Archive for June, 2012

They appear to be boyfriend and girlfriend. They are probably Seniors in high school or just beginning college.

She has an athletic build- strong legs and upper body- perhaps 5’5″ and about 120 lbs. She never smiles- so serious.

He is rather large- like an offensive lineman- maybe 280 lbs and at least 6’2″. He is always plugged-in to his iPod.

They never speak.

She does not workout.

They are there for him.

At the end of a set, she changes the weights on one side while he attends to the opposite end.

They rarely make eye contact.

She is solid though and exhibits perfect technique when he cheats on an exersize. She is a teacher. He is a quiet student and watches the demonstations like a puppy would watch his trainer.

His squats are subpar. He knows it.

She shows him once.

He nods. He tries to imitate.

She nods in the opposite direction and perfectly executes another for him.

He lowers his butt as she has shown him- it is still not right.

Her butt is more pronounced in the way it backs up and stops parallel to the floor. Her back does not arch. Her eyes lock in on her own eyes that stare back from the mirror.

He tries again and is perfect to the untrained eye.

Her eye is trained though.

She demonstrates the movement again hoping that he sees something that he had not seen before.

He is finally perfect.

No kiss. No high-five. Not even a smile. The weights need to be changed.

The routine lasts for an hour.

She loads and unloads her side of the bar and he takes care of the other.

He moves ahead to the next station as she wraps up the previous one.

You are probably wondering whether they are dating or perhaps siblings or even trainer and trainee. I wonder as well.

A couple of nights a week I am lucky enough to witness this strange dance, among the weights and benches, on the floor of the gym.

The routine is an unspoken one.

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When you are a hugely successful columnist you often have to deal with unpleasant people. Sometimes they are from your past and decide to crawl out to try to discredit your integrity.

The sad part is they don’t realize that nobody cares what they have to say. But I really got a kick out of this one because we once served on a youth sports board together.

And then I noticed that she was commenting on some of my columns here and there. And then she tried to crash in on my FB page so I blocked her. And I ignored her comments because some were under fake names and I think she may have even been fighting with herself in some of the posts.

And now she’s sending emails that speak of people and issues from years back. I don’t think she likes to be ignored. And if she does have any friends who read this blog, perhaps she’ll read it and REALLY start to act up.

So check this out. I’ve blocked all names…

Her initial email:
Ron I saw (Jane Doe) the other night at  (High School) Grad Party. She is still working the volunteer circuit. I guess it’s where her friends are. How is she doing? She seemed to be the same as always; talking really fast, not focusing on real life things lIke the person in front of her. Does she even realize that I am a human being and not just a “thing”. She’s been in (their town) too long. She, like many of us, needs to get real. I hope she realizes this soon.

My respond:
Haven’t spoken to her since (the league banquet at least 5 years ago – maybe more). 

Her email #2
Ron,

Remember when you presented her with that black and white picture?  I thought that was from the heart?  I guess it was just a business relationship.
 
I heard that her and her husband split up.  At least the kids are grown up and it won’t hurt them much.
 
Looks like you’re finally understanding the youth sports deal and that COACHES are a huge part of the problem.  Coaches seem to be the biggest problem in fact.  Parents (helicopter parents) are out there, yes.  But most parental anger comes from the coaches playing “favorites”.  And the favorites are not always the best players, not the best sportsmanship.  The favorites are the sons of the Coaches business relationships and friends of the Coaches’ son also.  It’s ridiculous how blatant coaches can be.  They don’t even try to hide it !!
 
BTW, my husband  told me that (former player) was a recipient of the (award that I present to a player each year and is voted on by a panel of parents).  Are you kidding me???  That kid is the least sportsminded (sic) kid I know.  He’s a prima donna big time.
 
He lost one of the biggest games in (our high school’s) history.  He got sacked at the end of the game and his Mommy had to peel the kid off the ground and walk him off the field.  Yup, that’s what I call courage !!  He’s a big baby.
 
You should have given the (award) to (another player).  He’s playing at (college) now and he deserved the award.  Not the big baby (player).

My response #2
Lol. I’ve always understood the problems of youth sports. 

(He) was very deserving when he won the award. 

