Friday, October 18, 2013

My Summer

I turned the wall thermostat up to 60 last night so I guess Summer must be over (though the furnace hasn't actually kicked on yet).  So what did I do (with my summer)?

Couple things.

Baseball.  I stopped playing on Sundays, after 15 straight seasons of playing pretty much every Sunday all summer.  So I got to three Sunday Brewers games which I enjoyed.  I saw fewer Home Talent League games then I had anticipated, however.  Only three, I think, including one post-season game.  Instead I went to several of my League's games, just to watch.

Also, I played Friday nights, regular, for the first time in almost ten years.  I wasn't sure if I shouldn't maybe take off the whole season as a player, I had begun to think of myself as manager more than player on Sundays (even though I was the only guy to play in every game, the last season) and maybe I was ready to stop playing.  Maybe even find some kids to coach/manage.  But  I decided I was too young to 'retire,' 53 when the season began, so I committed to being a regular with a team I was already loosely connected with.

I'm glad I did.  It was cool being able to just show up and play, without any extra responsibilities (though I enjoyed managing too, really more CO-managing, actually) and once I got 'acclimated' (I missed all but one of the pre-season practices and sucked for the first three games) I had a good season batting and fielding and a good time.  I'm sitting here on Friday night with no game for the first time (mostly, there's bye weeks) since May.  Bored.  ;  )

Reading.  I've always been an avid reader, ever since I first learned how, and this summer I stepped it up a notch.  I had become aware of and bought a 2,000+ page biography of Martin Luther King/History of the Civil Rights Movement in the Spring and started reading it sometime around the end of May.  It was my summer reading project and I finished it in early September.  I've written about it previously.  Also I read several baseball books including a biography of Babe Ruth and the story of Charles 'Old Hoss' Radbourn's 59 win season in 1884.  And, most recently, The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War, by James Bradley (author of Flags Of Our Fathers) and The Generals, by Thomas Ricks. 

Bradley exposes the behind the scenes deals made with Japan by Teddy Roosevelt and his 'Assistant President' William Howard Taft, policies which, he argues, would lead the two countries directly into conflict thirty-some years later.

Ricks' thesis is that during WWII the Army swiftly removed/reassigned generals who performed poorly in battles and this was key to winning the war and that they abandoned this approach shortly thereafter, with measurably awful results.  His sub-theme is that the Army stopped expecting Generals to think in strategic terms leading to a series of conflicts (Korea, Vietnam, The Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq) that were very poorly resolved.  In his afterword he makes some recommendations which he admits we are unlikely to see and which would possibly even fail to achieve the results he would seek anyway.

And I worked all summer, progressively more as we hit Fall so that I've been sucking up some overtime pay. ;  )