Today's thoughts

Category: OLD SPORT SHORTS (Page 1 of 41)

An old guy’s perspective on all sports

Old Sport Shorts: Jealous! #1613

It was no coincidence that I chose a “Jealous” graphic with a green background because I’m Green with Envy. Too many programs in the BIG conference have now surpassed my Indiana Hoosiers in building success. A team that I grew up with and saw win National Championships and even go undefeated is now in the bottom tier and in danger of not even going to the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight year. As I watch this morning against Michigan, I’m preparing myself for a third straight loss and what will probably extend to five before the BIG tournament. All the pregame talk is about #3 Michigan and not even any speculation for an I.U. upset. I’m jealous!

Once upon a time, Michigan was a triple victory on the way to a 1976 National title at 32-0. Purdue was at the very least a split every year, but Coach Archie Miller has not been able to beat them, with only one last chance this season. It could very well be the last few games we’ll even watch him as the Indiana coach. Juwan Howard has risen to the top of the BIG in his first year as coach, while Archie is in his fourth year and dwindling in the conference basement. Each week another team breaks out of a slump against the Hoosiers. The last two games they’ve built big first half leads only to fall apart in the end. Other teams can make free throws or three-point shots and take care of the ball. Not I.U.! I’m no longer mad – just Jealous!

The Oregon Ducks are making a stretch run, Purdue is solidly in the tournament field, Gonzaga is undefeated, but Indiana is on the outside looking in. I’m Jealous! More and more Indiana high school stars are going to out-of-state schools, if not they want to go to be a Boilermaker. The Hoosiers can’t hit the side of a barn or defend against the three and seem to just be going through the motions. I miss the days of good fundamental basketball, but mostly I miss winning. Other teams are winning – I’m Green with Jealousy!

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Spam #1612

If it weren’t for spam I would be lonely. No one would call or even write. As it is, however, I get too much unwanted attention with at least a dozen daily attempts to extend my warranty, get more benefits from Medicare, or offer insurance discounts. Occasionally, there’s even some porn. My phone now tells me if it’s potential spam, but this has also caused me to block-out welcome callers. With everyone blocked, I now know that all my calls are spam. 

Today is an early Leadership Zoom call, as we reflect on the sorry state of I.U. basketball, struggling business, home improvement updates, and how much we miss live music. Another “Archie Miller must go” e-mail got through my spam filter. He should just resign and save us all a lot of money. It will take years now to restore “The Glory of Old I.U.” I give up on this season and will focus all my energy on fighting spam. 

Spam

I’d be lonely,
If it weren’t for Spam.
People who think,
I give a damn.

No one would write,
Or even call.
It seems these days,
No one cares at all.

When the phone rings,
It’s Medicare.
Or Life Insurance,
So please beware.

Extend your warranty,
Buy a discount card.
Another unwanted call,
Always be on guard.

Blocking them all,
Just won’t matter.
With endless lines,
To spread their chatter.

Annoying offers,
They’ll never end.
They’ve got your number,
Or e-mail to send.

You’ll unsubscribe,
Until you’re blue.
Or text STOP,
Delete them, too.

But they’ll be back,
To bug you more.
They might even knock,
On your front door.

With everyone blocked.
All my calls are spam.
If you need to reach me,
Send a Telegram.

Copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Flaneur #1610

Today’s Word of the Day on my 2021 calendar is “Flaneur,” an idle man about town. It’s a sophisticated description of a retirement bum like myself. So little to do and so much time – that’s my new motto. There are active moments like the morning run and the repair of my chair, but otherwise I’m indeed an idle man. As part of that idleness, I started watching “Flight Attendant” last night, trying to soothe the anger from another frustrating basketball loss. A brand new bottle of Angel’s Envy bourbon provided little relief to my grief. 

“Good Grief” is what Charlie Brown would say as Lucy moved the football he was approaching to kick it. “Good Grief” is the current state of I.U. men’s basketball. Fortunately, the Hoosier women are having a good year. Fans are screaming for a new coach, and I have no defense for Archie. He’s had four years to rebuild the program and has failed miserably. Michigan State now Rutgers have added nails to his coffin. I turned off the game last night in disgust. “Good Grief!”

