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OMG It's September

On Baseball Love

Here is the piece I read at Night of the Spoken Word here at the Ashe County Arts Center. Keep in mind when you're reading that it was written to be READ, and so excuse quirks of punctuation and grammar designed to help me in the performance. The truth is that by the time I finished writing this essay, I had to spend most of my editing and "tarting up" time cutting it, so it would fit into my 5-minute time limit. It seems I have a lot to say on this topic. And yes, I did wear my Tiger jersey to the event, the home jersey, the one with "Sparky" patch on the sleeve.

On Baseball Love

A few weeks ago, a friend asked me “Why do you love baseball so much?” Now, a lot of times people ask me a version of this question in a kind of snooty way. What they’re really saying is: “Really, baseball is so boring.” Or “Oh, baseball, that appeals to the tobacco-chewing sort, right?” But his was a serious question. He was honestly trying to figure it out.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about how to answer this baseball love question… I talked to one of my baseball-loving friends about it. He told me he always reminds his snobby writer friends of all the truly great writing about baseball. Ah ha. He was on to something there…  Read More 
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I'm Back!

Wonderful trip to El Salvador this year. We were in at the beginning of a project to build homes for 400 families who have been living in "temporary" shacks since an earthquake 12 years ago. That is not a typo -- 12 years of promises these people have endured. Their living conditions are unbelievably appalling, really, completely indescribable. So, it felt great to be a small part of something so incredibly useful and important.

I started calling our group a "cult" this trip -- many of us are repeat offenders, and we only see each other on this February work project in El Salvador. We are experienced at what we're about when we are there and we really get some serious building done. Many of us also use the time to "reconstitute" as I described in my recent post, and in this way it is really a kind of honor to all be together for these 10 days each year.

The people of El Salvador are really amazing. They are kind, happy, and hopeful -- and all of this in the face of some really crap circumstances. To say that they, and in particular the staff of Habitat El Salvador, are an inspiration is a pale description of the deep impression they make.

And, here's a small world story about this trip. Kathy is a dedicated Habitat El Salvador cult member who has been on this trip many times. She is also a fellow adventure traveler with Wilderness Travel, the company Henry and I went with snowshoeing in the Alps this past March. Kathy and her husband did the Tour de Mont Blanc this summer with Wilderness Travel. On that trip she met Gail and told her about the El Salvador Habitat cult. So, this trip Gail comes from San Francisco to join us, and brings her sister-in-law, Jane, from New York, too. They were a wonderful part of the crew.

Also on this trip was a woman who had been a nurse at the U.S. Embassy at the height of El Salvador's civil war (late 80s). Her husband was working on the new U.S. Embassy being built at the time; they lived in a hotel with two small children. Needless to say their stay was not long... but, how's that for karma?

We also had family members along this time, too. Mike brought his daughter Brittany this time around. Next year, I hope Henry will be with me, too.

Click on the photo essay tab above and check out some of the photos I took this year. And, if you're so inclined, drop me an email and I'll let you know how you can help -- or even come along on our trip next time.
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No Joy in Mudville

My 1984 World Series bumper sticker.
Well, the Mighty Casey did not strike out last night. In fact, Miggy hit two home runs, one a tremendous blast that might well have trailed a banner behind it saying "Screw This." It wasn't enough, not nearly enough.

My Detroit Tigers took a brutal beating last night to end all dreams of going to the World Series in 2011. I won't go into all of the brutal play-by-play, a 15-5 score tells that sad tale. Suffice it to say that mistakes were made, mostly by players. A couple of bad calls by umpires only added insult to self-inflicted injury. In short, it was a total Murphy's Law game. Everything that could go wrong did. Even with Miggy's two home runs.

I have been trying to figure out this morning which hurts more -- getting the absolute shit beat out of you, or losing in a nail-biter? I'm thinking the nail-biter would be better. It lacks the humiliation factor. I kept thinking about how truly awful it must have felt to be a Tiger on the plane going home last night.

Additionally, while not a very sporting sentiment on my part, I have to admit that I hated getting beat by the Rangers. As far as I can see, the only thing good about Texas is Lyle Lovett. You can keep the rest. And knowing that W was there cheering for the Rangers (which, during his tenure with the club, he about ran into the ground) made it suck just that little hurtful bit more. The only bright spot about the Rangers is their manager. Washington surely does have a good time at games; you can see why his players want to perform for him. But all in all, I'm hoping they get their asses handed to them in the World Series.

So today I will retire my Tiger souvenirs for another year. I'll put away the pennants and the button and the cartoons and the ears from the 1984 World Series. Maybe I can talk Henry into going down to Florida for Spring Training in March... Read More 
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