Today's thoughts

Category: Indiana University Hoosier (I.U) Sports (Page 1 of 12)

Indiana University Hoosier athletics

Retirement is not without Hassles: Stuck in a Rut #1484

I realize that I’m in a rut, but have discovered that just little things can make a difference. I woke up earlier this morning, started a new book, used the other bathroom, and ran a slightly different route. It was like putting a slip cover over your favorite couch – the same old thing with a slightly different look. I didn’t feel like I was going through the motions. There was a lesson to be learned in the process, as the day starts on a more positive note. We’ll also spend this evening with my wife’s daughter and husband to add a little variety to what was becoming a tedious routine. Tomorrow, I’ll spend the morning helping a friend rack wine, starting the slow fermentation process. 

I have a new wireless, bedside docking station for my I-phone, I-watch, and earbuds. I also installed a hands-free phone mount in my car and added some new jeans to my wardrobe. As you can see, I made good use of the Amazon Prime days to add a little variety to my life. IU sports finally kick-off this weekend after what seems like decades of down time. It will probably be a loss to Penn State, but strange things happen in these pandemic times. The basketball team has started to practice in anticipation of the Maui Classic in of all places, tropical Asheville, North Carolina. These are a couple more reasons to get together at Buffalo Wild Wings for a beer with friends. 

I feel today like I’ve gotten a second wind after yesterday’s sense of discouragement. I’m prepared to spend another twelve weeks of living behind a mask and staying home as needed. It’s a small sacrifice to stay healthy. There’s still hope for trips to Hawaii, Florida, and even Europe, but we need to be realistic in expecting more cancellations. In another month, at least the election will be over – or will it? I don’t want to spoil my mood. The stock market feels the same way I do with expectations of a another stimulus package. The skies are even showing patches of blue. 

I have dreams of Florida: a new home close to family and the beach. Sunshine and resort-style living await us. It would be much easier to be isolated in that environment than in a cramped apartment. We’re at least five months away from the move that will change our lives. In the meantime, we’ll make the best of our circumstances, and try our best to not get stuck in a rut. 

Old Sport Shorts: All Sports Sweep #1474

It’s a pleasant experience – running in the rain. The challenge becomes puddle jumping, rather than one foot in front of another, and this serves as a distraction from the chore at hand. There’s also extra satisfaction in overcoming the elements. The weather forecast calls for more of the same over the next week, as the gray curtain of winter drops over the Northwest. It’s dark when I get up now, adding to the sense of gloom that extends from October through February. This is the last winter that we’ll spend in Portland, as the sunny skies of Florida await. When it rains there, it’s typically heavy and quick as opposed to a long drawn out affair here. 

I think back to when we first moved here to Oregon six years ago in mid-August. We caught just the tail-end of the beautiful half of the year. By December, I was missing the sunshine of Texas to the point where I needed Vitamin D and a Happy Lamp to improve my dark mood. (See Post #59). It was a major adjustment from heat and sun to gloomy cool. Over the years, I got used to it by ducking away to a sunny location for a week or two to get away. In the future, I’ll be looking for a break from the heat and humidity with a trip back to Oregon. Running in the cool air is refreshing and not nearly as physically draining. Today was consecutive run #4,304.

There’s no baseball or basketball today – just college football to keep me entertained. My main interest is The Red River Rivalry at the Cotton Bowl between Texas and Oklahoma. Both teams are damaged property with devastating losses last Saturday. The Sooners have an unheard of two-game losing streak, but a Rattler for a quarterback and Rambo at wide receiver. Notre Dame is back on the playing field after Covid-related issues postponed last week’s Wake Forest match-up. They play Florida State today while Miami tackles top-ranked Clemson. Florida currently leads over Texas A&M, as I look over all the teams I’ll be obligated to support or hate once we move to Florida. Notre Dame, Texas, and A&M are past home state allegiances, while Indiana, Illinois, and Oregon teams won’t start playing for several weeks. In all, I’ve owned homes in seven states, so I’m bound to find at least one winner in my expanding circle of sports. My main love of course is Indiana University, with ties back to childhood. Once a Hoosier – always a Hoosier!

