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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Terrified Mom Chauffeured By 15 Year Old Son

Ok. Terrified might not be the best adjective. Nervous? Yes. Edgy? Yes. A little scared? Absolutely.

Mack has been enrolled in the classroom portion of driver's ed for a few weeks. Even though he has never driven anything other than a golf cart at Jake's, he insists he knows what he is doing. Of course he does. Do I really argue with that? Just like me he is never wrong.

After a failed attempt at getting his permit a couple of weeks ago, we went back the next day and got it. Our first trip to SOS in Belvidere resulted in us getting there 5 minutes before they closed, taking a number, waiting for 15 minutes, and the moment shel called our number, I realized I did not have a birth certificate or his social security card. Really? I looked at Mack and told him we had forgotten his other papers. "Your saying this is my fault?" was his reaction. Here we go, the making of a knock-down, drag-out, fight, about him not taking any responsibility whatsoever.

I just looked at that handsome boy who towers more than half a foot over me and just said "Half your fault, half mine." Normally I would sooo engage in that argument...and win. maybe. This time, I, amazingly let it go. I know he was dissapointed enough that he wouldn't be driving home that afternoon.

I drove my first born of five sons, once again, to SOS. This time we were prepared. We walked in, got our number, sat down. Mack acknowledged a couple of friends taking written tests, and I caught the eye of three women that were working. They all have known Mack since he was five. They just gave me a smile that said 'Oh my gosh, he is driving now? Where did the time go? He is so tall. Don't worry, we know what your going through, he will be fine and good luck!' Yes, I got that all from those surprised and sympathetic smiles. All of these women have been there and done that. Johanna Hendrickson was a friendly face that I was so happy to see behind the counter.
Mack Fumbles Mulhall
Johanna is Jake's mom, one of Mack's oldest and best friends. They have known each other since kindergarten and even through changes of schools, they have remained good friends. Jake got his license a couple of months ago. And so it began, life with a son who is now more independent than ever. I have to admit, when Mack is out with some of his other friends, I am a little nervous. With Jake, not so much. I have known the Hendrickson's for years and when Mack is with them I know he is in good hands. I am pretty sure Johanna, being that she administers road tests, has taught Jake well. I am confident that he follows all the rules that go along with a 16 year old driving, and if he didn't I am sure Chuck and Johanna would be all over him!

Mack passes his written test, I get words of encouragement from Johanna, Crystal and Skeeter and we are on our way, with Mack at the wheel. Jesus Lord, please give me peace.

Poor kid has got to learn to drive in a 1/2 ton Yukon XL that is like 19 feet long and seats 9. He will also be testing out the Volkswagon CC 6 speed with an Audi engine that I'm sure will encourage the inner race car driver in him. Great, just great. We take the Pearl St.- Locust Ave.- Appleton Rd. route home and we made it back somewhat peacefully. The yelling at each other part... that didn't come 'til later when he decided he wanted to drive all four of his brothers to Taco Bell. OMG. Really? On the first day?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Goodbye Ozzie!

Former CSW manager Ozzie Guillen
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We weren't surprised that it happened. We were surprised that it was announced last night, during the game against Toronto.

Hawk and Stone said that they had an announcement to make later in the game and after briefly checking ESPN, during a commercial break, I knew, what that announcement would be. As many of us were, I was surprised that last night's game would be Ozzie's last as the White Sox manager. He would not finish out the last two games of the season nor the remainder of his contract for the 2012 season.

I stayed up for hours after the end of that game to watch the post game pressers, first with Ozzie, who I adore, then with Kenny Williams, who I DO NOT adore. They both stuck to the same story, not placing any blame on the other, just saying it was time for Ozzie to move on, do what is right for his family etc...

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Let's face it, if it weren't for the friction between the two of them, Ozzie wouldn't be leaving, he would be here for another year.

I watched the CSN post game show with my fave smiling baseball analyst Bill Melton, after the game while waiting for the press conferences. He and Chuck Garfien talked to Steve Stone and Ken Harrelson via the telephone. They had great memories of Ozzie as a player and a manager, as did so many others in the White Sox organization as well as the fans. I am sure more of us will miss him than not, and let's not ignore the fact that Ozzie will most definitely be missed by the media! Ozzie Guillen is a media outlet's dream, and a public relations nightmare at the same time. So many colorful sound bites to choose from! I have a feeling no matter where Ozzie ends up, maybe with the Marlins, that it won't be hard to find him goin' on about something!

