Friday, March 31, 2006

things are coming together

The Yugo of fridges was replaced, finally last night. A new version of the same thing showed up and so far the ice maker appears to work. It didn't happen without drama though. I was at the ball fields waiting for mom-in-law to show up with the youngster. After a phone call or two, I found out they had already been there and left, and the fridge delivery guy called and was enroute. Practice was supposed to start at 6:30. At 6:45 there was no sign of either coach so they went back home. I got there a little after 7:00, and one coach showed up around 7:30, looking bewildered because all the fields were taken. I just told him the youngster wouldn't be there and left.

On the way home, a frantic and slightly upset wife called. We live in B.F.E., but it's not that hard to find us. The delivery guy got lost and was even farther out in the sticks than we live, and called to tell her he found his was back to I-95, but it would be tomorrow when we got the fridge. The wife went ballistic on him and told him, "Oh no it won't! You turn that truck around and get that refrigerator here NOW!" She hung up and hoped that he would do as she....ummmmm...asked? Then she called Home Depot and told someone that if the fridge didn't show up that evening, someone would be finding a way to compensate us. The truck was there when I rolled up to the house around 8:00. So far, it has made some ice, and it's keeping food cold, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the status quo.

Thursday night golf. I've asked around and found that he who told me there would be no golf doesn't know his ass from a cheerio. I will probably help the two guys who have, but two guys did step up to take care of organizing the stuff the guy who left did...not an issue.

Final Four....of course...I'm pulling for George Mason, because I love an underdog and because I'm a bitter Villanova grad living in North Florida sick and tired of listening to all the Florida Gator crowing. I'm tired of listening to the guy on the radio asking in his taunting voice, "Where are ya Big East?" Yes, he's right (which of course only makes it worse for me), and yes, I could turn it off, but don't bother me with details. No, I don't expect George Mason to beat the Gators, but it'd be so cool if they did.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

the prime mover

Somewhere in school, I can't remember if it was kindergarten or college, physics or philosophy, because in some ways they are all too similar, I studied the concept of the prime mover. The prime mover is a force that gets things started...the place where inertia begins. It's the thing that puts an end to boredom and starts something/anything (to quote Todd Rundgren). In the grand universe of things, some people call that God. On a much smaller scale, it's whoever will put down the remote and pick their ass up off the couch. Some times...lots of times..I feel like that's what I am.

Too often, all of us say, "we need to get together sometime", or "we should play golf sometime soon", or "ya know what, it'd be fun if we all went to a baseball game." The problem is, everyone tends to sit back and just wait for things to happen and, because of that, nothing does. Someone has to step up and make phone calls, arrange things, set the wheels in motion. If that someone doesn't exist, everyone sits in their current rut. I used to arrange group trips to hockey games here. The J'ville Barracudas are a minor league team in town, and one day, a few years ago, my boss said, "We ought to get a group together and go to some of those games." I took it upon myself to call, get some information and make the offer to everyone, organize it and make it happen. I started doing the same for J'ville Suns baseball games. The sticking point in these arrangements always get a block of tickets, you had to buy them up front with a credit card. I made the rule...if you commit to going, you're paying, because this is my credit card we're talking about. It worked OK for a while, but then people started testing that rule, and I felt bad telling them, "I'm sorry you can't go, but I still need the cash." In time, that got to be enough of a hassle that I just stopped doing it. The last straw came when over half the people who said they wanted in didn't go to the game, and I spent too much time trying to track down and get money from those who didn't go. Now, the boss asks, "When are we doing hockey again?" I told him...when it's someone else's credit card that backs the trip. So far he hasn't stepped up either.

Where all this is going...
We play golf here in the summer. It starts after 5:00 every Thursday from about Memorial Day to Labor Day and costs a whopping two dollars for nine holes. Two dollars, and we're not talking some pitch and putt dog track. We're talking a resort course and a very nice one at that. Any of you who play know, this is more than just a good deal. It's an outrageously good deal and as close as you can get to free golf without it actually being free. It's a nice benefit that comes with the job, and the underlying premise, long ago, was that you'd meet a bunch of other people who work here and broaden your knowledge in the process of having fun. The guy who organized the whole show for the last 7 or 8 years left for another job. The golf thing was run by a committee, and he was only one person in that committee. He was just the only one who got the e-mails from everyone who wanted to play and set up the foursomes each week. Bottom line, he did most of the grunt work. Rumor has it there will be no golf this summer, because nobody can or will take his place. Nobody else knows or wants to learn how to run the software he used to make foursomes and run the event. Nobody will step up and be the prime mover. To be honest, I don't know how true the rumor is. Nobody else from that committee has even approached me, and I'd probably be a logical it may get revived yet. If they do ask me though, and if I accept, things will change. Over the years, it turned into a competition, where you pick the people you play with. The concept of getting to know other people who work here fell by the wayside. As long as you could pick who you played with, more people would play. Beginners felt more comfortable playing with their friends, and some people went about the business of stacking their team to get the lowest score each week. Since more people were playing, it was deemed this was more successful. Years ago it used to be a blind draw. You put your name in a hat and played with whoever came out of the hat when you did. Less people played, but the original intent remained. This is where I will take it if I take it. People will complain, and in the past, complaints were given a lot of priority. ("I don't want to play with him again. He talks too much." "Why can't I play with my friends?" "Why do I have to start on that hole?" "Why did you put me behind that group. I had to wait all night." and so on...) If I take it, the rule will be, "You're playing golf for two bucks. Quit whining or leave."

It just amazes me though, that people are willing to just let something like that fold without even trying. "Oh well, the guy who knew how to run it left, so we just won't do it anymore."

and the beat goes on

The second floor of the house is......white again. It's a cleaner shade of white, because the paint's new. That means for now, the walls in the youngster's bathroom have lost that dingy shade, but other than that, it's white and smells like paint.

Hopefully, a real refrigerator appears in the house today. That's the rumor anyway. Baseball practice got postponed tonight, so either the wife or mom-in-law will get the boy there, and I'll meet him there straight from work. That means by the time I get home, if all goes as planned, the fridge will be up and running and we'll know if it actually makes ice. Oh, it'd be good if it still did all the things this one actually does do right, keep food cold. At this point, I'm making no assumptions.