With a baseball Final Four of Tampa Bay, Houston, L.A., and Atlanta, I’m not sure who I want to win. I’ve never lived in California or Georgia. The Astros are cheaters, while the Dodger fans are just as obnoxious as Yankee fans. I will have to eventually become a Braves fan, with their Spring Training facility as my new neighbor. A Braves vs. Rays World Series would therefore be my choice. The Rays have never won the Series, but the home state Marlins prevailed in 2003. 

Last night, the Miami Heat barely kept their hopes alive for another Florida team championship like the Tampa Bay Lightning just earned. It’s not likely that Jimmy Butler will outshine Lebron James again, while the Bears put a dent in the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl aspirations behind Tom Brady. It’s still possible for a Sunshine State sweep of all four major professional trophies, but not likely. In 1953, the city of Detroit won three-of-four cups with the Lions, Red Wings, and Tigers. The NBA didn’t form until 1948 and there was no Super Bowl until 1967. The Stanley Cup is the oldest prize. In 2002, the city of Los Angeles saw the Sparks (WNBA), Lakers, Angels, and Galaxy (MLS) win it all. Time will tell how many of the coveted four my future state of residence will eventually claim. 

Old Sport Shorts: Favorites #1463

Baseball and cold pizza, two of my current favorites, came together for lunch yesterday, before the yard work started. The White Sox were up against the higher-seeded A’s and playing on their home turf. I’ve never been a fan of the once Kansas City now Oakland A’s, but since childhood the White Sox have always been my favorite. Catcher Sherm Lollar has perpetuated this relationship since 1959. Granted, I’ve strayed to the Cubs at times when they were winning, following suit with my son and dad. I’ve been fortunate to see both Chicago favorites first-hand in World Series victories. 

Lucas Giolito pitched seven innings of perfect baseball and the Sox bats were hot in a 4-1 victory. The lucky socks proved their worth. Today, I’ll wear a Cubs sock on one foot and the Sox sock on the other, hoping for the Chicago sweep. There will be no fans to interfere with any Marlin foul balls, reminiscent of Steve Bartman in 2003, so there should be no excuses for anything less than a Cubbies “W” at Wrigley.   

I do have a busy today with a second moving estimate, Cubs & Sox baseball, dinner to cook. and the first game of the NBA Finals, in addition to the eight televised MLB playoff games. LeBron has oddly become a basketball favorite of mine, even though he’s never played for the teams I support, with the exception of the Olympics. Part of this is the lack of respect he gets, especially from Michael Jordan fans. In my opinion, they are equal greats from separate eras. Comparisons are unfair, especially considering that there wasn’t nearly as much free agency in the Jordan era and contact rules were vastly different. 

While championship match-ups were being determined in baseball and basketball, the Tampa Bay Lightning claimed their second Stanley Cup title. I’ve officially adopted them since we now own property in Florida, along with the Rays, Buccaneers, and Rowdies. Having now owned homes in six states, I’ve amassed quite a collection of teams, improving my chances to win something…anything. Chicago is still my favorites sports town, with the exception of the Bulls. Michigan teams don’t count. The Portland Trailblazes have now replaced the Pacers as my favorite NBA team. When it comes to college football, I lean to the Texas Longhorns and Oregon Ducks, even though my pigskin favorite will always be the hapless Indiana Hoosiers. Soccer favs are the MLS Portland Timbers and Indiana University, while my vote for college baseball goes to the Oregon State Beavers. College basketball is hands down Indiana, as well. I do enjoy sports of all kinds and genders, but do not have as strong of allegiances. I also know the teams and players I hate in any given league – but this is all about favorites. 

I still have fond memories of watching a White Sox playoff game back in 1983 from a motel room in Indianapolis. I was down there from Ft. Wayne on an overnight business trip and played hooky for the afternoon game. It was players like LaMarr Hoyt, Floyd Bannister, Harold Baines, Carlton Fisk, and Ron Kittle, as I check the memory banks of Wikipedia. Tony LaRussa was the coach of this team that won their division and made it to the American League Championship, losing to the Orioles after winning the first game of a series of five. The Orioles went on to win the World Series. It was the first time the Sox were in the postseason since the 1959 World Series, featuring for me a home run by Sherm Lollar. They wore the patriotic uniforms with SOX in block letters on a blue stripe, trimmed in red, across the chest. They’ve brought them out on several occasions this year – one of my least favorite looks!

