Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Summer in Erie...

is way different than winter (Thanks, Captain Obvious).

Scenes from last night:

  • A mid-afternoon thunderstorm
  • that when it lifts, leaves a hazy humidity that makes that first beer go down so quickly.
  • That beer is drank during a lazy bocce game in a league that I play in where everyone else is drinking and people are having cigarettes "to keep the bugs away."
  • A puddle in the batter's box that makes our Little League game unplayable, 
  • forcing us to reschedule for another night when rain will also likely make it unplayable.
  • A hopeful backlog of make-up games that will clearly never be able to be completed,
  • compounded by a shooting death of a boy who is related to one of the coaches in our league (very sad).
  • Driving my son across town to his practice for another team he plays on, when realizing on the way that I can now play in the bocce match I thought I'd miss, because I don't have to coach the practice.
  • My wife grumbling as she drops me off at bocce, thinking we were going to have beers on a patio or walk on the beach while my son practiced.
  • Her heading out for ice cream with her sister and my son after practice,
  • while I pick up my daughter and head up to my bocce teammate's house for a dip in his pool following our match - celebrating our first win of the season!
  • First saying hi to the neighbors who are sitting in a driveway drinking and playing with kids.
  • Diving under the water for a refreshing swim and taking a swig of my beer after I come up.
  • Sitting around a fire after our swim telling stories and roasting hot dogs.
  • Realizing it's 11:30 and we all need to get up the next morning!

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Objects of Fate

I am not a big believer in free will. I am of the belief that free will basically consists of having the choice to follow the path fate has chosen for your or trying to avoid it. There might be a small amount of wiggle room in their somewhere for your own decisions, but it seems to me that the forces of the earth (I won't even get into the universe) are so powerful that you have to wonder how much one person's decisions can affect anything. 

Okay, that's the general, here's the specific: Last night, we went to the Seawolves game. In the words of Joe Tait, it was "A beautiful night for baseball." Seawolves won 3-2 in a fairly tightly played contest that was over in a couple hours. This was great because the place was packed with a lot of people more interested in the postgame fireworks than the baseball. 

After the game and before the fireworks, they have this thing called launch-a-ball. The Seawolves sell a bunch of numbered tennis balls for $1 apiece. The numbers correspond to a ticket they give you (or something along these lines). They then set up some hula hoops in the infield that, when they give the cue, you throw the tennis balls at - trying to get them to stop inside a hoops to win prizes. It's stuff like $25 gift cards to local restaurants and shops. 

I'm not a huge fan of games of chance, but I've participated in launch-a-ball a few times over the years - last year I think we won a bunch of free chances - but have never won anything. Last night, I didn't buy any, and we were watching as everyone was throwing theirs and one of the tennis ball hits my sister in the the head. It rolls a few feet down and my mother-in-law picks it up and has no idea what it is.

My daughter and I spend a few minutes explaining to her what launch-a-ball is, and she finally gives the ball to my daughter who passes it on to me. Without really thinking, I fling it towards the hoops on the field. It bounces a few times and then rolls right into the Pulakos hoop for a winner. Cool, we thought, we just won someone a prize.

Well, they give out the prizes and we are sitting there waiting for the fireworks to start. This older lady and this little girl come up to my sister (they must have seen the ball hit her) and ask how it ended up in the hoop. She told them I threw it and they proceed to thank me. "She was so upset, she was crying and her father...." I didn't hear the rest of the what she said, but the whole thing kind of stunned me. I just waved, gave a brief smile and turned back toward the field. 

I was thinking, "Here I am being thanked for something that I just kind of got swept into. It was nothing I planned and it was really only a semi-conscious choice to throw the ball. The whole thing just kind of happened and I was part of it. I mean, as I said, I've actually tried to get the ball in these hoops before and was never able to. This time, I was surely guided by fate, which was looking out for this little girl. And while I am proud and happy to have been a part of the chain of events that helped make her happy, can I really take any credit? I guess I can for accepting my fate.


Happy Independence Day!