Category Archives: sports

Play Ball!

The high school football season has started here. Both the high schools in our town play their games in the local college stadium. As I drove past the college football grounds this week, I saw two high school teams getting ready to play, and four striped shirt referees walking onto the field. I thought immediately of my father.

My dad officiated high school baseball, basketball, football, and volleyball for 68 years. He absolutely loved it. He umpired his last high school baseball game at the age of 88 in the Metrodome. Once, he started having chest pains during a baseball game in Iowa between Cherokee and Sheldon. Since it was the last game of the season, he didn’t want to call the game, so he downed eight nitroglycerin tablets and hoped for the best. The next day he had cardiac bypass surgery.

The rules for sports are fairly clear cut. The rules for human relationships off the field are not. I despise mediating. I refuse to provide marital counseling. I just can’t be that kind of referee.

When have you had to referee or mediate? Ever had any beefs with a sports official? Ever been thrown out of a game?

Buy Me Some Peanuts & Cracker Jacks

You all know I am not a big sports fan.  In fact, I think I’ve probably only been to 10 baseball games in my life.  Maybe 15.  I do enjoy the games when I’m there, but like Monday night, I come away with more questions than answers.

    • Why so many huddles? Visiting team did this six times.  Six!
    • Why don’t the outfielders get to huddle?  Don’t they feel left out?
    • Why is Hansel Robles called Caballo Blanco?
    • How many times can you actually hit a foul before you’re out? Seems like way more for some than others.
    • What’s with all the fidgeting on the pitcher’s mound and on the plate?
    • Why don’t relief pitchers get much of a chance? Four relief pitchers for home team, each only pitched 1 inning each.  Visiting team sent in one relief – but at least he didn’t mess around on the pitcher’s mound and just threw the ball!
    • Why do much spitting?
    • Why do they need to replace the bases halfway through the game?
    • If the game is tied at the bottom of the 9th and the bases are full when you come to bat, why do you keep swinging? Why not just hunker down and let the pitcher walk you?  Especially if you’re not all that tall?
    • Why do people go wild when they see themselves on the big screen?
    • Why, after paying so much to get in and then paying a boatload more for food, drink and merchandise galore, do so many people depart before the game is over?

Obviously none of these are burning, social-issue kinds of questions (well, maybe the spitting), but clearly not everything makes sense to me.  However, questions aside YA and I had a great time even when it went into overtime.

What is the meaning of life?

 

Scandal-No Place to Hide

We live in a predominantly Roman Catholic community. We are a town of only 23,000 people, yet we have four Catholic churches, two Catholic elementary schools, a Catholic Middle School, and a Catholic High School.

You can imagine the gasps when, last week, the Catholic School Board announced that Father H, the principal of the Middle School and High School had been permanently relieved of his duties, along with an unmarried, female Elementary Principal and athletic director. They had apparently been consuming alcohol in a school vehicle on their way to a basketball tournament in Minot in March, and then tried to hide what they had done. There is also much scuttlebutt about other misbehavior, but that didn’t make the newspaper. Oh, the scandal!

This is no place to misbehave, because everyone knows everybody else, people notice things, and there really is nowhere to hide. The two Principals should just have worn shirts that said “Shoot me now” instead of trying to be sneaky. Moreover, if you get drunk and disorderly in Minot, 230 miles away, even that news will make it back here. This is a small State despite the vast distances between towns.

What are some scandals you remember from your home town or where you live now? 

Snowboarding

YA went snowboarding last weekend.  I knew that she had a snowboard; her ex was a serious snowboarder, although as far as I know, she only went boarding with him a couple of times.   But I was surprised by the amount of equipment she actually owns: board, boots, ski pants, helmet and some serious goggles.  I took a photo of it all that she had laid out on the dining room table before she left.  I was afraid to ask her how much cash she had sunk into this equipment.  She mentioned before she left that the lift ticket for the day would be $34.  Opinions were kept to self but it seems to me that this is an expensive sport. 

As I thought about it, there are plenty of hidden costs to most sports.  When YA was younger, her gymnastics was a big money suck.  Monthly team fees, individual meet fees, leotards and the inevitable “stuff” available for sale at every meet.  When she tried out for dance team, the price tag for everything was unbelievable; I had to tell her that I couldn’t afford both dance team and gymnastics.  Diving wasn’t quite as bad but the team swimsuit was $97.  Yowza.  Luckily for my pocketbook, she decided she didn’t like the 5 a.m. practice time before we had taken the tags off the suit. 