2008 was the last White Sox postseason win, falling 3 games to 1 against the Rays in the opening series. They did win the division that year. The team featured Ozzie Guillen, Jermaine Dye, Ken Griffey, Jr., Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Nick Swisher, John Danks, and Mark Buehrle, along with Manager Ozzie Guillen. The Sox were eliminated on the day I started work in Austin, Texas, one of my least favorite jobs. 

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Buckeyes #1453

It’s “Meatless Monday,” our dog Tally’s least favorite day of the week, as we lighten our food intake. She’ll come to the table, as always, but leave disappointed. It’s our way of starting the week with a healthier, lower intake of food. I just completed my morning run #4,285, enjoying the fresh, smoke-free air. There are still many fires burning in the area, as many Oregonians have lost lives and property. We’re lucky to have avoided such tragedy. 

It was another boring weekend, with little to do but grocery shop and watch television. Many people were outside yesterday, soaking in the sunshine and admiring the bright blue skies. Traffic was hectic in our neighborhood, after weeks of little activity. Time to also take-in some of nature’s beauty. I’m surprised at the number of buckeye trees in our area. If it weren’t for Ohio State, I would appreciate them more. The nut is a beautiful mahogany brown with a round tan spot, and this must be the time of the year that they fall to the ground. It brings back memories of my childhood and walks home from Rice Elementary School. There was a huge buckeye tree nearby, and I would fill my pockets with these beautiful droppings. Now, they are just reminders that it’s football season and time for another loss to the Buckeyes. “Sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don’t.”

While my wife picked up some groceries at Zupan’s Market, I walked Tally over to Washington Park. There were buckeyes everywhere she stopped to sniff, and I was careful to keep her away from the potential poisons. They can be eaten if properly prepared, but why take a chance. Beware of the Buckeye!  Beautiful yet dangerous, like the shiny apple that attracts Snow White. It’s probably why I’ve grown to associate Ohio State with witchcraft. The football Buckeyes have a 24-game winning streak over my I.U. Hoosiers. It used to be that I always looked to basketball season for revenge, but that’s no longer the case. 

Summer is coming to an end in a few days, but its enjoyment has been disrupted by the virus, protests, and fires. Buckeyes dropping from the sky  are a sure sign of Fall. Hopefully, the stock market does not follow suit, although this morning’s activity has not been positive. It’s all a matter of timing. We have to put more money down on the house we’re building in Florida, where there will be a palm tree rather than a buckeye. 

Old Sport Shorts: Sox Socks #1452

Sports have probably never been a more important part of my life. It’s my sole entertainment in these pandemic times of isolation. I’ve gone through most of the movies and documentaries I’ve wanted to watch, waiting for live sports to finally return. Now, there’s almost too much to keep track of every day. My love of sports dates back to childhood and following my local high school team – The Elkhart Blue Blazers. A once dominant team in most every sport was eventually split into two high schools. Throughout the years, there was never a greater nemesis than the Penn Kingsmen in nearby Mishawaka, Indiana. Once I moved away from town, it seemed like every time I checked the scores it was another loss to Penn, particularly in football.

“Once A Blazer – Always a Blazer” is the motto of my generation, disturbed by the recent consolidation of the two Elkhart high schools into one again. They should have never been separated in the first place, but it did start another rivalry between the Memorial Chargers and the Elkhart Blue Blazers. Unfortunately, neither team was very competitive on the state level like Penn. The main problem with unifying the two programs became selecting a name. As a result, the Blazers or Chargers no longer exist, but the new Lions have become a football force. For the first time in 35 years, the final score of Friday night’s football match-up was Elkhart 20 Penn 19, and the team that I will always know as the Blazers are undefeated.

As I write this morning, I’m watching the final day of the Tour de France, reminiscent of our trips to Paris. It too was delayed several months as organizers made adjustments to deal with  Coronavirus concerns. Slovenian Tadej Pogacar won it in his rookie debut. Cycling, golf, auto racing, football, and baseball are all now competing with each other for television viewership, with little in the way of live fan support. Plus, last night the Portland Timbers pounded the San Jose Earthquake 6-1 for a MLS victory, after a draw the other night in the same stadium. 

