Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I am a baseball nerd.  It’s true – I love baseball.  Not as a player – I was terrible.  That hand-eye coordination thing again.  But I love to watch baseball.

I love the skills of batter vs. pitcher.  I love the strategies of the managers.  I love the complexity of the rules.  And I love to keep score while I watch the game.  Several years ago Paul bought me a set of official score books.  I take one with me to every game and record every pitch, every swing, every walk, every hit, and every out.  It’s a great conversation-starter at the ball park, and it seems to earn me a certain amount of respect as a true baseball fan.
About eight years ago I discovered Spring Training – a series of exhibition games intended as practice for the current players and an opportunity for new players to try out for roster spots.  We’ve attended Spring Training games four times now – three times in Arizona and once in Florida.
Every Spring Training ballpark has a crew of uniformed, mostly grey-haired volunteers taking tickets, selling concessions, ushering and the like.  They have cool names like the Surprise Sundancers and the Tempe Diablos.  They volunteer their time from mid-February to mid-April.  Sounds like a wonderful way to spend a couple of months in a warmer climate surrounded by everything about my favorite spectator sport.
eHow.com had a set of instructions on how to volunteer for Spring Training:
  1.  Pick a spring training camp. The Grapefruit League in Florida hosts about half of the major league baseball teams and the Cactus League in Arizona hosts the rest.
  2. Create a baseball resume. Mention your current and previous occupations, focusing on any people skills you have and where you developed them. Most volunteer jobs will entail dealing with the public, such usher, ticket taker or grounds crew helper. Highlight any direct baseball experience.
Read more: How to Volunteer at Spring Training | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2096315_volunteer-spring-training.html#ixzz1bbt5lQH8
I guess I’d best get started on my Baseball Resume.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


All retirees play golf – right?  Paul has an uncle and aunt who can’t wait for us to retire so we can play golf with them.  I’ve told them many times that I get more strokes for my money than anybody I know.  They probably think I’m joking.  I assure you – I’m not.

I learned the game of golf in my late 20’s.  I learned the formal rules as well as the informal rules:
1.       Let faster groups play through.

2.       Never step on someone’s line on the putting green.

3.       Always drink a beer after 9 holes.
I own a nice set of clubs.  Yet it doesn’t matter which club I use, I can’t hit the ball any further than 90 yards.  I guess that’s good in a way – no one has ever had to get out of the way of an errant golf ball that I’ve hit.

It’s taken me years to figure out why I play so poorly.  I have very poor hand-eye coordination.  It doesn’t matter how beautiful your swing is if you keep missing the ball!

Maybe I need to buy one of those “big bubba” drivers with a head the size of a small melon – invented; I’m sure, by an aging baby boomer who hated missing the ball.  Or maybe I just need to practice more – something that retirement should afford me the time to do.


Saturday, October 8, 2011


Most of the health-focused articles and web sites I read strongly encourage us to keep our brains active in retirement.  As we’ve discussed what we might want to do during those lazy evenings at the campsite, Paul suggested we buy a chess board and re-learn the game.
Paul and I have never played chess together. We did play backgammon a few times while we were dating, but it seemed I could never win and I hated that – so I quit playing.  OK, bad attitude, but it has unfortunately been the prevailing attitude.  We still own the backgammon board, but we’ve never bought a chess board.

The last time I played chess I was 22.  It was at a new boyfriend’s cabin, and even though I hadn’t played in 10 years I beat him quite soundly.  I went on to beat him, his brother and his father at poker.  Let’s say some male feathers were ruffled that evening…but that’s another story.

So, 30 + years later, I hope that my attitude toward losing to my husband will have mellowed and we will spend many an enjoyable evening playing this time-honored game of strategy.

Benjamin Franklin once said, "The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effect of prudence, or the want of it. By playing at Chess then, we may learn: 1st, Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action ... 2nd, Circumspection, which surveys the whole Chess-board, or scene of action: - the relation of the several Pieces, and their situations; ... 3rd, Caution, not to make our moves too hastily...."

I promise not to throw the chess board off the table if I lose.