Ludicrous Man · 26 July 2014

I know a man who some have suggested be called Prolific Man.

I was at our writing group a few weeks ago when one of the writers was boasting about all the projects he had going. In fact, he said that he was planning on finishing and publishing ten digital books this summer. Everybody was flabbergasted by the thought of somebody actually having that many books ready to put out in any form. That was actually when one of the other writers said that he ought to call himself Prolific Man.

Personally, I thought the guy ought to call himself Ludicrous Man. After all, it was a ludicrous statement. If he published one book a week during the summer, that would be about ten. Nobody has that many projects in the proverbial queue. At least nobody I know.

The more I thought about it, the more I thought that he ought to be called Just Bragging Man. He was showing off to his writing friends. After all, here he was showing up after months of absences telling everybody that he was ready to put out ten books on Amazon. Ten! That is a lot of books for even the most prolific writer. Which is, of course, why one of his peers dubbed him Prolific Man.

Not that I was counting, but Prolific Man said that he had at least two collections of writings that were either done or almost done. Then, there were three or four screenplays and a collection of shorts. And apparently, he had some other book that needed some polishing as well. I held up my fingers and decided that only added up to seven. So in my mind, I dubbed him Cannot Count Man. Which fit him too. (After all, I have heard his wife say that about him for years.)

But then I thought about it some more. The guy already has three digital books out there, so maybe he was just going to make his total ten. That had to be it. After all, seven new projects plus the three published ones would be ten. So he really ought to have been named Inflation Man or Maybe I Really Cannot Count Man.

Of course, I think his real name is most fitting. (Even though people sometimes think it a misnomer.)

If you have not already figured it out, MediocreMan really does fit this guy I know better than Prolific Man or Cannot Count Man. (It is not as accurate as Moronic Man, but that is another story.) Still, it was nice to hear the kind words from a fellow writer. And it was fun giving myself other deserved names here today and talking about myself in third person. As of that particular meeting, I really did have at least seven projects close to ready to be released and ought to have ten digital projects on before the summer is out. In fact, by the next meeting I attended two weeks later, I had a total of nine released on Amazon. (Click here to see them all.) So maybe Almost Realistic Man would fit too.

I really would like to be Prolific Man, publishing book after book after book. Then again, it would be nice if they did not just sit on the shelf. Truth be told, being Best Selling Man would be even better than being Prolific Man. But when it comes right down to it, I really am just MediocreMan.

[Note: The pictures below are all links.]

© 2014 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Soccer Indifference · 19 July 2014

The opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup 2014 by Danilo Borges/Portal da Copa licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

People here in the United States seem to only really care about soccer or fútbol once every four years when the World Cup tournament comes around. (Unless of course, you live in an area where spectators support both men’s and women’s professional teams and it seems everybody played or still plays the game. But that is another story.)

The FIFA World Cup just ended and Germany was crowned the victor for 2014. The German people will celebrate for four years, then they will hope that their heroes will bring home another coveted trophy. Others around the world will root for their favorite players and wonder whether they will continue playing for elite teams in countries that may not be their own. And those in the good old U. S. of A. will forget about soccer for another four years.

Except those with minivans and kids, who will continue to drive their boys and girls to the fields (rather, pitches) for practices and games.

Parents with modest expectations just want their kids to get out of the den and into the backyard. They want them playing soccer with their feet instead of video games with their hands.
Other parents hope against hope that their kids will make the cut for this team or that team. They will pay the fees for tournaments and dole out the money for travel expenses. And they will sit on the sidelines and in the stands to root for their kids.

Still others have loftier goals. They want their kids to be the next Landon Donavan or Mia Hamm or Tim Howard. They want their kids’ faces on TV commercials and boxes of Wheaties. They want to see their kids out there on the pitch at the greatest fútbol stage of all, the World Cup.

Some of the kids want those things too.

Those kids are the ones who will not forget about soccer for the next four years. They will be the ones practicing their fancy footwork and doing passing drills. They will be out shooting or blocking shots for hours on end. They will be following and trying to copy the exploits of their heroes.
Unlike many American spectators.

For American spectators, unless we are soccer players or soccer moms or soccer dads (minivan-driving or not) going to practice and tournaments, we care little about soccer outside of the World Cup. Myself included. We are happy to go blithely about our business thinking nothing about soccer for four years at a stretch. We are happy to completely forget about soccer. Until the next World Cup tournament comes around.

