Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2010 HR # 2

Will had a good night. I made it to the second game. In game one his first-inning homer went to centerfield, at least 360-375 feet away, over a high fence. It was his first-ever home run at the East Cobb Complex, and most probably the furthest he’s ever hit one. Yet on the way home, he said he really didn’t hit it well.

Later he had another hit, and was hit by a pitch on the left elbow. That came on a 3-1 count, so he was mad at himself for not getting out of the way, since it was ball four anyway. Crown won 6-1. Will accounted for 5 of the runs…scoring three and drove in two others.

He caught Game One, and they didn’t try to steal on him. With runners on first and third a wild pitch bounced away from Will. He chased it, but the pitcher didn’t cover the plate, so he dove back in time to tag out the runner. Then he fired to second in time to nail the runner trying to advance from first…double play.

They lost Game Two, but Will hit the ball hard, and reached base twice. He also hit a good two-strike line drive off a fastball on the outside corner, that the rightfielder made a diving catch on.

Will played most of the game in center-field, and made several good running catches on deep fly balls near the fence. Later he played two innings at second base. This year he’s made almost all the plays at shortstop, but he plays the other positions so well that his team is better off with him at catcher, center, or second.


Supposedly Matthew was seen playing basketball at school last Wednesday & Thursday. Yesterday the doctors confirmed that he is allergic to gluten, and something else. We’re going to need to change his diet radically, which he will hate, Once he does, he will be much better off.

Anna never got into sports…the nine holes of golf she played with me years ago was painful. But the older she gets, the more she likes to play sports with large groups of friends. She’ll have the chance this weekend, when we go to SC.

Month end, plenty to do. All the new kids have started in the office now, most recent college graduates. Several talk baseball. I’ll have to see if they’re into FourSquare. I looked them up on Facebook, and only found one of them. Sounds like things are shaping up for the Braves…we’ll soon see.

Report to Will’s Summer Coach

I’m a slow planner, but I’m working on what we’ll do for the Nashville trips. Ceil would like us to go on at least one of them, which would probably be the first one. I’m trying to talk my parents into going to Nebraska with me…my dad has relatives in NW Missouri and SW Iowa, which would be convenient. We could then return through Nashville for those games…Will could return from Nebraska on the bus, then catch a ride up to Nashville to meet us.

Will’s season is going well. He’s having a typical season of frequently reaching base, by hit, error, walk, or HBP. He’s hitting second or third in the order, giving him plenty of plate appearences. He leads the team in runs scored, and is among the team leaders in hitting, stolen bases, OBP, and total bases. He’s working on his hitting harder then ever, but I still hope your son can help him hit line drives more consistently…he’s hitting too many (hard) grounders to short and third. He is hitting curveballs better than last year. Yesterday at ECB Will hit his second home run of the season, to center.

Will is pitching about once a week, about three innings (+/-60 pitches) per appearance. He is often brought in with runners on base. In years past he walked too many batters, but this spring (& last fall) he’s been throwing 60-70% strikes, walking only one or two per game, if any. He’s had to face mostly juniors and seniors, on the better teams they’ve played…and few have hit it hard off him. Will’s curve has been sharp, and the coaches have called for it often. In McDonough he struck out 8 in 3 innings, thanks in part to sloppy defense. He’s had some elbow soreness, so the infrequent pitching appearances have been good.

His team has a freshman shortstop that’s played well, which has allowed Will to play catcher, center, second, and third. Last night he ran down several deep fly balls in center, and also made several good plays catching - turning a wild pitch into a double play. He seems more comfortable playing second than short, but even his shortstop play has been better this spring than last year.

His team has several freshmen, and appears to be in a rebuilding mode, hovering around .500. Will does get to play every inning of every game, and get lots of at bats. This school team is basically getting him ready for the Rays season.

NOTE: An hour later, the coach responded with several batting tips. Now THAT'S a good coach!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dad: Teller of Jokes

Last week both M and W separately declared I told the “funniest joke ever”. I forgot Matthew’s, but Will liked the Letterman quip…“Good news about the Healthcare Reform Bill. It covers Kansas choking.”

Stayed home Friday night. I also got a rare Saturday at home, and I got a bunch of needed cleaning done. Will was tied up at Living Science all day, then rode home to the Normans , where the gang was watching the NCAAs. Matthew was a new friend down the street, so he’s been outside a lot lately…a good thing.

C and A went to a bridal shower for Margaret Ewing at the country club in Brookhaven. She happened into getting her gown for free, and will be on some local TV show. Don’t know when the wedding is.

Didn’t sleep well Saturday night, so I napped some Sunday afternoon. Watched a lot of basketball, including last night’s Duke/Baylor women’s game. That tall girl for Baylor could be something.

