Thursday, June 28, 2018

Sports in our lives. 2-on-1 06/29/2018

Ramana suggested this week's topic - Sports in our lives. You might say he lobbed me a softball this week. Be sure to check his take on the subject here.

I am what is jokingly referred to as a jock gone to seed. Older, slower, fatter than in my halcyon days. Now some of that is due to the abuse I heaped upon myself all these years - those Xs in front of the L on my frame compounded the wear and tear to the point that I now get around on what I laughingly call stereo walking sticks - aka crutches. My knees are shot and I simply refuse to have them replaced - I have friends who have almost died due to that surgery although my brother has had both of his replaced and thinks I should go ahead and have the surgery. No thanks.

From the time I was very young, all I ever wanted was to be a baseball player.   I loved to play baseball and anyone who has seen the movie The Sandlot knows what my life was like. I managed to keep that dream up through high school -that's me my senior year glaring at an imaginary hitter from the mound. It is also somewhat clear from the photo that it is body by football at 6'2' and 270 or so. I also wrestled so I was a three-sport jock. That certainly kept me busy and off the streets - all good for a shy guy like me.

For the record, I still miss pitching - LOL - some dreams never die. I became a two-sport jock in college - shoulder injuries and reality set in - no more baseball, but I did enjoy 25 years or so of softball, dabbled in golf, tennis and played very aggressive handball and racquetball well into my forties.

On New Years Eve in 1968 I went to a party at my friend Anne Amundson's house and my life was changed forever as I met my future wife Lynn. You can read about that  meeting, our life together and her struggle with HD here.

Lynn was a gymnast at BYU back then - these images are of her working on the balance beam in her backyard in Oakland, California. Not shown is the cement patio under the beam - and people called me crazy.

 During the summer of '69 when she came home from school we began dating in earnest. Our early dates could be as simple as just playing catch as she was also a softball player. We attended softball games, both spent the summer working for the Oakland Recreation Department and developed a relationship that would last for 46 years, until her death. We raised two kids - I coached them in soccer, softball and baseball. Sport was always part of our lives. We also did a bit of white-water rafting and for a few years went skiing regularly.

These days I am relegated to the status of a fan. I enjoy watching baseball, football and hockey but honestly I am not what you can call an avid fan - unless my San Jose Sharks are in the Stanley Cup playoffs or TCU (Texas Christian University) - my fave college football team - is on TV.

I was never much of a jogger and I literally ran my last lap the day of my last football practice. Again - mine is not a body built for jogging. Although I love the mountains, hiking is not on my bucket list. It is not lost on me that perhaps if I'd had a different attitude maybe I would not have so many Xs in front of that L on my buffalo petite frame if I had been a runner. Clearly, 12 oz. curls (the weight of a can of beer) were not sufficient.

That's it for my take on this weeks 2-on-1 topic. Check back next week for another round of 2-on-1 where my good friend Ramana in Pune India and I tackle the same topic.


  1. Not surprisingly, our lives have run more or less parallel courses. Urmeela too was a great athlete and represented her state in our Nationals in table tennis besides being a star sprinter. Quite what she saw in me still baffles me.

    Coming to your knees, my personal experience; I have had both my hips replaced and one revised twice and the other once without popping off on the table. My younger brother, currently fightting a battle with cancer has had both his knees replaced without much ado. In fact, now there are procedures where the knees are NOT replaced but relief given.

    I would strongly advice your getting your knees attended to. You will simply be amazed at the change.

    1. I shall pass on the knees - just cannot bring myself to do it. When I was last in the hospital in January to reset my herart from AFIB the nurse was formerly in the orthopedic ward and she made the pitch to me as well.I simply recall what my friend Jerry went through and say thanks but no thanks. My tub is not so deep

  2. Shack.
    I hardly know where to begin.
    the suffering you have endured watching someone you love be lost to you and yet still living on. I had no idea until I met you that HD is even to me more horrific than the dreaded cancer.
    the post and tribute you wrote was amazing. and I'm so glad to have read it.
    six foot two. and a jock. and the soul of a poet.
    it's an honor to know you. and do not even respond to this comment. I think it has already embarrassed you enough!
    sending a great SH to you dear friend.

    1. Soul of a poet??? I don't think so but thank you for the thought. My life has been no different than yours and Ramanas when it comes to loss - perhaps that we share that explains how we three became fast friends. And now, in the circling the drain phase, I am plodding to the finish.

  3. Certainly having surgery must be an individual choice. I can only share that the majority of people I’ve encountered who’ve had knee, even hip surgery have not regretted doing so with some saying they wish they had done it sooner.

    My husband lettered in several sports through high school before I knew him. Baseball was a favored one he continued after graduation. He had also been expected to receive an atheletic scholarship to Ohio State University to play football when WWII cancelled the Universitity’s sports that year. Enlisting in the military he was discovered to have TB, ended up in a sanitarium for a couple years, unexpectedly survived lung surgery. We met years after all that. He could no longer participate in sports and even found trying to swing a golf cub too painful. He had focused on his music affinity and talents which became an avocation at the professional level when we met. He had acquired a private pilot’s license, took me flying. I got free box seats for us to attend a major league baseball farm team. My baseball interest had stemmed from becoming an avid Cleveland Indians fan in 1948, a significant year for me in other ways, and they also won the pennant. I always enjoyed participating in sports but circumstances prevented my being able to develop skills to team level. I had won singles and doubles table tennis first place trophies when in college. Life is, indeed, what happens when we’re making other plans.

    1. Just belatedly reread the above — should have proffer it as made a few glaring spelling errors. Oh, well!