Swimming wasn’t too bad, although you always had to pay for pool time, either lessons at the Y or seasonal fees at local pools.  Rollerblading wasn’t too bad, as long as you didn’t want to blade during bad weather/winter – then again, fees for the rink or the rollerdome (as it was called).  Same for tennis; if you don’t mind mediocre courts and waiting times, once you pony up for a racquet and some tennis balls, you can play free in the parks.  Winter play costs money for indoor courts. 

In thinking about it, I guess running is about the cheapest of the sports – the only real expense seems to be the shoes, unless you feel the need to have gadgets for playing music or keeping track of your distance/heart rate, etc.  

Tell me about your sport of choice.  Do you participate or just watch?  How do you keep the costs down?

Bad News Bears

Our family often exclaims sympathetically  “Bad News Bears” when we hear about the bad luck of others. For the most part, we and our family and friends have not experienced much bad luck, save for one of my uncles who had years of successive crop failures. He was still able to sell his farm when he retired and buy a nice house in town, though.

Today is the anniversary of the bad luck of a woman baseball fan who was at a Phillies game in 1957 when one of the players fouled and the ball hit her in the face and broke her nose. As she was being carried by stretcher from the ball park, the same player fouled a second time and the ball hit her again. Bad News Bears!

Tell  some tales of woe. 

Tubing!

There has a lot more traffic on the creek this summer.  (OK, maybe there isn’t a lot more traffic, but because I’m out walking the dog, I’m noticing a lot more folks enjoying the creek.)   I’ve seen folks in canoes and I’ve seen kids in the creek down near Lynnhurst.  Then yesterday I saw five tween girls with huge inner tubes heading down toward the water.

The inner tubes reminded me of going down the Brule in northern Wisconsin with my folks as a kid.  The tubing company would take us up to a drop off point and we would tube back down to where our car was parked.  Nothing too rough – a perfect bit of river for a family with fairly young kids.  It was just a couple of hours and back then nobody felt the need to have an extra inner tube for a cooler of beverages.  The only problem with tubing was changing into dry clothes in the car afterwards; my sister and I were SURE somebody would see something.

So it was fun to see the girls hurrying down to the creek with the inner tubes and now I’m wondering where I can rent tubes of my own!

Tell me what you did for summer fun as a kid!

Knuckleheads and Knuckle Balls

Husband had been so hopeful.  The two libraries in town (Public and University) had been closed until two weeks ago.  The Public Library opened “appointment only”  and he ordered a classic, 1930’s book from inter-library loan about the history of the Great Plains. He has been reading it this week and is pretty happy about it.  He was hoping this was a sign that things were returning to normal.

The COVID-19 numbers had not increased in our county for about three weeks, with a total of 63 as of last Sunday.  That was until yesterday,  when it went up two. It went up because there is this baseball league in town in which young adult players come from other parts of the country, live in sponsor homes, and play baseball all summer. Well, an 18 year old player from Oklahoma came up Sunday, was feeling ill on Monday, and he and one more person tested positive for the virus. Now, all the players and hosts  and their families are being tested. The rest are all negative as of yesterday, but we will have a couple of weeks of continuous testing to see if it has spread. This is frustrating.

How do you think reopening should occur?  How are you doing with precautions?  What will be a sign to you that things are returning to normal?

Pedal to the Metal

I live next door to a five-year old.  It’s fun to see her growing up; she has a different temperament than YA had as a child.  On Thursday, she was sporting a brand new pink helmet and then her dad took the training wheels off her bike.

They started in the backyard, on the grass – doesn’t every parent do this, hoping for a softer landing than on concrete?  On Saturday, they went up to the high school, where there is a lot more flat grass.  Then on Sunday afternoon, as she was working on it in the driveway, her dad let go of the seat and she was biking!  She practiced for about another 30 minutes; she still needs a little shove to get going but other than that, she’s got it!

It made me think about YA learning to ride a bike.  We didn’t even try in our yard, since it’s very bumpy, but we did practice at the high school.  YA was not a natural rider and for a couple of weeks she was incapable of seeing an obstacle and then being able to avoid it.  I remember thinking that learning to ride a bike is way more complicated than it appears on the surface.

I was five when I learned, starting in the grass like my little neighbor did and eventually graduating to the elementary school parking lot.  I still remember the thrill of realizing that my dad wasn’t holding me up any longer and I was flying along on my own.  According to Nonny, I fell and scraped my knee rather badly but I don’t remember that part at all, just the wind on my face and my legs pumping the pedals!