Bill Melton and Chuck Garfien
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I haven't even been a fan for a whole season yet and now I gotta break in a new manager! I really liked Ozzie! I liked that he played for the Sox before he became manager, I liked the way he seemed to have loyalty to our beloved Chicago team, I liked the way he didn't make excuses, I liked the way he told it as he saw it, I liked the way he called out the media when they were being asses, and most of all, I liked the way he talked about his players. He really seemed like a "player's coach" on and off the field.

Ozzie Guillen and Jerry Reinsdorf
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Ozzie gambled. He gave Jerry an ultimatum, extend his contract or let him go.

As Ken "Hawk" Harrelson would say:

"He Gone!"

This morning I woke up with this in my inbox:

White Sox Release Manager Ozzie Guillen From Contract
CHICAGO - The Chicago White Sox have agreed to Ozzie Guillen's request to be released from his contract, allowing the manager to pursue other opportunities.

"We certainly cannot thank Ozzie enough for all he has done during his eight seasons as manager of the Chicago White Sox, highlighted by an unforgettable 2005 World Series championship," said Jerry Reinsdorf, White Sox chairman. "I personally appreciate everything he has done for this organization, our fans and the city of Chicago. We shared the greatest moments together and wish him nothing but future success in baseball and in life."

Guillen, who led the White Sox to a 78-82 mark in 2011 and a 678-617 record during his eight seasons (2004-11) as manager, will not be in uniform with the White Sox for the remaining two games of the 2011 season.

The White Sox retain rights to compensation should Guillen accept a managerial position with another major league team in 2012.

Not really what I wanted to see. I thought maybe just maybe everybody changed their minds.
Not so.

Oh well, I better go browse all my baseball bloggers and sports news sites to see who the hell is gonna run this team.

PS Wikipedia is already updated- listing Coop, (Don Cooper)- CSW pitching coach as the interim manager for the lat two games of the season.

Goodbye Ozzie, I will miss you, but I too, have to move on. I am looking forward to see what the next few weeks and months will bring to my Chicago White Sox Organization.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Busy Boys, Busy Week, Busy Me

Blogging takes time. Sometimes that time escapes me. I have the intention, every week, to blog at least a couple of times. Ideally, 3 times a week , would feel like a great accomplishment! I have to get over the feeling of guilt for not accomplishing this goal and remember that I have accomplished so much else during my week. I thought about all the things that I do throughout the week and how much time it takes to run a household with 6 boys. Here are some random tasks that I conquered this week.

15 year old's driving school classes

Decorated for Halloween
Clipped, sorted and organized coupons
$400 grocery trip

New bulletin board/dry erase board organization center
Cleaned out file cabinet
Crocheted a scarf
Lots of loads of laundry
Mowed the lawn

Cleaned off porches, back and front
Mopped kitchen floor
21+ meal preparations (carry-out DOES count)
Cleaned off the mountain on my desk
Deconstructed broken cabinets
Took kids to Edwards Apple Orchard
Kids clothes shopping
Shoe shopping (new harley boots for me)

Grounded a kid
Grounded another kid
LOTS of homework

Swept sidewalks
Pulled weeds
Moved garden rocks/boulders
Trimmed overgrown trees
Fixed broken toilet

Baseball practices
Baseball games
Filled out Foid card apps

Grounded before said child, for longer
Dug out fall/winter clothes
Worked on securing Green Bay Packer tickets

My everyday tasks combined with the list above, wipes me out! If I weren't falling asleep on the couch by 9 pm, maybe I would have gotten on the computer and knocked out a few articles.

Well there is always next week! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My 6th Son, A Major League Baseball Player

Ok. So you all know that I am a Sox fan by now. I also mentioned Adam Dunn. I really can't say why I took a liking to this guy. He certainly is not helping our team with his batting average. We know he can hit the leather off the ball, but isn't, right now. I happen to think he is a good 1st baseman, and enjoy watching him at that position, although my stomach gets in knots when I know the play is gonna be at 1st. I just want the guy to do good.