So far, 2020 has been a good year for my teams. The Chicago White Sox just claimed their first playoff berth in twelve years. The Cubs will also soon clinch, putting both Chicago teams in the same post-season battle for only the third time since 1906. The White Sox, known that year as the “hitless wonders” upset the powerhouse Cubs in the World Series. Could it happen again in this year of strange surprises? Last Sunday, for example, the Bears, Cubs, and White Sox were all victorious. I bought a new pair of Sox Socks to celebrate their success. My Bears and Cubs socks don’t have holes in them yet. 

The Cubs had a five-game winning streak going into last night’s game against the Twins. Sadly, the streak ended badly and the Cubbies allowed the Twins to clinch the fifth spot in this year’s post-season. The Cubs magic number is now four with three games remaining against the White Sox. They could each knock the other out of the top spot in their respective Division races. A week from now the seeds will all be finalized. Could the Sox and Cubs collide for all the marbles again after 114 years?

Chicago baseball has witnessed two no-hitters this year, the only ones in the majors. I bought Topps cards to commemorate these two remarkable achievements from Luis Giolito of the White Sox and Alec Mills of the Cubs. At no other time in history have both Windy City teams had this happen in the same season. It’s just the beginning of what could happen in Sweet Home Chicago this year. Unfortunately, a Cubs-Sox World Series would be held in Arlington, Texas,

The other important development this past week in sports was the BIG 10 conference rethinking the earlier decision to delay Fall football. After much controversy, schedules starting October 24th were finally announced. I.U. will open at Penn State and conclude with Purdue eight weeks later. The ninth game for the Cream & Crimson will either be the BIG Championship or a bonus conference match-up with potential Bowl implications. Let’s hope it’s not the Toilet Bowl – they could easily go 0-9. Basketball will begin November 25th when the Hoosiers were originally planning to play in Maui. It will be a week later in Asheville, as a further indication of the strange twists in sports this year. Will 2020 also be good to both Hoosier teams, despite the delays?

The Lakers are in the driver’s seat for this year’s NBA Championship, with an opening round final four victory over Denver. The Tampa Bay Lightening lost their Stanley Cup Finals opener against the Dallas Stars. I’ll need to follow them as a future Florida resident. The Rays are comfortably in the MLB play-off field, while the Bucs and Tom Brady did not get off to a great start last Sunday. I’ve now lived in enough states to always have a team in contention, but Chicago will forever remain my favorite. 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Sport Shorts: Sports Galore #1445

Baseball, NBA Basketball, Football, Cycling, Tennis, Auto Racing, and Golf are all now competing for television audiences, especially considering there are few fans in the stands. After months of nothing to watch, suddenly we’re overwhelmed. I had three screens going yesterday between college football, the Cubs, and the White Sox. Today, NFL Sunday kicks-off, plus more baseball, Safeway Open, the Tour de France, U.S. Open tennis, Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, and Portland Timber’s soccer fighting for our attention. I’ve got a date with the Bears vs. Lions, and Colts vs. Jags, Oh My! (Oh wait – I’m in the wrong part of the country for those games). I’ll turn to the RedZone.

Baseball season is already in the final stretch, and for once both the White Sox and Cubs are in first place. The Cubbies came from behind last night against the Brewers after 17-straight scoreless innings of frustration. They finally got to nemesis Josh Hader with two home runs in the top of the ninth. The Milwaukee reliever had not allowed a hit to a lefty or a home run all season long. I was getting to be a Hader-Hater until Jason Heyward took him deep for the winning runs. The cross-town Chicago White Sox had little trouble with the Tigers, posting a 14-0 rout. Former Oregon State star, Nick Madrigal, went 2-5, maintaining his team-leading .362 batting average. Today, the White Sox will debut former I.U. pitcher, Jonathan Stiever #90, on the mound. It’s fun to watch these rookie players like Madrigal and Stiever come up through the ranks. Sadly, there will be no college baseball this year. 

The BIG 10 Conference could potentially reverse its initial decision not to play football this year. New medical advances have accelerated the COVID19 testing procedures. It was frustrating to see the southern and eastern conferences effectively start their seasons this week, while the teams I follow watched along with me in angry envy. Early entry into the NFL draft, transfers, and recruiting losses have already taken their toll on the late-comers.

