Monday, June 28, 2010

Random thoughts from a treadmill!

In the never ending battle to maintain a figure that resembles my younger self, I offer my daily morning conversation with my conscience and my treadmill, or what I sometimes refer to as "The Beast"!

5:00am-  The alarm wakes me from a wonderful sleep. 

 I hate the alarm.  Why does it have to go off so early?  I could just take the morning off!
  Taking mornings off is what got you in this situation in the first place. 
Exactly what situation am I in? 
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot.  I could just wait and walk this afternoon after work.
Did you forget that you have a wife and two children that will be demanding your attention this afternoon?  Aren't they worth getting up for this morning?
You're right!  Where are my shoes?

After gathering myself out of bed, putting on my shoes and grabbing a bottle of water I approach "The Beast" from the east side.  I can hear it laughing!  I remind myself how much I hate the beast and I allow my thoughts to turn to those people who either actually like this working out thing, or do not have to work out to stay thin.  Those people annoy me!

I take my place in the center of the death trap and grab my i-pod.  I hope that the first song is a good one!

Which workout should I pick today?  I think I will go with #7 today in the endurance category.  Might as well let the beast whip me good today as long as I am up!
Let's do this!

A song from the 80's blares through my ear buds as the beast roars to life.  She starts off nice and easy.

This is nothing.  Why do I hate it so much?  Anybody can do this! 
(I forget that this is just the warm-up stage)
I don't see how walking can reduce belly fat.  All of those magazine covers say to walk away your belly fat, but I just don't understand how that really works.
Haven't you lost 15 pounds over the past three months by doing just that?
Oh, yeah!  My pants have been fitting better lately!

As the beast turns up the speed a little and slowly makes its way to an incline of ten I am again reminded of why I hate this machine.

How did you let yourself get in this kind of shape anyway?
Doesn't the picture at the top of this blog explain it all?
You don't exactly watch what you eat very well and there is of course beer!
But I've just got a little tummy.
You keep telling yourself that fat boy!
How long does this workout last?  I'm starting to feel this hill a little bit! 
I really hate this!

My mind starts to wonder.

What is on the agenda for today?
Do the kids have anything planned?
Did I do that report for work?
I need to do some laundry and cleaning up tonight.
What can we cook for supper?
Nothing too bad for you fat boy, remember why you are on this thing!!!

The beast is now running on all cylinders, but a funny thing is starting to happen!

I must be catching that second wind that everyone talks about.  I'm feeling pretty good!
I'm not fat, just a few pounds away from my fighting weight!
Man that's a good song! (air drums are now in full effect as I stride to the beat)
Let me pick up these weights over here and get some upper body going as well!
Come on beast!  Show me what you got!  You will never defeat me!

Sweat is staring to roll off of my bald head and I am reminded that short, bald, and fat are not the best of combinations.  I can't do much about my height or my hair, but I can get my lean body back!  I press on with new found determination!

Man this feels good!  I love this feeling!  What belly fat?
Dana has one SEXY husband!
If I can eat right for the next week or two and keep this easy treadmill stuff going every morning, I can reach my goal of 20 pounds with no problem.
I will then be back to my college days form and have my body that I had in my 20's!
Who's scared of approaching 40?  Not me and my soon to be slim self!
What is going on here?  Are you giving up beast?  Why are you slowing down?
Has it been 30 minutes already?  I've still got more in the tank!  I wish I had more time than this!

The beast slowly rolls to a stop as I finish off my bottle of water.  I take a glance in the window and see my reflection.  I can see my 20 year old self trying its best to show through what is now an even smaller layer of past eaten hot wings and cold beer.  I now remember why I started this mission!  I want to be a better me for the sake of my health and I also want to look good for my wife! 

