TRENTON THUNDER exec Greg

Coleman says team staff members often field questions about their jobs as they circulate in the community, everything from the hours to rubbing elbows with the players.

On May 11, a few lucky winners won't have to ask anymore. They will be participants in a novel idea called "Kids Run The Show." From general manager to scorekeeper to ticket taker and groundskeeper, kids ages 5 to 15 will shadow many of the staff during the Friday night game vs. New Britain.

Those wanting to apply for a spot need to visit a branch of sponsor Hopewell Valley

Community Bank (www.hvcbonline.com or 609-466-2900 for info on branch locations) and apply by May 2.

Coleman says he doesn't know whether this has been tried at another minor league park, but notes that he wouldn't be surprised if it has. "We're not out to win an award for originality," he says. "We're out to hopefully give an experience that's once-in-a-lifetime."

The "shadows" will arrive before the game and get introduced on the field with the staff members they will be following. "In addition to that," Coleman explains, "we want to give them the opportunity, at least for a brief moment, to see what it's like to be a player, looking up in the stands at 6,000 people . . . Then we'll disperse them to their various jobs."

Those jobs have slowly increased in number as word about the promotion has spread and staffers have volunteered. "One great example is our team photographer," Coleman says. "We didn't have him as part of our initial plan because, honestly, we didn't think about it. [Now] he's going to get that opportunity.

"Our original plan was to include 12 to 15 kids in specific jobs. Well, as we've been going along, certain staff members have said, 'Hey, what about me? I'd love to be included.' " *

- Paul Vigna

Comments on NFL, the media at go.philly.com/ambush

Join the panel? Send e-mail to vignap@phillynews.com