I have been asked to play in the member-guest golf tournament where we live, by a friend who is a member. It's in about a month. His ability pretty much equals mine, so we aren't exactly competing in the same flight as the scratch guys. I did this two years ago with someone else, and tried my damndest to be decent. I practiced a few times a week, since there is a driving range in walking distance of the office. It paid off, too. No, we didn't win, but I helped us be respectable. We actually beat the guys who won the whole thing, but the rest of the competition didn't go as well. Consistency isn't my strong suit. Well, this year, that driving range is falling prey to the construction activity. It's already closed. At first I was really bummin' about it, but I realized....there is a putting green nearby too. No, it's not a range, but that part of the game could certainly use work too, and I can still hit the driving range elsewhere on the weekends. I'll make this thing work yet and who knows....we might even kick some butt.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I guess something's actually getting done

I don't know if it's just in my little world or what, but everyone seems to be doing a lot of scurrying around. Come to think of it, it probably is my little world, just because a lot of things really are going on. None of them are particularly exciting, but they do make for being more busy than usual.

At work there is a ton of construction going on, so things are moving around to accomodate that. Roads opening and closing, and parking possibilities appearing and disappearing on an hourly basis. At home we're having the second floor painted, but we're doing all the stuff except the actual painting (pulling outlet covers, moving furniture away from walls, etc.) to save the painters' time and therefore save us money. The fridge saga is more of a changing information thing than actual stuff happening. First it's coming, then it's not, then the guys show up unannounced to take the current one away, and get sent away, because we still need it to keep things cold. It's still sitting there, not making ice, but the current story is we should have a new one tomorrow. Then they can have the current (it seems wrong to call it the 'old' one) one. Funny how quickly you learn to live without ice though. We've been managing for a week and a half.

All of it seems to be making me keep my head on a swivel, but at the end of the day, I look around and I'm still in the same place. Granted, the second floor painting job is almost done, which means I'll soon get to move the rest of our stuff back where it was, but even that is more a big deal to the wife than to me. The rooms getting painted are the ones we didn't do previously (three bedrooms and two baths). The youngster's Gator room and the hall were already done. The colors all look off white to me, which differs slightly from the white they were before. It's a much bigger deal to the wife (who can actually tell the difference, or so she claims) than it is to me. Except for the paint smell, I'm having a hard time noticing the guy did anything. I know that's a guy thing which women don't understand. No, we don't know the difference between eggshell and white, because we don't see the difference between eggshell and white. They're both white, or close enough to not matter. There are more important things to waste time on, like who can burp more lyrics to Stairway to Heaven.

Thank God mom-in-law's in town and supervising (or at least keeping track of) the stuff happening in the house. The stuff at work, hopefully is in at least as capable hands. As long as they don't put a tree through my car, or tow it away, I'll be OK.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Barry Bonds says, "I'm just trying to stay sane."

Barry Bonds says, "I'm just trying to stay sane!"

Well gee, Barry, try yanking that needle outa your ass. That move, all by itself, oughta help in the mental stability department.

my morning e-mail

Got this from my son's coach...the one I take him to for private lessons. It puts my little struggle with little league in a completely different light, so I'm sharing...

Two Choices

What would you do? You make the choice! Don't look for a punch line; There isn't one! Read it anyway. My question to all of you is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:

"When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. "I believe,that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes, in the way other people treat that child." Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked,"Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play, not expecting much. The boy looked around for guidance and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

Shay struggled over to the team's bench put on a team shirt with a broad smile and his Father had a small tear in! his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible 'cause Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing the other team putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over, but the pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the head of the first baseman out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay ever ran that far but made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!"

Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to second base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest guy on their team, who had a chance to be the hero for his team for the first time. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions and he too intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the way Shay"

Shay reached third base, the opposing shortstop ran to help him and turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third!" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams and those watching were on their feet! were screaming, "Shay, run home!" Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the "grand slam" and won the game for his team.

"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world. "

Shay didn't make it to another summer and died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his Father so happy and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

Now I'll spoil it all and yank you off that "feel good" high by saying this (like just about everything else passed around through e-mail) probably isn't a true story. It has too many holes, starting with, no little league team plays nine innings. Still, it brings everything back into perspective, and makes me happier that my kid gets the opportunity to play baseball and belong to a team, no matter how they do.

not so fast

The fridge saga continues. It seems the new fridge didn't make it to the warehouse last night, so it's not being delivered today. When I asked the wife when it was being delivered, I got an exasperated look and a smart assed, "I guess if it was in the warehouse, we'd know that now wouldn't we!" Yes she's as frustrated as I am, and yes, my timing for asking such questions is still impeccable. So here I am, still looking for the same thing I was looking for months, and years through the door.

Stephen Ames will play in the Masters after all. He had his family conference and they decided to change their vacation plans. Trinidad is out. Augusta, Georgia is in. I guess the lure of the Masters is pretty strong, but for the time it lasted, I loved that he put that doubt in everyone's mind. I love that he said, well, maybe I won't, even if in the end, he will.

Major League Baseball starts soon, but real baseball continues this evening with practice at 6:30. Here's hoping the youngster's reborn attitude continues to grow.

Monday, March 27, 2006

cold as ice

I've said it before. If Villanova isn't hitting the perimeter shot, we're toast. The one thing the Wildcats had going all year was the ability to hit the three. In the games where we couldn't do that, we struggled, or flat out lost. It's been said that playing in those domes messes with your depth perception, and is a detriment to teams that rely on a perimeter game. I don't know how true it is. I just know the Wildcats couldn't hit the ocean from the beach yesterday, and we don't have the inside game to match up with Florida, among others. Listening to sports talk radio on the way to work this morning was painful. I should have just pushed a CD into the player instead of having it all relived, over and over, from the Gator perspective.

Stephen Ames won the Players Championship by...well...a lot. It took a lot of the drama out of the last day, but I was happy. He was one of the guys who signed the youngster's flag (and the flags of his buddies) on Monday, so once again, we got the winner. One thing I thought was very cool, and pretty much shocked the members of the press....winning this thing give Ames the opportunity to play in the Masters (as well as the other majors). When asked about playing it this year, Ames said he had no intention to be in Augusta in two weeks. He already had a family vacation planned after he finished the Players, and he was meeting them in Orlando to fly to Trinidad. WHAT?? You aren't going to play the Masters? He diffused the situation by saying he'd talk it over with his family. Before this opportunity landed in his lap, he was planning on spending a few weeks of quality time with them. I hope he still does. If you go way back in the archives of this place, you'll note the Masters isn't my favorite tournament. I hate when people in sports think they're bigger than the game. I hate when T.O. does it in the NFL. I hate when Steinbrenner or Selig do it in baseball. I hate when Billy Packer does it in college basketball. I hate when Kobe does in in pro basketball, and I hate it when Hootie (Johnson) and the blowhards do it in golf at the Masters, and they do it all the time. It's about time someone handed them a mouthful of humility and put their family before Augusta National.