Tomorrow is another “Leadership Meeting” and Sunday a trip into wine country. Otherwise, I’m an idle man, a stroller, urban explorer, lounger, saunterer, or loafer. The poet Charles Baudelaire made such a figure the object of scholarly interest in the 20th century.  Image for post

To compare, I am a male that does not work, dressed in my stylish retirement uniform and definitely blasé. Crowds are not allowed in these pandemic times, so I remain apart from it and masked. I do not stroll – only run – and drink, but soon to leave this emerging city. I am the 21st Century Flaneur!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Seat Repair #1609

A second consecutive day of sunshine was the highlight of my morning outing, although the temperatures are still in the chilly 30s. I’m back in the warmth of my home office with the TV providing background noise. The chair I’m sitting on is worn and stained after four years of retirement. It rarely got use before that time, but now in need of repair. The edges are particularly tattered from watching I.U. basketball. (See Post #1604).  Today’s project will be to install new foam rubber padding and fabric in an attempt to restore the original appearance. The new cushioning will also help my aching back, after too many hours of sitting here writing and watching.  

I have a staple gun and tacks ready to put to use, a rare construction effort for me. My wife will provide the necessary supervision because I’ve never been much of a do-it-yourselfer. It should be done in time for tonight’s televised game against Rutgers. I’ll add extra padding around the edges and tighten up the loose screws that cause it to rock. I might have to cover it with plastic to keep from spilling anything on it before it soon sits in my new Florida office. 

Yesterday, I read an Indy Star article by Gregg Doyel about the chair that Bobby Knight threw in a Purdue game back in 1985. My chair isn’t nearly as famous but could tell many stories, as well. The funny thing about the famous Knight chair is that no one really knows which of 100 plastic chairs was actually that chair, although several people claim to own it. It’s the most famous chair in NCAA basketball history, but there’s no way to prove which one was which. Apparently, there are still sixteen left from the original 100 in a dusty Indiana University storeroom. The rest have either been damaged beyond repair or stolen. One was autographed by Bob Knight and sold at auction. My seat just needs to be repaired, as if anyone else might want it!

Old Sport Shorts: Lollar Biography #1606

I’ve added several magazine clippings to my personal Lollar collection over the past month. These are mostly photo panels from True, a men’s publication in operation from 1937 until 1974. To additionally honor Sherm, I found this excellent article on-line by John McMurray that summed-up his career. It’s based on Lollar’s biography that was included in the book “Bridging Two Dynasties: The 1947 New York Yankees”(University of Nebraska Press, 2013), edited by Lyle Spatz. An earlier version originally appeared in SABR’s “Go-Go To Glory: The 1959 Chicago White Sox” (ACTA, 2009), edited by Don Zminda.

Soft spoken and self-effacing, Sherman Lollar provided a strong defensive presence behind the plate during his eighteen-year Major League career. Lollar spent twelve seasons with the Chicago White Sox, after spending all or parts of six seasons with three other American League teams. An All-Star catcher seven times, Lollar won American League Gold Glove awards from 1957 through 1959, the first three years it was given. 

Though Lollar played well and received awards during the 1950s, he did not receive as much national recognition as did fellow catcher Yogi Berra, who won three Most Valuable Player awards. As Red Gleason wrote in The Saturday Evening Post in 1957, “It is the fate of some illustrious men to spend a career in the shadow of a contemporary. Adlai Stevenson had his Dwight Eisenhower. Lou Gehrig had his   Babe Ruth. Bob Hope had his Bing Crosby. And Sherman Lollar has his Yogi Berra.” 

John Sherman Lollar, Jr. was born on August 23, 1924, in Durham, Arkansas, to John and Ruby (Springfield) Lollar. When Lollar Jr. was three years old, he moved with his family to Fayetteville, Arkansas, where his parents opened a grocery store. Lollar’s interest in baseball began at an early age, and he remembered playing catch with his father outside the store as a six year old. When he was eight, his father died unexpectedly during surgery. At that early age, Lollar, who was the oldest of four children, including two girls (Bonnie and Pat) and a boy (Jerry, who was born after his father’s death), had to take on additional responsibilities at home. His mother sold the grocery store and began working in a nursing home for the Veterans Administration. She told Gleason, “Sherman took a large share of the responsibility of looking after the younger children. He was both a big brother and father. Our being left alone so soon created a sense of oneness in all of us that remains even now.” 

