Over EZ with Rick



Posts from August 2013


Sports Dear John Letter
October 10, 1968 is the greatest day I ever enjoyed as a sports fan.  Just shy of my 12th birthday, I had been raised to be a Detroit Tiger fan.  My Mom was born in Detroit and had always followed the team.  She was the one who taught me to throw a baseball and catch horny-toads and ride bikes.  A boy could not have asked for a better Mom and on that October day in 1968 we were both rooting for the Tigers.  Mickey Lolich was pitching on two days rest against the legendary Bob Gibson with the series tied at 3 and the final game being played in St Louis.  I took a small transistor radio to school and had one of those ear pieces in and when teachers didn’t look I turned the volume up.  That day Lolich did something that no pitcher had ever done, or has done since, he pitched his third complete game in the Series and the Tigers won 4-1.  I couldn’t wait to get home and share the details with Mom, riding my bike like a maniac to get there!! 

Sports represented to me all that was good in the world.  I would spend fall and winter playing football in the front yards of our house and the Martinez’s next door for hours on end.  First I was the great #35 of the Dallas Cowboys, Calvin Hill, then I was George Blanda, before I became a Broncos fan.  In the 70’s we had Broncos season tickets and we were there when the team won the AFC Championship and I painted my entire basement orange in honor of the team.  To this day when I see Red Miller, the coach of the Orange Crush Broncos, I thank him.  For so many years I lived and breathed sports and the names still come easily to me.  Al Kaline, Yaz, Mickey Mantle, Len Dawson, Cassius Clay.  My personal sports hero to this day is the legendary Arnold Palmer and I was a devoted member of Arnie’s Army.  I still hold out hope of meeting him some day which would be the greatest thrill of my life.  Lew Alcindor and John Havlicek and Wilt Chamberlain introduced me to basketball and I even rooted for lefty Earl Anthony on the Pro Bowlers Tour!!  There may be better athletes today but there are no better sportsmen on the whole than when I grew up.  And I find myself in the uneasy position of losing my interest in the sports I loved so much because of that.

I really don’t need to make a list of athletes who have been caught cheating or abusing the law lately to make my point.  In fact, there have been cheaters in sports since sports started.  Things like pitchers marking up and doctoring baseballs, football players using stick-em to hold on to the ball better, players throwing games, stuff like that.  But today not only are the rules of sport being violated, the responsibility of athletes as law abiding citizens and role models has been disregarded as if rules and law don’t apply to them.  And the price for getting caught is small in a nation that often overlooks character flaws in our heroes, and what’s a few games suspension when you’re making millions.  It’s that lack of respect for law, and the complete disregard for good sportsmanship if it means winning that has brought me to the point of being unable to get passionate about the people and games I’ve loved for so long.  And I honestly believe no Commissioner can fine or suspend his sport back into being a model for people to respect.  It has to come from within, from the athletes themselves who must self-govern and say this isn’t right, this has to stop.  As long as athletes say to one of their own, “we’re behind you 100%” when they’ve been caught cheating or breaking the law that needs to come with the understanding that we’re behind you unless it continues to be a problem.  It amazes me when an athlete says, “I only did it because everyone else does”.  You only did it because the consequences for being caught are small in most cases.  With priviledge comes responsibility.  Whose teaching that lesson these days?
 
Enough of me going on and on.  I just said this out loud because I can’t believe I’m the only one that feels this way.  There’s no doubt I’ll still cheer for the home team, it just won’t be with the same love I’ve had all my life.  I won’t likely carry a transistor with an earphone so I don’t miss a play and I may not see the end of many night games.  I just don’t have the passion for sports whose athletes don’t have the passion for playing, and living right.  Yep, I’m getting crotchety J
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Social Media vs Social Manners
Well here it is, the post that’s going to out me…as a true GEEZER!!! The warning signs have been there for some time now. I’m starting to enjoy dinner about 4:30p and at 8:00p I’m wondering why I’m still awake. I really don’t care what Kim whatever her name is wears, eats, sleeps with or names her baby, or for that matter, or any of the thousand other shows and “stars” like Honey Boo-Boo. Jimmy Stewart was a star. Bob Hope was a comedian. Grace Kelly was glamorous. Lindsey Lohan, really???
 