I don’t care that much about Sports Galore, but I am a big fan of college round-ball.  Conference basketball decisions will be finalized next, including a new temporary home for the IU-bound Maui Invitational. Indianapolis is now a possibility. Somehow, a casino in Asheville, N.C. does not seem like a suitable option, although Tar Heel fans would disagree. Sponsor Maui Jim will have a tough time selling sunglasses in either place. Regardless, I hope the future of the NCAA Tourney is looking bright!

P.S. Cubs win 12-0 as Alec Mills completes a no-hitter. Sox and Bears victorious, as well, for a rare city of Chicago sports sweep.

Old Sport Shorts: Fly the W #1404

The really strange thing about this whole pandemic is that my teams are winning. The last few days, I’ve seen the Cubs, Sox, Pacers, Trailblazers, and Timbers all claim multiple victories. This tells me that life is no longer normal. In the real world, I consistently pick the wrong teams to root for on game day. Could this mean that I.U. will start claiming BIG 10 wins and that the Bears and Colts will play once again in the Super Bowl? It all now seems possible. 

The Sox have won 6 straight road games, a feat last equaled in April 2017. Unfortunately in the process, Oregon State alum Nick Madrigal injured his shoulder during a slide. Tim Anderson is also on the disabled list. The Cubs have won five straight and the Trailblazers are making a playoff move with a promising start in the Disney bubble. IU alum Victor Oladipo is beginning to show his old form for the Pacers in their third straight win. These are all signs of the Apocalypse! 

Can you imagine an NBA championship between the Pacers and Trailblazers, or a Cubs vs. White Sox World Series? I’m beginning to like these shortened seasons with each game having more significance and no fan interference. T.J. Warren of the Pacers just tied Jermaine O’Neil’s franchise record for the most in a three-game span. These things just don’t happen under normal circumstances. It takes a pandemic to bring out the best in my teams. 

Will the magic last? I have my doubts. The Cubs don’t have a closer. Craig Kimbrel failed to preserve a three-run cushion last night and had to be benched by new manager David Ross once again. The Cubbies could easily return to last year’s mediocrity after a 9-2 start. At least they’re staying healthy, unlike the rival St. Louis Cardinals who can’t seem to stay out of the way of the virus. The White Sox are helping the Cubs with a chance to take a 3-game sweep from the Brewers. The Cubs are returning the favor by pounding the Royals. I like this Chicago tag-team approach.

The Portland Timbers are in the soccer final four with a match against Philadelphia tonight that could send them into the finals of the MLS is Back tournament. The bubble approach in sports seems to be working much better than the home fields used in baseball. We’re all hoping that sports can survive outside the bubble, especially football fans that are holding their breath for a chance to start the season. 

The Indy 500 will now be held later this month without fans. New track owner Roger Penske reversed his plan to drop the flag in front of a full house. Instead, it will be strictly a television event that will undoubtedly continue in all sports into 2021. Buying a ticket to any event will be a rarity, having a devastating affect on the business. I’m just glad to be a fan and not an owner. Many tough financial decisions have been made this year, with no end in sight. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the rare winning moments of my favorite teams. Fly the W.

 

 

Old Sport Shorts: Sherm Lollar Guy #1328

In these times of no baseball or other popular sports, it’s important to savor the past and why a silly game has so much personal meaning. I blame it on my dad, taking me to games as a kid. High school basketball in our hometown, Notre Dame football, and occasional trips to Chicago for the Cubs or White Sox were bonding moments for us. I used the same magic on my son. I can remember fiddling with the TV antenna to watch a game with either of them, although we had an electronic rotor by the time I became an adult. It sure beat aluminum foil or climbing up on the roof. My son also got to see NBA and college basketball, NFL football, auto racing, and soccer with me. We still share an interest in baseball cards, but he’s more for the Cubs than my White Sox.

My dad started as a Tigers fan, but eventually became a die-hard Cubs supporter. As a grandfather, he lured my son to the Cubs side. I had no choice but to play along, although my loyalties still lie with the Sox. It all comes down to one man, that I’ve never met, but a childhood memory keeps our relationship strong. In the 1959 World Series in glorious black & white, Sherm Lollar hit a home run against the Dodgers, and even though they lost the war, it was at least a battle won, and a lifelong attraction to the number 10 that he wore on his back. 

