Monday, April 30, 2007

A "Win" is a "Win"

Baseball season is here and during a brief respite between trips I managed to get a game in coaching my son’s team. Spring rains made the whole thing iffy and the fact that we got to play today was a blessing (and the result of a lot of work on the field, which looked like a swamp when everyone first arrived). I try not to tie too much to the outcome of these games; it’s not like any of this will really mean much in 5 years time, but today was a treat…

The team had 22 hits and 15 runs during the game and dominated through the entire line-up. This was what was best about the game; even the kids that normally stand at the plate with their knees shaking got hits today. It was those hits that meant the most to me! There’s always that small group of kids that find everything easy, that will end up as Prom Kings and Business Executives; for these kids, a little victory means nothing (and is expected). But the faces of the also-rans as they smacked the ball into the field and heard me yelling that they just scored us another run…this was worth everything!!!

The team Manager and I umpired a game after ours was over and then stopped at a Pub for a Burger and a few Beers. After a long day in the sun, the food and drink were great and we laughed and talked about how special the day had been for the boys….

I’m certainly not one of those who think of winning as everything. I’ve been lucky in life and if you tend to win a lot, you realize that it really means nothing at all. Still, to those for whom a win is a rare an elusive thing, these moments are like water in the desert! It was something to see kids that probably don’t smile too much smiling without reservation today and holding their heads up with pride. I guess winning once and a while is not such a bad thing after all.

Best! Norm.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Wolf

This is a great story!

A grandson told of his anger at a schoolmate who had done him an injustice. The grandfather said, “Let me tell you a story. I too have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much with no sorrow for what they do. But, hate wears you down and does not hurt the enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times. It is as if there are two wolves inside of me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so and in the right way.”

“But the other wolf is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights with everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is hard to live with these two wolves inside me because both of them try to dominate my spirit.”

The Boy looked intently into his grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins?”

The grandfather solemnly replied, “The one I feed.”

-Vickie Smith

Best! Norm.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Quiet Café in Germany

I don’t look for enduring happiness in this world…only happy moments.

I am working this week in Frankfurt, Germany but have chosen to stay about 20 minutes west of Frankfurt (by train) in the city of Mainz. Mainz lies on the Rhine River and is dominated by the Cathedral “Dom” of St Martin, which is over 1000 years old.

I have been blessed with beautiful weather for this visit and the blossoms of spring are everywhere (it is sunny and 80˚F). They have an open–air market here on weekends and the streets are filled with shoppers and vendors; fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers are everywhere.

I spent the entire afternoon enjoying the activity and beauty of the town and found myself near the banks of the river early in the evening. The Germans must enjoy carnival rides as I see Ferris Wheels and Rollercoaster’s on the riverbanks of every town that I have been to…Mainz is no different. I stop at a sausage vendor and get a Bratwurst that is as long as my arm and a liter of beer.

I sit beside the river and watch the families riding the carnival rides and the teenagers sunning themselves along the banks of the Rhine. The sun feels great after the long winter…the food is wonderful….the sounds are happy sounds and the sights are good sights…

I remind myself that a life is just a collection of memories…and this is a very good one. We all seem to be chasing so many things; I hope we don’t forget to chase a good memory now and then. In other words, don’t forget to stop and smell the Beer!

Best! Norm.