Her email #3
Perhaps (he) was deserving in (your league’s) terms ‘cuz (your league) was an easy league to play in.  Put (him) under some real pressure in Pop Warner in (another town) and he would have a verrrry difficult time.

 
The kid is a big baby.  And to think that you overlooked (another player); the most deserving (league player) ever of that award !!  What a political shame.  It’s clear you were looking out for the parent who had the biggest mouth — (the father of the recipient).
 
(The recipient) is the most MARKETED kid ever.  His parents should own a marketing company. They would be brilliant.  And you fell for it.  Marketing your kid should be illegal.  If I was as good as (the father) at this trick, my kid would have everything like (the recipient) and his younger brother get.  With not much talent at all I might add.  Greedy family.  They will step over 12 dead bodies to get to their goal and they are not even on the football field !!  But they will use their money, power and influence to get it.  Sickening family.
 
Remember, like (a former coach and parent), I am from the neck of the woods that KNOWS THEIR SPORTS.  Not like the CT folks. 
 
You should be ashamed of yourself for letting politics rule (the league).  You kicked me in the ass when I was (on the board) and I was only trying to do something good and safe for the kids and you used politics.  Sickening.
I can’t believe people take your Blog seriously.   You don’t know _ _ _ _ about real sports.

Back to my commentary now
So there you have it. A crazy email from another adoring fan. Should I be scared? I’m sure I haven’t heard the last from her. Especially because I have not replied to her last email.

This is an example of what’s out there my friends. I have to laugh when a person like this tells me that I don’t know about youth sports and I’m a part of the problem.
 
Ugh – Can I get some bodyguards please?

This is also from 2003. A pigskin is another name for a football. I believe I was trying to write this from the viewpoint of the football and everything that it had witnessed during a season of youth football. However by the end of the poem, the vantage point becomes rather blurred as the focus becomes a man who can no longer coach in the league.  I was part of the board that had to tell him he could not return the following season. I read this during the banquet that year.

I’m just a pigskin
not thin-skinned
but straight laced and oblong

I journey deep down field
and into the cusp of the hyper bowl
that you call your own

I’m elliptical
if you care to know why
I’m not in the place
where you thought I might land

You have no idea what I see
as they scurry back to the huddle
to await my measured spot

Or how their faces glower
from the middle of the pile

Or how they grimace with pleasure
like crusaders
in celebration of being rash

And you have no idea what they say
and how they taunt
and how they bawl
as they pick each other off the turf
like moist lint
trapped
on the screen

Those demented little hogs
hold me
like a floatation device
while they tread mud and drown
in their own sloppy delight

Then one little player
cannot find
his father
because he is too busy
to be bothered
with a field
with a cell phone
with a chance
to just play
or watch

I’m just a pigskin
and I cannot begin to explain
why I am here

But I like the hands as they grab
and the arms as they stretch
and the legs as they gallop
like an infant lying on his back

And his mother remembers
what is was like to cuddle
her little boy
as she holds herself back
from the mud pit

I am just a pigskin
passing through here
like a postcard
or a postscript

I am a segment
of your memory
the photos that stay locked
inside
of your upper stories

There’s a coach staring
empty
past his car
arms across his chest
different from the rest

He’s weeping inside
saying goodbye
to his game plan
as the sun rudely sketches
the rough lines on his face

I am just a pigskin
but I too weep when I am sad
and I scream red and I bleed
when I am hurt

And I lose sleep and I toss and I turn
end over end
and I yearn and I yearn
and I yearn
for that coach to know
that he’s still a friend
and that I will miss him

I’m just a pigskin
if that’s what you think
if that’s
what you think

Someone please stop me! I found this from 2003. It was written for Matthew. OK so maybe one day he can show it to his kids and they can all laugh at Grandpa.

 

Spider-Man’s mask
covers
his whole face 

Kissy-kissy
time
all over the place 

Sticky
lips like
cotton candy 

Boy those
webs
sure come in handy.

Peter Parker
picked
a peck

Tried to get
M.J.
on the neck 

Finally got
Mommy’s
puckered lips

 While Matty
flipped his
spider tricks. 