Was able to forget about work over the weekend, but was hit hard yesterday. Still left at five to pick up Will. Today I’ll probably have to do the same…he has a game and Anna has ballet.

Was talking to Chris, George O’Leary’s daughter, here at work. I mentioned that I saw Central Florida was getting a new Nike contract. She reminded me that adidas had dropped them because a basketball player was wearing Nikes…Michael Jordan’s son. Since the contract starts in June, CF will wear adidas in the spring, and Nike in the fall.

She liked adidas, because every year she and her siblings each got two $600.00 gift cards to spend at the factory store. She’d have to spent all $600.00 at once, or lose whatever amount she didn’t spend. Nike is making them order from a catalog, so she has to “buy” everything at full price…nothing on sale. Plus she can’t try anything on first.

Yesterday I helped her clear up $30,000.00 of old material (& many old 2008 orders) still on the books. Her account, Carrier, looks a lot cleaner. She does stuff the right way. Month end tomorrow, and the Ogre has me doing a lot of “weaseling”…cleaning up old problems. Just helped Richmond with one as well.


A man found a genie, and the genie offered to grant him just one wish.
The man said, "I wish for a road to be built from here to Hawaii ."

The genie thought for a few minutes and said,
"No, I don't think I can do that. It'd be impossible. Just think of all the work involved."

"There is one other thing that I have always wanted," the man said.
"I would like to be able to understand women. What makes them laugh and cry, why they're so difficult to get along with, what makes them tick?"

The genie considered for a few minutes, then replied,

“How ‘bout I build you that road to Hawaii ?”

Friday, March 26, 2010

More Hewitt

I was hoping Hewitt would go. A year from now, if they have another disappointing year, the fans will be marching on DRad’s office, and Hewitt will wish he took the St. John’s job. In a related note, last night I bought the same Russell GT jacket that Paul Johnson wears.

I’ve still been too busy to immerse myself into the Braves, though I’m very much looking forward to the season. Hopefully for the team, McLough will come around. Better to slump in the spring.

Rough week with the family. It’s becoming more and more clear that Matthew has serious health issues. A doctor is treating him for hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency. It’s tough for Ceil to monitor his diet, but that’s what it’s going to take…gluten-free, etc. Sometimes he’s so listless that he just sits there in a daze. Most weeks he doesn’t finish his schoolwork. Without him helping with chores negatively impacts the other two, who are involved in extracurricular activities most of the time.

Same with work. Yesterday I was able to catch up a bit on stuff that had piled up, and I forgot to write again. Two co-workers have a hard time figuring out things for themselves, though they have no problem making similar personal decisions. I think I embarrassed someone yesterday, when I discovered they weren’t doing something fundamental to the program.

Will’s team keeps losing, but everyone plays at least half of every game. It's apparent that they're playing all 9th graders every game, building for the future. Three upperclassmen cannot carry the team by themselves. Yesterday they went up 6-0, put in the younger guys, and lost 10-6. Nate was pitching ok, but was pulled after 2 errors and a hit off his leg. They hadn’t hit him hard, but his successor was shelled. With shortstop Ian out, Will felt bad for not converting three spectacular plays. The other three infielders each made at least one error.

Ceil and Anna have a bridal shower for Jenny Ewing’s daughter tomorrow, at a country club. Will has a long day at Living Science, practicing the skit. Hopefully I’ll get some work done around the house this weekend.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March 15 - 21

Flight, Will’s old basketball team, faired well last week at the national home school tourney in Oklahoma City . The 16U team just lost their first game, to the number one team in the country. They came in third place. The 18U team also did well. DJ, Connor, and Danielle were selected to play in the All-America game. DJ made first team. He scored 33 in one game this week. Isaac scored 27, a career high.

Another crazy day with EZGo. These days we do have more management involvement/awareness of issues and problems, unlike 2008. We still have a ways to go, but at least we have help….even though some co-workers don’t think so.

Will’s arm is still sore. Yesterday he was icing it after hitting off the tee. He’s never had great form, and the coach had him throw lots of curves last Saturday. JV’s play today (not Will), with a doubleheader Saturday. Next Tuesday is the big game against the Gwinnett Barons, who are loaded with seniors. Fun-loving Living Science sophomore Holt plays on the Barons, though I don’t know how much PT he gets.

Ceil found stuff to do all 3 nights, so I did laundry in front of the TV, when I wasn’t at the Saturday doubleheader. Didn’t get to Canoe after all…maybe this next weekend.

Worked late Friday, then ran before driving home. Saw “The Time Traveler’s Wife”, which was good. Went to bed early Sunday night.

