Little League WS Heroics, Blasts from My Past, Appropriate (IMHO) Statuary

CURTISS teeball

Curtiss is now ‘Capt. Curt’ and a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, but thank God for cameras that can save memorable moments in our lives.

After enjoying the last of a small bag of succulent, chocolate covered strawberries generously sent home with me after a Sunday steak dinner, I‘m shot-gunning (topically, not literally) what came to me last night while watching Texas beat Michigan 5-1 at the Little League World Series.

That the Southwest team whacked back-to back-to back home runs in the 3rd inning had everyone– including the announcers—jazzed. As a grownup, one might think the field isn’t actually that big, but as a participant, yanking one out IN THE WORLD SERIES isn’t something those young men will ever forget. Had to love the 3rd base coach, giving skin to the kid who tomahawked a high hard one for final homer and saying, “Yeah, you oughta be smiling about that one!” especially since he’d just gotten into game as a pinch hitter.

Hell, I still remember the first play of my Pop Warner football ‘career’, under the lights at Saratoga. The center neglected to snap the ball on first sound as planned, but we came back to the huddle saying, “Hey, our helmets are better than theirs!” because when we fired off, the other guys sounded plastic-y.  I’ve never forgotten that Bobby Massaroni didn’t get to play because he was ¼ pound under the minimum. (Shout outs to other players Jim Schermerhorn, who expressed interest in the LLWS, Bob Houlihan, who I see on FB on a regular basis, and Steve Lussier, wherever he is.)

Since I‘m tripping down memory lane sports-wise:

  • Going to my nephew Curtiss’ tee ball game (#4, above, with Dave walking behind him) and laughing with everyone else when batter hit a grounder right to him at first base and he couldn’t see it, because he had the glove in front of his face and didn’t take it away while moving head side to side.
  • Brother Dave, after being told by scorekeepers that this was the 10th batter, shocking the ladies by (kiddingly) saying, “Shhh, maybe we can sneak another one in.” Volunteering to umpire a game in flip flops and tank tee (plus the pad), calling my nephew Spencer out on a third strike after he told me (during an injury time out) the previous strike hadn’t actually been in the strike zone. I’ll always chuckle about that one.
  • Several years later, I snapped a picture of Curtiss’ only hit of the season while on vacation in NY. He was thrown out at second by a mile moments later, because the next batter took a pitch when the hit-and-run was on.
  • Nephew Ryan, coming in to pitch when his team was behind like 8-1, and holding other team down while our family– including my parents, his brothers, parents, dog, and eventually all his buddies from other games, because their game took so long– came back to win.
  • Interviewing a long time Little League administrator, Circuit Judge Harry Fogle of Clearwater, FL, who felt participation meant actually playing. As a member of the International Rules Committee, he stumped long and hard for what became a tenet of the game, “because a kid doesn’t learn the value of an activity like baseball sitting on the bench, although it’s a different story later on.”
  • Umpiring softball in Florida, and asking about a particular stand-alone fence in left field, which was an HR, but could also be caught for an out. Inquiring about the usual 10-run ‘mercy rule’, one player said with a wink, “Yeah, but this is against the Methodists.”

On an unrelated front, I was impressed by the statue erected to Napoleon at Waterloo when my brother Steve and I were in Belgium for his exchange brother’s wedding long ago. It’s a lion with its paw on a small globe of the world, atop a 300-ft. high mound of earth that *definitely* stands out when almost all of Belgium is flat as a table.

You might recall Napoleon LOST at Waterloo, so I guess it meant enough to everyone else that they immortalized the event. (FYI, someone had just recently spray painted one side of the monument in protest.) My take on statues: Some are legit, and bless Gettysburg for standing firm on not taking any of theirs down. That particular three-day struggle of a battlefield is the epitome of what the Civil War meant to this country, capped by Lincoln’s immortal ‘Gettysburg Address’. Certainly not a tweet, but memorable to the max.

‘Old School Interviews’ – One on One, When You *Knew* Face Time Counted

construction-indep8-16

Sometimes you wonder, beyond all your skills, how much more time and effort it’s going to take to get back on the smooth, fast job track.

There’s no guarantee that yesterday’s walk-in interview was as ultimately successful as I would like, at least I haven’t heard ‘You’re the man!’ by 10 a.m. I presented my various abilities regarding the administrative-sales hybrid position I had learned about to the decision maker, and got a decently hearty handshake after 15-20 minutes of the owner-Boss Man’s time though, and that’s tough to beat nowadays. Ask any car salesman about two hours with a ‘one-legger’ who wants to discuss an incredible deal with the not-there wife about the difference.

The job-seeker who actually gets such an opportunity should 1) thank God, or whatever entity/Universal force they believe in, 2) lay out your best case as well and succinctly as possible, and 3) send a follow-up note (vs. an e-mail!) recapping some high points and acknowledging thanks for the time and chance to present yourself. Having gotten up close and personal attention, you *don’t* want to blow it because they’re too busy to check the inbox for two days, or an e- somehow goes into Spam folder. Many gurus will tell you this, believe it.

Having decided to drive 31 miles to take such a shot, after recruiter indicated he was kind of clueless about how to deal with ‘old school’ type—and probably my resume, because he’s essentially a millennial-aged IT and finance guy—I’m taking time after filling out another online form and sending a couple e-s in follow-up to companies from a job board to make a point.

The recession pretty much blew away the walk in a door-impress the Boss Man-get a job-become Successful scenario many probably saw in a movie, especially if 40 is anywhere on your radar. When sooo many were looking for ANY job, recruiting firms became the way to deny seekers access to the boss’ time. A certain frustration crops up daily knowing that, whatever your conglomeration of skills are, not being a super-techie, having zero chance at becoming a home run hitting sports legend, or (probably) winning the lottery, means having to rely on someone who might have been a twinkle in someone’s eye when you got a college degree near the end of last century.

‘Bob’ told me twice I presented myself well, and that he appreciated fact I’d been able to find his company’s front door. He asked questions and listened to answers—“I don’t see that on your resume,” “It doesn’t fit on one page. Expectation (if sent vs. presented) is there’s enough to raise your interest, then I’d hope to tailor extra information if we got an opportunity to meet,”– even if one or two indicated I lacked something pertinent. Having asked about his company’s ‘footprint’ (area worked in, which was 200 miles), been able to relate ABCs of skills to the reality of position he’d discussed with a recruiter, and told him enough about current website–‘no testimonials, but your competitor only has one, and its negative’, or the spot for a blog had a two year old date on it– showed a definitive interest on my part. It’s impossible to deny how powerful that is in person vs. anything else.

There’s more to do of course, because only one result counts in sales, and that’s someone signing something that equals agreement (and you get paid). For one day though, hell, even 20 minutes! it’s no problem to be happy about having a great chance to present Glenn Shorkey to an honest-to-God decision maker.