Sticky
hands like
spider webs 

Catching
footballs
with his eight legs

Spider
sense like
Peter Parker

Now get in
the house
it’s getting darker 

Steam engine puffs
like
cotton candy

 That chocolate
coal
sure comes in handy

 Little James
with freight cars
in back 

Better watch out
there’s a crack
in the track.

 Hold Daddy’s
thumb before
it gets cold

 Better hurry
before you get
too old

I was looking through some older computer files this morning and came across this poem that I had written for my daughter, Danielle, in 2003. I’m not even sure if she’s ever seen it. The weird part is that it turned up nine years to the day that I wrote it: June 14th.

 

I doubt you remember the night your grandma died.
I tried to walk her through it
but she waited for me to leave,
then whispered a shallow goodnight.
And when I awoke she was asleep forever.

I think you remember the day your grandma died.
It was nursery school graduation and the sorrow
was stuck in my throat
like a wad of emptiness.

The flower that I placed in your tiny hand
was her last breath of your new day.
And I cried because you were sweet
like a butterscotch kiss stuck on my lips.

I know I remember the day your grandma died.
The sun was blurry orange
as we snapped pictures

while chatter tripped over my thoughts.

I was tortured as I wondered if she knew
how much it meant

That I could lean on her
even when she hurt inside and out.


That I could laugh when she yelled,
sit the fuck down – I can’t see the show!

It’s hard to remember the day your grandma died.
Her dress still hangs in my closet
Though its precious scent is now gone.

I’m afraid that I won’t remember
her throaty quirk.

It was like a cricket chirping
nervously at nothing.

I do remember how your grandma died.
Like a reluctant child
scared to miss out on tomorrow.

Knowing that we would yearn
for her thoughtful tartness

and lament her gaping absence.

Her brave hammer tried smashing cancer
until it became too heavy a burdon
for her grip to control. 

That’s when I learned to enjoy every moment.
That’s when I learned to be a sturdy parent.
That’s when I vowed
to give myself to my children.

June 14, 2003

As mentioned yesterday in a Facebook post, last night was the final game that I’ll watch any child of mine play in at the youth level before entering high school.

Of course I’d still consider high school sports as youth sports – but at a much more demanding level. The innocence is virtually tucked away in a locker or duffel bag of stinky items.

Mom and Dad are no longer carrying water bottles out to the field if they run out of fluids by halftime. They are not being coached by a family friend who you’ve looked to for guidance since kindergarten.

The coaches are now paid to win. The coaches care about wins first and the emotional needs of your child somewhere further down the list. That’s not to say they don’t care about our kids. The good ones do. But you probably won’t be hanging out at Coach Frank’s wife’s birthday party/picnic talking about how far your kid has come along and how he’ll be given a chance to play that position he’s been asking about all season.

It’s part of the maturation process that they must go through entering into the next level. And it makes you realize that time is pulling you by both arms and even the legs that pedaled you 30 miles on your bike yesterday can’t slow it down by much.

What makes this even worse is that this boy of mine is the last of five passing through this house on his way to figuring out how to get the heck out. So in four years – my job that began as a nineteen-year-old will change drastically.

Sure I have a granddaughter, and a grandson on the way. But it’s not the same. No more being in charge of screwing lives up of those living under my jurisdiction.

Yes, yes, yes, I know – I’m still four years from that time and maybe even more depending on how much he grows to hate us between now and then.

Jeez, now that I think about it more, what the heck will I have to write about then? It’ll have to be about the grandchildren and whatever dopey little kids I encounter while chasing them around.

I say “dopey” as I would use “silly” or “funny” although it does seem a little harsh now that I read it back. But “dopey” can be cute up until a certain age I guess.

The Boy has a dopey friend which is why it came to mind. He never caught on that we thought he was “dopey.” The problem is he’s STILL dopey to this day!

Oh I wish I could share some of what got him labeled in the first place. I won’t though. At least not now. But I swear if this kid is still a dope at 18 – I’m going to warn all of you.

I’ve strayed far away from my original topic. I could very well be avoiding the inevitable which eventually leads to 20-30 years down the road and my own death (if I even make it that long).

Well, at least this gem of a blog entry will be here for the grandkids to read and realize what a dope they had for a grandfather.

The bad news for all of my children and grandchildren is that I can’t keep my dopey thoughts in my head.