© 2014 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Fond Baseball Memories · 12 July 2014

Baseball season is a time of fond memories for me. I see the kids at the park playing games and it makes me think back to those times when my wife and I used to sit in the stands cheering for our kids.

All three of our kids played baseball for at least one season. I have vivid memories and dim recollections of those times. I remember the kids on the prepped fields. I remember the parents sitting in the stands cheering for their kids. (Unfortunately, I also remember with dismay some of them yelling disparaging remarks at their kids or the umpires or the coaches.) And I remember with pride seeing my own kid out there in his spiffy uniform ready to play. Standing at the plate. Running the bases. Looking good in the field.

But I also have memories of a different kind.

Only our middle son, Thing 2, played long enough to get somewhat proficient at the game. I remember him playing baseball at a young age (it seems like he was just a toddler). He was out there in his uniform looking good. He was grabbing grounders in the infield and tossing them on a rope to first base. I never had visions of the major leagues. Instead, I had visions of what my dad might have looked like way back when he was a kid. (See Baseball Visions.)

Unfortunately, when he was not in the infield, he was not always in the game. Which was, of course, the case with all three of my boys. When they were out in left field (or any field for that matter), they were out playing in the field. Literally.

(I need to interject a note for those not accustomed to watching little kids play baseball. The younger the players, the less need there is for any of them to play in the outfield. There are ground balls and fly balls like any baseball game, but for the youngsters, few leave the infield. If I was the one making the rules, I would have all the little kids play infield when they are first learning. There would be a veritable gauntlet for the batters to hit a line drive or ground ball through. And if one of the kids hit a fly ball over their heads, it would be a mad scramble out to get it. Hopefully, somebody would stay behind to be on base in case there was a throw made. But regardless, it would be great entertainment. Even if you could not really call it baseball. And it would keep all the kids involved. Kids who did not get the ball would run to the base as either the baseman catching the ball or as the backup. They might not have started out where they would in a real baseball game, but they would end up there. They would learn the fundamentals even though they would not know exactly where they were supposed to be when the inning started. Then, as they got older, one person could play the whole outfield, then two, and finally three. It would be real baseball in the end. But I digress.)

I know that my vision of little kid baseball goes against the grain, but it would prevent at least one parent in every crowd from trying to hide from all the rest.

I do not remember which one it was, but I distinctly remember writing a note to myself to write something about my kid playing baseball. It was not about a great play or throwing the ball on a rope to first base to get the final out. It was not about smashing the ball through the infield for a double or stealing second base. If the boys had played much, I might have been able to write about those things. Instead, it is probably best that one of my most vivid memories of our boys playing baseball does not include a face on my player.

At every little league game I have ever watched, there is always at least one kid out in the field who is picking grass or running around like an airplane or just twirling around with his arms out wide trying to get dizzy. Even if you did not know any of the players, you could still tell whose kid it is by who is yelling at him to stop and get his head in the game. Or by who is trying to hide from all the other parents. You can almost see into that parent’s head (usually the dad) and see that he thinks all the other parents are pointing and laughing at the dad.

I have been that dad, but I was a little different. I might have yelled something at my kid (hopefully encouraging), but I know that at least one time, I chuckled and wrote a note to myself. “Mine is the kid who is twirling around in the outfield.”

I had been the embarrassed parent. I had been the proud parent. And I had been the parent who is a writer picking out something amusing to write about my own kid, apparently preparing for this article all those years ago. It is a good thing that I do not know which of my three sons was the culprit (maybe all of them were at one time), so they can laugh too. They can remember that their brother was the one sitting in the outfield pulling out clumps of grass or twirling around getting dizzy. They can remember that one of the others was the one I wrote the note to myself about.

My kids no longer play baseball, but when I go to the park or see baseball on TV, I cannot help but have good memories. I think of my kids and my dad. And when I see that embarrassed parent hiding, I look out onto the field to see who is twirling around or pulling clumps of grass. When I find him, I remember that my kids were like that too. As I chuckle to myself, I am thankful for the fond memories of my boys playing baseball.

© 2014 Michael T. Miyoshi

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