Anyway, I was reading with interest just last week an article about social media do’s and don’ts. Seems people today have no social etiquette when it comes to using Facebook-Twiter-email-Instagram and a million other things. Well, it struck me, we have a couple generations that obviously need a refresher course on life do’s and don’ts. Forget Social media etiquette, how about plan old manners and common sense? Start there, and the other things will follow.
 
So, I am offering my services as an expert on such things, learned from my own missteps as a youth. When I was a kid my Grandfather whacked my elbow with the handle of a butter knife because it was on the diner table. The only cell phone I ever saw was the shoe Maxwell Smart talked into. Boys/Men walked between ladies and the street when on the sidewalk so they wouldn’t get splashed by passing cars. From that vast pool of life lessons I offer my children, grandchildren and younger generations a few things that will make you look, and act, way cooler. You’re welcome.
 
OPEN THE DOOR FOR GIRLS
One of the very first lessons I learned as a young man was to hold the door open for girls. In this case it was my Mom who was no girl, but the lesson was the same. You show respect and put others before yourself when you hold the door. It’s one of the earliest form of service to others we learn. Today, if the person in front of you opens the door, run like the wind Forrest, before it closes in your face!!
 
DON’T WATCH TV AT THE DINNER TABLE
Or play with your smart phone, xbox, Nintendo, ipad or other electronic distracting device. This will be difficult at first but slowly words will start to come out of your mouth, then complete sentences! How was your day today? What did you learn at school? When does Uncle Bob get out of prison? And gradually a laugh or two will spring forth and before you know it you learn your brother has a name other than Dude!!! If Adam and Eve had not been distracted at dinner time perhaps they would have discussed the snake and things would be all different now. Family conversation at dinner time is music to Gods ears!!
 
HAT OFF DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
And it wouldn’t kill you to put your hand over your heart either. Our National Anthem has carried men and women into battle. The flag we face when we hear the song has draped the caskets of soldiers who died protecting the freedoms we enjoy every day. HEY OVER PRICED ATHLETE, the song lasts about 2 minutes, how about showing a little respect for the song and banner that allow you to do what you do instead of gazing into the stands or dancing around. And those of you in the stands, put down the beer, take off your hat and be honored to do it.
 
BLUE TOOTH IN THE GROCERY STORE
So there I was in the soup aisle at the grocery store and the lady standing next to me says, “Why didn’t he kiss you?” I looked over at her and said, “excuse me?” And then she said, “Did you end up sleeping with him?” At this point I’m getting a little annoyed and said, “what are you talking about?” She looked at me like I was the rudest person in the world and I noticed she had one of those Bluetooth things in her ear and she was on the phone. She was mad I was listening to her conversation, which she was having loudly, next to me, in the soup aisle. I have an idea. TALK ON YOUR PHONE AT HOME!!! I don’t care about your personal life, I’m trying to buy some eggs and chips. It creeps me out when you’re standing in the grocery store talking to yourself. You are not so important that you can’t wait until the whole world doesn’t hear your business!
 
SEND A THANK YOU NOTE
Not a thank you email. Not a thank you text. Not a thank you tweet. Yea, those are fine for a quick word of thanks, but always send a follow up hand-written note of thanks. I know, it’s hard to auto correct or spellcheck your handwriting and it probably takes 4 minutes to do something you can email in a minute or less. Yea, the grandmother who used to mail you a $2 bill inside a clown card that said “To Grandma’s favorite little grandchild” is no longer with us, but this is a karma thing. And it’s nice, and it’ll help the post office make a profit. It still means something to most of us when out of no where a HANDWRITTEN note shows up. Try it.
 
PAJAMAS
I looked up the definition of pj’s and here’s what the dictionary says…” a loose usually two-piece lightweight suit designed especially for sleeping or lounging”. I looked twice and didn’t see any thing that mentioned they should also be worn to Walmart, Target, restaurants or movie theaters. If you’re too lazy to wake up five minutes earlier and change out of your sleepwear before going to the Mall you might have a disease and should seek medical attention. We older folks think that just means you don’t have much respect for yourself. And don’t get me started on sagging pants. There are lots of things you can do to show you’re unique. Building the Statue of Liberty, that’s talent. Wearing your pants between your butt and your knees, that’s disgusting.
 