If I keep this up for 12 more months, I'm gonna look great for our Disney Cruise come next May!
Might even sign up for a hot body contest! :)

See you tomorrow Beast!!!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

GA Sports Hall of Fame and Baseball Card Show

I had a good time today!  I took Reid and his friend Samuel to Macon for a baseball card show.  It was the first card show that I have been to in almost 20 years.  Better yet it was held at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame Museum.  They have a very nice place and the boys seemed to really like it.  They have sports exhibits of all of Georgia's  sports teams from high school to professional as well as individual star exhibits.  They also have interactive exhibits in which you can shoot basketball, throw a football, play trivia, record a call of Hank Aaron's 715th home run, etc, etc. 

The boys are pictured here in front of a stadium scene in the track and field section.  Reid is holding up a Chipper Jones card that he purchased.  The card show was pretty neat and the boys were easy customers.  They would just ask the vendors where the Braves cards were.  We would spend some time looking through the cards and picking out Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, Tommy Hanson and a few others.  We could get most of the cards for less than 50 cents a piece, so we didn't spend much money but the boys thought they had struck gold.  I did manage to get Samuel a Jason Heyward rookie card for a fair price and a Chipper Jones rookie card as well.  He had been earning some money for doing his chores and was bound to spend it.  I wanted him to spend it wisely so we invested in a couple of rookie cards that hopefully will one day turn out to be good finds!

I enjoyed the card show as well.  It was fun to look at all of the old cards and see what kind of price they were bringing.  The hobby still seems to be doing pretty well and vendors acted like they were staying busy.  I purchased a Stephen Strasburg rookie card for my collection.  A cheap one.  Not the one that is currently for sale on ebay that is bringing $500,000 as we speak.  Can you believe that someone is willing to take a half million dollar gamble on a kid that has pitched 4 major league games?  He has electric stuff, but he could blow out his arm tomorrow.  Just ask Mark Prior!

I will leave you with the following picture.  This was so cool.  This is a cut out of two Georgia Southern football players carrying Erk Russell off of the field after one of our National Championships.  I think I played the part of the bald coach pretty well!
It was a fun day and I hope the boys enjoyed it as much as I did!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day Daddy!

I guess the first real memories I have of my father are that of him playing softball.  When I was a small child, Daddy played on some really good softball teams and traveled a lot playing for those teams.  He has played for numerous state championship teams and even went to a national tournament.  I got to tag along with him and be the team's bat boy often falling asleep on the bench on some very late nights.  It was during that time of my life that I realized that my Dad was a super hero. 

Daddy could hit a softball further than anyone in this town had ever seen.  Every one at the parks would talk about how strong and powerful his swing was.  He would often win the home run trophy at the end of tournaments for hitting the most home runs.  The legend of his super hero status was also fueled in my mind by his college buddies that told me stories of how Daddy was one of only two people that could hit a home run on the college softball fields at Georgia Southern.  What is now known as Beautiful Eagle Creek once served as a home run line for intramural athletics.  It was a long way from home plate and only four home runs were ever hit into the ditch.  Daddy hit three of them!  Daddy played third base.  He always played even with the bag and challenged balls that were hit to him with a bull like mentality.  I never saw him make an error.  He was fearless!  His ball playing days made this young boy believe that he really was the coolest Dad on the planet.

Daddy is one of those people that is good at everything.  I am sort of like that.  I can pick up any sport or hobby and do it pretty well, but Daddy always did it better.  He could shoot doves better than anyone.  He could catch more fish.  He could kill bigger deer.  He could hit a golf ball a country mile as well as putt lights out.  But all of those things fail to compare to what he was truly great at.  My Dad was a great father to both of his kids and he raised us to respect him and my mother, love God, and live life the right way by showing respect for authority and having respect for ourselves.  I was a pretty good kid growing up and stayed out of trouble for the most part.  I went on to college and did very well.  I consider myself a pretty successful banker and I owe all of that to my mother and father who have always been there for there son!

As I get ready for Father's Day tomorrow with my own children, I can only hope to be the kind of father that my Dad has been for me.  I already feel that I am not measuring up because my children do not mind as well as I did when I was there age, but I keep trying to be a good disciplinarian as well as a loving father and keep wishing that what I am trying to teach them will eventually stick.