Despite his additional responsibilities, Lollar’s interest in baseball never waned. In 1936, shortly before he turned twelve, Lollar became a batboy for the Fayetteville Bears in the Arkansas-Missouri League. After graduating from Fayetteville High School, a school that had no baseball team, the sixteen-year-old Lollar took a job with J.C. Penney in Pittsburg, Kansas. He played with a team affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce in the Ban Johnson League while also studying at Pittsburg State Teachers College (now Pittsburgh State University). Two years later, after the Ban Johnson League folded, Lollar both played for and managed the semipro Baxter Springs (Kansas) Miners, working as a brakeman in a local mine when he wasn’t playing baseball. 

The Baltimore Orioles of the International League signed Lollar in 1943, when he was eighteen. His pay was $20 a month. He batted just .118 in twelve games, but improved to .250 with fifteen home runs in 1944. He also drove in seventy-two runs, one of the highest totals for any catcher in organized baseball that year. Lollar won the International League’s Most Valuable Player award in 1945, tearing up the league with thirty-four home runs, 111 runs batted in, and a league-leading batting average of .364.

Baltimore had a working agreement with the Cleveland Indians and was forced to sell its top slugger to the Major League team for $10,000. After making his big league debut on April 20, 1946, Lollar played infrequently behind veteran catchers  Frankie Hayes and Jim Hegan. He asked to go back to Baltimore so he could play regularly. Back in the International League, Lollar was unable to duplicate his previous year’s batting success. He batted just .234, but he did hit twenty home runs in only 222 at-bats for the Orioles. His biggest plus that year was meeting his future wife, Connie Mattard, whom he married in 1949.In December 1946, Cleveland included Lollar in a five-player deal with the New York Yankees. The Indians had been willing to trade Lollar because of concerns about his attitude. According to writer Bill Roeder, “The Cleveland complaint was that Lollar displayed insufficient dash and spirit. He had the ability all right, but no inclination to exploit it. Within a month, he was homesick for Baltimore, and Cleveland manager Lou Boudreau sent him back. Now Sherman belongs to the Yankees, and they hope he will react favorably to the fresh start.” 

In New York he was caught in a catching logjam that included Ralph Houk, Charlie Silvera, Aaron Robinson, Gus   Niarhos, and Yogi Berra. As a consequence, Lollar spent most of the 1947 season with the Newark Bears, the Yankees’ farm club in the International League. Lollar appeared in only eleven regular-season games for the Yankees in 1947, but he did play in the World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, getting three hits, including two doubles, in four at-bats. About Game Three, sportswriter Dan Daniel wrote, “A secondary standout was Sherman Lollar, who started the game as a surprise entry.  Manager Bucky  Harris benched Berra in favor of the right-handed Lollar against the southpaw  Joe  Hatten. Lollar got a single which became a run in the third, and in the fourth drove in a run with a double.” 

A contemporaneous article called Lollar “a Charlie Gehringer type,” adding, “He appears a colorless, dispassionate individual, on and off the field, but he gets his job done effectively. If Lollar hits as well as Gehringer did, no one will care if he doesn’t say a word all season.” In parts of two seasons with the Yankees, Lollar saw action in only thirty-three games. Yogi Berra was on his way to becoming a star and Lollar’s playing time was further reduced by a hand injury caused by a foul tip, requiring him to get stitches on two fingers of his throwing hand.

In August 1948, Dan Daniel wrote, “Sherman Lollar, right-handed hitting catcher, is another who has possibly had his last big opportunity with the Bombers. Now that Yogi Berra is available again, Gus Niarhos will handle all the receiving duties against left-handed pitching.” Not surprisingly, Lollar was soon traded, this time to the St. Louis Browns on December 13, 1948, with pitchers Red Embree and Dick Starr and $100,000 in return for catcher Roy Partee and pitcher Fred Sanford. In St. Louis, Lollar took over for Les Moss as the team’s regular catcher and batted .261 in 1949 with eight home runs. For three seasons, Lollar stabilized the catching position for the second-division Browns while earning All-Star honors for the first time in 1950. 