Kinda weird though...this Monday. Life seems to be shifting down a gear, as my boys miss the final four and the Tour leaves town. Tomorrow, hopefully, the fridge saga ends and we have baseball practice at 6:30. Maybe it's not shifting down so much as getting back to normal.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

the in-house battle, and a shot of attitude adjustment for all my friends

The youngster had a game at 5:00 yesterday evening. On the drive there, I talked to him about playing the game, and playing it well, no matter where he was. I talked to him about his own integrity, and what the rest of the team needed from him, and I thought he was buying into it. He didn't seem as bitter as before. Still, I wanted to see what happened when he got out right field again. I was trying to prepare for the worst.

Ever since I left the message on the coach's answering machine, I had been anxious every time the phone rang. I wanted to handle it the right way. I wanted to get a message across, but I didn't want it to turn adversarial, and I didn't want to come off as a dad pushing his own kid's adgenda to play a specific position. I just wanted him to let the youngster know what to expect, so we didn't have to battle his attitude for the rest of the season. Well, all that anxiety went for naught, because the guy never called. I wasn't letting it go however, and when we got to the field, I pulled him aside and explained the situation, and I made it clear that I wasn't lobbying for the youngster to play second. I just wanted him to talk to him, and, if he's playing right field for the rest of the season, let him know, and let him know why. He never saw it coming, or acted that way (and I don't think he's much of an actor, so I think it was genuine.) He saw my point though, and agreed to talk to the boy.

Later, during pre-game batting practice, I saw him pull the youngster aside make good on his word. On the way to the dugout, he looked at me and asked, "You told him, didn't you?"


"You told him I was mad."

"Well, yeah, I did."

That's all that was said. Once again, he didn't play second. He played left field, but he played like a kid possessed. He hustled like he used to. He made plays. He was smiling. He did well at the plate with a sacrifice bunt and a single. I had no idea what the coach said to him, but I saw it working. We lost the game by one run, but I didn't care. I had my kid back.

After the game we went to dinner, and he was smiling. He asked me, "Do you want to know what he said?"

"Well, if you want to tell me." Deep inside, yeah, I was dying to know. I wanted to know what transformed my little pity partier into a ball player again, so he told me. He said the coach told him he knows he's the best second baseman he has, but he's also very fast. He has him in the outfield because when he's there, line drives hit there stay singles and don't become extra base hits. Fly balls become outs. He can't do that with the kids he has playing second because they aren't very fast.

Now, is that fair to the youngster? Maybe and maybe not. Is he blowing sunshine up his ass? Maybe and maybe not. Does it help the error count at second? No. Maybe it makes for a better defense. Hell, I don't know. What I do know is the kid is playing like he loves baseball again, and that's what matters.

The NCAA Tournament...the youngster, among other things, is a Gator fan. His room is blue and white with a (mostly orange) Gator border between the colors. He wears way too many orange and blue things, and yeah, that's partially my fault. I mean, I buy them. In any case, his Gators play my Wildcats for a chance to be in the final four. I'll never hear the end of it if things go his way.

Friday, March 24, 2006

and more loose ends

Called the youngster's coach last night around 8:00. Got his answering machine. Asked him to please call me. Nuthin'....yet. But I will talk to him, or the youngster will. Either way, we'll get some expectations set, so we don't go through an every inning iteration of emotional letdown.

The Maytag repairman appeared yesterday afternoon. I even left early to meet him. He declared the problem was a stuck piece of ice in the back, removed it and called us fixed. One load of ice then dumped while he was there. Since ice. Home Depot will be replacing the fridge on Tuesday.

I loved watching Duke bite it last night. Take that Billy Packer. On the flip side of that coin, I'm hopeful for Villanova tonight, knowing full well we're pretty beat-able.

The Players Championship - nasty weather yesterday, which led to some soft greens and low scores. I think the opposite will be true today and the rest of the weekend, and it gets sunny, chilly and windy. If the wind picks up like it should, 17 will get very difficult and could cause a big swing in the leaderboard. Should make for an interesting tournament.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

loose ends and stuff

I haven't talked to the youngster about his baseball predicament yet. We had enough going on last night with homework, and I really don't want him to feel like I'm constantly hammering him about it. I think I do need to talk to the coach though. I don't want to tell him where the youngster should play. I want to ask him to talk to him. I want the coach to set the youngster's expectations. If he plays hard, does he have a shot? Is he going nowhere but right field? If he knows that, instead of hoping for something different, and getting disappointed, with each passing inning, maybe we can deal with that.

For the time being, the Cadillac of refrigerators is a Yugo. It was delivered Saturday and we moved everything into it. My room is on the third rack. We then waited for the first 12 cycles of ice to get made, so we could toss those and resume our normal life. Then, we waited. Nine hours later, we got the first cycle of ice. The next morning (Sunday) we saw the second cycle. Since then...nothing. Shit. At least the old refrigerator made ice. We called Home Depot and they sent someone out...who rolled it out from the wall, looked, rolled it back, and reset the freezer temp. Then he declared, "It's fixed." The wife asked him what he did to fix it. He said he reset the temperature. She asked, "And that should fix it?" He assured her it would...and he lied. So now it's Thursday and we still have no ice. Maytag is sending another "expert" out this afternoon. Update to follow.....

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

poor poor pitiful meltdown

Well, the youngster had a game last night. A better way to put it was his team had a game last night. The youngster was busy throwing himself a pity party. He got sent out to right field...again, and played terribly. No hustle. Watched a fly ball land in front of him as he jogged toward it, and got screamed at by the coach. Wasn't there to back up a muffed ball by the second baseman, and got screamed at by the coach. I went to the dugout and asked what was up.

"I'm never going to get to play second."

"Not if you play like that you won't. You aren't helping your chances at all!"

"Why should I, dad? I played good and I still end up in right field. What's the point? Why should I try? This isn't fun anymore. I think this is my last season of baseball."