Several mistakes prolonged the agony Saturday…third-baseman tried to tag the runner coming from second, and missed. He could’ve thrown to second to start a double play. He also got picked off first. One catcher missed perfect throw home from left-fielder. Throw had beaten the runner by 15 feet. Same catcher ate a bunt, hesitating. Had a play at third or first. The other catcher kept dropping pitches when a runner was stealing, like last week. They keep saying Will is moving to catcher, then nothing changes. Shortstop Ian, the best hitter and fielder, sits because he’s a freshman. Saturday he played second.

Crown Splits Barons Twin Bill

Holt and Will each played big roles as Crown and the Barons split their doubleheader. In the stands, Michael Woodard spent the evening surrounded by a throng of “students.” The Barons Varsity easily won Game One, then Crown’s youngsters won the nightcap 9-5.

In Game One Holt pitched the complete game, throwing over 60% strikes, striking out seven and walking only four. At the plate he singled and doubled. In Game Two he hit a line drive to center…right at Will.

Will returned the favor in Game Two, smashing two hard ground balls right at Holt, who was playing third. Later Will singled off Holt’s replacement’s glove, knocking in the run that put Crown ahead to stay. Will scored three runs: twice from second on Braden’s hits, then tagging up from third on Braden’s sacrifice fly.

As the Game One catcher, Will gunned down a base-stealer in the first inning. Later he tagged out two runners at the plate. In Game Two he caught two line drives in centerfield, and later made a nice play at shortstop, on a bad hop ground ball.

Nathan had his best hit of the year, a double lined over the outfielder’s head. He played second-base in Game One, and catcher the first half of Game Two. Patrick came on to catch the rest of the second game.

Evidently there was as much action in the stands as on the field. Surrounding Michael were Lucy, Rhiannon, and Margaret, Mary, and Erin. Wearing her glasses, Haley snapped yearbook action photos of Patrick, before inexplicably calling me by my first name...a first.

Kara chatted with Jordan in front of us, so quiet I forgot they were there. Unlike Joel…we kept hearing bits and pieces of his interesting conversations behind us kept Lynn and me entertained. I arrived just in time to see Mary Clayton leave. Margaret’s timely email helped EVERYONE get to the game, except for a certain Mrs. Switzer.

Charlie studied the game, filling me in on the details as I chatted up his dad. It was great to see Holt’s parents again. I kept Mary Hurt busy snapping pictures, when she wasn’t chatting up seemingly everyone in the stands. Earlier Ceil also snapped some pictures. Anna hung with the students, and Matthew played with Jordan’s brother.

College man Jos was there. Brother Isaac hung with Joel, fresh off his 27 point performance in Oklahoma City. Charles Norman said nary a word, his head buried in a book. I heard there were Hanson’s at the first game. For the record, Michael was wearing shoes...some snazzy gold running shoes. The Hurts discussed traveling to Kevin's soccer game, but Mary didn't know where far-away Stockbridge was.

After the game Mary had everyone pose for more pictures. In sandals, Abby hugged Holt. Brother Spencer doused Jordan with water (I was amazed at Jordan’s restraint afterward). No word whether the Johnston’s stopped for smoothies on the way home. Nothing but Kool-Aid for me!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Crown Loses Doubleheader by 25 Runs

Chattanooga Phillies 13, Crown Knights 1

Chattanooga Phillies 19, Crown Knights 6

...Will drives in only Crown run in game one, on a line drive single up the middle. He takes second when the pickoff throw gets away. When the catcher throws to second to pick him off, Will breaks for third, and slides in safe.

...Game One Phillie pitcher Chad allows 3 hits in 5 innings, no walks and 9 strikeouts. Goes 2-3 with a grand slam and 5 RBI.

...In game two Will singled to left, and took third on grounder past third base. When Sam strikes out on a ball in the dirt, Will stayed poised, waiting on the catcher to throw to first. Then he took off for home, making a headfirst slide and touching the plate just before the catcher applies the tag. The Shetlers captured the entire sequence on their camera.

...Later Will walked, and stole second and third.

...Catcher Patrick’s throw to second nailed the base stealer. Second-baseman Ian applied the tag, and the umpire signaled out. As I updated my scorebook, Ian then dropped the ball, as the runner made his way to the dugout. Will picked up the ball and jogged after the retired runner, tagging him in foul territory. He then tagged the other runner, before he stepped back on third. This escaped BOTH umpire’s notice, and resulted in long discussions with the umpires, by both coaches.

...In the fourth, starting pitcher Nate had the bases loaded, with one out. He was worn out, so Will was brought in to face the cleanup hitter. Will threw good pitches, but couldn’t get the ump to call them strikes. The walk plated a run. Then pitcher/slugger Chad worked the count full, then lofted a deep fly ball just over the short fence in right center….his second grand slam of the day. On most regulation fields, though, it would’ve been a long out.