After the 1951 season, the Chicago White Sox were looking for a replacement for incumbent catcher Phil Masi, and on November 27, they received Lollar from the Browns in an eight-player deal. According to his son, Lollar’s salary was increased to about $12,000 when he was traded. Arriving in Chicago was the break Sherm Lollar needed. Unlike the Browns, who had won only 52 games in 1951, the White Sox had finished eight games over .500 and were considered a potential World Series contender. But the 1952 season was a disappointment for Lollar, who endured additional stress when his wife fell ill after childbirth. While he batted only .240, his work with manager Paul Richards helped turn the young catcher’s career around.

As Gleason recounted in The Saturday Evening Post, Lollar later said: “When I was having that terrible year in 1952, Richards called me into his office late in the season. He told me that my natural style of catching lacked appeal and I would have to be more of a holler guy. Paul said he understood my problem because he had been the same kind of catcher that I was. I feel that I’ve always hustled in baseball, but until Paul talked to me I probably had a misconception of what ‘hustle’ meant. I hustled to first base on a batted ball, and I hustled when the ball was around me. Richards made me see that something more was expected. “Paul told me to show a little more animation. He wanted me to be a little more agile in receiving, and to show more zip in returning the ball to the pitcher. He recommended that I run to and from the catcher’s box between innings, instead of just strolling out there.” Gleason wrote that Richards recommended Lollar’s distinctive style of catching, with his left knee on the ground, because, according to Richards, “This moved him up – closer to the plate – and down – closer to the ground.” 

Lollar caught 100 or more games in each of his twelve seasons with the White Sox, and he was an American League All-Star six times (1954–1956 and 1958–1960). As evidenced by his Gold Gloves, he developed into perhaps the best defensive catcher in the game. In 1957 he played without making an error in his first eighty-nine games before throwing wildly to second base on September 14. Years after trading for Lollar, White Sox general manager Frank Lane said, “It was one of the best trades I ever made. Sherm turned out to be one of the best catchers in the American League, behind only Yogi Berra and maybe Jim Hegan.” Paul Richards told Gleason that Lollar was a better handler of pitchers than Berra.

Throughout his time in the American League, Lollar was compared to Berra, whose offensive numbers and championships outshined Lollar’s. Wrote Gleason in The Saturday Evening Post, “Where Berra is distinctive looking, to put it mildly, the brown-haired Lollar is a sad-faced, sad-eyed individual. In most of his pictures, he looks as though someone has stolen his favorite catcher’s mitt. In his ‘smiling’ pictures, the smile seems forced. Berra is celebrated for malapropisms. Lollar is seldom quoted. An unobtrusive workman, he is obscured on his own club by crowd-pleasers such as Nellie Fox, Minnie Minoso, Jim Rivera, and Luis Aparicio.” 

On April 23, 1955, against Kansas City during a 29–6 rout, Lollar accomplished the rare feat of getting two hits in an inning twice in the same game. He had his finest offensive season for Chicago’s 1959 pennant winners, batting .265 with twenty-two home runs and eighty-four RBIs. In both 1958 and 1959, he finished ninth in the American League’s Most Valuable Player voting. Perhaps most importantly, Lollar was instrumental in handling the team’s pitching staff in 1959. Although he batted only .227 in the World Series, he hit a three-run homer in Game Four off the Dodgers’ Roger Craig with two outs in the seventh inning to tie the game at 4–4. Other than the three home runs hit by Ted Kluszewski, Lollar’s home run was the only one hit by a White Sox player in that Series. However, a key point of the Series came in Game Two, when the slow-footed Lollar was thrown out at the plate while trying to score from first base on Al Smith’s eighth-inning double, which helped ensure a 4–3 Chicago loss. 

