Last week, the Voice From The Bullpen began a comparison of a cat’s storied life of nine lives, to that of his own, and got through the first two lives with a promise of continuing the comparison in today’s narrative. So here we go…
Life Three was Coaching/Officiating Life. I love sports, and had opportunities to expand on that, combining it with my Teaching Life, by coaching baseball, football, and softball at schools and in communities for many years. First, I loved the sports I was teaching to the kids I was coaching. I loved going to clinics to get better at teaching the skills and learning more organizational and motivational skills. I loved practicing, sometimes more than the games, as practicing was where I got to teach the sport. I expected much from players too, and I set those bars high as well, again, with some kids and adults, there were disgruntlements regarding my philosophy, but I always felt integrity, and consistency had to be key components in what we were doing. Coaching also gave me opportunities to take kids to places outside the area to play in tournaments, (Cooperstown, Buffalo (NY), Myrtle Beach (SC), Reading, Scranton (PA), Mentor, East Lake (OH), teaching social skills (behavior responsibilities, manners, respect in hotels, restaurants, etc.), too.
When I wasn’t coaching I was umpiring baseball at all levels (youth to college) for many years, too. There were some years I did both. Started umpiring at 15 and umpired on and off (some years while coaching, some not) for 24 years between 1969 and 2018. It kept me near my favorite sport and with coaching, gave me both perspectives and a greater appreciation of the game.
Life Four is Parrothead Life. My retirement gift from Sally in 2008, was two tickets, Row 12, Center Stage, to a Jimmy Buffett concert just outside of Pittsburgh, Pa. Always wanting to go a Buffett concert, this was an unbelievable thrill. Never being to one before, we didn’t know about the tailgating experience of a Buffett concert. Walking around before the concert began, we decided we would definitely do it again, and not just be a part of the concert inside the venue, but would become Parrotheads like those who prepared for the concert hours before the music started. We’ve now totaled 15 Buffett concerts, and the off-Broadway theater production of Escape to Margaritaville, which we saw last November in Buffalo. Our concerts have included numerous more trips to Burgettstown, Pa., two in Cincinnati (and tickets to Cincy this summer), twice in Virginia Beach, and once each in Detroit, Nashville, and Charlottesville, Va. In those experiences we’ve met great people of all ages, but have become very close to a couple from the Sandusky, Ohio, area, whom we’ve now shared numerous Buffett concerts along with a wine tasting weekend in Erie, Pa., a Billy Joel concert in Cleveland and this summer we’ll meet them for Buffett in Cincy and Elton John in Cleveland. All this from a parking lot meeting at a Buffet concert in Burgettstown, Pa.
Life Five is baseball fan life. When I was a kid, Dad would take us to a Cleveland Indians doubleheader against the Yankees for many years, and I carried on that tradition with my kids after we got married. Sally and the girls weren’t really into it, but humored me, going to a few games a year. After Jon was born and he got older (about two years older) we went to games more frequently. I started buying six-game packages, progressed to 20, and now 40-game packages. I’ve attended two World Series, and the All-Star game and four days of activities too. Also, my love for coaching/umpiring baseball, having my car decaled to resemble a baseball, and our living room, and my man cave, looking like a baseball museum, says my baseball life is a huge part of my whole life.
Life Six is Browns Backers, NFL Draft and college football life. I’ve been honored to serve a group of Cleveland Browns fans chartered with the Browns Backers Worldwide in Berea, Ohio. We spend a solid four months together cheering for the Cleveland Browns, while also trying to assist groups, causes, and charities in our community with donations made as a result of fundraisers we hold during the season. Those donations have accumulated to the tune of over $32,000, since we began doing it back in 2010. Two out of the last three years we’ve held an after season dinner welcoming guests who are locals who’ve make their mark with the NFL, some with the Browns.
I also enjoy college football, especially Ohio State and Notre Dame. I love watching the NFL Draft religiously, each year, and have done so for many years except last, when I was fortunate enough to be at the draft in Cleveland. What a rush that was!
Stay tuned for the last three of the nine lives of the Voice from the Bullpen coming next week.