...After an error. Will caught a popup, and struck out the rightfielder. In the next inning Will retired the first three hitters in the order. It was the only 1-2-3 inning all day by Chattanooga. Will pitched 2-2/3 innings, and was the most effective Crown pitcher all day.

...After talking to someone else for the first two innings, an older gentleman in a nice jogging suit sat down next to me, and we had a nice chat for the next two innings. I asked him who he was there to see…Sam went to his church. I raved about Sam. We talked about pitching, and curveballs. As he left, a mom called “thanks for coming, Crawford!” It was Crawford Loritts, a nationally known speaker, and pastor of Fellowship Bible Church.

Will…2-5, walk, run, RBI, 3 stolen bases, 6 putouts, 3 assists

Trey…3-4, HR, 2 RBI, putout

Braden…2-5, double, HR, 2 runs, 3 RBI, 6 putouts, assist

Ian…2-4, triple, run, putout, 4 assists, 2 errors.


Tanner…1-3, BB, HBP, run


Michael…0-2, walk, run, 2 putouts, assist

Nathanial…0-2, putout

Chase…0-2, putout, error


Patrick…0-3, putout, assist

Chris…0-3, putout

Sam…0-3, assist, error


Notes: Before game one Crown took the field, but the pitcher couldn’t warm up…the coaches were chatting with the umpires, blocking home plate and oblivious to the delay they were causing.

...Coach Rosemond coaches third. Coach Parker first, and he sometimes positions the outfield. Chris calls pitches. Will sure could use instruction on both hitting and pitching, as several other players could.

...Young Ian had an off day today, and Will made all the plays at short today, but I have no doubt the team is better when Ian plays short. Will should catch, and Nathan and Patrick are good fielders. Against experienced teams, several of the younger players are overmatched, particularly at the plate. While Will has struggled, he’s been getting more comfortable at the plate. Slow runners shouldn’t bat ahead of faster runners. My lineup:

1. Ian…SS

2. Will…C

3. Braden…1B

4. Trey…RF

5. Tanner…DH

6. Sam…CF

7. Chris…3B

8. Patrick…LF

9. Russell…2B

P. Nate

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Family Hero

Tuesday Ceil took Will over to East Cobb at 3:30, for his 4:30 doubleheader. She’d had a horrible day, particularly getting M to do his schoolwork. About the same time a crisis arose at EZGo. Parts were needed from the painter, but there was no time to get a truck to the painter before they closed. I joked that Ceil could pick them up, but soon it became clear…that was the only option. Back at work today, Ceil is a hero. I get to take her out for a nice dinner, on the company (she said wanted cash!).

The original plan was for two of our temps working in Augusta to drive all the way over and get them. That way I could watch most of the doubleheader. But the operations manager nixed that idea, since they were temps. I left at 4:50 and drove to ECB, watched a half inning, including a groundout from Will. Then I drove back to work to unload the two boxes, arriving at 7 pm. The games dragged on and on, and I got back in time to see inning 2 of game 2.

Thought it would be later, so I didn’t bother with my scorebook. When the sun went down it got cold, which would’ve made scorekeeping bothersome anyway. Classmate Jordan was there, as usual. Abby showed, with brother Spencer. Also David Norman and former player Josiah, who I like a lot.

Will caught game one. When a runner stole third, Will hit his hand on the bat trying to make the throw. He may have been the only Crown player to two full games. He had a nice double play in game two, playing second base. Caught a line drive moving right, then fired to first to double the runner. The young shortstop played well again, then Will played the last 2-3 innings at short, handling his one chance.

Ceil said he had a real nice RBI hit in game one, and he beat out an infield bouncer in game two. He thought his hitting would come around, with more repetitions. They barely won game one, against a talented opponent. Seemed like they didn’t try to win game two. Afterward, Will said he felt terrible.

I was in a bad mood, and I complained most of the night…

…I took great enjoyment in critiquing the opponent’s ugly batting helmets, because they were just like Will’s team.

…after Will grounded out to more times, I wondered out loud whether the 5 or 6 “coaches” in the dugout would let Will go the entire season hitting grounders, without giving him one-on-one hitting instruction. Seems like they’re happy to see a player get one hit in a doubleheader, be it a lucky bloop or infield roller. They probably didn’t make the connection that just behind them was a covered batting cage, full of East Cobb players taking swing after swing. Not an emphasis on this team, and it shows.

…high foul pop near the backstop, and no one helps the catcher. When it lands two feet from the fence, the catcher looks at the dugout. The coaches just stared back, not saying anything.

