Happy Friday the 13th Everyone!
Being that it is a somewhat ominous date, and the fact that I have the day off from work, I’m going to play it safe today and take it easy around the house with my three boys with my wife off to work. Two are down for naps, and my oldest, Jonathan, is over visiting “Grandma Sandy’s” house for awhile, so here I am! From my last post to this one, the Minnesota weather has done an absolute 180 degree turn! On March 5th, the low temperature was -19. Last Friday, the 6th, at Hawley Elementary where I teach third grade, our Phy Ed teacher Mr. Baxter took all students grades 1-6 to the town sledding hill a few blocks from school on a day that saw temps get into the mid 30’s. Two days later, the sledding hill was no longer a sledding hill — just a hill — because temps soared into to the 50’s. The past four days, we’ve set four record highs for daytime temperatures! Today it has “cooled” off to the high 40’s, but we are expected to get to the 60’s and hit 70 this weekend!! Unreal! I will, however, keep in mind that Minnesota weather can still be quite cruel. On April 25, 2008, we had a game canceled because of…..rain? Umm….try 14 inches of snow! We remained indoors until May 3 because of that dumping! As we head to the weekend, I am very pleased with this nice weather as 23 young men and I will embark on the upcoming 2015 Hawley Nuggets Baseball Season on Monday as our season will officially begin outside! I’ll post about the team and season in my next post, but yes, it will be rewarding to be outdoors Day 1!
It has been a most interesting week for me with many mixed emotions. My youngest son Luke, who just turned three months, was admitted to Sanford Hospital in Fargo, ND, for three days due to RSV. Two weeks ago, I had no idea what that was, but basically, it’s like having a very bad cold but for little ones, they are so congested they can’t breathe very well at all. It was scary to see our little guy hooked up to oxygen, and have mucus continually sucked from his nose to be able to breathe and eat. He didn’t eat well, and lost weight, which obviously is not ideal for any little guy or gal. At the same time, my other boys ages 5 and 2 were taken into the walk-in clinic and they both had double ear and sinus infections! On top of that, my wife was just returning to work after a three month maternity leave and then she misses most of the week because of all of this. It was stressful. We were, however, in tremendous hands as we had outstanding care during the stay! We had many visitors, including family and the priest of our church. Father Pat Sullivan of St. Andrews Catholic Church in Hawley spent an hour with us one day in prayer, conversation, and laughter, which was healthy for our collective souls. After three arduous days, Luke began breathing on his own, and was discharged. Over the past week, he’s gained back his weight, is sleeping and eating just fine, and is as smiley as ever! God is good, all the time! We are truly thankful for what we have living where we do.
On a less-serious note, our school’s boys and girls basketball teams both had fantastic regular seasons, but had abrupt endings in the playoffs. Hawley is a town of 2,000 and there is about 65 students per grade level, just to give you an idea of our size. I PA announce all the home games for both teams, and I get the best seat in the house for half of their games….it’s a fun gig! Both our boys and girls teams won their respective conferences again, and both took #1 seeds into the playoffs. Our boys team was knocked off by a pretty solid team, the Breckenridge Cowboys, in the section semi-finals. Hawley had beaten Breckenridge twice in conference play, but the Cowboys had the last laugh beating Hawley by two in a battle royale. The Cowboys shot 12-18 from the three point line en route to the upset. Several of these basketballers will be playing baseball for me this spring, and I won’t have to give them much motivation to work hard, not only to defend our section title that we won a season ago, but especially when we play Breckenridge three times in May! Those Cowboys are nice kids, and they ended up winning the section on a buzzer-beating coast-to-coast layup to earn a state tournament berth for the first time since 1979! That’s good stuff right there!
Our girls team suffered a similar fate a few nights later, losing to our rival school, the Barnesville Trojans, which is 20 miles south of Hawley and very similar in size. My brother Ben is the long time assistant coach, helping guide six Lady Nuggets teams to state since 2001. He was almost certain that this year’s Nugget squad would get back for the first time since 2010, but never assume that when you play your biggest rival. The Trojans lost handily both times during the regular season, but they played a whale of a game against Hawley, edging the Nuggets in a drama-filled 47-43 OT win. A freshman for Barnesville hit a free throw to force OT and her four free throws in the extra session were the only points scored. It’s bittersweet, because obviously, I am very loyal to my brother and all those Lady Nugget players, but also because I used to teach in Barnesville (7 years) and know many of those Trojan girls very well. The Trojans were a .500 team coming into the playoffs, but it’s very special to see teams like this go on a magical run. That run continues as Barnesville won again this week and tonight will play in the section championship for a berth in the state tournament. Best of luck to the Trojans as they will play at my alma mater, Bemidji State University, tonight against the Roseau Rams.
I’d like to thank those of you that commented and voted on the dice/dice app poll I had in last week’s blog. I’ve actually liked that very simplistic dice app (dice+) more than I thought I would, because it’s quieter and I can get through games a little faster. I’ve been using the app and actual dice for every other game for now. My window to play games most days/nights are after 10 PM, and since I’m up at 5-530 AM daily, getting myself and three boys ready before and after work, and the other mundane tasks that are necessary for survival, there’s not much time for leisure in my life, especially with baseball coaching right around the corner. It’s been fun to see all the dice towers people use, and stadiums people have been building as of late via the APBA Facebook Page!! Eric Berg’s travel 3-in-1 Twins Travel Stadium and Kenn Tomasch’s Polo Grounds are two recent ones that have garnered my attention! Awesome displays of ingenuity! The ideas people have and knowledge and game materials people are willing to share is quite incredible! It’s a whole potpourri of characters that have this APBA-Tite, and I’m glad to be one that shares that same hunger for more.
1989 Oakland A’s Replay Update
The Athletics have finally reached the All-Star Break, and they enter it on a hot streak in this master game replay. Oakland was mired in a four game losing streak before winning five very tight games in a row at the Oakland Coliseum. Rick Honeycutt saved all five games, hurling one complete inning in three games, and one third of an inning in two others with the tying runners on second to retire George Brett in one contest and Ruben Sierra in another. With Dennis Eckersley still out for another week (he’s been out close to a month) and no other lefty presence in the bullpen, Honeycutt’s pitching has been admirable. Rickey Henderson continues to try to build bridges in the clubhouse while giving the offense a profound table setter. The big event upcoming, however, is the return of Jose Canseco. Canseco has been out all season with a wrist injury, but he will return to the A’s active roster after the break when Oakland opens up a series at the brand-new SkyDome in Toronto.
I’ve kept all transactions and injuries true to form to see if my managing skills with the A’s injuries would be better or worse than Tony LaRussa. Well….in the spirit and reputation of APBA, Oakland’s actual record and my replay record are…….wait for it……the same, 52-36, 1.5 games behind the Angels. I hope I will continue to play APBA and blog a bit while the baseball season gets underway, but no guarantees. With that said, thanks for reading!