Lollar’s overall offensive performance began to decline in 1960, and the White Sox released him on October 4, 1963. Although he was not known as a power hitter, the six-foot-one, 185-pounder had 155 career home runs among his 1,415 hits. Lollar committed only 62 errors in 1,571 games behind the plate in his Major League career, finishing with a .992 fielding percentage. In his 2001 Historical Baseball Abstract, historian Bill James rated Lollar as the thirty-first best catcher ever. James wrote” “[Lollar] led his league in fielding percentage five times, in double plays three times, also has the lowest career passed ball rate of any catcher listed here.” – The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. New York: Free Press, 2001. P. 394.

After his playing career ended, Lollar sought a minor-league manager’s job. Al Lopez remarked, “[Lollar] had tremendous ability with young pitchers. I think he shows great ability at handling men, which is the most important part of managing in the game.” Lollar coached with the Baltimore Orioles from 1964 through 1967 and with the Oakland Athletics in 1968. He managed two Oakland farm teams: the Iowa Oaks of the American Association from 1970 through 1972 and the Tucson Toros of the Pacific Coast League in 1973 and 1974. He left the Toros after the 1974 season reportedly because of a dispute with Athletics owner Charley Finley. Lollar barely escaped serious injury while managing in Iowa in 1970. He was sitting in his car at a red light after a game, when a nearby building suddenly collapsed. “I was just sitting there listening to the radio when—wham! It was like the sky falling,” he recalled. “What made it worse was that I had no idea what was happening. I couldn’t see a thing because of the dust and debris.” Luckily, he was unhurt. In the last few years of his life, Lollar operated a bowling alley in Springfield, Missouri, and refereed high-school basketball games. After a long battle with cancer, he died in Springfield on September 24, 1977. He was fifty-three years old. Lollar was survived by his wife, Connie, and a son, Sherman III. He is buried in Rivermonte Memorial Gardens in Springfield.

My personal recap of his career is titled “Who Was That Masked Man? (Post#5). 

 
 

Old Sport Shorts: Edge of my Seat #1604

Spring is nearly here – pitchers and catchers reported this week. Spring Training games begin at the end of February, so just a few weeks away. The Dodgers are picked to repeat, while the White Sox are in the favorites mix for once. The Cubs are picked behind the Cardinals and expected to have a mediocre year. As basketball heads to Selection Sunday, I.U. can take another step towards a spot in the 64-team field with a victory over Michigan State this morning. It’s another 9 a.m. start on the West Coast, far too early to get my blood pressure up. The match-up will likely be frustrating, with the Hoosiers unable to string multiple BIG victories together. Five games left until the BIG Tourney, after adding another this week, and I.U. needs at least two of them to go their way. 

At least there’s some excitement to look forward to watching, regardless of the outcome. It was hard when the pandemic reared its ugly head a year ago and there was no I.U. basketball for me to rant about. In fact, the only basketball was TBT, the first of the sporting events to play all tournament games in one quarantined location. MLS Soccer was next, then the NBA, and now the NCAA, all in venues around the state of Indiana. Baseball will probably continue to be regionalized and fans limited until the vaccine finally gets the viral spread under control.  My age group is eligible in a few weeks. 

I.U. looked strong to start the game for once, but Michigan State caught on fire to reverse a 13-point deficit.  I.U. then rallied for a rare 4-point halftime lead. It looks like another close BIG battle that will come down to the wire. There were a few brief moments when I foolishly thought it would be a blowout, but the Hoosiers could not hit an outside shot and too many bunnies. Dunk the ball dammit! We’re also 2-10 from three, but fortunately they aren’t shooting much better. The Spartans stole a couple of Indiana All-Stars from under our nose, so hopefully this won’t come back to haunt us down the stretch. I’m on the edge of my seat!

P.S. 78-71 I.U. loss!

 

 

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Hitchcock #1597

It was another winter day that required going underground. I watched several other runners navigate the plowed streets filled with ruts and tire marks. There was a time when I loved to run in the snow, but with balance issues I’m reluctant to risk a misstep. I did the short distance to the parking garage and was the only activity on the lowest level. The Streak continues at 4,430 consecutive days. I’m now in front of the television set waiting for the I.U. game against Ohio State to start. I have an ominous feeling, concerned about another poor shooting performance. 

