Tag Archives: baseball

Challenging Myself

As a dad I face many challenges every day. Most of them involve living up to the expectations of my kids, my wife, and God.

Son, not making a fool of himself on the field.

For instance, this evening it’s off to the ballpark where I get the pleasure of serving as assistant coach to my son’s baseball team. The challenge here: until a few weeks ago neither he nor I had ever played baseball. He’s 9. I’m almost 40. The challenge lies in rising above myself and not worrying about the fool I will make of myself on the field. Because you see, this one is all for my little boy.  The reward is great though. He’s getting super good super fast and I’m learning quite a bit about a game I’ve never played. Somewhere in the recesses of both of our minds are visions of the two of us being drafted by the New York Mets. And we’re having lots of fun in the process.

Me, making a fool of myself (and demonstrating what a friend politely called “a natural tennis swing”) at the batting cages.

On the marriage front, I am always faced with the challenge of becoming a better husband. Daily I look around my house and my world and ask myself what I can do to make my wife’s life even marginally better. In the past year alone I have found myself tinkering with my homes electrical system, building props for the play, finally advancing in my career (ūüėČ), and shopping for produce at a farmers market at five in the morning on a Saturday. Every time I’m given a task I’ve never done before I find myself rising above my own fears and coming to realize that because she trusts in me I can do anything for my wife. And we’re having a whole lot of fun in the process.

So this afternoon when I got home from work I decided to challenge myself. Remember the pull-up bar? This one is a challenge to which only I am answerable. After hearing that friend of mine toss out the figure of 25 to 50 pull-ups a day, I decided to reach for the stars. I don’t expect to be as good as him ‚Äď certainly not right away ‚Äď but one cannot hope to achieve great heights without starting somewhere. The challenge is to complete 25 pull-ups within five minutes every day of every week. And of course, as I notice myself gaining strength, I will have to increase that number. A short while ago I just barely beat the clock. Five sets of five pull-ups with a little more rest between sets than I would’ve liked; but I did it. The reward, I hope, will be great.

And I’m having tons of fun.


Meet the Mets! Father and Son Hit Up Jersey, Day 6

I don’t really follow baseball. ¬†I haven’t got time. ¬†Still, I always have a soft spot in my heart for the New York Mets. ¬†I was in fourth grade when they won the ’86 World Series. ¬†I seem to have passed my affinity for the team from Flushing on to my son. ¬†So this evening, after dinner, we went to a sporting goods store where someone got his very own Mets shirt! ¬†Because he’s good at getting what he wants, his aunt who was with us also bought him his very own Mets cap.

No he can stop stealing mine.

Oh the fans are true to the orange and blue...

Oh the fans are true to the orange and blue…

Looking good, son.

Looking good, son.

Game 7’s and Life

Maybe next year...

Tonight, after a month of following our new hometown’s team, we watched withsadness as the Texas Rangers lost the World Series to St. Louis.

First, congratulations go to the victor.  You played well.  You won.

But for those of us in North Texas, from the lifelong to the “freshly pressed” among us, Ron Washington and the boys sure made October exciting! ¬†My son and daughter enjoyed going over to Granny and Pa’s house every other night to watch “buh-ball” as Rita calls it, enjoying the dinners and desserts almost as much as the games.

So my kids got their first lesson in heartbreak, in getting hopes up high and then having them deflated like a toy balloon pricked by a sewing needle.

As a Mets fan, I could have just told them what it’s like; but some things have to be learned.

October in Texas: Play Ball!

Congratulations to the Texas Rangers on winning the American League Championship!

Goin' back to the Series!

That being said, yes, I AM a New York Mets fan. ¬†However, since they did not make it to the postseason I figured Mr. Met wouldn’t mind if I got caught up in the moment and rooted for the local team of my new home. ¬†It really is a moment of such great joy and a genuine togetherness here in the Metroplex. From my students and fellow teachers to my in-laws’ neighbors everyone is feeling this one.

I started my day visiting what has become my go-to tourist attraction for the slowly-burgeoning stream of visitors we have had in our two months in the Metroplex. ¬†When we lived in Northern Virginia, it was the Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport. ¬†Ask yourself this. ¬†If you visited Dallas what might be at the top of your list of places to see? ¬†If you answered the Sixth Floor Museum then you’d have guessed where I was. ¬†Yes, for the fourth time in ten weeks I found myself touring the former Texas School Book Depository and the Grassy Knoll reliving the fateful events of that dark November day almost fifty years ago. ¬†This time it was with our dear friend, Crista. ¬†With sunny skies and a temperature hovering around 95 degrees it was the perfect day to sightsee and Dealey Plaza proved a magnificent place to take in the sights! ¬†And even here where our nation experienced one of her most tragic moments there was no shortage of Rangers fever. ¬†By the way, I can now recite verbatim the script of the guided audio tour at the museum.

Next it was on to the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas.  Oak Cliff is across the Trinity Trickle, er, River.  At one time an independent municipality which was annexed by Dallas, Oak Cliff has not been without its struggles.  A derided community for its blight and decay, OC is once again on the rise.  As a guy who hails from a place universally derided for the same reasons and facing the same struggles but rising in the same manner (Newark) I can sympathize.  In this charming enclave we stopped off at the The Soda Gallery.  Imagine, if you will, a large showroom featuring nothing but exotic colas, ginger ales, and other carbonated drinks.  We bought a few.  For my money, the cucumber soda was phenomenal and I despise cucumbers.  A cucumber tried to kill me once.  We then walked across the street to a little boutique where the item of the day was the vintage Rangers jersey, complete with the original logo of a baseball topped with a ten gallon hat.  The excitement was definitely building!

