It’s good to be back. At my age, it’s good to be anywhere.
I think that’s an old Rodney Dangerfield or Henny Youngman joke, but I’m not to proud to confiscate humor, especially from funny people.
It’s been an interesting summer, I suppose. I’m looking forward to football season – high school, college and pro – because it gives me a sense of purpose and belonging. And I need to belong because I’m extremely unsure of myself.
Anyway, while the blog will certainly be more about sports than anything else, it’s always going to have some variety. I’m kicking off today with 10 Summer 2012 memories.
Andy Griffith’s passing – Since Griffith died on July 3, I’ve been watching a steady flow of “The AndySheriff Andy Griffith of Mayberry.Griffith Show” repeats on TV Land and wherever else I can find them. I think it’s the best show in history for a number of reasons. One, there’s Don Knotts as Barney Fife. But what is underrated is the lesson “TAGS” can provide parents and fathers in particular. There are so many great episodes in which Andy imparts tremendous parenting and wisdom on his young son, Opie. I think Griffith provided a mass audience with some of the greatest parenting skills ever seen on television.
Cardinals baseball – As always, I’m watching a lot of games. And it’s fun that my wife, Debbie, watches with me. She can be a bit more vocal than I’d prefer, but for the most part we’re in wedded bliss as we watch the Cardinals together. Unless they lose. Then the bliss becomes something much less desirable and my wife sees a side of me that is best kept under wraps. So far it’s working, though.
My son’s engagement – I had my doubts as to whether Jeff would ever meet the right one, but he did and in October – the 20th to be precise – he and Shannon will be married in Arkansas City. Along with a great bride comes a great little girl, 6-year-old Airyn. So I’m about to be not only a father-in-law, but a grandfather-in-law. And my son is going to be a fantastic parent, although it wouldn’t hurt him to watch some of those Andy Griffith episodes once or twice.
Golf – The game is up and down, which is to be expected since I rarely practice. But if the key to becoming a better golfer is to spend hours on the practice range, I don’t know if I want to be a better golfer. I wish a better golf swing could be gained by osmosis. Wouldn’t that be great?
Concerts – We’ve only been to a couple, including Joe Walsh at the Stiefel Theater in Salina and Crosby, Stills and Nash at the Hartman Arena in Park City. Both shows were outstanding. I was particularly impressed by the vocals of CSN. Stephen Stills was as good as I hoped he would be and “Southern Cross” remains one of my all-time favorite songs. I guess I was surprised by how good David Crosby’s voice still sounds. Seems like the kid has been though a lot to maintain such high vocal ability.
Movies – Can’t say that I’ve been to many. I did see “Hunger Games,” which was good. But probably not good enough to make me want to read the books. I do like Jennifer Lawrence, though, and Woody Harrelson is just so good. But the best movie I saw this summer (maybe it was late spring) was “Bernie,” starring Jack Black. My attitude about Black going in was pretty gray. But I thought his performance was good enough for him to be nominated for an Oscar. In fact, I’ll be disappointed if he isn’t. I have definitely dropped the ball with my movie watching, though. I need to do better.
Television – With so many baseball games to watch – not to mention the Olympics and my addiction to “The Andy Griffith Show” – TV shows are not a priority. But we are deep into “Breaking Bad,” which has one more episode this season before winding it up with eight new episodes in 2013. And we did zip through the three seasons of the HBO series “Deadwood,” which was incredible. There were nights when we watched three and sometimes four episodes because we just couldn’t step away.
Doing radio – After nearly 12 years, I still enjoy being on “Sports Daily” with Bruce Haertl every morning on KFH. We have had a good run for a long time and I hope radio is always a part of what I do professionally. When I was in high school, all I ever wanted to do was be the play-by-play guy for the St. Louis Cardinals. That’s all. Well, that didn’t pan out, but being on sports-talk radio gives me a chance to do something different and something fun.
Our house – Last year, we added a screened-in patio and some landscaping. This year hasn’t been quite as busy, but we did get a couple of new garage doors (Yippee!!) and some exterior lighting. We’re also getting our house painted in late September/early October. And we’re kicking around the possibility of a bathroom remodeling. Probably need to win the lottery for that to happen.
Lawrence-Dumont Stadium – There is no other place in Wichita that gives me the same feeling of the old ballpark at the corner of Sycamore and Maple. I spent so much of my youth there and developed a big part of my deep love with baseball at that spot. After a few years of negligence toward the National Baseball Congress World Series, I got involved in that tournament again in 2012 and wrote several columns during the last week. And I’ve been to eight to 10 Wingnuts games this summer, more for the ballpark than anything else. L-D is one of Wichita’s most important landmarks. I hope it’s around forever.