Since my first post with this title received some nice feedback, I thought I would provide a sequel. Plus, I had pulled together some other stories which I did not use in Part I, so it was an easier post to write on a rainy, sleety Saturday morning than some of my other ideas. I will try to organize the stories into themes for ease of reference.
My Best Boyhood Friend
- I was into sports growing up as was my best friend. We would often draw pictures in 6th grade of football or baseball players in the back of the class. He went on to be a sportswriter doing what he always did – talk sports. I accompanied him on a trip to cover our favorite college football team and he gave him a pad and pencil to pretend I was a sportswriter. He got serious and said you cannot root for our team, though, as it would be unprofessional. So, I quietly watched our team lead the whole game only to see the other team score late to tie it up. We were on the sidelines by this time and when the opponent scored, I saw my friend throw his pad and pencil ten feet into the air – “Be professional?” I asked him, to which he could only laugh.
- My friend who knows a lot about many sports, knows nothing about guns for hunting. He was working in a sporting goods store and someone was holding a rifle and asked my friend why a gun was more expensive than another. My friend explained why the gun he was holding was more than the one on display and made up reason after reason. The guy said that is interesting, but held up the gun and said “but, this is the cheaper one.”
Baseball is more art than science, or is it the other way around
- My friend and I played on a very good high school baseball team that lost to the eventual state champion in the semi-finals. In a game earlier in the season, we were playing this very good team from an all boys private school that we loved to beat. Late in the game with runners on first and second and with less than two outs, any ball hit to the 3rd base side of the field on the ground should be tossed to the 3rd baseman as that would tend to be the easiest play. Our runner on second base would have to run on any ball hit on the ground. Well, that is the science part. When a ground ball was hit to the shortstop (close to 3rd base), our runner did something very unusual and wrong. He ran back to 2nd base. All the shortstop had to do was walk over to 3rd base and step on it and the runner would be out. Yet, our guy’s move so befuddled the shortstop, he threw to the 2nd basemen who was surprised by throw. The ball rolled into right field and we ended up winning the game when our the confusing runner scored.
- On this same team, we played our archrival twice a year. While in the visiting dugout on their field, we noticed a scouting report written into the wood of the dugout such as “#19 cannot hit curve balls.” So, we tested it out and guess what – #19 cannot hit curve balls. Lesson to be learned, which we did afterwards, go to your own visiting dugout and see if there are any scouting reports written about your team.
Golf can be a contact sport
- My friend Hugh noted in his blog how boring golf can be as a spectator sport. However, on this occasion, it was painful, but funny. I should note my golfing friend in the story was OK and he laughed about it later. I was across the fairway behind what I witnessed. My friend was standing ten feet behind and maybe two feet in front of another golfer swinging with a 3 wood. In what seemingly defied the laws of physics, the ball was so poorly struck, it went over the golfer’s left shoulder and hit my friend behind her in the face. He lurched forwards a few feet unexpectedly and shook it off. There were no broken bones, but he did have a round bruise on his cheek with golf ball dimpled imprint.
- I had another friend who would sometimes do what we bad golfers do often, try to save a hole from the woods instead of taking our medicine and hitting the ball back into the fairway. In his best Phil Mickelson (who does this often to some success and some failure), my friend tried to hit a 3 wood next to a tree with a twelve-inch diameter with the ball on the wrong side of the tree. As we were watching, my friend unfortunately did not comprehend the momentum of the club and it wrapped around the tree and the clubhead hit him square in the face and knocked him to the ground. He was also alright, but it was like he was taking a boxer’s punch. The tree won in a TKO.
- A good friend and I were playing as a twosome and got paired up with these two young guys. So, we had a friendly bet of $10 a piece. I am not a great golfer, but can be good on occasion. My friend is better and can be very good on occasion. Yet, we both started poorly and we got way down in our match. Our young friends asked us if we wanted to press and we said sure as they did not see much to contend with and were right up to that point. I started to play better first and helped us halve some holes and win a couple. Then on the back nine, the excellent golfer in my friend showed up and by the 16th hole, he actually got a good bounce off the cart path and drove the green. Our young opponents said, “sirs, we don’t have that much money.” So, after we won, we said “just buy us a beer and we will call it even.” It was the best beer I have ever tasted.