…foul pop behind first, caught by the first baseman. No one lets him know the runner at second was tagging. Had he not had to figure this out himself, he could’ve thrown the runner out.

…players took their time taking the field between innings…the catcher as well. Game two ended at 10 pm.

…the umpire was calling the outside strike, and Will’s team never adjusted. Batter after batter was rung up. Each time, they were amazed. No communication.

…Sam, a junior, is a beast, and should play more. At some point, the coaches will realize this. It would mean less PT for younger players.

Thursday they play a JV team, so Will can go to his Living Science meeting.

Lots of sushi at the Lobster House, and crab legs. Big Saturday night crowd, for the $21.00 buffet. At 5:45 it was pretty empty, but almost full by 6:15. They will cook certain things to order, when you get the buffet. Plenty of non-seafood options as well.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Three Innings, Ten Putouts

Saturday Will pitched well, but had the worst day of his life at the plate. In three innings he accounted for TEN outs…fielding a bunt, catching a fly, and EIGHT strikeouts (one reached first). He pitched great, but due to the cold, mud, wind, and sloppy defense, four runs scored off him.

A swinging bunt stayed fair. A bloop fell just between the SS & centerfielder, and another between the CF and RF. The portly third-baseman couldn’t cut off a slow roller to short. Outfielders weren’t positioned properly, and high popups were misjudged. The left-handed first-baseman didn’t go after a catchable ground ball hit just to his right, on a ball too far away from the second-baseman.

One batter reached out and got the bat on a perfect curveball, on the outside corner…poking it into right, driving in two runs. Will only walked one. Another batter stuck his arm out across the plate to get hit. Only one ball was hit hard off him, a line drive that was caught. Do I sound like a typical dad?

Like I thought, they left the freshman at short. Good call. Will played second and third, making several nice plays. Once he ran into foul territory, making the catch while sliding into the fence.

In the first inning he reached on an error, then had to dive back to the base. He came up covered in mud, and had to play both games all dirty. I’d told him to bring an extra pair of pants.

It was the first time I’d ever seen Will swing and miss at three straight pitches. He didn’t get a hit in either game, and struck out at least three times…twice swinging. Yesterday I had to make him hit off the tee. He’ll get more BP today.

Lost both close games, to an average team made up mostly of beefy seniors. One had a tattoo, another a beard.

The game two pitcher threw 124 pitches, and the game one starter had 85. We responded with a platoon, so everyone could play…mixing in tiny freshmen with upperclassmen that pounded the ball, just only the half games they got to play.

Doubleheader tomorrow and Saturday, and a single game Thursday.

Reid's 75th

Had a good time Saturday night at the Lobster House. I think everyone did. Anna was excited to sample some seafood she’d never tried before. Will was going at the crab legs pretty good…that’s what Anna thought was lobster. Matthew probably ate more food on Saturday than any day of his life. For lunch he had the super-sized platter at Zaxbys. The 13 month old twins couldn’t have been cuter.

Bryan A came over and said hello before the 9 am service. The friend I was sitting next to is currently a group leader. When group member Dan came up, I introduced him to Bryan . Immediately, Bryan said “You’re Molly’s husband, right?”

Yesterday Ceil took A & M to see Blindside. Supposedly crowds were lining up all weekend to see it at the Picture Show. I rented “Up In The Air”, and liked it.

Will tried to watch basketball all day long. I was listening to the radio for most of the Saturday GT game, and Wes Durham was cracking me up. I need to fill out my NCAA brackets. Will was making Anna enter his Facebook pool.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Calendar Fun

In less than six months the date will be 90210.

In less than five years the date will be 3.1415. Pi.


I think Tech is the type team that wins a game, then gets the big head and loses the next game. Maryland will be tough enough anyway, won’t they?

Last night I stayed up with Will to watch the Clemson loss. They always seem to be a dud in the tourney, no matter how good they are. Clinton the charmer is always an interesting interview…see him at the Garden?

Been so busy at work, by this time of the day, I’m pretty well bushed. Last night I worked late, then went straight to Eastside to pick up Anna. The Ogre said "Time flies when you're having fun."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

No More Shortstop?

Left early on Tuesday and drove over to almost Woodstock for Will’s game, not realizing they were playing a JV team (Riverside Military, out of Gainesville ). Will’s team batted around in the first inning, scoring ten runs, and left the bases loaded. Will hit two groundouts in the inning. Then he was pulled, to let more young guys play. They won 15-0.

Interesting development. Will caught the first inning. The freshman playing shortstop had a spectacular day, both in the field and at the plate. So far the other two catchers hadn’t done a good job, even against inferior competition. Both are better defensively at other positions. Looks like Will is going to be doing a lot of catching. He’d rather play centerfield, but the team will be at it’s best with Will at catcher, Ian at short, and Chris in center.