LANGUAGE
I can still remember the very first cuss word I ever said. It was damn, and I got spanked for saying it. This morning Diane and I were at breakfast and I heard the kids in the booth next to us say…sucks, ass, bite me, Jesus and a couple other things that would have resulted in traction when I was their age. The number of times people use the F word these days equals their heart beats per minute. I’m sorry that young people aren’t embarrassed to say bad words in front of their elders. I’m also sorry they don’t call their elders and speak to the, and learn about their lives in more than 140 character conversations. We really have lost the art of speaking to one another and so much could be solved if we did. First, there is conversation.
 
Wow, I really am a Geezer. A Geezer who thinks our whole world has been reduced to what we hold in our hands and not who we hold in our hands. You want to know what happens when we don’t talk to each other anymore, or look at each other anymore, or write to one another anymore? Just take a peek at what’s happening in our nation’s capitol. Enough Geezing for one day!!
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Lucy
This morning while I was doing my radio show on KEZW I received a call from Lucy. It seems I have known her forever, but really it’s just been 39 years. When Diane and I graduated from high school Di started working at Woolworth in Buckingham Square and Lucy was there. She soon became something of a guardian angel for the two of us, keeping a watchful eye on these two teenagers who had fallen in love and didn’t have half a brain between them. We knew we wanted to get married and take on the world, we just didn’t quite realize how big the world was! Well Lucy had seen some of the world and gently nudged us along the right path until I joined the Air Force and we moved. For 25-years we lost track of one another until one day I got a call in the KEZW studios and heard a voice say, “Do you remember me?”
 
Two months ago Lucy and Diane and I talked about the Colorado Freedom Memorial right after the concert the night before the dedication. Lucy told me how proud she was and how proud my Mom would have been and as we parted for the night she said she would make lunch plans and be in touch. Just this morning I answered the phone in the Studio and it was quickly obvious that we wouldn’t be having lunch. Instead we talked about our daughter Sara’s christening, when Lucy held her and she cried the whole time. The Priest had leaned over and told Lucy, “They only cry when you pinch them!” We laughed about that this morning. And we talked about how fast time goes by and we talked about how loved Lucy is by so many. I told her that was because she had loved them all first. And we talked about how much we loved each other. I told Lucy to call me whenever she wanted, she said she would and we hung up. I’m certain it’s the last time I’ll ever speak with Lucy. 
 
Earlier this week a close friend of hers had called me at the station with the news that Lucy had been diagnosed with advanced cancer and would likely only live a couple weeks. Up until a week ago she never felt sick, and now she has just a few days left with us. She’s at home, happy to be surrounded by her family. Diane went to see her this afternoon and spent a couple hours with Lucy, just the two of them reminiscing about our life’s journey. When Diane and I fell in love there were three people in the world who believed we could succeed at this marriage thing. I was 18 and Diane was 19 and what did we know about love, and taking care of ourselves and making a way for ourselves? Dick Moosman, our high school drama teacher and best man at our wedding, my Mom, who embraced Diane like a daughter she had always wanted and Lucy were the three. When Lucy leaves us all three will be gone. My Dad is still with us and lives close but he’s been a little under the weather as well. My best friend is always with me but I feel like I need to be Diane’s protector. The time has come for me to be the grown up. Soon I will be the oldest remaining relative on our family tree and it frightens me. Is it silly to be nervous about facing the world alone when you’re 57? 
 
I am on the verge of being the elder, with only the memories of those that went before me to guide me. I suppose if I have listened well I will know what to say when the time comes for wisdom; If I have watched well I will know the time for holding, and the time for letting go; If I have loved well I will be loved in return when it is most needed. Thank you Lucy for finding us on your journey and sharing your love and wisdom. We’ll keep trying to make you proud and I’m holding you t that lunch, wherever we end up sharing it. I love you.
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