I joined a group of guys for breakfast today, all of which are a generation older than me. There’s bruised arms, hearing aids, an occasional shuffle to the restroom behind me. They’ve all reached milestones I once thought were distant dates in an unknown galaxy, nearer to a predetermined fate none of us can avoid.
As today reinforced, it’s a bit depressing facing your mortality first hand, knowing that your witnessing a road map to your own personal destiny. And yet, the hour or so was filled with smiles and joyful stories of days gone by, not the impending doom that aging can provide.
We talked about obituaries – one gentleman said he didn’t want anyone knowing when he sails on, no service or notification in local newsprint.
The problem with not writing anything for a while, or a long while, is knowing where to start when you finally return to the keyboard.
What’s the point? Who will actually read this? What interested me that I’ve already forgotten?
The last thing I published was in June, 2013.
It’s not to say things haven’t interested me in that time, and I have surely filled up multiple notebooks of things I discovered, or things I wanted to know.
I’ve written biographies and game reports for various Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) book efforts, like the one about Bobby Thomson that was essentially an ode to my father, who loved the moment in time with Thomson his the game-winner in the final game of 1951 that clinched the pennant for the New York Giants.
I’m accustomed to seeing coaches successfully communicate with Special Olympics athletes. I’ve run the Summer Games soccer venue for 12 years now, and I’ve witnessed the full array of responses from athletes, both to coaches and officials.
What I saw this past weekend, however, was one of the best pre-game speeches I’ve ever witnessed.
A 70+ year old coach sat down a group of competitors likely ranging from 25-59, and explained the tactics of the upcoming game.
I’ve been following this possibility for a couple weeks, and yesterday it happened.
Gene Stephenson, the long-time coach that started the baseball program at Wichita State University and brought the program to prominence on a national scale, was fired yesterday by athletic director Eric Sexton.
It was apparent at the Missouri Valley Conference baseball tournament here a few weeks ago that something was in the works. Sexton was around for some of the tournament, but even congratulating Stephenson after a victory against Indiana State, the disconnect between the two was obvious.
As the ending of baseball games go, this was unique.
Trailing 9-5 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, local favorite Illinois Wesleyan University mounted an improbable rally against North Central College that led to one of the more bizarre endings to a baseball game I’ve ever witnessed.
Enter Matt “the Cat” Adams. The long-time “assistant director of baseball operations” at Illinois Wesleyan, as he is referred to by public address announcer Ed Moore, Matt has been known to put an occasional hex on an opposing pitcher.