I went into a tirade about giving up, and hurting his team, and...that was the wrong thing to do at the time. Maybe later, but my timing sucked. That just made it worse, so I tried to bite my tongue for the rest of the evening. On one hand I want to read him the riot act for acting like a spoiled brat not getting his way, and on the other I feel bad for him working hard to learn to play second and not getting his chance. I'm open to suggestion, but I'm not doing well with any of this....and neither is he. We talked about it this morning on the way to pick up the car pool kids (so I only had a few minutes), and we'll talk some more tonight, but I've got to find a way to motivate get him to get in the game and take on the challenge that's sitting in front of him and not give up. If he gives up, he's setting an ugly prededent for the rest of his life.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

putting the ball in the hole

It was a weekend of putting balls in holes, one way or another, either doing it or watching it. In one case, there was Billy Packer cramming his foot deeper in one.

First there was, and is, hoops. Villanova kept me on the edge of my seat, especially in the Arizona game, but we pulled through and are now one of 16 teams left standing. While I'm happy about that, the thing that has me smiling even more about this year's tournament is the way the mid-majors have showed up, proving what a boorish oaf Billy "the ACC is God" Packer is. Now don't get me wrong. I know the ACC is a great basketball conference. It is. It's just that Billy Packer thinks nothing else in America even comes close, and never will, and he has a very high opinion of his opinion. He jumped all over the tournament selection committee for dissin' his almighty conference and allowing more mid-major schools in. Who took out one of your ACC golden calf schools, UNC (even though Billy likes other ACC teams a whole lot more than UNC), Billy? How did the Missouri Valley Conference end up with just as many teams in the Sweet 16 as the ACC, Billy? What happened to Maryland (one of the teams you were whining about, because the didn't get in) in the NIT, Billy? Who beat 'em on their home court in the first round? Can ya' give it up for Bradley (another team you whined about, because they did get in), Billy, who stunned Kansas and Pitt? Shut your whiny ass Wake Forest graduating, self important opinionating, pompous, provincial pie hole about the selection committee and call games. That's what, and all, you're good for. Just be glad you still have that gig. I'm sure someone better could be found if anyone wanted to cut off your corporate welfare and go through the trouble. I'm sorry I sugar coated it a bit folks, but he is, after all, Billy Packer, and I have a great deal of respect for the man. Now that I've ranted about him and the ACC, though, watch it's newly adopted child, Boston College, upset my Wildcats.

Then there's golf. I played Saturday, if you can call it that. Somewhere between a few really good shots came the rest of my game, which was unusually ugly. Bottom line, I need to play more if I expect to be any better. Yesterday was more a spectator day for golf. I took a small troop of kids out to the Monday practice rounds. You couldn't have asked for better weather and it wasn't too crowded was pretty close to perfect. We didn't see Mr. Woods. He played at 6:30 in the morning and left before the public was allowed on the grounds. Oh, color me surprised. In the perfect antithesis, we had Craig Perks...not a huge name, but he did win here once. He was signing pin flags for the kids, and two brothers were sharing a flag, so at that moment, the younger one (about 8 years old) had nothing in his hands. Perks got to him and asked him, "Don't you have anything to sign?" The kid just shook his head, no. Perks pulled his golf ball out of his pocket, signed it and handed it to him. It was pretty cool. I'll be pulling for him this weekend. We even had one guy playing by himself in the middle of the 9th fairway, beckon the kids out there with him, where he signed their flags. Too bad I have no idea who that guy was. Three of the kids got interviewed and pics taken by someone from the J'ville paper. She said they will probably be in Saturday's edition. Overall we had more than 30 players sign the kids' pin flags, the biggest names being Mike Weir, Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal and Jim Furyk. Not bad for a Monday at Sawgrass.

Friday, March 17, 2006

sucking hind breast

Yow! The Big East is laying one huge egg so far in the NCAA tournament. Syracuse, Seton Hall and Marquette all went down in an 0-fer start for the conference. Here's hoping tonight we have a better showing.

The youngster's baseball team played last night, and he's very frustrated. Yes, they won, 12-4. That was mostly pitching though. The umpire had a very small strike zone, and our pitcher was better than theirs. We benefitted from a ton of walks. Yes he's still playing center or right field with the coach's son playing second, and yes, it's a bad case of daddy-ball. I'm not going to sit here and try to tell you the youngster is the best second baseman in his league, but he is pretty good, and he is better than what we have playing there. Actually, I think there's a kid on his team who's better than he is, but he isn't playing second either. That kid plays exclusively in the outfield too, and I haven't seen him practice at second enough to know. I think he'd be very good there, though. The coach's son is "playing up". That means he's a year younger than most kids in this league and should be playing in the lower age group. Truth be told, he really should be playing there. "Playing up" is supposed to be for kids who are so good they aren't being challenged in their regular age group. This kid isn't there, but his daddy's the coach and daddy's pushing him. The youngster actually asked the coach last night, "Can I please play some second base?" I didn't see the exchange, but he told me afterward the answer was something like, "Huh? Oh yeah. Maybe. We'll see." I told him, all you can do is ask, and prove on the field that you belong there. So far that isn't getting him there though. Life isn't fair, and sometimes it downright sucks, and that's a nasty lesson to learn. Last night he cried himself to sleep.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

when it comes to balls, how much is enough?

WARNING: Golf geek post to follow, and a bit of male chauvanism.

Odyssey putters are a big name in golf equipment. Odyssey has been making putters for a long time and a few years back introduced the two-ball putter. The thing was huge compared to the putters that came before. Putters were, for the most part, elegant slim blades used on greens all across the golfing world. The two ball putter is bulky and not at all elegant. The thing is, it's also effective. It has two white golf-ball-sized circles on top that line up your putt, and while they aren't fool proof, they're a good visual aid lining up a putt and hitting it straight. I speak from experience (both on the "not fool proof" and "visual aid" fronts) because I own one. After its introduction, other companies that make putters didn't copy it exactly. Every manner of variation showed up in golf shops though, trying to capitalize on the same concept without inviting a lawsuit, some with better results than others.

Personally, I thought the best magazine ad for the putter would be a picture of Michelle Wie or Annika standing over something like a 20 footer with a caption under it that said...."When you don't have the balls to make the big putt, use ours." Yeah, pretty funny (or I thought so) but far too politically incorrect, and probably making the product less appealing to both genders, insulting one and emasculating the other. It also underscores why I'm not a marketing genius.