We continued our Hitchcock marathon last night over a Sorrento’s pizza, the only restaurant open on our block. The snow is at about five inches with several layers of crust underneath. This was supposed to be a big Valentine’s weekend for area dining establishments, as capacity restrictions were loosened. Instead, Mother Nature reared her ugly head. I continue to empathize with the food business in these tough times. Last night’s Hitchcock thriller was The Wrong Man (1956) and the start of Spellbound (1945). We’ve already seen Lifeboat (1944), Dial M for Murder (1954), Suspicion (1941), North By Northwest (1959), The Lady Vanishes (1938), To Catch a Thief (1955), Marnie (1964), Rope (1948), The 39 Steps (1935), Rear Window (1954), Saboteur (1942), Vertigo (1958), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) and The Birds (1963) over the last month.

I received a couple of e-bay shipments today containing sports collectables. One was postage due and did not include an item presented in the offer. I’m in a sour mood on dealing with this after a poor I.U. half of turnovers, shot clock violations, and missed bunnies. I hope the day gets better. At least I have heat unlike some of my friends. There would be nothing worse during this pandemic than no TV or heat to go with it. Although, I wouldn’t have to watch this game or look for Hitchcock cameos.

Retirement is not without Hassles: BIG Dogs #1595

The last few days have started with two wild and crazy dogs, as Tally’s doggy niece Falco is visiting. There are nine years difference in their ages but Tally always revisits puppyhood in her presence. They are also much braver as a pair, barking in tandem at every other dog in the neighborhood. Falco is always impatient to go outside once I get up, accustomed to living with a younger, working couple used to getting up earlier. I have to alter my routine to accommodate her demands, so push-ups and sit ups have to wait until she’s done her duty. Then, finally, I get a peaceful hour of running, free from any dog responsibilities. This makes my morning trek more of something to look forward to rather than regret. 

As taking care of two dogs takes extra time, so did yesterday’s I.U. basketball overtime victory. They squeaked by a marginal Northwestern team after what looked like certain disaster. The team was getting heavy criticism about a 2-9 record following wins over rated teams, a sure sign of letting down. The surprising home and away upsets over #8 Iowa last weekend had them only slightly favored over the Wildcats yesterday, who had lost nine straight games, so certainly the Hoosiers weren’t underestimating the importance of this road game. Also, Northwestern had already beaten them in December at Assembly Hall. It took double overtime to seal the victory, after Indiana struggled for most of the game, only leading for a total of 14-seconds in regulation and at one point falling 14-points behind, including six straight missed free throws. I.U. didn’t score in the first five-and-a-half minutes and only had seven points in the first thirteen, limping into halftime with a controversial twenty-points after a replay ruled that time had not expired on a fast shot clock violation. 

In games this season, the anemic first half offense has not clicked with only 19 against Texas in the opener and 21 versus Maryland. Without the favorable replay, this would have been the lowest output of the year. The reversal also accounted for Trayce Jackson Davis’ only points in the first half. Plus, just like the Iowa game, I was constantly on the edge of my seat after so many failed opportunities to close out the game.  It took a career scoring high 24-points from Armaan Franklin, a critical three from just out of the doghouse Jerome Hunter, and a 7-0 personal run by Al Durham, including critical free throws, to stop the 2-9 bleeding. 

The edge of the chair awaits again this weekend with a visit to #4 Ohio State. We’ve got to find a way to score, cut down on turnovers, and hit some free throws to have a chance. These are the three factors that have plagued us all season. Two straight victories is the longest streak the Hoosiers have been able to manage this season, with only six match-ups left to play. Covid has prevented road games against both Michigan and Michigan State, but both teams come to Bloomington before this year is over. I still think we’ll be fortunate to go 3-3 in this final stretch for a mediocre 9-9 conference record, as I’ve predicted from the start. I also foresee more Overtime nail-biters in my future. The once dominant Cream & Crimson are going to the BIG dogs!

