Carpe Diem Y’all by Michele Bernard

Writer, Texan, Semi-interested Sports Fan

New At Bat Song?

I’m always searching for the perfect Life At Bat Song, the song they break into right after your name is called to step up to the plate.  The perfect song needs to provide insight into who you are, inspiration to you as a player, have a motivational beat, be a tone setter for your opponents, and blend well with the clapping and cheering of the fans in your peanut gallery.  So is  I Don’t Dance from Disney’s High School Musical 2 a contender?  Looks like a few big leaguers are trying it on for size.  What’s your At Bat Song?  Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

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August 25, 2007 Posted by | baseball, Dance, Humor, Just Wow, Michele's Musings, Music, Notes from the Cheap Seats, Sports Stuff, Summer | 1 Comment

Notes from the Road: Heavy Metal Thunder or Our Close Encounter with Hell’s Angels

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August 3, 2007 Posted by | Michele's Musings, Summer, Travel | Leave a comment

Notes from the Road: What We Saw in Oklahoma

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August 2, 2007 Posted by | Michele's Musings, Summer, Travel | 4 Comments

Notes from the Road: “I wish Derek Jeter would scoot over a little so I can get a good picture of the kids” or Things I Thought I’d Never Say

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August 1, 2007 Posted by | baseball, Best Lines, Blogroll, Derek Jeter, Michele's Musings, Notes from the Cheap Seats, Sports Stuff, Summer, Travel | 4 Comments

Notes from the Road

greenfields3d.jpgNow which way do we go?  Dorothy – The Wizard of Oz

I understand the phrase “sea of green” now.

I look left,

I look right. 

I see rolling prairie

Waving,

Stretching,

Touching

Clear blue horizon.

White cotton balls dot sky and spackle shadow across land. 

Green and Blue

Swallow me.

Driving through Kansas is everything I imagine it will be.

Yet America is a poem in our eyes; it’s ample geography dazzles the imagination, and it will not wait long for metres. –Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Poet”, Essays, Second Series, 1844

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

July 31, 2007 Posted by | Best Lines, Carpe Diem Quotes, Michele's Musings, Summer, Travel | Leave a comment

Just (Give Me A) Brake

01suburban-4.jpg  …must be what the mechanic thought I said when I asked him for an estimate to replace my front brakes and he replied, “$109.99.”

 Insert Scene Card Here:  Time Passes 

“That’s $109.99 per tire,” says the mechanic.

 Time Passes 

“Ma’am, you really need to look at this.”  Mechanic jiggles front tire.  “This could fall off any minute.  Very unsafe.”

“I just had my tires rotated yesterday.”

“Well they wouldn’t find this very dangerous problem unless they were looking for it.  Luckily, we can fix it for $653.00.  Plus labor.”

 Time Passes 

“Ma’am, these back brakes…”  Mechanic clicks his tongue against his teeth, “I can see why you think the issue is in the front when in fact it’s an issue you have all the way around.  You’re going to need to take care of the back too.  It’s a wonder nothing’s happened.”  Mechanic shakes his head in disbelief, “For all four tires, plus pads….”

Time Passes 

“After tax, that’ll be $1272.00”

 When he quoted 109.99 I guess I should’ve asked him to be more specific re: the decimal point location.

July 22, 2007 Posted by | Michele's Musings, Summer | 3 Comments

Nuts About Baseball

A baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings.  ~Earl Wilson

Subject:  Angry People.   

Thought I was going to say Baseball didn’t you?   

By now you’ve figured out that I love baseball.  In fact, I’m nuts about it.  Win or lose, baseball can usually put a smile on my face.  But at a recent baseball tournament, I felt nervous and anxious, as if I were surrounded by Angry People.  Oh wait.  I was surrounded by angry people:    parents, coaches, players, umpires.  It was ugly.  You know something has gone terribly awry when you have to maneuver your vehicle around police cars to exit the sports complex parking lot.  At the end of the day, an umpire lost his job, and a bunch of fourteen year olds and their parents have one more unfortunate incident to add to the Whacked-Out-Things-That-Happened-While-Playing-Baseball Memory Bag. 

Which leads me to the question I ponder every year while sitting in the cheap seats:  what is it about baseball (or any kid sport for that matter) that cause the people (adults) involved to lose their freaking minds?  As a parent with three athletically inclined sons, I could write a book about this phenom, having personally witnessed angry outbursts ranging from the comedic to the down-right-scary.  As a former mental health professional who worked with youth for several years, I can also attest to the fact that the number two reason parents and kids sought my counsel was sports related.  (Number One:  “My family is moving again.) Interestingly enough, in my new career as a freelance writer, the only angry comment I’ve received thus far was from someone spewing about MLB baseball in reference to a blog entry I wrote about six-year-old’s playing baseball.  