Next we drove up the Stemmons Freeway back toward Irving and sat outside in this last weekend of summer air for some margaritas, patio style at Mi Cocina. ¬†What were our fellow patrons wearing? ¬†Rangers gear. ¬†What was the topic of conversation? ¬†The American League Championship Series. ¬†Man, this was almost getting to be unbearable! ¬†Yes, it was all locked up for us now. ¬†All we had to do was beat Detroit tonight and we’d be back int he World Series.

We ended the night at my mother-in-law’s house watching the game. ¬†What a one-sided blowout this thing was. ¬†My sister-in-law, Kris, had gone shopping and furnished us with ballpark staples — hot dogs, pretzels, you name it. ¬†My kids had a great time watching us cheer on the team. ¬†For each of the Rangers’ fifteen runs my son, Ben, dropped what he was doing and applauded. ¬†As the ninth inning approached and the game was effectively wrapped up I suggested to my wife that we throw the kids in the car and drive over to Arlington. ¬†I’ve been having some pretty good ideas lately. ¬†And that’s what we did. ¬†Along with Kris, Crista, and the next door neighbor’s daughter Jade, we set out for the ten minute drive. ¬†Well, wouldn’t you know that as I was coming off of TX 360 and onto I-30 about a quarter-mile from Rangers Ballpark the final out of the game was recorded? ¬†Perfect timing. ¬†Except that I was at a red light and a building blocked our view. ¬†We heard¬†the fireworks. ¬†As we turned the corner all we saw was smoke drifting away. ¬†No matter. ¬†I started beeping my horn. ¬†We rolled down the windows and yelled! ¬†I just love living in these moments. ¬†Everyone feels so close and there really is a great sense of unity. ¬†Of course the man in front of me might have seen it a bit differently. ¬†You see, I inadvertently followed him throught seven turns heading back to the highway, all the while honking my horn like there was no tomorrow. ¬†I’m sure he thought I was nuts.

And so, for the second time in two years the Texas Rangers, once known as the second incarnation of the Washington Senators, a team no one gave much thought to, is heading to the World Series. ¬†Do you know that they only won ONE playoff game prior to last season? ¬†Pretty cool. ¬†It’s amazing that all this is happening as we settle in to our new home.

I guess one of these days we’ll have to move to Queens so the Mets can finally make that comeback.

*Note: Come back to this page tomorrow when I hope to have added more pictures.


I’m not a huge baseball fan.

When I am, I like the NY Mets.

We’ve been over this before.

Anyway, as a new resident of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, I am excited about the ALCS taking place in nearby Arlington tonight. ¬†After two lengthy rain delays I thought I’d be brief tonight and just say:

Let’s go Texas!!!



Baseball, Texas Style

I’ve never been the world’s biggest baseball fan. ¬†There are too many games to follow and each one seems to go on for an interminable length. ¬†But having moved to Texas recently, when my wife asked if I wanted to go to a Rangers game I thought it might be a good idea. ¬†Actually, it happened to be a corporate event tie-in thing with her company. ¬†We would be paying a flat ticket price and sitting in the “All you can eat” section of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. ¬†Could they have given it a more appealing name? ¬†I couldn’t see the stadium level over my head but I’m pretty sure there must have been a giant LCD screen hanging from it which read: “Hey baseball fans, come and watch the fat folks eat!”

We took our son, not a voracious eater himself and left our daughter with my sister-in-law. ¬†She was tired (both of them were, really). ¬†The whole experience was pretty cool. ¬†The particular section we found ourselves in is attached to a restaurant with, as its name implies, an all-you-can-eat buffet. ¬†So it wasn’t anything fancy but for the cost of the ticket you know I was going to get my hot dog’s worth. ¬†The spread consisted of boxes of popcorn, large tubs of peanuts (in shell), hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, and as much soda as you could legitimately consume. ¬†I grabbed four hot dogs as we proceeded to our seats. ¬†Then I remembered that my wife and son might want one…

Our darling son, all of three years-old, really seemed taken by the action on the field. ¬†I even showed him the proper way to place his hand over his heart during the national anthem. ¬†And yet after the first inning, with a temperature still over 100 degrees, we opted to watch from inside the feeding trough, um, restaurant. ¬†Eventually my wife was stricken with the idea to tour the stadium. ¬†We headed for the exit, three more dogs in hand. ¬†And a beer. ¬†I don’t drink beer but at the ballpark I must. ¬†We wandered around the entire main level, encircling the bowl that is the stadium. ¬†We stopped along the way for souvenirs and ice cream.

Finally we came back to our seats. ¬†After all that it was only the fourth inning. ¬†Little man was getting sleepy so we once again headed for the exit, through the restaurant, grabbing a few more franks on the way. ¬†Who are you to judge me?! ¬†We stopped to pick up a pretzel for my sister-in-law, her one request of remuneration for babysitting. ¬†While waiting in line a couple of guys in front of us turned around, looked at my son, and said “You look like you could use this.” ¬†I looked up to see them offering us a signed baseball they had gotten by taking the actual, official tour of the stadium earlier in the day. ¬†Nice gesture. ¬†Very classy. ¬†On our way out of the stadium (yes, dammit, I grabbed some more hot dogs) we stopped to get our promotional item. ¬†Oddly, it was a football carrying the Rangers logo on it.

The picture below, however, sums up the night perfectly.

Play ball!