Last week, the voice of the bullpen began a comparison of a cat’s life of nine lives, to that of his own, and went through the first two lives with the promise of continuing the comparison in the narrative. of today. So let’s go…
The third life was the coaching/official life. I love sports and have had the opportunity to develop that, combining it with my life as a teacher, coaching baseball, football and softball in schools and communities for many years. First, I loved the sports I taught the kids I coached. I loved going to clinics to improve skills teaching and gain more organizational skills and motivation. I loved training, sometimes more than the games, because it was during training that I was able to teach the sport. I expected a lot from the players too, and I set the bar high too, again, with some kids and adults there was some dissatisfaction with my philosophy, but I always felt integrity and consistency had to be key elements in what we were doing. Coaching has also given me the opportunity to take kids to places outside of the region to play in tournaments (Cooperstown, Buffalo (NY), Myrtle Beach (SC), Reading, Scranton (PA), Mentor , East Lake (OH), teaching social skills (behavioral responsibilities, good manners, respect in hotels, restaurants, etc.), too.
When I wasn’t a coach, I also umpired baseball at all levels (from youth to college) for many years. A few years ago I did both. I started refereeing at 15 and refereed on and off (some years as a coach, some not) for 24 years between 1969 and 2018. It kept me close to my favorite sport and, with practice, gave me both perspective and a greater appreciation for 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 to a Buffett concert was an incredible thrill. Having never been to one before, we were unaware of the hooker experience of a Buffett concert. Walking around before the concert started, we decided that we would definitely do it again, and that we would not only be part of the concert inside the venue, but become Parrotheads like those who prepared for the concert hours before the music starts. We’ve now totaled 15 Buffett concerts and the off-Broadway theatrical production of Escape to Margaritaville, which we saw last November in Buffalo. Our gigs have included numerous other trips to Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, two to Cincinnati (and tickets to Cincy this summer), twice to Virginia Beach, and once each to Detroit, Nashville, and Charlottesville, Virginia. In these experiences we have met some great people of all ages, but have become very close to a couple from the Sandusky, Ohio area with whom we have now shared many Buffett concerts as well as a weekend of wine tasting in Erie, Pennsylvania, a Billy Joel concert in Cleveland and this summer we’ll meet them for Buffett in Cincy and Elton John in Cleveland. All this during a meeting in a parking lot at a Buffet concert in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania.
Life Five is the life of baseball fans. When I was a kid, Dad used to take us to a Cleveland Indians vs. Yankees doubleheader for many years, and I continued that tradition with my kids after we got married. Sally and the girls weren’t really into it, but they made me happy by going to a few games a year. After Jon was born and got older (about two more years), we went to games more often. I started out buying six-game packages, then progressed to 20 and now 40-game packages. I attended two world series, the all-star game and four days of activities as well. Also, my love for coaching/officiating baseball, having my car decorated to look like a baseball, and our living room, and my man cave, resembling a baseball museum, say that my baseball life is an important part of my whole life.
Life Six is Browns Backers, NFL Draft and college football life. I was honored to serve a group of Cleveland Browns fans chartered by Browns Backers Worldwide in Berea, Ohio. We’re spending four solid months together cheering on the Cleveland Browns, while also trying to help groups, causes and charities in our community with donations made as a result of fundraisers we host during the season. These donations have accumulated to the tune of over $32,000 since we began doing so in 2010. Two of the last three years we have hosted a post-season dinner to welcome guests who are locals who have made their brand with the NFL, some with the Browns.
I also love college football, especially Ohio State and Notre Dame. I love watching the NFL Draft religiously, every year, and have for many years, except the last one, when I was lucky enough to be in the draft in Cleveland. What a rush it was!
Stay tuned for the final three of nine Bullpen Voice Lives coming next week.