After twenty years of pondering, I still have no clue, but I have developed a few theories: 

  • The Chaos Theory:  We must create order out of chaos.  Well ordered baseball is beautiful.  It has symmetry, not unlike a well choreographed dance, with individuals contributing unique offerings to create a balanced well functioning whole.  Baseball at every skill level is always just one over-throw or one close call away from chaos.  And when you’re dealing with children playing the game, the odds of a missed play are exponentially greater.  And when you’re dealing with coaches and umpires who are not much older than the players(or worse yet, are related to the players), the tipping point becomes that much closer.  Much like a butterfly flapping its wings in Hong Kong, one dropped ball can plunge a game into chaos, creating a perfect storm on the field, in the dug-out, behind the plate and in the stands.
  •  The I Coulda Been a Contenda Theory:  Think Tim McGraw in the football movie Friday Night Lights.  He plays a former high school football star named Charles.  His son, while a good player isn’t a great player and this is something Daddy Chucky struggles with.  Daddy Chucky’s dream of watching his son follow in his footsteps quickly turns into a nightmare for all involved.  In one scene, he even duct tapes a football to his kid’s hands to ‘teach’ him what it feels like to not fumble a football. 
  • The Mama Bear Theory:   A Mama Bear’s main job is to ensure the survival of her cub.  Any perceived threat to said cub will surely result in a swipe of a French-tipped bear claw and a flash of razor sharp teeth.  Most teams carry a minimum of twelve players on the roster.  That’s twelve Mama Bears per team, twenty-four per game.  Given divorce statistics in this neck of the woods, factor in another twelve to account for Daddy’s new wife, bringing that number to thirty-six.  Throw in another twelve to account for six grandmothers per team bringing the average number of Mama Bears roaming the stands to forty-eight** (**this number higher during District Play, League Championships, and All-Star Series).  My own mother tells the story of one of my brother’s games interrupted due to two Mama’s falling out of the stands and rolling around on the ground in a heated wrestling match.  And their kids were on the same team.  All the other Mamas were later subpoenaed to testify at the trial.
  •   The Not On My Watch Theory:  This Rules Maven may or may not have an affiliation with the team.  This person knows baseball.  This person knows baseball so well, they can barely enjoy watching baseball for pointing out all the mistakes and broken rules on the field, in the dugout, and behind the plate.
  •   The Thrill of Victory and The Agony of Defeat Theory:  Many people allow what’s happening outside to dictate what’s happening inside, hence, the thrill of victory equals a state of well-being and inner-peace, while the agony of defeat equals losing their freaking minds.

Mix all the above with a healthy dose of sweltering summer heat to produce:  Angry People. 

This is one more reason I’m glad baseball tournaments only last a few days. 

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

Copyright © 2007 Michele Bernard      

June 12, 2007 Posted by | baseball, Best Lines, Blogroll, Family, Michele's Musings, Motherhood, Notes from the Cheap Seats, Parenting, Sports Stuff, Summer | 3 Comments

Doing Summer Week One

  A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after.  ~Peter De Vries 

Too bad one can’t rack up frequent flier miles while ferrying children from Point A to Point B.  I’d have circled the globe by now, and be well on my way for another go around soon. 

This week, the extra miles were worth it, as we were able to do the things we needed to do, with plenty of time to do the things we wanted to do.  And it was fun.  Even the Summer Reading Challenge proved to be a good time, not only for me, but for my son and his buddy as well.   The boys have decided to create an original graphic novel based on whatever inspirations they receive after reading A Raisin in the Sun.  I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

We saw our first summer action flick, Pirates of the Caribbean:  At World’s End.  Loved it.  Have I mentioned I have a huge crush on Johnny Depp?  We also took in a minor league baseball game.  Mucho fun, what with all the between inning high-jinx:  crazy mascots, break-dancing umpires, fans racing the baselines wearing swim fins, life jackets and snorkel masks.  Oh, and our team won too.  

Not a bad way to kick off summer. 

But today, I hang up my car keys and declare myself off-duty.  For, much like the airline pilot required to take time off between flights, this taxi-driver needs a day to curl up with a good book and rest.

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele    

     

June 8, 2007 Posted by | baseball, Best Lines, Blogroll, Carpe Diem Quotes, Family, Michele's Musings, Motherhood, Movies, Parenting, Summer | Leave a comment