Will’s old coach was the plate umpire, and we had a nice chat. Classmate Lucy and her mom came to the game, near their house. Dad Lee would’ve come from work, but the game ended early.

At PF Chang, all our kids like what I get…sweet & sour chicken. Got that yesterday when I went with the Ogre, at a little local place . Me and Brad, my office neighbor, always try to get the Ogre to take us to Fuddruckers. Brad had went with him to one of his other favorite places the day before, and told me he had a hankering for Chinese. So I scored points by suggesting we eat Chinese.

Will wanted to turn on the Louisville game last night, but I made him go to bed. Good thing, if it lasted until 11:30. I told him there would be plenty of basketball over the next few weeks.

Wonder if Arnie tells Tiger to stay away from Bay Hill. Guess Arnie will be like everyone else, being thankful for the ratings boost. But if anyone would turn Tiger down, it would be Arnie.

At PF Chang, all our kids like what I get…sweet & sour chicken. Got that yesterday when I went with the Ogre. Me and Brad, my office neighbor, always try to get the Ogre to take us to Fuddruckers. Brad had went with him to one of his other favorite places the day before, and told me he had a hankering for Chinese. So I scored points by suggesting we eat Chinese.

Yesterday was Lang’s dad’s 75th birthday. Saturday we’re going to the Lobster House, that kinda new place that replaced Bugaboo at Haynes Bridge & 400. Will and Ceil love seafood…we’ll see how the rest of us do.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Making Gary McKee Laugh

In 1979 I was in a Steve Martin look-alike contest at Cumberland Mall, before I turned grey. Garo was the host. 100 contestants. Thousands in attendance.

I would've left, except I went third. The first two quoted Martin's routines, so I knew I had to be different. I thought, "If Steve Martin was in a Steve Martin contest, he'd act like he thought it was something else." So I did Andy Kaufman. Nobody laughed...

...except McKee. That made me happy.

I left the mall, not waiting around for the results.

Matthew's Caps

Matthew dug out Will’s old 1974 Braves cap, and started wearing it. Saturday his class had a picnic / “photo shoot” at a park in downtown Norcross. They had written a book about the homeless, and all the boys were encouraged to dress like the boy in the book, who wore a Braves cap. We’ll see how long this hat fad continues.

I also found a Georgia Tech cap in his bed…surprised he hasn’t found a Clemson cap to wear. I won’t say anything to him about that.

Last night he had to write a short paper, so I sat in the room and reminded him to keep writing, whenever the sound of the computer keyboard went silent. As usual, when he works by himself, he did a good job. It compared James Bond 007 to Matthew’s cartoon secret agent hero, Perry the Platypus.

Left early to catch Will’s 5:30 game over at East Cobb.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Baseball Begins, Again.

...As often happens, many things changed at work while I was on vacation. The short story: EZGo entered their busy season. Much more complicated than that, but I worked more last week than perhaps ever. Put in time the last two Saturday and Sundays as well.

...The Gulf Shores week was fun. Spent most of it with Lucy’s dad, which was great. Sat in on all the skit rehearsals, which was sometimes hilarious, sometimes frustrating. But the skit should be great in April. I was tasked with writing a couple of extra scenes while down there. Weather was mostly sunny, but chilly and windy. Going behind the scenes at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo was interesting...especially getting licked by the adult tiger.

...The lady I was riding home with had to leave much earlier than I’d expected, while another lady’s grandfather became deathly ill…so I missed the choir reunion. All the pictures looked great.

Will only missed two of four scheduled games, due to the rain. His foot was healing slowly anyway, with all the running on the beach he was doing. He played a game last Monday and was limping afterwards, but Saturday not so much.

...Saturday’s doubleheader was at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, at the corner of Northside Drive and Mt. Paran Road, in Buckhead/Sandy Springs. Batting third in the top of the first, Will slammed a line drive well over the 350 foot right-centerfield fence. Later he hit the base of the fence for a double. He played both games at shortstop, getting only three chances, which he handled.

...Holy Spirit Prep turned out to not be very good, only managing one unearned run in each game. The ONE base hit they got all day was an infield bloop the second-baseman dove for and missed. Had he played the ball on the bounce, he would’ve had an easy out at first. Crown won 13-1 and 18-1. Will scored five runs and knocked in five, more than anyone else. Great, fresh two dollar grilled burgers.

...Went back to The Bridge this past Friday night. It was quite crowded, and took a while. My taco salad wasn’t that great.