I like the two ball putter. I think I do well with it. Now, however, Odyssey has come out with the three ball putter (you can find it at that link at the top) and I'm thinking...isn't this just a bit of overkill? I mean, I know you people need something new to sell after a few years, but more isn't always better. Besides, the two ball model is clunky enough. This thing is even bigger. Especially now that you've brought this thing out, the price of the two ball model is going to plummet. Why would anyone spend twice the cash for something that just takes up more space?


First things first. The Jaguars signed another offensive lineman....first round draft choice....finishing his rookie contract without meeting the expectations of the team that drafted him. Take yesterday's commentary and replace the name Mike Williams with Stockar McDougle (although he is the only McDougle on the roster), replace Buffalo Bills with Detroit Lions (with an intermediate one year stop in Miami), replace Texas with Oklahoma. The rest of the story is the same. First round pick...BUST...second chance with a Jaguars team desparate for O-line help...a skeptical lumberyard...the whole nine short of a first down.

My place of employment is smack in the middle of one of those fancy-ass developments. It's a gated community with Barney Fife clones checking everyone who comes in the gate and stamping hands as you leave in case you want to get back in. To make life somewhat easier, a few years ago they installed a bar code system for an express lane. The reader reads this bar code sticker on your window and the little gate goes up, allowing you entry...and we all got bar code stickers. This morning, I drove up to the gate and...nothing. The gate didn't go up. Now, I've had this happen before. When the little sticker deteriorates, the reader can't read it and I've had to get a new sticker. I looked back at the sticker though and, you look like you're still in good shape. Oh well, maybe it's that time again, even though I'm reluctant, because those stickers cost ten bucks. Call me cheap, I don't care, but it bothers me just a little to have to give these bozos $10 every few years to get access to where I work. I know, it's no different than other places where you have to pay to park for your job, but that's one reason I don't work downtown, but I'm off on a tangent. Back to the story....then, instead of pushing the button to manually let me thorough, Barney comes out of the security shack and examines my sticker. Then he goes back in the shack and punches me up on the computer. He yells out, "You're sticker's expired! You need to come in the office."

Expired? I had no idea they did that. I guess I've never had one last this long.

Barney starts asking me (suspiciously) if I still work here and I'm thinking...oh please, pal..please do something stupid like not let me in. What an excuse to play hooky! (Hey, I couldn't help it. The guard wouldn't let me in to work.) No, instead he fixed the computer to give my little sticker another year of life. I needed to get out of my car and come in your office for this...why? I guess this means I'll need a new sticker sometime this year.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Just what we need...another Williams

I hope the front office knows what they're doing. We already had Maurice Williams, Reggie Williams, Brian Williams and Tony Williams. Now we have another Williams. We have the Joneses too (Brian, Greg and Matt), but they aren't nearly as plentiful as the Williams gang. I'm beginning to feel like I'm living in Rock Ridge with the Johnson family.

The Jaguars need offensive line help, and signed Mike Williams, offensive tackle from the Buffalo Bills. If you find yourself asking, "Who??", there's a pretty good reason for that. The guy was the fourth overall pick in the draft four years ago out of the University of Texas. He's had four seasons of un-notoriety in Buffalo, after which they not-so-surprisingly kicked him to the curb. The guy is a bust, with a capital BUST. Yet, the Jaguars give him a $2,000,000 signing bonus and a chance. I hope they see something the last four seasons haven't shown, because there hasn't been a whole lot there.

I know we need some o-line help, but don't go get just anybody to try to fill the gap. If you aren't upgrading what you already have, you aren't helping. Needless to say, I'm just a tad skeptical, but hoping it's without cause.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Shapes of things before my eyes

As most of you know, I work in the golf industry. We get lots of guests this time of year because the Tour is coming to town, and this morning in the parking lot, I saw something I've never seen before.

I have seen plenty of vanity plates before, but they all had combinations of letters and numbers to make something clever. I have never seen one with shapes before. Apparently California will let you do that. One car in the lot, with California plates, had an 'S', then the shape of a hand, and then 'BAGR'. I didn't know you were allowed to do that, but I guess I was wrong (yet again). A hand on a license just looked...strange.

the great fridge caper

Ya ever break something, find a work-around that isn't convenient but gets the job done, swear you'll get the problem fixed as soon as you can, blink, and it's five years later and you're still using the work-around? Ya ever write run on sentences?

About five years ago, the wife looked at me one evening and said, "We're moving!" I was shocked and started thinking of all the reasons that couldn't happen. I absolutely abhor moving. After my dad being in the Air Force, and us moving every three or four years, then me being in the Navy and continuing the tradition, I was enjoying the luxury of not moving that civilian life brought me. Then she told me the people down the street rented their house out to crack dealers, and a second grader got his skull fractured by teenagers for his lunch money. I argued that we should defend our neighborhood against this stuff and fight back. We shouldn't run from this kind of thing. The wife was adamant though. The youngster was a second grader at the time. The situation hit home hard and she wanted out. We went looking for a new place to live, eventually found where we are now and feel a lot more safe. Somewhere in all that, we ended up building a new house to live in. Well, that's partially true. We didn't build the house. We had it done by people who had some expertise in that regard. Somewhere in that process came the new appliances. The wife decided she wanted black ones. The people who bought our house didn't want the fridge, even though it was fully functional (if a tad old), so we figured we'd keep it in the new house and save a few bucks for the time being. The fridge was white (so it didn't 'match', which apparently is an important woman thing), but after we settled in, we'd get a new black one. After all, it was creeping between one and two decades of service.

We moved out of our old house, and rented while the new one was being built, and hauled the fridge with us. Somewhere in there, the ice dispenser broke. The ice maker was fine, but it wouldn't feed the ice through the door. I wanted to get it fixed, but the wife insisted, "We're not paying to get that fixed. We're getting rid of it soon." So we held off for the new fridge. It wasn't a huge deal. You just had to open the door to get ice. The only bad part was the ice in the bottom of the bin rarely got touched, which got a bit nasty if you ever dug down there. Occasionally you just had to clean the whole mess out. A year passed. Winter changed into Spring. Spring changed into Summer. Summer changed back into Winter. And Winter gave Spring and Summer a miss and went straight on into Autumn...until one day...last week, John reached into the freezer to get ice for his water and said, "Enough! I've been putting up with this fridge we're going to get rid of 'soon' for five years now, and either we get this thing fixed, or we get the new one we've been saying we're going to get ever since we moved." Now, let me say, this wasn't the first time I've made that decree. I've made it several times in the last few years with not a whole lot of success. Always, there was something of a higher priority in the budget. This time, however, someone looked back at me and said, "Yes, it's about time we got a new fridge." and so, this Saturday, the Cadillac of fridges (as far as I can tell...I can honestly say I didn't do the research. I just went "Oooooooooooo" and "Ahhhhhhhhhhhh") will grace our kitchen, and I will once more be able to get ice without opening a door.

