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RAMBLINGS: Nice Sports Weekend Makes Me Feel Like A King

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Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012 12:01 am

Saturday, Sept. 22, ended one of the better weekends I've had for a while, sportswise.  The older I become, the fewer requirements I have for a great time, but this was one.

It really started Friday morning when I had my first-ever appointment with an endocrinologist, Dr. Sufyan Said, a member of the Springfield Clinic staff.  My blood sugar tests have varied widely for a couple years (I was diagnosed as diabetic in 1992, the year after Judy died).  I've never been a good patient. I don't want the disease to control my life, so I often don't pay as much attention to my diet as I should.

I've talked to dieticians, have a kidney specialist to visit twice a year, have an annual eye exam, and trust Dr. Bob (Mulch) implicitly, but I've also been known to sneak a mini-candy bar or a dessert occasionally.  When Dr. Bob said I needed an endocrinologist, I said, "Sure," though I had only a vague idea of what the term meant.

To Springfield I went, and it wasn't a bad experience at all.  After explaining the potential bad but rare side effects to returning to a medication I'd abandoned before, the properly concerned but friendly doctor placed the drug back in the tackle box it takes to hold all my medications, and it was waiting at the local pharmacy I haunt weekly (and sometimes weakly)  when I returned to the 'Boro.  Besides another appointment in two months, he presented me with a blue tote bag to add to my collection.  It doesn't take much to make me happy.

On the way up I'd heard the ad on WSMI for Litchfield's Evergreen Place that promised to treat me like a King if I'd come stay with them.  For a moment I was tempted; they would administer my meds, prepare my meals, do my laundry, clean my room–it'd be like being married used to be.  Perhaps I'll go that route (the assisted living, not the marriage) one day, perhaps one day soon. 

At the moment, though, I have too many responsibilities, and I know meeting them keeps me interested in life.  Of all the disturbing issues I've encountered–the hayfever/asthma that kept me housebound in my earlier years in September till medication (Nasal-Crom specifically) helped, as did my determination to not be limited by it; the loss of the two premature babies after Dawn and Jenni were born; the loss of Judy to cancer in the prime of our relationship–nothing has bothered me as much as having a former son-in-law who doesn't feel a responsibility to support his own children.

That means I'm enjoying my "golden years" in ways I had not imagined.  If he won't support them, financially or emotionally, I feel compelled to do so, and for the most part I do enjoy it.  I like becoming the taxi driver; I like asking them how their school days went, and caring about the answer.  It's made me even more of a control freak than I've ever been. I'm too aware of the consequences that will haunt them, and in turn me, if they choose poorly, and I struggle with that.

I've been told my last "Ramblings" sounded as if I were harsh about choices Kaylyn makes. I should trust in God (because He guided me to right choices for the wrong reasons), but that's very difficult.  As a soon-to-be 69, I know how the world works, so I come across as judgemental at best and overbearing at all times.  People who know me well aren't surprised. I've always been that way.

So I came home Friday in time to pick Kamryn up from Beckemeyer, to ask her about her second grade adventures, and to haul Kyle to soccer practice.  While he was there, Kamryn helped me gather the recycling from the two households so I could take it to the center when I went to retrieve Kyle.  The whole recycling effort leaves me with the warm fuzzy feeling when it goes well.

As I was in that process, John Galer called to ask if I wanted a ride to the Gillespie football game.  When I had a spotter to help (Houston Satterlee for years, then Rev. Ralph Ward), they would ride along; occasionally grandson Kyle will go.  This year I've driven only once, to Piasa, when Kyle went too.

Friday I'd planned to take John's Uncle Doug, who likes football and usually goes with John, because John was out of town; but when he came back, I welcomed the chance to ride with them.

The Galers are good company, it saves gasoline;,and truthfully I don't feel as comfortable driving after dark as I once did.  I'm not a threat to anyone here in town, but I can't say that if I'm in unfamiliar territory, especially if the roads are wet and producing a glare.

The game was exciting, not just because Hillsboro won, but because it had all the elements one should hope for–a nice, moonlit evening, a good crowd for both teams, some good offensive plays, some good defensive hits, strategy that was debatable.  In short we talked about the game on the way home, not about the food we ate while there  or on the way.  (The Galers introduced me to two good restaurants on our two trips to Roxana this fall).

In my younger years, I would keep the stats sheet (for football, it's rather complicated) and a play by play sheet at the same time.  I need the play by play for the stories that appear Monday in The Journal-News; the coaching staff is bemused by the statistics.  I think both tell the game story, but in different ways.

Since the advent of the 25 second clock and no huddle, spread offenses (the bane of statisticians everywhere, I imagine), I've had to change my technique.  If I capture everything in my shorthand in the play by play sheets, I feel fortunate.  I come home after the game to do the stats sheets; that's an hour and a half process if the figures match the first time.  They seldom do.  This year I've been rising early Saturday morning to finish them.  If it's a home game, I fax a line score to the area media; evidently the fax connection isn't always made, but it's sent within 20 minutes of the game's conclusion.  Earlier and earlier deadlines at the State-Journal Register have complicated matters.

The story itself is always written sometime Saturday (my self-imposed deadline is 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon when the typesetter appears at the paper).  Not having to have the story ready as soon as the game is finished lets it percolate in my mind, and because we cover four, not 40, games over a weekend, the stories can be more complete (longer) than the thumbnail sketches that appear in larger papers.  I've done those too, in my shadowy past, and I much prefer the more detailed version.  I write primarily to picture the game for those who couldn't attend.

Saturday morning I coach a first/second grade soccer team for which my granddaughter plays.  I don't care if we win or lose as long as we go to the right place at the right time and think about what we're doing.  Sadly, having a first grader go where he/she should be instead of just chasing the ball is like herding cats, but we'll improve as the season progresses.  In spite of how tense I become, it's one of the most enjoyable activities I do.  If they don't learn the fundamentals, they will have at least heard of them. Marci Gutierrez is a wonderfully patient-with-me assistant.  That's how I spent that Saturday morning from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 or so.

Dawn and family were going to the apple festival west of Carlinville, so I anticipated some me-time.  I came home, finished the stats, turned on the Cardinal/Cub game, and fell sound asleep.  That the Cards won helped make my day, but the nap did too.

I awoke in time to hear the end of that game and see Mizzou perform poorly in South Carolina.  That too made my day (Sorry, Mary).  

Dave Kane, the renowned and revered (at least by me–he makes a living doing that which I only dabble in) SJR sports guru called to discuss the Hillsboro/Gillespie game, in particular Luke Cerutti's performance.  He wanted to know how it stacked up with past performances by Hillsboro backs. I couldn't answer that question.  I've done that stats since the 1970 season, but once the season ends, I give them to the current football coach.  I don't think there is a repository of all things football for HHS.  When Nicolo Casarta had his amazing season a decade or so ago, I found season records (in sealed copies of the Journal in the papers morgue), but that was two weeks' work.  I don't know if anyone has the records of the early days of Topper football in readable condition.  Anyway, and I mean this sincerely, I'd rather have a chat with Dave Kane than with any national political person.

By 6 p.m. I had the story written and in The Journal-News' copy box.  The kids had returned, bringing me a pork chop sandwich and a container of cider; I debated going to see Trouble with the Curve, but I seldom go to movies, and so I decided to watch the U of I game while checking Com 112 papers.  The U of I game was a downer, but so many good things had happened to that point that it was easy to forget.

Notice I didn't do any dishes, laundry, or cleaning.  I know how to treat myself like a King; maybe I don't need assisted living after all.

Maybe I need it more than I realize.

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