My golfing friend has a few stories
- I think the best mother-in-law story I have ever heard is courtesy of my golfing friend above. I know his mother-in-law and she is very funny. On this occasion, while he and his wife were staying with her parents at the shore, mom walked in to their bedroom with him laying in bed watching TV with covers partially draped over him and one of his legs showing. You see my friend was naked. His wife is horrified in the bathroom as her mom sits on the side bed. As mom talks with him she pats his leg a couple of times and then in a sudden revelation figured out what was going on. She uttered an “oh my” and quickly backtracked out of the room.
- Before Monday Night Football became less an event and just another game on TV, my friend and a couple of other neighbors would go to what was a forerunner to the sports bar. This game featured two very good rivals, both in their heyday, the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. And, as you would expect, many people showed up in their team colors. Anytime you mix alcohol, sports and testosterone, something bad can happen. So, during a tight game one Cowboy fanatic in front of us started jawing with an Eagles fanatic behind our table. Bouncers did what they are paid to do and order was restored. Telling the story later, my friend said to our wives, “they were nose to nose” and put two fists knuckle to knuckle together to illustrate. I started teasing him saying “nose to nose? We were in the middle of them and they were twelve feet apart.” He laughed and said, “I know, but it is a better story this way.”
Directions are important
- Before GPS, asking for directions was sometimes needed. Especially when you are driving a rental car in hilly California trying to find a company headquarters. Another friend was passenger and the car slowed to ask this guy on a bicycle where this headquarters was. The guy answered, but kept pedaling, so the car crawled along beside him as he spoke. Then, the bicycle ran off the road and a ledge out of sight. My friend and his associates got out of the car and rushed to the side and looked over the ledge fearing the worst. The guy was sprawled out on top of his bicycle on a ledge ten feet below and was still telling them how to get there using his hands. My friend said, “forget that, are you alright?” He said he was fine and they helped him back up and were instructed not to worry about it.
- One of my mentors and colleagues drove off to a client meeting ninety miles away. So, we got back to work and about 75 minutes later, a nervous receptionist called and said the client my mentor was driving to see was here for the meeting. Oops. So, I entertained the client as we got in touch with my friend who backtracked to come back to the office. A lesson for us all – confirm the meeting including where it is. GPS will work, but the old saying in computer programming applies, GIGO – garbage in, garbage out.
Plain spoken is best
- My wife had a great-aunt who lived to the age of 99. She lived with my wife’s parents or, I should say, they lived with her as she was the oldest and it was her place. She had a twinkle in her eye and when she laughed her body shook. My mother-in-law and her sister was known to embellish a story. So, one day over Sunday dinner, my mother-in-law was going on and on about how good-looking this young man was from their young adult life. After listening for a few minutes, my mother-in-law looked to her sister for agreement and the great-aunt just said “To me, he was a poor pasture to lead your cows into.” We rolled onto the floor laughing.
- When my wife was a little girl and got scared at night, she would crawl into bed with her great-aunt. She would constantly try to cuddle against her aunt’s back and after inching over time and again, her great-aunt fell out of bed. So, she just dusted herself off and climbed to the other side of the bed and went to sleep.
- After tilling her fields with a mule and plow, the family finally got a tractor for my wife’s aunt. Yet, she would not take it out of first gear and had trouble changing gears. One day, my wife’s father came outside to see what a loud noise was. He saw the tractor banging into the barn, repelling and banging in again with my wife’s aunt on board. He ran to turn the tractor off and as he got closer, he heard the instructions you would give to a mule from her – “hee, haw, whoa dammit.” He said he about peed in his pants laughing as he shut it down.
I have used a couple of these stories in earlier posts, so please forgive the redundancy. I hope you enjoy them. And, if they trigger a story of yours, feel free to share or publish a similar post. It makes me smile to write these down for others. Happy trails to you…..until we meet again.