...This is the email I'd normally write and send from work. But since work has been so busy, I wrote it at home, so I went ahead and posted it here first...instead of later. Don't know why I can't space between paragraphs all of a sudden. Has something to do with the new laptop.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Little Zoo That Could

...Thursday morning we load up and make the short drive to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. Animal Planet viewers know it as “The Little Zoo That Could”…for the way the zoo packed up in trucks and headed north, avoiding Hurricane Ivan.

...Much credit for putting the zoo on the map is it’s director Patti Hall. She masterminded several zoo evacuations, and had the foresight to have a film crew videotape one of them. While the students shadowed zookeepers as they performed various responsibilities, it was a fascinating for several of us chaperones to be able to shadow Director Hall.

...She was never at a loss for words, weaving interesting stories everywhere we went. In the nutrition building many cuddle with the baby tigers, as Ms Hall tells how they were acquired…from the Tampa Zoo, as I recall. She has an entertaining conversation with the talking parrot. They had flown to the other LA to appear on the Craig Ferguson show…after Peter Jennings named her ABC News Person of the Week.

...As youthful and exuberant as Patti Hall is, not many Pattis her age spell their name with an “I”, if you know what I mean. We chaperones may not be spring chickens ourselves, but with the exception of our two “29 year-old” leaders, I’m pretty confident that us other chaperones are much younger than Ms. Hall.

...As we followed Ms. Hall out of the Nutrition building in a small crowd, she asked what happened to “the older gentleman”…a very sweet and politically correct way to ask about Mr. D. Most all of us knew who she was talking about. Except for CINDY SWITZER. Mrs. Switzer knew there was another grey-haired gentleman in their company, so she pointed back and called out “He’s back here!”…pointing to me!

...It took her one second to realize what she had done. We both cracked up, but I knew I had her now. I made a big show of taking out my notepad and pen and wrote down what happened. Mrs. Switzer pleaded with me, to no avail. I suggested several titles for this Facebook Note, like “Switzer Disses Murphy”, and the like.

...Ms. Hall tells us how a lady donated $10,000.00, and got to name the camels. She takes us to see the baby kangaroo, and I snap pictures of Mrs. Hanson and Mrs. Bellerjeau holding the roo. I walk back out into the grassy viewing area, and realize I’m the animal in the cage. Mrs. Smith and a group of elderly couples (not Mrs. Switzer…HA!) are watching me. I tell the couples they can ignore the “don’t feed the animals” sign.

...Mrs. Hanson spends too much time kissing on a llama. I’m expecting the photos to be posted any day now. Sandwiches for lunch. Everyone wants the yummy chocolate pretzels, so I ration them out, one per customer. Jessica manages to pry the most from me.

...Cassie shows how well she can operate a penny-smashing machine, smashing two for her and one for me: my Matthew collects them. We learn how each animal has a specific diet. The local Publix donated expired food to the zoo. Gatorade is not for the crocodiles, but for the lemur’s monkey biscuits. Under the table is a big bag of Animal Crackers. What other kind would they eat?

...Later the students get to hang with the young kangas, and others are allowed to put their palms and faces against the chain link fence holding in the adult tigers. Eventually I join the “fun”…and the tiger immediately turns and licks my face. Did anyone get a picture of me with the tiger?

...Joel hands me his camera, and I snap a few pictures of him and Will. Will has drawn a little Clemson sign for the occasion. Then two geese attack Joel, making quite the racket.

...Next the group migrated over to the younger tiger cage, and seniors DJ and Michelle got to bottle-feed the beasts through the fence. A pretty cool day, for most of us.

...Mrs. D decided Mrs. Switzer’s offense was so great, that she was forced to immediately leave the premises, return to the house, pack her bags, and return to Atlanta. You may have heard another story about her early return, but that’s what Mrs. D told me.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Snuggling With a Friend

At the Gulf Coast Zoo our group was allowed inside the normal visitor's fence, and instructed to hold our hands & cheeks flat against the fence...breathing on the tiger. The huge felines love the smell, and would rub against the fence.
Here Will takes a turn.

Nutrition Group

Artistic Amber, Alyssa's little sister Elizabeth, skit queen Joanna, skit star Jessica, Alyssa, Will, ever-funny Caleb, big Nathan, and Joel prepare to enter the Little Zoo That Could. They'll be preparing the animals meals for the day.
Picture would've been better without the old guy in the back.

When Animals Attack

It wasn't the tiger Joel Norman had to worry about. Instead two geese go after him! Will is some friend, standing by doing nothing. Holding Joel's camera, I snap off a bunch of pictures, chronicaling the action.

DJ Feeds the Tiger

The bottle is a treat for these one-year old tigers, at the Gulf Coast Zoo. Seniors DJ and Michelle have the "honor" of feeding them.