That being said, I think the mother lion came out in me that Thursday night against the Yankees. After hearing all those BOOOs I was thinking why in the hell would any one want to play for a team whose own fans are booing him? The next thing I thought was how Adam must feel, really feel, deep down inside. I half expected to see a little ginger boy walk off the field pouting and near tears. Tim laughed and said said "He's an athlete, he doesn't give a crap!" Not meaning he doesn't care about his job, or team, or even the fans, it's just that athletes are prepared for things like this. It's not just about your physical abilities, it's also a mental game. You think those guys can throw 97mph fastballs and strike guys out with a bunch of breaking balls if their head isn't in the game? No way! A pitcher lets up a run or 2 and gives up a couple walks in an inning, you think he thinks everything is hunky dory? Uh uh, they know. They gotta let those mistakes go and focus on the next strike, or the next swing, or the next play. Boys are tought this as soon as they start learning the game in little leagues across America.
Maybe for me it's mental. When Adam goes up to the plate, I don't see a 32 year old man who makes millions, a husband or a father who is playing the greatest game ever played or a guy lucky enough to live a dream that so many little boys dream of. My problem is, is that I see a little boy who just wants to hit the snot out of the ball ( 1. because he knows he can, and 2. because, it's what everybody expects) and not be ridiculed if he strikes out. At this point in my life, after watching 8 seasons of BYB, the last 6 of which my husband coached, I am realizing that I am very invested in this game, it is extremely personal for me, I am emoting as if Adam were one of my own, my 6th son. When Adam goes up to bat I want him to do good so bad, that I can hardly stand it.
How am I going to do this next spring when 3 of my boys are playing at once? I can do this! Wrestling season will prepare me, my 3 youngest are going to tough it out on the mat for the Belvidere Bandits this year. No longer rookies, I have a feeling this might be as tough for me as baseball is! Oh, yeah, it's going to be tough for them too!

That one little word has so much power. Expect. Expectations can cause the undoing of many a baseball players. I am not talking about the majors though, that is different. They are hired and paid ( MLB is the top paid sport, tied with boxing, according to ESPN) to perform, and they are expected to do their job.

But are the expectations that we put on our child athletes too much? No one can really answer that question, too many variables. How capable is the child? How do they deal with losses and not performing well? How demanding are the coaches? How psycho are the parents? Too many factors play a part.

Tim and I walk that fine line pretty much all year around. We don't have an off season any more. We go from baseball ending in October, just in time for wrestling which starts in October and carries us through April, when baseball starts up again. My kids also want to play football and basketball, they can't do it all, they have to pick and choose.
We all want our kids to succeed no matter what they do. Some of them want to be doctors, some want to be MLB players, and some want to be semi-truck drivers, ( my 6 yr. old thinks its cool to have a microwave and bed in your truck). No matter what they do then, or what they are doing now, it is our job to teach them about hard work, passion, perseverance, and integrity - on and off the field. I am sure Pat Dunn has gone through the emotional roller coaster of watching her middle son become an outstanding athlete in both football and baseball, and I can't imagine that it is any easier now. Mom's, hang in there, we got this!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Journey to Adam Dunn and the White Sox

I don't know what it is, but I always seem to root for the underdog. I also always seem to root for the guy that a lot of fans don't like, maybe I like to go against the grain, maybe I like controversy, maybe I like to swim upstream, whatever my rational is, I am doing it yet again.

Case in point... Adam Dunn. Bite your tongue! I don't want to hear it.

Now I really don't feel like getting a lot of backlash, either from Cubs fans who think I should be a northside fan or from Sox fans, who think I'm an idiot.

Let me explain.