If you ask Daddy today, he will tell you that he regrets playing so much softball when we were young.  He says that he feels like he missed too much by being away on the weekends.  He will say that he was not being the father that he should have been.  I will say that that is simply not true.  No one could ask for a better father than I had as a child growing up or as a grown man today.  I am very lucky to not only have a father son relationship with my Dad, but  a friendship as well.  Big John is my best friend and one of the boys and I am glad that we can have that type of relationship with one another! 

Happy Father's Day Big John!  Even though we are now old dudes and I can whip you at golf any time I want, you are still my super hero!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Child's Play has now turned into big business!

From the age of 9 until I was about 19, I was a baseball card collector.  It is probably better stated that my father and I were baseball card collectors.  We have quite the collection that includes all of the stars from the 1980's and early 90's.  We have some older guys as well that we picked up at different card shows or auctions.  In fact, our collection includes about 35,000 cards, of which maybe 500 have some better than average value, and around 50 that have some real value.  My son has shown a lot of interest in baseball lately, so I thought it would be neat to let him see my ball cards.  Daddy got them out of the attic and brought them to my shop for me to sort through.  After spending all weekend filing cards with their correct teams and moving Hall of Famers to special notebooks, I was reminded of how much fun card collecting could be and I also wondered why we stopped.

I asked Daddy that very question.  His response was that it got to where there were too many cards being put out by too many companies.  The value of the cards were not what they use to be and the price of the cards per pack were getting higher and higher.   When I was a kid, you could buy three packs of baseball cards for a dollar.  We would ride from store to store and get three packs at each store.  Daddy's limit was usually $5 bucks.  That was 15 packs of cards!  You had three companies to choose from.  You could buy Topps, Donruss, or Fleer cards.  Each company would offer you a little something special in the pack like bubble gum or a sticker of your favorite team.  It was a cheap hobby that could be shared by father and son and cards could be traded back and forth between friends to make sure that you had every card of your favorite player.  It was all fun and games until 1989 and then these guys hit town....

This is a 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. baseball card.  This is what changed the landscape of card collecting.  This was the hottest card to hit the market in decades.  Upper Deck sold every card that they made in 1989 and then pre-sold every card that they could mint in 1990.  The cards were special because the owners of the new company had found a way to place holograms on the card.  This would make it very difficult to be duplicated by counterfeiters.  The card was also printed on a fine white glossy finish, not cardboard.  It was really something and they knew it!  Demand was high, and with that comes bigger prices!  It was obvious that the other companies would have to step up their game to compete with Upper Deck.  Upper Deck was making a better product with better pictures and was charging a premium.  The 3 other guys soon followed the lead of Upper Deck and started making better cards, however other companies also tried to get in on the game and ride the wave of baseball card popularity.  Companies such as Score and Leaf threw their hats into the game and also produced a high quality card.  Now a trip to the store involved cards that cost $.50 to $1.00 a pack and you had to choose between 5 or 6 different companies.  Since I was in college and had shown no interest in collecting any longer, Daddy just gave up!  The last year that we have cards on  file is 1991.  They include cards from Upper Deck, Topps, Donruss, Fleer, Score, Leaf, and Bowman.  Not a kids game anymore!

Fast forward 20 years.  I'm not sure if the game is much better.  A pack of cards cost $2.  What kid can afford to buy more than a couple of packs at a time?  Topps is still around and Upper Deck is too, although I think they are on the way out.  Fleer, Donruss and Score are no longer with us and Bowman is still in the game producing high end cards.  Cards are hard to find.  They are no longer in every convenient store.  Reid and I went to Walmart to find some the other day.  There are less companies putting cards out, but they have a bigger variety of cards.  Topps had three different sets of cards on the shelf.  I have been out of the game too long to know what I am supposed to buy.  It has really become too big of a business for kids to enjoy!