Some may joke that I’m still obsessed with this man who has been dead for 43 years. I did see him play when my dad took me several times to Comiskey Park, and still know the line-up of those White Sox teams of the 60’s. It wasn’t for another 46 years before they got back the World Series and actually won. I was there for two of the games in the sweep of 4. It’s too bad Sherm couldn’t have been around. Cancer took him at the early age of 53. Although, he did get a World Series ring in New York before he joined the Sox, and one more with the Orioles as the bullpen coach. It’s also a shame that more catchers have not been voted as Hall-Of-Famers, because they are the heart & soul leaders of any team. The glory always goes to the pitcher. Unfortunately, I don’t think he will ever get the defensive credit that he’s long overdue. 

I’m not a wealthy man that can spend a lot of money on baseball cards and memorabilia. They were like gold to me growing up, even though I abused a few Yankees on my bicycle spokes. If I had extra money, I would spend it at the neighborhood store on bubble gum packs and trade the duplicates with my friends. As a retiree, I reverted back to childhood and joined a group of collectors, knowing that I couldn’t compete with their high-priced Mickey Mantles or Ty Cobbs. Fortunately, for me Sherm Lollar was not on the Cooperstown wall and therefore his cards were relatively affordable. As it turns out, however, there were hundreds of them made by various manufacturers over his 28 years of playing and coaching, not to mention photos, articles, ticket stubs, yearbooks, score cards, cartoon likenesses, promotional items, and ads. He was even a Trivial Pursuit question, beanie pin, card game, and coin.  Sadly, he never got his own bobble-head or figurine, but there were glasses, plastic cups, mitts, catcher’s masks, and stamps bearing his likeness and/or signature. At the end of his career he owned a bowling alley, and provided a post card for patrons to get his signature. I was able to secure one of these, after his nephew sold some of his personal collection. 

I have Sherm Lollar’s signature on cards, photos, scraps of paper, and baseballs. My rarest find is his uniform #10 from the first four games of 1956. It’s hard to imagine that I’ve spent over $4,000 on items that mean little to anyone but me. I will probably never recover that investment even if he somehow gets into the Hall. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much of a movement on his behalf. I care for his memory and family, but I could have never gathered so much of his past on my limited budget. Granted, there are famous teammates and fellow All-Stars of his on some items, adding to their value. I have him in photos along side of Yogi Berra, Bill Verdon, Al Lopez, Marty Marion, Minnie Minoso, Early Wynn, Frank Hayes, to mention a few. 

Over the past month, with little to do, I’ve added to to my Sherm Lollar collection, that has to be one of the largest in existence. A photo of him with Billy Pierce showing off #10, another with Frank and Brooks Robinson, plus a couple of magazine pictures have been recently added to my bulging notebook. A 1960 ticket stub, a team photo from the 1951 St. Louis Browns, and a couple additional magazine clippings are in the mail. Within reason, I’ve vowed to add whatever I can, because within my circle of fellow collectors, that I have been separated from during months of social distancing,  I’m known as the “Sherm Lollar Guy” and have the t-shirt to prove it!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Heavenly Hoops #1307

The strain and stress of isolation is beginning to distort my sense of personal privacy. I was always taught to refrain from discussing three controversial subjects in life: Religion, Politics, and Bobby Knight. These were the three most debatable subjects while growing up as a Hoosier. I was warned that each could easily destroy any good friendship and create irreparable alienation from others. Through my daily thoughts, I’m hoping to attract others to my words – not drive them away. With this in mind, I will cautiously step to the edge of the religious cliff and reveal some of my secrets. For those of you ready to stop reading, this is not about Coach Knight!

I know that we all would like to believe that after we die there’s a special place we go where we are rewarded for our goodness. I see it as the retirement party that I never had. A lot of things in life for me did not go as planned, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t turn out for the best. I never imagined that I would work for ten different companies, after my dad spent forty successful years at one. I never would have planned being married twice or moving over 30 times. Portland, Oregon was never on my radar, but Florida always was a Heaven on Earth and where I hope to retire next year. 

I attended church and vacation Bible schools while I was growing up in Indiana. I never had any issues with following the basic principals of the Commandments, even to this day. They are good rules to live by, and the common foundation of every religion. However, it was always disturbing to me that every organized group of worshipers seemed to portray a superior attitude in their beliefs. Like clubs, fraternities, and sororities, religious affiliation appears to divide more people rather than it brings together. From my perspective, it’s been a alarming observation that 30% of the world are Christians and 70% are arguably wrong. 

