Posts Tagged ‘baseball’

Days until the Presidential Election: 71 – 66

September 1, 2012

It was a busy day at the day job and then the watermelon incident : 2 watermelons + one cat = one huge sticky mess.  So, convention number one is over: convention number two about to start (lies, lies and damn lies) and a twitter account about an empty chair.  Let the countdown continue. . . . . .

71: The Smithsonian(s): All of them.  Most are free.  Yes, most of them are on the Mall in DC which is its own mess but really? Everything from The Fonz’s jacket, to a returning Gemini capsule and the Hope Diamond scattered around DC.  Look, I love the British Museum, the Louvre, MOMA but the single collection of an eclectic bunch of museums dedicated from everything from Air and Space, to different indigenous populations to flat out quirky American pop culture all in one place.  I hate going to DC for all of the reasons that make sense but a long weekend trip to the Smithsonian is completely worth it.

70: Dunkin Donuts.  New England bias; but really, somebody has to make the donuts.  There can be a raging debate (and don’t get me started on the ones in metro Boston not being open 24×7 OR making their own donuts) about what is the “best” donut (honestly, there is something insanely decadent about a  hot Krispe Kreme donut).  But millions of New Englanders greet the day with a regular coffee: which of course means with cream and sugar.

69: The Little League World Series: It’s our sport, but teams from all over come to compete.  Did you catch the team from Uganda this year? First time an African nation won a game (sorry Oregon).  Did you see the introduction of the players without subtitles? Did you see kids getting to be kids?  It’s a slice of summer.  And it’s a reminder that really, it’s a game.  Some of those kids might get college scholarships, a lucky few might make a living out of sports but for one summer, they were on the top of the kid world.  And I feel so bad for the loosing team.  They really are just kids.

68: The Roll Call of States:  Each convention does it.  Somebody stands up and casts the delegate votes for each state, territory, commonwealth for the party nominee. It’s not just the act of voting (more later on that) but how: Alabama: The state with the 3 last national college football champions.  Each state with the opportunity to proclaim something grand, funny, sometime snarky about a neighboring state casting the assigned delegates won in primary battles.

67: The Parade of Mini-Vans: aka, dropping kids off at college. Yes, every nation has something equivalent.  However, I live in the Boston area where we have what is known as Allston Christmas.  People moving in/out of apartments en masse: couches have been known to be stolen thinking they were for pickers.  It’s a riot/terrifying/annoying/hysterical event.  Parents lost, not wanting to leave their child, college students all to happy to have the mini-van turn around.  And yesterday, as far as the eye could see on I-90 east…moving vans, mini vans, jam packed cars.  Thankfully, I was going west.

66: Tailgating: It’s been elevated to a new level by my crazy Kansas cousins.  (Beer and Oreos: breakfast of champions).  Grilling out before the game be it in West Lafayette, Austin, Boise or Athens there is something about the fall ritual of donning your team colors, cheering them on and watching the sport.  And Muck Fichigan: I’m for O-HI-O.

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What you do when nobody is watching is what matters.

February 27, 2011

My brother and his son spent part of this past week in Cincinnati. One of their stops, the University of Cincinnati campus, demonstrated what is good about college athletics.  While “investigating” the football stadium in a way that only a 4-year-old can, my nephew spied a big bus – an instant draw.  He noticed athletes, dressed in sweats with hoods up walking to the bus.

In hopes of finding an elusive college football player, he went to investigate. Much to his initial chagrin, he found the Cincinnati women’s basketball team. They were en route to South Bend and an eventual loss to the #7 Notre Dame program.   Jamelle Elliott, the coach of the Bearcats, is in the process of leading her team through an injury filled season that according to ESPN.com dressed 7 players for the Notre Dame game.

Given all of that, one would expect a wave or a nod to a cute kid. It’s been an exhausting season on the Cincinnati campus for the women’s basketball team. Instead, 3 players (and I wish I knew their names) stopped loading the busses, walked over and talked to my nephew about taking the bus to Notre Dame, and spent a few minutes with a kid who isn’t a Cincinnati fan and really was more interested in seeing a “real football player”.

Evan and Oscar

Evan said good-bye to his new friends “Have a safe trip! Have a good game!” and headed off to see the statue of Oscar Robinson.  A nice encounter with a group of athletes.  For Evan, it would only get better.

He spied a pitcher and a catcher practicing.  He asked my brother about the signs the catcher was going over and why they did that.  Fearlessly, Evan went over and announced he was going to play T-ball in the spring.  Again, many athletes would say something polite and carry on with their workout.

The two ball players asked him if he knew how to throw – and then provided him with an impromptu clinic on the right way to throw a baseball.  My brother said they spent a solid 15 minutes showing Evan how to throw and talking to him. Nobody was watching, simply 2 young men being nice to my nephew.  Brian Cleary, you have some class acts playing for you.

There is a lot wrong with college athletics but there is much more that is right. My brother will always be a Tennessee Vol. I’ll always pull of The Ohio State University.  But when Cincinnati plays? They’ve picked up a few fans; simply by going of their way to be nice to a little kid who was exploring their campus.

The University of Cincinnati president Gregory Williams should be proud.