So what is a card collector to do?  Remember when I told you that I had about 35,000 cards that were basically worth nothing more than my memories?  If you are a new collector, why spend $2 per pack of cards and storing all of those cards to try and find an Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, or Jason Heyward rookie card.  Today you can simply order which cards you really want from some dude on the Internet.  Need a Chipper Jones?  We got it!  Need a Derek Jeeter?  We got it!  Need a Tommy Hanson?  We got it!  Yes we even have a Bryce Harper, who was drafted only yesterday with the first pick in the 2010 draft!

I think that is what I will do.  I'll just order up the cards that I really want and put them up for safe keeping for Reid to look at one day.  I'm really sorry that Reid will not get to play with his ball cards or trade them with his friends, but this is no longer a kids game, its a business!

Oh, how I long for the days of stale bubble-gum, shoe boxes, heroes on cardboard and willing buddies to play the game!

Monday, June 7, 2010

My Yard!

Call me crazy, but I really enjoy yard work.  As you know, I am not a person that can sit still for very long.  Yard work allows me to use some of my excess energy.  I snapped some pictures Saturday and thought that I would share them.

This is the side yard that has a bed of lantanna and hawthorn with a pink dogwood.

The kids like the old man in the tree
These are my favorites!

I like these too!
One of the backyard views

My parents spend a great deal of time in their yard so I guess I get some of it naturally.  My Mom and Dad have even won Beauty Spot of the Month for their beautiful work in their gardens.  But I can say something that they can not!


So here's to yard work and to all those people who take pride in a job well done!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Glove Work!

Baseball seems to be a big part of our family right now.  We just finished our first season of playing pitching machine ball and Reid seems to really enjoy practicing in the yard and working to get better.  I hope that we can continue to work all summer in efforts to be ready for next season.  Part of that work involves what I call "glove work".  I want Reid to be a good fielder of the baseball, so we constantly play catch and work on fielding the ball.  This also involves me having to do my share of catching the baseball too.  I don't mind because not only do I get to spend time with my son, but it has also brought me back into a relationship with an old friend, my Wilson A2000. 

For the uneducated, the Wilson A2000 in the best baseball glove to have ever been made. I got mine when I was 15 years old and played my high school career with it.  I truly believe that a Wilson baseball glove is just flat out better than the competition, and for this reason alone, Reid owns one too.

This is a picture of Reid's Wilson A450 youth glove and my 22 year old Wilson A2000.  She still looks pretty good doesn't she.  I now get to use her about four or five times a week.  I love the sound that the pop of the ball makes as it hits the pocket.  I tell Reid to throw me fastballs just so I can hear it pop.

Here are the two gloves in the ready position.  Notice how the glove has a nice curve to it that will funnel all balls to the pocket.  Another good quality about a Wilson glove.

Most kids these days seem to fall in love with their bats.  They want the latest and greatest hitting weapon available.  For me it was always about the glove.  I took great pride in caring for my glove and considered it very valuable.  In fact a Wilson A2000 is valuable.  They will run you about $250 these days.  I am trying to teach Reid to love and care for his glove also.  He slept with it while we were breaking it in and constantly toted it around the house throwing a ball into the webbing.  We rub oil on it together and talk about taking care of what is a very important part of his baseball equipment.  I can only hope that if he sees the need in taking care of something that means a lot to him, then maybe he will learn a life lesson as well.

It is time for Reid to receive an update on his glove.  His current glove has served him well through two years of T-ball and one year of pitching machine ball, but we are starting to work with harder baseballs and they are taking their tole on the stitching.  There is nothing wrong with the glove, it is just made to handle the softer baseballs used in T-ball, not real baseballs.  I have ordered him a Wilson A500 series glove and it should be here in a few days.  The leather will be stronger and the stitching will be more supportive.  I can't wait to start the breaking in process and teach Reid all over again the values of taking care of your glove.

I'll leave you with one last Glory Day Picture.  See if you can recognize that little beauty on my left hand.