It's a new dawn.

ps. Aren't you glad you tuned in for this installment of blog-dom?

pps. Yes, there is a Monty Python and the Holy Grail reference in there somewhere. Now that you know, it isn't that hard to spot.

Monday, March 13, 2006

You're density

Villanova's a #1 seed! Woooo Hooooo!

OK, what does that mean, exactly. Squat, besides the fact that I'm pretty sure I'm correct in saying it's the first time that ever happened. It means the country expects us to kick ass in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Doesn't mean we've done anything, yet. Destiny is a fickle thing and just because you're a favorite doesn't mean it'll take you anywhere. The unorthodox four guard lineup of Villanova has pros and cons going into the tourney. People who haven't played against it before are at a disadvantage. Teams in the Big East have seen it before and will find ways to counter it, and all it takes is one cold night of shooting (see Friday night's game, eye injury aside) and we're gone. Call me very cautiously optimistic. I know, I say that a lot, about a lot of things. I have good reason here though. This is uncharted territory for the Wildcats. Nobody's stuck us on this kind of pedestal before we did anything before. It's not that I don't think my boys can do it. I think they can. I just hope they don't get some kind of acrophopia, or get all full of themselves before the first tip off even comes 'round.

The youngster is getting discouraged, and I'm finding myself in the strange position of agreeing with him, but trying to keep him upbeat. He played the whole game Saturday (which is one step in the right direction) but all of it in right field. He played well, but is watching errors in front of him and getting upset. I understand his plight. He has worked hard to be a good second baseman, and knows the position, and he's playing it in practice. Come game time, someone else is there who doesn't know what to do. If they're going to play someone else there, the least they could do is let them practice there so they can learn the position. I don't get it, and neither does the youngster. On the good side, his team won, but the kid is still not very happy. I refuse to be one of those dads that's in the coach's ear about my son this, and my son that. (I have a blog for that, and you're reading it.) I told the youngster, you need to ask him if you can play second in a game. Let him know you want it. Maybe he thinks you're content out in right. We'll see.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Big East Tournament

OK, so much for counting those chickens before they hatch. Congrats Pitt. You guys played a helluva game.

the juiceman...a reprise

If you haven't heard, Barry Bonds used steroids.

a goblet of Dad time

Some self-indulgent back patting...

Last night I went home from work ready to park in front of the tube. The only show I make an effort to watch (My Name is Earl) was coming on, but it would be splitting time with the Big East Championship, as my Wildcats were to play Rutgers. On the radio on the way home, I heard Syracuse had already removed one of out major obstacles to winning the tournament...the pesky Huskies of UConn, although I was hoping to see another Villanova/UConn contest before the big dance. In any case, expectations were high. Note the word 'were'.

I got home, we had dinner, and the youngster comes up to me with his new Harry Potter DVD and asks if I would pleeeeease watch it with him. So, from 7:00 till after 10:00, we sat in the living room with the lights off, and popcorn (our version of a theater) and watched the Goblet of Fire. Now, I'm not going to pretend I suffered through it. I enjoyed the movie just as much as I did when we saw it in the theater. I didn't get to see Villanova take down Rutgers or Earl though. Not that big a deal. I'll watch Villanova play Pitt, their next opponent and probably toughest enroute to the Championship, if they get past them. If they can beat Pitt, the winner of Syracuse/Georgetown should be an easier game, but you never know. I'm getting waaayyyy ahead of myself. The dad time is a bit more precious than whatever might have been on television.

Tomorrow the youngster's baseball team plays one of my car pool Pittsburgh Steeler fan's team, so we'll be at odds for car pool bragging rights. It'll be fun.

We're one week and a weekend away from the beginning of Players Championship week. As usual (though I never understood why, and still don't), the youngster's school has that Monday off, which works well for kids. It's a practice round day, which means the golfers are far more willing to stop and talk to kids and sign autographs (unless of course, their last name happens to be Woods). It's a far more relaxed atmosphere than during the competitive rounds and not nearly as crowded. Also as usual, I will round up a few other dads to help with supervision and transportation, and take as many kids as we can handle to go autograph hounding. OK, yeah, we think it's cool too, taking our kids' picture with Ernie Els. It's about time to get organized.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

church burnings

So, they caught the idiots burning churches in Alabama. Their excuse was a joke that got out of hand.

Can someone explain that one to me?

OK, you're doing something as a joke, and happen to be doing it near a church, with a bunch of flammable shit, and somehow catch the building on fire....that's a joke that got out of hand. You either call 911, and own up to your stupidity, or run away. Either way...that's one church burned down.

How, after you run away and think, "Oh shit, we burned down a church.", do you find yourself, a few days later, in the vicinity of another church. Once again, you find yourself there with stuff that can torch the place. Did you not figure out from the first joke gone bad that this isn't a good thing? How do you then burn that church down and repeat the cycle over and over? Don't you see the pattern? Don't you figure out then...this being near a church with stuff that could incinerate it is really not a good idea? Someone is either extremely stupid or they're lying their asses off.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

this is news?

Barry Bonds used steroids...yawn. I can't think of anyone who's surprised, except maybe Barry himself. He's the only one who's been living in denial. OK, that's overstating it slightly. Barry and a handful of Barry apologists are living in denial, the handful making their voices and ignorance heard on sports talk radio around the country. I hear them and shake my head. With each voice, I harken back to Bugs. "What a maroon." Each in turn saying Barry is getting a bad rap because he's black where Mark McGuire gets a pass because he's white. No, Barry gets a bad rap, admittedly, but not because he's black. It's because he's an ass. 'Roid rage, perhaps? McGuire gets a pass because he's not playing anymore, and he's not on anyone's radar screen. Besides, most of this steroid crap exploded after he was gone, for all intents and purposes. No, it doesn't make him any less guilty. If he was playing now and being the same kind of tool Barry Bonds is, he'd be getting crucified too.

