Thursday, October 30, 2014

COLOSSAL Is Tremendous

I did something last night I do not usually do! That's right, I missed game seven of the World Series! Instead, I went to a play with my cousin, Victoria Patrick. The Mixed Blood Theatre started a play entitled COLOSSAL, and guess what it was about?

Football, imagine that? Victoria invited me to see the premier of the play about a young, college senior who breaks his neck playing football! You can start to see the similarities already.

COLOSSAL is the story of a senior defensive back with promise to be a professional football player the following year. As you are waiting in the lobby for the free performance, you hear the team warming up and the adrenaline is flowing like the beginning of every football game as the players are shouting through their drills on a football field complete with green floor, yard markers, working scoreboard and bleachers. They transformed the theater into a football field. That does not happen very often.

As patrons came in, the team dressed out in full football equipment less the jerseys were going through their pregame warm-ups. It was if you are at a college football game sitting next to the field. The stage and audience became one. It was very well done. The closest I had been to a football field was the night I got hurt more than forty-three years ago.

The play was divided into four quarters with the fully functioning scoreboard facing both sides of the field. In fact, as the players, who were all actors, went through their warm-ups one of the players came down right in front of me, looked me in the eye and winked. It was obvious to all the actors I was sitting on the end of the bleachers.

The play has two actors playing the lead role whose name was ironically Mike. One of the actors, Toby Forrest plays Mike after the accident. Torsten Johnson plays Mike before the accident and David Deblieck plays Mike's father. A host of other fine actors and dancers round out the cast.

As the first quarter begins, the team runs several plays and some dialogue starts to take place. Part way through the second quarter (just like in my accident) Mike gets hurt trying to make a tackle. Again, just like my accident!

As the play unfolds Mike interacts with the pre-accident and post-accident character. Several of the characters are portrayed as they go through their lives both before and after Mike's accident.

You watch Mike as he progresses through the grieving process and how it affects not only him but all of those around him. In my opinion, it really is done very well.

Without telling you any more, I suggest seeing it if you know anyone who has had any kind of football experience, be it as a player, coach, spectator or victim of a football accident of any kind.

As theater critics would say I give it a two thumbs up!

You certainly cannot beat the price.

I look forward to your comments.



Friday, October 17, 2014

25 Years Ago Tonight The World Stopped!

Actually, it was not the whole world but rather the World Series! At 5:04 PM Pacific Time the Loma Prieta earthquake hit about ten miles from Santa Cruz. That is where the name of the earthquake came from.

Reports differ in size from 6.9 to 7.2 on the Richter scale. It was felt on the San Francisco Peninsula and North up into Marin County. There is all kinds of information on it on the Internet. Videos, articles and opinions are abundant. I could spend an entire post discussing the effects of the earthquake, but that is not the point of this post.

If you were alive during the earthquake and live in California, you constantly live in a state of knowing anyone of the fault lines could fracture at any time.

Personally, I was watching the game with several friends who came over to watch Game Three of what was called, "The Battle of the Bay World Series." We were a bunch of frustrated, former baseball players living out our fantasies with a monthly meeting where we did our fantasy managerial and ownership trades, drops and adds of new players. It was great fun!

Just as everyone was settling in to watch Game Three and Al Michaels was beginning to talk about the game, everything went to black. We were all upset and cursed ABC because they were messing up our evening and taking away our baseball game. Notice, I said, "our baseball game." After all, nobody knew at the time what was going on, we knew the world revolved around us!

As we sat for a while, not quite knowing what to do as our evening unfolded, reports started flowing in about what had happened. Before we knew anything someone made a joke about there was an earthquake. It was a joke! Little did we know exactly what was happening!

When they started showing footage of the Bay Bridge section collapsing, the Nimitz Freeway collapsing on itself and San Francisco on fire we knew there really was an earthquake! All of a sudden, our joke was not so funny!

Nobody had smart phones and instant access to videos and cell phone technology was not there yet, so almost 62,000 people in Candlestick Park were left wondering what to do. As more and more information came out about the earthquake, Commissioner Fay Vincent had to decide what he was going to do about playing game three or evacuate the stadium.

I just watched an ESPN 30 for 30 episode showing players, fans, broadcasters, cameramen and interviews with people throughout the bay trying to figure out what they were going to do. If you have the interest, I am sure you can find that episode somewhere on your cable or Internet connection. It is quite fascinating to see just how far technology has come in twenty-five short years!

Just think how social media today would have changed the coverage of the way this earthquake was covered!