Heaven and Hell are the two choices we’re given, yet nobody really wants to go to Hell! Heaven could be really boring, filled with people that can do no wrong or at least never get caught. What would there be to talk about, and what does a two-bedroom condo cost there? Are there travel options to Hell and Back, just for a little variety? I’m not one to make fun of beliefs, but all this preaching about one God and two ways of spending eternity, leave me a bit baffled. 

I can see where each of us carries a little bit of our God with us at all times. This enables us to distinguish between “Good and Evil.” I don’t see where “going to church” or following a specific God should be like a Walt Disney World Fast Pass to Heaven. You might not even speak his or hers’ language. I think we’ve already proven that our personal prejudices have made it impossible to live peacefully together on Earth, let alone in some other Eden-like world. Like most everyone else, these are questions that I silently ponder every day of my retirement life. 

Every day could be my last, but I’m content with the way I’ve led my life. I know that when I close my eyes for the last time, I don’t expect to be transported to paradise, but I will be briefly reunited with those that I have lost. This is the one reward that I think everyone, regardless of good or bad merits, is entitled to experience. A final rush of remembrance. After that, it may simply be eternal sleep, which at times sounds pretty good after too many years of wondering what might happen next? 

I’ll save the heated subject of Bob Knight for another time, after I’ve gauged any negative reaction to these thoughts on the after-life. While there may be a place in my heaven for him, I’ve heard too many Purdue fans say, “he can go to Hell!” I think my first wife might have said that of me, but I don’t think she really meant it at the time. Hopefully, we’re both happier with the way things turned out. Life is not a fairy tale, so not everyone will have a happy ending. I hold no animosity for anyone or anything, and if there is a God, I would be the last one to try to upset them. Just get someone where I go that can win a few basketball games for me!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Good Day #1284

As it turns out, I did see Ritchie Havens in concert. It was not some drug-induced hallucination from my college days. (See Post #1281). A friend who was also at that concert commented on my lack of recollection and it made me double-check my concert log. I keep it because of my aging memory, along with lists of books and movies. For some reason, the other day’s search did not uncover this particular show that also included Poco, Pure Funk, Atlan-tis, and Chase. Honestly, it was Poco that drew me to the event that was called Stonehenge III. It happened on 9/11/1971, thirty years before 9-11 was a date that we’ll never forget. Even the emergency phone number of 9-1-1 was just in the infant stages of development.

It’s always good to get an actual comment on this blog. Thanks, Dan! I used to get hundreds every day but they were mostly all spam. Now, I rarely hear from anyone, not that any more  inspiration is necessary to keep writing. I do this for me, just as I keep diaries, logs, and lists. It’s part of my daily tradition, capturing  thoughts usually generated while I’m running. I keep hoping that it will lead to a more serious writing project, but it at least comes in handy as a memory aid. I enjoy testing my memories while sharing stories and poems. In this case, my friend’s feedback let me tell “the rest of the story,” like radio legend Paul Harvey. “Good Day!”

Yesterday was Good Friday, while today is just a Good Day! People are joking about uncovering hand stamps that they got at nightclubs twenty-five years ago because they’ve scrubbed their hands so much! Mine are just rough and dry. I still cough when I go outside because of these allergies that I’ve somehow developed. Every time I cough I look around to see if anyone caught me in the act, diving for cover. Handshaking, Hugging, and Coughing are the three social evils of modern times. About half the people I see on my morning run are responsibly wearing masks – I have enough trouble breathing without one, so I go out of my way to maintain plenty of social distancing. 

It’s been nearly a month since I’ve posted anything about sports, categorized in this blog under Old Sport Shorts (I am an old sport and run everyday in shorts). I also must be a frustrated sports reporter wanna-be! Religiously, I check the ESPN app every morning to see if anything is happening. Indiana University basketball got a new recruit for 2021, a four-star true center out of Cincinnati Moeller High School. Even with so little going on, the news didn’t make ESPN, indicative of the fact that my college Alma Mater has unfortunately has long lost its national luster in everything but soccer. Regardless, I miss having live sports in my life! A REALLY GOOD day usually involves the anticipation of a GOOD game (and a GOOD concert). 

 

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