Showing posts from May, 2011

The Little Red Machine

After blogging about Eldest's baseball experience (as well as mine as an assistant coach), I decided to write about my five years playing organized baseball as a kid. Long ago (the mid-1990s), I wrote about two of these seasons, so I will dig those up and transcribe/edit/add/revise when I post on those two seasons. This post will be about my first season, in 1978 on the Reds.

We had moved into our new house in 1977, and my new friends, especially Marc, loved baseball and collected baseball cards. Even before we had moved that spring, I was started to become interested in baseball, so my interest exploded that summer. I had played basketball for two seasons at Norwood Park, so my father signed me up for t-ball in the spring of 1978 and bought me a glove (mass-autographed by Mickey Rivers!). I was placed on the Reds.

The team was coached by a couple teenagers, including the older brother of one of my teammates. I don't remember many of my other teammates, except we had a big third…

Play ball!

Eldest has been playing baseball this spring, and aside from some bruises from getting hit with a ball (during batting practice and while catching), he's loved it. His league is machine pitch -- an adult puts the ball into a pitching machine, so each kids gets the same speed of pitch in about the same spot. He's hitting the ball OK, probably batting about .300 this season. He's on a fun, not-as-serious team (we have faced some teams that likely play in more than one league and had boys with better batting stances than me), and the kids are getting better in the field with each game.

I'm helping coach Eldest's baseball team, and I must admit, I've loved it. Perhaps I like it because I'm not head coach and don't have to deal with the logistical details that I do with soccer and basketball. But I think the main reason is just getting out onto a baseball diamond in the spring -- it's taking me back to playing baseball as a kid (and to an extent, playing …

Weekend at Joey's

Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching. The first unofficial weekend of summer. Going from the Friday of this weekend in through the Monday of Labor Day weekend, summer is 102 days long. I want to cram as much fun and activty into those 102 days as possible.

Just not this weekend.

Memorial Day weekend as a kid usually included baseball, a barbecue at my grandmother's house (an aunt and uncle both had birthdays around this weekend), warm weather and the WLS top 500 songs of all-time. As I got older, Memorial Day was a weekend Wife and I were always on vacation, trying to take advantage of the holiday to get an extra day of vacation. With us pushing our big vacation into July since the kids were born, Memorial Day weekend returns to being about no work, some sort of radio music extravaganza, and the knowledge that summer has arrived.

Alas, the last few years, the weather has not cooperated, and it's not supposed to cooperate this weekend in Utah again with three days of rained fo…

Hip and uncool

I did something to my hip Saturday, and I can't figure out what. I was in between coaching soccer games, I took what seemed like a normal step, and suddenly, my right hip below the corner of the hip bone started to hurt. It's been sore since, and my lower back has tightened up in overcompensation.

I don't think it's anything severe and is merely, as my Wife put it, a side effect of being 40 -- occasionally, these unexplained aches and pains make an appearance. I did a hard boot camp workout last week that might have strained something that took three days to actually hurt. I don't know. I do know I'm annoyed. I wanted to run this weekend but couldn't; I could have done some yard work yesterday but couldn't; and I have to conduct a soccer practice today and don't know how. I want to get out and move but can't.

My hip is feeling better today, maybe because I did some light housework and, as Wife theorized, worked out some of the lactic acid. But I&#…

High 5

Littlest's birthday week is finally nearing an end. The week started with nice weather, continued with two fevers, two quick recoveries, Littlest's final day of preschool, Eldest's first day of swim team practice and Littlest's birthday, and concluded with Littlest's birthdat party. Yes, it was a whirlwind week, and not quite over, either, if you consider the two soccer games, one baseball game, a block party and a work shift Saturday.

Amidst all this is the amazing realization that Littlest is now 5 years old. He had so much fun at his party today, and was so enthusiastic and genuinely thankful when opening his presents. His first five years have been quite a ride. I'm thinking the next five will be as well.

Shuttle to shuttle

Thirty years ago, on April 12, 1981, I woke up early, turned on the TV in our living room while it was still dark outside and before anyone else in my family was awake, and watched the first space shuttle launch. This was the second morning in three days I had done this -- the launch was postponed two days earlier. But not this morning. I warmed up some homemade waffles my mother had made the night before for dinner, cozied up on our living room couch, and watched the launch. I kept watching afterward, eventually falling back asleep as Columbia continued its first orbits of Earth.

I wasn't alive or old enough to watch the first flights into space or the Apollo missions, so watching the space shuttle launch for the the first time was really my Neil Armstrong moment.

Thirty years later, I watched the second-to-final space shuttle launch with my sons this morning. (I had thought this was the final launch, but it turned out it was just the last Endeavour launch; Atlantis has one more.) …

The crazy days of May

May is halfway over. The weather has finally improved to the point that it feels like spring, and leaves have finally sprouted from the trees. Littlest has two days of preschool left, while Eldest has about four weeks of first grade remaining. We're in the middle of two soccer seasons and Eldest's baseball season. We've attended class picnics the last two Saturdays. I've been busy with freelance projects.

Yes, May, my favorite month of the year, has been a blur. At least the weather finally got nice, though sunny days have been interrupted with March gloom (including a thunderstorm yesterday that canceled Eldest's baseball game). Today was good -- the sun was shining, the temperature was warm, and I worked in the yard for a long time, mowing, weeding, pruning and watering. The boys played with their friends on the block outside. I managed to get out running this morning.

The blur continues this week with Littlest's birthday. I don't want May to end this quick…

Station to station

I'm always surprised where and when small memories of my childhood seem to pop up. Last month, it was in my son's CCD folder.

Eldest was given some Lent and Easter materials in his church school folder on Palm Sunday, and Wife took that stuff out last week before his first post-Easter class. Among the things in his folder was the same Stations of Cross booklet my own grade school used back in the 1970s.

Titled "The Way of the Cross for Young Christians," the index card-sized, 32-page booklet is used for Stations of the Cross -- a Catholic church ritual devoted to path Jesus took after getting his cross to his eventual burial. The booklet, aimed at kids, adds a 15th station -- Jesus' resurrection, possibly to give the story a happy ending to kids following along. Each station started the same:

V. We adore you or Christ and we praise you.
A. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

A description of the particular station followed, with a prayer for childr…

Back in business

My blog is back. Hurray!

Several days ago, a phishing e-mail that popped into the account connected to The 43 was apparently flagged by a spambot (an automated program that looks for spam and robo-posting) and shut me down. After a couple hoops, my blog was restored, and after many crazy days last week, I'm finally posting again.

Spring finally arrived here in Utah, although the few sunny days we enjoyed is giving way to a few rainy/chilly days again (just in time for Mother's Day). But leaves are finally sprouting on our trees, and small blades of grass are just beginning to poke through on our lawn where I put down some EZ seed. May is going to be busy, and our summer is taking shape. The last few sunny days, though busy, have been fun and a nice reminder that spring has been worth the wait.