I am a Chicago White Sox Fan.
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I haven't always been, as a matter of fact I really didn't even watch baseball all that much.
That being said, Nearly my entire family, and I mean, parents, brother, brother's in-laws, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins... are all Cubs fans.
I couldn't resist. Tommy this is for you!
All except my Grandpa Fritz. He was a Sox fan. I remember the year after I graduated high school, then living with him and Grandma Shirley, sitting in the TV room, he, in his recliner, one leg hanging over the side arm, constantly fidgeting with his nails, Tim and I, then dating, on the couch, watching the Chicago White Sox. He was probably yelling obscenities all the while wishing for a win and Grandma sitting in her chair happy if they were losing. Shirl is a Cubs fan. Grandpa Fritz has been gone now for 15 years, but the memory of watching baseball with him is more vivid now that I have inherited his team.
I believe he is a big part of the reason that on Thursday July 7, 2011 I became a White Sox Fan. I had planned a family outing to Chicago over the previous weeks, and our last stop of that day, after doing Navy Pier, Michigan Ave, Chinatown, and Billy Goat's on lower Wacker, was The Cell. I had been to Wrigley but I had never been to Comiskey or US Cellular Field. I had never seen the White Sox play a game live.
Kev, Tim, Jack, Patrick, Cavan, Mack @Navy Pier

It was a great day, which is not that easily achieved when you are bringing five boys anywhere.
We hit a 7:10 game vs. the Twins, and I'm not sure what exactly happened, it was like someone had flipped a switch. From the time we sat down in our seats in the upper deck on the 3rd base side, and the game began, I knew right then and there, this was my team. I really don't understand the strong feeling that came over me, but I truly felt like a hardcore White Sox fan. I thought of Grandpa Fritz often that night as I was watching the game and even got teary eyed, wondering, and not knowing, if my Grandpa had ever seen them play live.

Anyway... The sights, the sounds, the music, the field, the players and the fans all contributed to my... shall we say homecoming?
The Cell

The players and the fans, Tim had prepared me with info about the team. He told me who the good players were, who they had played with before, some stats, etc...

Tim told me about Adam Dunn, and said that maybe we would get to see him hit a homer. Cool. Honestly, I really can't say that I knew who Adam Dunn was, but his name did sound familiar.

FYI Adam was signed in the off season in 2010 after playing with
the Nationals, Diamondbacks, and the Reds, to a tune of 56 MILLION US DOLLARS for the next four years. He is a southpaw slugger who throws right and can knock them out of the park. Up until this season he homered something like 1 out of every 14 at bats. Only 4 other MLB players are ahead of him in that respect, McGuire, Ruth, Bonds and Thome. Not bad company. Oh, players behind him, a good handful of them are in the Hall of Fame. In 2001, his rookie year, Adam set a National League rookie record of hitting 12 home runs in the month of August. In 2002 he had a .400 OBP and was selected for the National League All Star Team. In 2004 Dunn hit 46 home runs and had 105 runs. In 2008 he was traded to the Diamondbacks for 3 players. During that season his walk percentage was the highest in the MLB. In February of 2009 he signed with the Nationals and in his first game hit a home run and had 4 RBI's. On July 4th of 2009 Adam hit his 300th home run and it was during this season that he moved from LF to 1st base.
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All 7 of us were having a great time at the ball park. It was Adam's 1st at bat and I heard murmurs from the crowd. I looked at Tim my eyes asking him "what the hell is that all about?" Like I said I didn't even know who Dunn was but Tim informed me that Adam was in a bad slump and lots of fans were not happy. Ya think? After Adam struck out the ferocious crowd booed so loud that I was actually shocked. I am accustomed to obnoxious parents at my boys sporting events and have even heard booing, but apparently professional sports is in a different league. The fans were pissed. I was mortified. I felt so bad for him. I know many of you are thinking too bad, he is gonna make like over 80 million in his career. Listen, I know what my kid looks like when he throws ONE bad pitch, and all I want to do is tell him it's OK and hide the fact that I very well could throw up watching him pitch the rest of the game. I will tell you one thing... NO ONE is more pissed off than the boy is.

The Sox lost that night. That fact, may have deterred prospective fans, but not so. I was in,

The few weeks that followed I watched, I recorded, I watched again, I improved my stat taking abilities by scoring games, basically, I was quite obsessed with the Sox. Getting to know the players, their positions, their stats, the line up, only furthered my love for the team. Ask me what a player's jersey number and batting average is, and I can probably tell you. I have been studying this team and enjoying every minute of it. If I didn't have MAJOR short term memory loss, I would be on my way to being a walking Wikipedia of White Sox knowledge!
Well, gotta get back to White Sox Boot Camp. Read My 6th Son, A Major League Baseball Player to find out what happened when Tim and I went to see the Sox play the Yankee's less than 3 weeks later!