Tuesday: The Angel Skit

...Tuesday arrives windy and chilly. One day I wake up before 6:30 and gaze out the window at the beach. Overnight something long and dark must have washed up on the beach, and is at the edge of the water. Then Joel stands up, and lies back down…taking pictures. Surely he was soaked.

...At breakfast, a dozen eggs are knocked to the floor. Bacon sizzles on the griddle, with no grease trap underneath. One day breakfast includes Elf’s major food groups: Sugary cereals, sweet rolls, chocolate milk…and eggs. Most partake in Mrs. Taylor’s smoothies.

...We shuttle to the state park beach and work with the state park ranger. One hundred Christmas trees are dragged down the beach and arranged in threes, to create new sand dunes in front of the first set of dunes. This will help the wind blow over the current dunes, creating a habitat to displace a certain species of mouse that was displaced by recent hurricanes. I accidentally drag two sandy trees over Joel.

...Then the girls were taught by the rangers, about sea turtles and such. Meanwhile the boys dug out sand from the boardwalk. Later the genders switch, and the girls labor with the shovels. Mr. D, Mickey, Cassie, Daniel, and I help out as well. Luckily, I needed to go help Lee grill the burgers. Unluckily, the grilling was done at a lagoon-front pavilion, being buffeted by the wind. Down right cold! The burgers cook slowly, and we finish just in time.

...More skit practice. Cindy is genius, bringing life to the script. She knows just what will work, and what doesn't. One line is too good...the kids don't need to get it in their heads and repeat it. A scene needs to be re-written, and during my spare time I have a blast writing more.

...Tuesday night dinner is turkey and potatoes, as I recall. Amber compliments me on my white Chuck Taylors. Cassie asks if I wear my red Pumas to bed.

...Before dinner we’re told we’ll be performing the Angel Skit that night. Mr. Taylor is Angel # 2, so he borrows my white turtleneck, stuffing it with towels to pull off the beefy look his part requires. Mr. Bailey won the “Best Costume” award. He bought two T-Shirts, though his wife Lynn encouraged him to not make a political statement with one of them.

...When everyone was finally ready, I walked out to open the skit, dressed as an Angel…all white, including the Chuck Taylors. The kids love it, and laugh at everything. I purposely pick up the script to read the “like ugly on a demon” line.

...Mrs. Hanson and Mrs. Smith join me on the stage, then Lee makes his appearance as the Demon. In addition to his black Tazmanian Devil shirt, he has tattooed sleeves on his arms and a red Mohawk wig. At the last minute Lee decided to also carry the creepy clown statue. The crowd goes crazy, laughing long enough for me to improvise my next line: “Well, if it isn’t the jogger from hell…and his little friend!”

...The kids love the lines Mr. Bailey delivers:

“Well, whoop de doo! Look! I’m shaking!”

“So make like a cigarette and butt out!”

“Top that, twinkletoes!” (with that I look down at my white Chucks).

“You don’t believe in all that devil stuff, do you? There’s no such thing!”

...When God forces the Demon to slap himself on the head and fall down, the students laugh louder. It’s even more hilarious when he forgets a line. Lee ad-libs “The devil forgot his lines!” and puts on his reading glasses. Mrs. Smith shows him the script.

...The crowd cheers when Mr. Taylor announces the bus has been delayed, giving Mrs. Smith more time to accept Christ. When she finally does, they cheer more. When she hugs Mrs. Hanson, they all go “aawww!”

...When Mr. Taylor appears, with his “muscles”, they laughs continue. Christine points at how they droop too low. As he escorts the Demon away, I grab the clown, hand it to Mr. Bailey, and add “Take your little friend with you!”

...In all the laughter, the last two lines are forgotten, but it doesn’t matter. Mr. D thanks us for the fun time. I feel for Mrs. Smith. Over a month ago she had selected the script, for it’s accurate and spiritual message…detailing the very real spiritual warfare going on around us, with help from angels from heaven, and demons opponents from hell.

...We are forced to take bows. The cheers are too loud for my speech, so I’ll share it now: It was Mrs. Hanson’s first ever organized, practiced, scripted acting performance. How did she do?

Before My Trip

My family has been into these Olympics, especially Ceil and Will. All three kids have a bad cough, but I’ve stayed healthy.

Late Friday. and still a little more to do before I take off, but I’m in reasonably good shape.

Did you see the UNC@Clemson game several weeks ago? Clemson was blowing out NC. Williams pulled all five off the court, and put in five freshmen. The whole time the freshmen played, Williams had his back to the court, crouched down teaching his starters. The network was showing a split screen, of the game being played, plus Williams doing his coaching.