Do you remember learning to ride a bike?

 

 

Dichotomy

Today’s post comes to us from Ben.
Photo credit: berkemeyer

I was working in the sports center preparing for commencement. This particular room of the sports center, largest of them all, is the “Fieldhouse”. It’s basically four basketball courts with a track around the outside and retractable nets separating the courts. You’ve all seen something similar.

To my left is, what looks to be, an intramural, co-ed basketball game. They don’t seem to be keeping score and they’re all having a good time and laughing and teasing each other. There are a couple girls and while there are some older guys, some guys are younger than other guys. I hear them talk about “shirts” and “skins” and I also heard them say something to the effect of “If Jane stays a shirt than Joe can go skins”. I couldn’t see them so I don’t know.

Mind you, I know nothing about sports. But I could tell they were having a good time.

I was driving around in a genie lift, 40’ in the air and hoping 1) I wasn’t distracting them, and 2) they wouldn’t hit me with a basketball. OK, there was a screen separating their area from the area I was working in but still. Wouldn’t it be awesome to hit the guy in the genie?

Off to my right (with no separating net) a group of young men, most likely students. As they started to play, the difference between these two games was interesting. Of course, the language was much rougher in the first place. Disputed calls, harder playing, more “trash talking” as my wife would say. There had to be teams but I didn’t hear any talk about that.

And I found the dichotomy of the two games very interesting. They didn’t hit me with a basketball either.

Next week the entire fieldhouse will be blocked off (in terms of scheduling) for commencement. But that doesn’t mean if there’s an open corner some group won’t start a basketball game.

Talk about dichotomy in your life.

February Adventure

Today’s post comes from cynthiainmahtowa.

The First of February 2018 was a beautiful, sunny, crispy -10 F day. There was enough snow to snowshoe and I hadn’t been in the woods since I couldn’t remember when…years before my hip surgery. It was a Thursday, and Sunday afternoon our book club was meeting at my house to discuss “A River Runs Through It” by Norman McLean. As our group often does off- book things like skiing, hiking, canoeing, I thought it would be fun for people to ski or snowshoe down the Moose Horn River that meanders through my land.

But first to check it out.  Friend Daina and her Corgi, Jack, were willing to go through the woods, to the marsh and over the river with me. When we got to the marsh, however, Daina was afraid Jack would go through the ice and not be able to get out so she decided to take him home. I decided to travel on.

When I got to the river, I ventured on to the ice for about half a dozen steps when the ice gave out under me.  Suddenly, I was up to my armpits in ice-cold water. I don’t know how deep it was, my metal and rubber snowshoes wouldn’t let me get my feet under me.  Alas, I thought, “This is how I die.”

Though somehow I must not have believed that because I was hanging on to my Icelandic wool hat that I love and was NOT going to let it go! After a brief struggle, I floated myself over to the side of the river where there appeared to be a solid snow covered something. When I got to the embankment I saw a block of ice below me that I managed to get my snowshoes on.  With my one pole (I had hiking poles with me) I managed to pull myself back onto the ice, get standing up, pick up my other pole that I had left on top of the ice and headed back home.

Fortunately, I had on my polyester down parka and nylon ski pants. So I was not weighted down with water-soaked clothing. The worst was the water in my boots. I figured if I kept moving as fast as I could, I wouldn’t succumb to hypothermia. I was about 15 minutes through the woods and up the pasture from the house. At the power easement I considered going back on the road so someone would see me, but it was farther and open and the wind was bitter.

With some difficulty I got myself over the wire fencing and into the pasture. Halfway to the house, I saw Daina coming down to meet me. She, being brilliant in emergencies – and having experienced her husband’s hypothermia a few years ago – took over. She helped me into the house, out of my Sorel-like boots of man-made materials with frozen laces, my wet clothes and into the shower…then into bed with three or four layers of blankets, mugs of hot tea, chicken soup and liquid jello.

I never shivered, though in bed it felt like my deep core wanted to shake. But the adrenalin was coursing through my body the rest of the day and I was fully warmed up in time to feed my animals that evening…and before the day was over I cleaned and re-organized my cupboard of mugs.

I don’t know what the experience has done to my psyche, but looking back there seems to be a sense of appreciation and direction and confidence and generosity that I didn’t have before.

And when I got kicked in the thigh by Derby Horse the following Friday, the resulting hematoma didn’t seem like much of a big deal.

What was your scariest “adventure”?