honkers’ fans
By Donny Henn
If you’ve ever attended a Rochester Honkers baseball game, you’ve probably said ‘Hi’ to Sharon Coleman. She’s the bubbly professional massage therapist who has set up her chair at the lower corner of the Mayo Field grandstand, near the Honkers dugout, for the last 14 summers.
Coleman offers 10-minute back massages for just $5 during the course of the game, the same price she charged in her first season with the Honkers in 1995. The year before she came to the Honkers, Coleman set up her chair at St. Paul Saints games.
Coleman is a Rochester native and Mayo High School graduate. She will soon apply to grad schools and pursue a degree in physical therapy, which means this may be her last season working Honkers games.
Post-Bulletin: During each Honkers home game, public address announcer Rich Peterson directs the crowd to look your way and shout ‘Hi, Sharon!’ You’re like a local celebrity.
Sharon Coleman: You know, I think I'll miss people saying ‘Hi’ to me on the streets when I go off to grad school and stop working at the games. I’m usually with my friends or family when someone will see me outside the ballpark and wave really big and say, ‘Hi Sharon!’, which is usually follow by whom ever I’m with saying, ‘Who was that?’, to which I answer, ‘I don’t know, obviously somebody from the games.’ I get a kick out of it and usually the people with me do also. I’m not one for wanting the spot light, nor do I want to be famous, but that’s kind of fun.
P-B: Can you really help someone feel better with a 10-minute massage?
S.C.: Sure you can. Not as good as a 30- or 60-minute massage of course, but even stretching on your own for 10 minutes will make you feel better, right? You can think of chair massage as an assisted stretch of the back/neck and arm muscles. Just enough to warm up the muscles and ease a little tension you may have.
P-B: Are you at all self-conscious about giving people massages in a public place? Do you find that many people are self-conscious about getting a massage in a public place?
S.C.: I guess I get so into my work that I forget that there are people around me. I did have a player’s mom one year that was so uptight about people looking at her, that I agreed to move the chair for her (the only person I’ve ever done that for). One year, one guy actually fell asleep. I usually tell people that the fans are there to watch the game and that if anybody is looking at us, they are probably watching me and not them. Oh, and I reassure the ladies that I’ll make sure that nothing is showing that would embarrass them.
P-B: At the ball park, do you get a lot of return clients, or are you meeting new people at each game?
S.C.: A little bit of both. I have two to five people that come up every game and we chat like old friends and others that just come up once and still others that are in town going through the clinic so obviously only come once or twice ever. I’m a socializer, I like to meet/talk to new people so I enjoy new faces.
P-B: Be honest — do you ever think to yourself (or aloud), ‘I’m not getting nearly enough money to massage this guy (or gal) for 10 minutes’?
S.C.: The P.C. answer is no, of course. But honestly, I have thought to myself at times. ... is this person really expecting me to perform a miracle (curing everything they’ve ever had wrong in their life) in 10 minutes?