The World Baseball Classic, Mike Piazza is playing for...Italy??? That's sorta like me playing for Italy, since my dad came over on the boat, except for the L.O.F.T factor. I actually spent a few weeks there when I was in the Navy. Maybe Mike did too.

Oh, have you heard? Barry Bonds used steroids. He got ratted out by his girlfriend, who he took to St. Louis with him on a road trip, right after he got married.

Lex and Terry are moving to Dallas. It's about time someone swept out the trash. Lex Staley was the station manager of Rock 105 (a local J'ville radio station) when I moved here in '87. He's worked at the station pretty much since then in several capacities, finally doing the morning show in the early 90's (and ever since) with his buddy Terry...which has a loyal syndicated following. For those of you who've never had the pleasure, it's like Jerry Springer on radio, where you drive to the lowest common denominator and get everyone involved to make asses of themselves live on the air, and if they heard that description, Lex and Terry would give it a thumbs up and be happy to be mentioned in the same run-on sentence with Springer. We're not talking award winning radio. We're talking about the radio equivalent of a train wreck and banking on an audience that can't stop watching, or listening. They moved to Dallas in the 90's and then moved back, although Rock 105 always carried the show, no matter where they physically were. Then they had a big falling out last year, Lex and Terry moved to another local station, and now are moving back to Dallas. Good luck with 'em Texas. I certainly won't miss 'em. The show got stale around the turn of the century and spiraled down from there in my opinion. On the off chance that I surf through it anymore, it's for all of 5 minutes and that's all I can take. They'll still be on the air here, but at least the local TV commercials will cease and desist.

News flash...Barry Bonds used steroids. His excuse...if McGuire can do it, I can too.

Baseball practice for the Braves - it's split into an hour on the field and an hour in the batting cages. The youngster spent the entire hour in the field at second. We'll see if he occupies the same real estate come game time.

This just in...Barry Bonds used steroids. In a piece of perfect timing, Law and Order ran a show last night where a high school kid beats up a female friend of his, and the kid's father then wails on him at his trial. The excuse for both beatings...'roid rage.

All the movies up for best picture at the Oscars, combined, grossed less than the last Star Wars flick. How's that for Hollywood telling us what we should like? Maybe it's just a function of getting older and caring less, but I think the relevance of the Oscars these days is less about what movie wins what awards, and more about answering the eternal red carpet question, "What are you wearing?" In a pre-ocsars interview, Serena Williams was asked who her favorite actor was. Her answer? "Philip Semen Hoffman." Serena also reportedly had a pre-oscars cocktail....emphasis on the...never mind. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance expressed their disappointment that the Broke-butt Cowboys didn't win best picture, saying Hollywood just wasn't "ready" for that kind of picture. Excuse me? Hollywood wasn't "ready"? Hollywood was the force behind shoving it down the rest of America's throats. Hollywood was telling us all how great it was, even if half of Hollywood apparently never saw it. If anyone was "ready", it was Hollywood. OK, it's not the first time America ignored Hollywood's opinion. Take note Babs Streisand, anyone named Sheen or Baldwin, and Jane Fonda. Personally I don't think it's a matter of being "ready". It would be like being "ready" to take your NyQuil before going to bed with a cold. The stuff is awful, no matter how "ready" you may be. It's either something you don't wanna see or...apathy. I mean really, who gives a cowboy's ass? Ooops, under the circumstances, forget I asked.

Oh, speaking of forgetting...before I forget...Barry Bonds used steroids.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I'm sort-of open minded

You Are 72% Open Minded
Let's face it. The other 28% are things about which you're undeniably right!

You are a very open minded person, but you're also well grounded.
Tolerant and flexible, you appreciate most lifestyles and viewpoints.
But you also know where you stand firm, and you can draw that line.
You're open to considering every possibility - but in the end, you stand true to yourself.

the lament begins

The youngster complained about going to baseball practice this evening.

"Why should I go? He's just going to stick me in right field."

"No, you'll practice at second."

"Yeah, but (insert anonymous-sounding coach's son's name here) will play there. He doesn't even know where he's supposed to be. He doesn't hold anyone on. He doesn't know when he's supposed to cover first. He just stands there and watches the ball go between his legs. They put him there and don't even tell him what to do."

"All you can do is play well. When you practice, nothing gets by you. Catch or at least stop everything that comes close. You be at first when you should be there, you get to second when you should. You cutoff when you're supposed to and backup everything you can. Hustle. That's all you can do. If you make it obvious, the coach has to see it."

I know it doesn't sound fair, and I know I come at it from a biased perspective (so I may be making it sound less fair) and maybe I'm being a bit too whiny. Yes, the argument could be made that the youngster could teach the kid what he needs to know, but training your replacement when you want the job is hard enough when you're an adult, let alone when you're twelve. It isn't fair (or I don't think it is), but that's one lesson the youngster will come away with. Life isn't fair. Just because it isn't doesn't mean you give up. You fight...every day. You do your best and be proud of what you do. It won't be the last time you don't like the decisions made by people above you. Deal with it, but never stop doing your best. Make sure you leave the field knowing you can be proud of the effort you put out there. Sooner or later, good things will happen.

Monday, March 06, 2006

little league

For now lets just say we lost, 6-5. The youngster had a solid single (stole second, third and home on a passed ball) and was hit by a pitch in his only two at bats, scoring 2 runs, and was used...sparingly in the field. I want to wait a few games to see how things go, and if they change at all, before I start ranting. I'm hoping what I saw was just the first game and not a pattern. If not, I think it'll be a battle keeping the youngster's attitude positive, and his interest in the game. The thing is, I want him to enjoy the game, and I have to make sure my attitude doesn't cloud his, but I'll be chewing on my tongue if I have to watch him play all of four innings in right field backing up the errors made by the coach's son, who's playing second base like a human croquet hoop. Then again, I may be jumping to conclusions. Let's let the next couple of weeks play out.

driving range pro

I know I've sounded this lament before, but I don't play all that much golf. I'd like to play more, but my life, such as it is, doesn't allow for that. I appease myself with driving range time, spending an hour when I can squeeze it in hitting balls instead of 4 to 5 hours on a real golf course. I'm a real driving range pro. Last week I finished my lessons at the little golf shop that re-tooled my driver, so this weekend I took my lesson to the range, and it looks like it might actually help. I was pretty pleased. Now we'll see when I can take all that and apply it to a real course.

