My thoughts after the 2017 Great River Challenge

What’s your favorite season?

Some simply answer “baseball”. I always answer fall. Fall seems to represent the ending of the vibrancy known as summer,  it ushers in a time hushed by the blanket of leaves on the ground. Fall has a contemplative quality – with less hustle than the summer and not quite the bustle of the holidays. Fall is also the ending of baseball for the year, which makes me feel bittersweet. Looking past the green outfield to the sun glowing on the river I know one more season has been wrapped up.

I was granted the opportunity to announce three games of the 2017 Great River Challenge. I came only as a spectator last year so it felt good to once again be “The Mouth” of Challenger.

As I announced the names of the sponsors listed on the back of my tee-shirt; the names of the individuals, businesses, and organizations rolled off of my tongue with great familiarity.

These are names which have supported The Great River Challenge for many years and some have supported local Challenger Little League for twenty-five years.

During that quarter of a century we have seen Dolly the sheep, horrific school shootings, the fascinating internet, the tragedy of 9/11, ever-present smart phones, and the Cubs win the World Series. We have seen loyal fans stand by their team in all the lean years and whoop with joy at the victory.

We have seen fans support Challenger teams for a quarter of a century. This is true loyalty. You have not only supported CLL, but have made it possible for CLL to exist.

I am talking about the names on the back of my shirt, but I am also talking about the fans who are family. The fans who burst with pride year after year as they watch their favorite CLL player on the QC River Bandits’ diamond. I am also talking about the biggest fans of CLL- the players themselves! Because of them we get to cheer and spend days in the sun watching the perfect game of baseball.

The loyalty of the volunteers, organizers, and sponsors is what allows The Great River Challenge to continue. As a fan, I am grateful for your loyalty.

As a loyal fan I have watched some of these players for 25 years. I have seen the changes in them and in their families throughout the years, but the constant through all the change is loyalty.

~People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. ~Rogers Hornsby

I’ll let the fall tuck our baseball equipment in the bag on a shelf to lie low through the bitterness of winter, until the warmth of spring brings the loyal players and fans out to the sandlot once more.

 

 

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Click here for column number three.

http://www.qconline.com/opinion/don-t-miss-the-chance-to-make-someone-s-memory/article_31f3e2e9-d280-57b0-ac07-f14aed2657c5.html

clothing isn’t optional, only difficult

I have not done any lap swimming or water aerobics since December… until last night.

I have used a myriad of excuses to keep me from my beloved chlorine, but all of them could have been wrapped up in one simple excuse; I am so tired. Fatigue has been my most debilitating symptom of grief since my daughter died last year. The debilitating fatigue has mainly manifested itself by making it impossible for me to get dressed. (I’m sure there is some psychological meaning behind it, such as, “If I get dressed I have to face going into the world alone, without my ever-present sidekick.”) I have learned tricks I will share for other grieving mothers so you don’t have to figure this out on your own.

*When you finally sit up in bed in the morning, lift one foot to put through the leg hole of your underwear

*put your sock and shoe on at that time

*proceed to the other leg…(that way you only have to lift each foot once)

* wear skirts

*don’t forget your shirt as I did during one of the very early days back to work. Standing on the back porch with the strap of my tote bag crossed over my bra just didn’t feel quite right. It wasn’t until after I had locked the house and turned to go to the car that I realized what was amiss.

My dear co-workers know that I don’t have the ability to both shower and dress in the same morning, they have told me clothing isn’t optional and have put up with a non-showered me all year.

Tonight I swam laps. When I reached half the number of laps I would normally accomplish, I could no longer propel myself forward another inch. I stopped and spent the rest of my paid time doing water exercises. Last night I returned to water aerobics. Mid-way through the class, the instructor noticed I was struggling and proclaimed, “You need to come more.”  I didn’t disagree. The chlorine smelled wonderful, the aches in my arms and belly suggested there might actually be muscles somewhere in my body, and my water friends are true. She is right. I need to come more.

I had to stop for gas on my home. I wished I was wearing a large sign that said, “Don’t judge.” My lovely water friends leave the locker room put together in fully appropriate attire, whereas I look like I just rolled out of bed and got hosed down on my way to Wal-mart.

~”When everything is moving and shifting, the only way to counteract chaos is stillness. When the surface is wavy, dive deeper for quieter waters.”
~Kristen Armstrong

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