Hello and welcome to this edition of What’s in my Brain Today.
Today is January 27th and it’s five days before the Superbowl pitting the New England Patriots versus the ugly and clashing uniforms of the Seattle Seahawks. Most people in the state of Missouri and well beyond the Show Me State’s borders seem to harbor some resentment or loathing of the NFL Patriots. I personally do not really care who wins the Superbowl (my girlfriend is a Patriots fan) but I would like to see the Patriots win just based on the statistical benefit I received from Gronk and Brady in the fantasy football arena. Otherwise bring on the commercials that I cannot hear.
There is an image attached to this post and is at the heart of this post’s submission. It shows 11 guys and a dog (Walter) posing in front of a tree at the end of a night of softball at Wilmore Park. This picture was taken on the ‘small’ field directly behind Walgreen’s opposite the ‘river’ Des Peres. The Lager Sluggers ruled that park when the likes of Sportscenter, D-Myz, Freddie, Borgs, Big Dawg, Huey Dawg, Commish, Wamp, Font, Brum, Gus, Darryl, T-Dub, Fozzie, Cartman, Noose, Bo, Eazy, Freak, Jojo, Big Chad, Limpert, BDR, Tiny, Thurm, Hot Rod, Silver and some other ghosts of years gone by laced’em up. Back then the bat technology was more metal and muscle than composite technology. If you heard someone smack talking you it more than likely was coming from your own bench.
I cut my softball teeth with this group and got initiated like all the rest. At first glance, these guys seemed more worried about how much was left in their coolers than what the score was on the field but then Commish would bellow “Let’s hit the damn ball!” and the fun loving Sluggers would morph into a well oiled machine. The open fields of Wilmore Park meant if you could hit it over the outfielder’s head or between the outfielders, you could run and earn your home run or in Commish’s case his team record for triples.
Nostalgia creeps in. How radically different things are from 10 years ago. My hairstyle! No more glasses after lasik eye surgery. My home life. My lack of pets. No gutter cleaning duties. My waistline now is closer to when I was in high school. It sometimes just catches you in a vortex in the reaches of your mind how things evolve. How things that were important then now do not exist or have been replaced by new priorities and goals and facial hair.
So I look back on the original Lager Slugger group and how many of them are now scattered to parts unknown or no longer play softball and it releases a feeling of melancholy. Not saying all the original guys were saints or Robin Williams with their wit – it was just a different feeling and vibe with that group. Crass, beer chugging dudes being vulgar and posturing to post the best stats and get all the bragging rights on the now defunct LagerSluggers.com website (http://www.geocities.ws/lagersluggers.2004/) . Most of the original cast is not involved with the Lager Sluggers for softball purposes either due to age, geography or family responsibilities. And that is fine. The 1982 St Louis Cardinals look nothing like the 2015 St Louis Cardinals. Things change. Whether you want them to or not – life marches on. The 2014/2105 incarnation of the Lager Sluggers is/will still be run by Commish or Joe as he is known outside of softball community but the primordial fire is clearly out. The merchandise still sells well but the Lager Slugger franchise is actually dead – like zombie Walking Dead dead.
I am 42 years old as of the writing of this post. My goals in softball and baseball (yes, I’m giving it a shot this spring) or whatever activities I partake in are modest. Enjoy the experience and strive to give my full effort and try to max out my abilities such as they are and the outcome will be what it is. (The sports gods are fickle and sometimes your best just isn’t enough.) I like to compete and surround myself with people whom I enjoy spending time with and genuinely care to know what is going on with them so in that respect the Lager Sluggers with live on forever as family if not as a physical softball team.
Anyway, just taking a trip down memory lane with a few memories of big hits in the park, miscues that cost games / t-shirts and of good times with good friends that I will cherish until my heart stops and my breathing ceases for eternity.
Careful out there and can’t wait to hear someone say, Play Ball!