Yesterday was spent pretty much doing errands. I had to pick some stuff up for the wife, and slid into a golf store, (one on my way, not the same one I got lessons at) for more tees, because I seem to lose/break lots of them when practicing with the re-tooled driver. The guy there was watching Villanova beat Syracuse. He was a Syracuse fan, so we talked hoops a little while they were keeping it uncomfortably close before the Wildcats took it in the end. We talked golf too, and he was telling me I need to get out and play more (like I don't know that) least once a week. I'm thinking, at least once a week? Do you think I have nothing else to do? I'd like to play more but until I retire, I don't see once a week being a remote possibility. Maybe if I worked weekends in a golf store.....

Saturday, March 04, 2006

the ever-so-short winter comes to a close

I-95 is once again paved with black leather and college hormones (an interesting if dangerous combination), as bike week and spring break hit North Florida. In neither case are we a destination. Daytona, Lauderdale and Key West lay farther south. In both cases though, we become a traffic nightmare. It's a bad weekend to have to hit the interstate to get around and thank God I have done all I need to do in that department, taking the yongster out shopping for red socks and a red babeball uniform belt for his school softball team uni.

We've already done grounder drills so we should be ready for the evening debut of the Braves. Ahhh, spring is in the air.

Friday, March 03, 2006

opening day

Tomorrow starts the little league season for the youngster and the Braves. Maybe it's just perception, but it's coming awfully fast this year. We've barely had a month of practice, and missed the first week of that because of badge/security issues, and the youngster was sick for another week, so I don't know if he cares at all, but I'm feeling like he's a bit under-prepared.

Yeah, I know it's just a dad thing. He just wants to go play ball and really doesn't give a damn about how prepared he is, or how the team plays together. He just wants to have fun. It's dad who worries about him holding up his part of the deal, and meshing with everyone to turn the double play and all that. It's kind of funny. When it all comes together like that...when he drops the suicide squeeze bunt or turns two, he gets this huge grin, but he doesn't worry about how often that might happen. It's dad who wants to see him grin like that as much as possible.

There, I think, is a common misconception. I think some parents push their kids because they think if they do well, its a reflection on them, but I don't think that's a majority. I know no matter what the youngster does in baseball, it's no reflection on me. I've learned a little since he started playing, but I'm no baseball expert and I played all of one season of tee ball as a kid. We did too much moving around for me to get involved anywhere. I push him because I want him to have some things I never did, and this is one of them. I want him to have that grin, and have it a lot. Heck, a year from now it won't matter to me how well he does, but ten years from now I want him to have the memories of having a good time being a good little baseball player, even if whatever he's doing has nothing to do with for now, we play catch, and I hit him grounders, like thousands of other dads. Not because I think it'll mean anything to me (except the fun of playing with my kid), but because I hope someday it means something to him.

I guess...does anybody remember the old Harry Chapin song, "Cats in the Cradle"? (Yes, I know I'm dating myself again.) I promised myself long ago that I wouldn't grow up to be that kind of dad. I'm keeping that promise.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

collective bickering

I don't know if I ever threw out my account of the end of my love affair with Major League Baseball in the lumberyard. I've been coming back, but it's been a slow process.

In the 80's, when I was dating the wife, she was a Braves fan. I liked baseball, but had no particular team I followed. The Phillies were there to some extent, but I wasn't fanatical by any means. You have to realize that I spent a fair amount of a few baseball seasons on ships in the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean, and back then (in the stone ages), you may have got scores daily, but that was about it....not even box scores. Even the scores were sporadic. You might get them one day, but not the next two. All other news came about two weeks late with the mail, and there was no real time television, and nothing remotely resembling an following any sports team was difficult, even if you were a rabid fan. In football season you got scores, but if you were lucky you got those on Monday. But anyway, once I got to Pensacola and started teaching flight school, I could watch TBS with the one-day-wife, and we watched the Braves...and they sucked. Still we watched, a few nights a week. I got to where I loved watching them, and if by some chance they won, it was even more special. Then toward the end of the 80's going into the 90's, they got better (and we got married). The Braves started making the playoffs. The excitement in our little house grew and we decided to take a week or two vacation in Atlanta. We planned it all out. We got in April...for a September home stand with the San Francisco Giants, which in April looked like it would be a series with two contending teams. Then, the strike happened. The Braves were kind enough to refund most of our money (they kept the service charge/handling fee/whatever they call it, which for 2 tickets, 3 games, something like $5 to $10 a do the math)...and we were pretty much pissed off. To top it off, there was our hero, Tom Glavine, on the tube sounding like the biggest whiner of the bunch. OK, I was very much pissed off. After that, I didn't watch another Major League Baseball game that decade. I didn't. I went to minor league games in J'ville and enjoyed them, but if those guys got promoted to the majors, I didn't see them again. The last few years I've started watching again, but still with a passing interest. I certainly couldn't name all the guys playing for the Braves, like I could when they were losers in the 80's. I don't even consider myself a Braves fan. I consider myself a Jacksonville Suns fan, but not particularly a fan of the Dodgers, their parent team. I am a situational fan. I like watching the situations that the season brings, and my rooting interest varies depending on the situation, with one almost universal exception. I dislike the Yankees, and even then because in most situations I follow that involve them, I can't bring myself to appreciate their side of whatever the situation may be. If you're reading this and thinking it's a shame (not the Yankee part...the baseball in general part), I agree with you. I don't like where that strike took me. It stole baseball from me, and I'm still struggling to get it back, and all that is background to my point.

Right now the National Football League is mired in uncertainty, with the players and owners bickering about their collective bargaining agreement. All of them make plenty of money now, but all of them want more, and can't seem to come to terms on what will happen in 2007. It's causing an immediate problem with the beginning of free agency, but I'm thinking more long term. I'm praying they don't steal football from me the way the baseball owners and players swiped baseball from me in the 90's. Please you greedy bastards...please don't ruin this game the way the idiots in Major League Baseball ruined that one.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

several facts related only by the fact that they involve Vince Young

I certainly wouldn't draw any conclusions from this.

Vince Young:
Great college quarterback
Big part of the University of Texas winning the National Championship
6 on the Wonderlic test
retorts his agent - yeah, but he got a 16 the second time he took it
University of Texas graduate