 

Old Sport Shorts: Super Sunday #1591

Just another Sunday in February. “Sunday” Brunch on the radio and a much too early 9 a.m. I.U. basketball game against Iowa. Another sloppy start by the Hoosiers on the verge of losing an unheard of four games straight at home, and I need whisky to cope, although a Bloody Mary would be more appropriate. Oh yes, and the Super Bowl is this afternoon…Ho Hum. Brady vs. Mahomes – I can’t say I really care. Not even some good commercials to watch or a decent half-time show.

Clang…Clang…Clang… go the baskets – and frustrating turnovers to boot. Missed free throws and long scoring draughts add to the misery. It’s like a reoccurring nightmare, dating back too many years. Then, suddenly, a brief moment of competency and an unexpected half-time lead. It’s hard to figure out this Hoosier team, but Garza on the bench for Iowa certainly helped. By the way, we had the halfway lead against Illinois on Monday night and that didn’t turn out so well. We need another marquis win to make the tournament and it doesn’t matter if it’s against the same team twice. 

Tom Brady changed uniforms this year, but will still be playing in his tenth Super Bowl today. Since I’ll soon be a Florida resident, I should probably support his Tampa Bay team. It’s incredible in life how some people get all the glory, while others get none. Patrick Mahomes is the defending champion, so it’s hard to see either as an underdog. I’m sure I will waver back and forth on which team to support. Without a party, the Clydesdales, or a star musical performance, it’s hard to get excited. However, there’s little else to watch. I’m not encouraged by the Hoosier start to the second half either. It could be just a another long day – not necessarily Super!

P.S. Super lucky win by IU 67-65 on an Armaan Franklin last second shot, despite shooting 23-64 (35.9%), 6-23 from 3, and 15-24 (62.5%) from the free throw line. Trayce Jackson-Davis had an impressive double-double  with 17-points and 12-rebounds. Looking at these horrible stats, it really was a miracle victory! We needed a break – but it’s too bad we can’t play Iowa every week.  

Retirement is not without Hassles: Back to Reality #1586

It’s been quite a transition from blue skies and t-shirts to darkness and a hooded rain coat. I’m also getting up an hour earlier, dealing with the 3-hour time shift from East to West Coast. The TV is again providing background noise as I busy myself with taxes, writing, finances, and phone calls. We met with our home finance representative yesterday with instructions to file more forms and received a delay notification on a closing date with our Florida home. This interferes with a cruise planned for early April, so we’re panicked on establishing a move date and whether or not to cancel these trip plans. 

Today, I have to see a notary at the bank, go to the dry cleaners, take my I-Watch in for repair, and have my new front tire checked for a leak. I’ll also take my wife to the grocery store, so I’ll be out and about, further exposed to the dreaded virus. The Miami terminal and our flights home were very crowed, while only eighty-year-olds are eligible for vaccines in Oregon. It will be awhile before we can feel safe, and in the meantime we’re keeping our distance from friends and family. We both feel fine after two weeks in Florida, but a bit depressed by the rainy weather. 

As far as sporting entertainment, I was able to watch a live You Tube streaming of my niece’s Team Illinois victory in the Mrs. Hockey tournament championship, going undefeated against seven other national contenders to bring home the hardware. Tonight, it’s I.U. Basketball against Illinois. Hopefully, they’ve been practicing their shooting during the last two idle weeks as opponents have cancelled due to Covid.  They need a victory to stay in contention for a tournament berth, but I still don’t have high hopes for their success. The televised game will at least buy me a delay in my night to cook. Superbowl Sunday, I.U. vs. Iowa, and a possible baseball card show are also on my sports menu for the remainder of this week.   

Yes, we’re back to the hassles of reality after a couple weeks of paradise. It’s time to face the bills, the boredom, and the bleak forecast. My Florida glow is starting to fade along with the ink in my printer. Important decisions about our move, cruise, and budgeting will need to be made in the next two weeks. I also want to take the time to recognize the 100th anniversary of my parent’s birth (born one day apart), although they are no longer here to celebrate. Thoughts of them are a nice distraction from the decisions that need to be made. It hurts to use my brain again after lazy days on a sunny beach. Here’s to our future, the love of my parents, and hopes for some I.U. basketball wins, as we once again deal with reality!

 

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