One of the most striking images for me was watching Candlestick Park's upper deck swaying up-and-down the circle as the quake hit. It is a good thing buildings, bridges and freeways are built earthquake resistant in that part of the country or we would have seen many more than sixty-three people perish, especially in an area where people were concentrated like Candlestick Park! Imagine what could have happened if the epicenter would have been closer to the ballpark?

The GOODYEAR blimp provided images like this were shown on television, people began to understand the gravity of the situation:

Click on the image to make it larger:

It was a night to remember. It was an experience when the entire country realized baseball is just a game. Earthquakes change your perspective about real-life in a hurry! I believe we all realized what is important at least for the week or so after the earthquake.

The World Series was put on hold for a week while the two stadiums were structurally repaired to make usable so the umpire could yell, "Play ball," again, and life was back to normal for some of us.

Please feel free to share your memories of this post.

I look forward to your comments.



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I Voted Absentee — Again!

Once again, I exercised my Constitutional right and civic responsibility and voted absentee today! I am not sure if I am going to be able to get to vote on Election Day, so since I was across the street getting my new tabs for my van, I decided to vote today!

I am glad I did. I was the only one there, and had to search out a poll worker to help me vote. The signs are clearly marked and when I got to the place I was supposed to be, there was no one there. It was only about 4:10 PM, so I knew I had another twenty minutes before City Hall closed.

They were not exactly ADA compliant, (Americans with Disabilities Act), but I imagine they will be on Election Day. Since I was the only one there, they bent over backwards to make sure my experience was a good one. I was done in less than ten minutes. I am guessing many people will not have that same experience come Election Day!

Having voted absentee before, I knew what to expect and it lived up to my expectations.

I had to mention my sister, Tammy Patrick, and her involvement in the Voter Registration work she has done all over the country. It fell on deaf ears as the poll worker was focused on getting me voted.

I am positive not all of the polling places around the country will be like the one I voted at today.

My mother likes to tell a story about riding along when Tammy was the Federal Compliance Officer for Maricopa County in Arizona and had to take a voting machine to an Indian reservation the evening before the election, and pick it up again at the end of the day. It is a great story about how our indigenous people had never voted before in their own country. It is a great story about Tammy's dogged commitment to seeing everyone who is entitled to vote gets to vote.

There I go, wandering from my point again. As my longtime readers know, I have a tendency to do that. Let me get back to my original point of this post. I want to get this done today before it goes out to my subscribed blog readers, so let me wrap up this post.

We have all been told ad nauseam every election cycle to make sure we vote. I cannot end this with doing the same thing and stressing to every one of you to make sure you vote on or before November 4th!

The midterm elections are always a low voter turnout. We need to change that trend! I cannot encourage you enough to do your civic responsibility and make sure you exercise your constitutional right and vote!

Here is visual proof I voted today:

If my nose is not large enough for you now, you can always click on the image and make it larger!

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Monday, October 6, 2014

Mike Caught A Big Fish!

Mike Smith caught himself one big halibut a few weeks ago! Now, according to a quick Google search of the worlds largest halibut ever caught, this 63 inch, approximately 130 pound halibut is a mere baby!

According to the Weekly World News newspaper on August 16, 2013 the world's largest halibut had to be towed in because the boat the Norwegian fishermen were fishing from was too small to handle the size of the fish!

 That halibut weighed in at 513 pounds, breaking the old record of 419 pounds!

Mike is an avid salmon fishermen and seldom do they fish for halibut.

Here is a picture of Mike's prize possession:

Click on the image to make it larger, as if you really want to!

To give you a little history on why I am posting this particular fish story is Mike is my cousin and makes his home with his wife and new baby girl in Anchorage, Alaska. Mike's given name is Michael Patrick Smith. He is the firstborn boy of Terry and Toni Smith, of Sterling, Alaska.

His father, Terry is three years older than me and gave Mike the fishing bug at an early age.

Between hunting pheasants every fall at the home farm my uncle Bob has kept in the family and turned it into a pheasant hunting, deer game preserve or fishing salmon and other game fish in Alaska, I do not know what they love more. I have a feeling it is whatever is in season is their favorite!

I am excited to see several of them at the annual Smith hunting trip in about a month. This photograph was taken several years ago and shows my uncles Terry, Bob, Bill and the youngest of the family, Tim. It is one of my favorite photographs:

 Click on the image to make it larger:

Terry and Tim will come down from Alaska and Bob will come up from Mississippi.  Bob has been working on the barn to restore it to its original 1901 condition and turning into a hunting lodge. He does not like it when I refer to it as a man cave, so I better call it a hunting lodge. There will be several more family members joining the hunt and lots of stories will be spread in the ten days they will be hunting.

As always, I look forward to your comments.