Spring Sports · 23 February 2019

Do you know how you can tell spring sports are just around the corner? The signs are unmistakable. Snow is in the air. And on the ground.

I do not live the Midwest or anywhere where there is real snow four to six months of the year. I live in the Pacific Northwest where snow is not the norm. Winter or anytime. So towns and cities seemingly close whenever there is a whiff of snow. Or at least that is the way it used to be. I even remember a time when many schools closed when there was a prediction of snow, but no snow came. But that was before the meteorologists started getting so good at predictions. At least a couple years ago. At any rate, here in our area, snow extends weekends and school years. But it does not postpone spring sports.

Which brings me back to my original thought. You can always tell when high school spring sports are about to begin around here because the snow begins to fall. Practices are just around the corner, and the snow is still on the ground. The timing is perfect.

I know. I should not complain. And I am not really. It is just that the timing is funny. Ironic. And it actually gets better. For as soon as the snow stops (but the cold hangs around), the showers start. Even before April. And often (at least around here), the showers are deluges. Monsoon season is spring sports season. Ah well. At least we do not get real monsoons. Not very often anyway.

But back to the snow. And the sports.

It is ironic that the sports that are played in the spring are the sports that really need the good weather. Track and Field, Golf, Baseball, Softball, Tennis. After all, it is tough to do any of those sports with snow on the ground or the court. I am not sure whether it would do any good, but at least for high schools around here, it might make sense to switch when some of the sports are played.

Ah well. I am not really here to comment about that.

I am just observing and lamenting about what many of our spring sports coaches observe and lament every year. You can tell that spring sports are just around the corner around here because of the weather. Snow and rain and cold are in store for the foreseeable future. The signs are unmistakable.

© 2019 Michael T. Miyoshi

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A Tribute to Dave Ryles · 16 February 2019

David L. Ryles
November 30, 1950 – February 08, 2019
Photos courtesy Patti Ryles

“Remember when we…” is a phrase I have heard Dave Ryles speak over and over again. He has said those words to me and to many others over the years, but it was not like when so many others say those same words.

When you hear some people say “Remember when…,” you just know that they are trying to relive their glory days. And when you hear others, you know that they are living in the past. But when Dave said those words, he was cementing a relationship. He was reconnecting with another person who was important to him.

I worked with Dave for twenty years give or take. We taught at the same high school. We also coached football together, and enjoyed many nights in booths and on roofs of stadiums around the area. During all those years, we talked about football, of course, and baseball and his family (especially, his grandson). We talked about scouting and teaching and coaching. We talked about hunting and golfing. We talked about his dogs. We just talked about life. And the more time we spent together, the more I heard him say to myself and to others, “Remember when we…” When we did this or that together. When we saw this event or that event. When we did something together.

Dave never really talked about his own accomplishments unless he was with somebody who brought them up. You had to pry and poke and prod him to tell stories about himself. At least if it was a story that you were not involved with. He always preferred to listen to your stories. Or the stories that you had in common with him. Which is why as I remember Dave, I remember those stories we shared. Of football practices and games. Of bus rides and cramped spaces and inclement weather. Of golfing and eating. Of just talking about life. And on those rare occasions, of hearing him talk about himself.

I never really realized that Dave was connecting or reconnecting with people when he asked, “Do you remember when…?” until I saw him around people he knew from college and other times and places. They had some of the greatest stories to share. Of baseball games and nicknames and all sorts of other things. The story I enjoyed most of all was of how Dave got a nickname of The Mole. Apparently, he was stealing third and slid in head first. When the dust had settled, he was covered in dirt and dust. One of his teammates or coaches said he looked just like a mole and the name stuck.

The memories also stuck.

I have always enjoyed hearing Dave talk to his friends from other times and places. They shared stories about each other and what they did together. About games played and busses missed. About pranks and nicknames. About this and that. But the stories were rarely just reminiscing. The stories were keeping relationships alive. The family and friends were telling each other how important they were to each other. They were telling each other they loved each other.

Everybody loves Dave. Whether they are family, friends from times past or present, teammates, colleagues, or former students. And at least part of the reason they love him is because he keeps the relationships alive. With time spent together. And with the words, “Remember when we…”

© 2019 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Snow Day 2019 · 9 February 2019

I was going to write that snow days are not what they used to be. Then, I looked back and saw that I already wrote that. A couple years ago. Almost to the day. So while I will not quite recycle the post, I will recycle the idea.

Snow days are not quite what they used to be. I remember being a kid and loving to go out into the snow to build forts and have snowball fights. Oh, and wrestle in the snow. That was the fun part, wrestling around and shoving snow in each others’ faces and getting upset when somebody went too far. That did not happen all that often. Really. My siblings and I were pretty normal and so of course, we went too far at times, but since I was always bigger than everybody else (until we got to be nearly adults), I had to make sure I did not use my size to my advantage. At least not too much. So I got plenty of snow in my face and down my back and wherever else it was not supposed to be. And where it made you the coldest. But we always had a great time in the snow. We had those same great times when my own kids were younger (but I did not rub their faces in the snow).

The thing is, we did not miss many days of school just because we had snow on the ground when I was a kid. In reality, it seemed we only missed school when it snowed and it was too cold to go outside and enjoy the white stuff. It was not like we were in North Dakota or somewhere where they got real snow. But Colorado and the Spokane area were plenty used to snow. So we just bundled up and trundled to school, or at least to the bus stop, pretty much every day. And if we ever missed school because of the snow, we just watched the blizzard from inside. Until the conditions were right for us to go out and enjoy the snow.

The other thing we did whenever it snowed (whether we missed school or not) was shovel snow off the driveway. We did not have a snow blower. We just had shovels. I remember one night shoveling until what seemed like midnight. Actually, we were not shoveling at the end. We were pounding ice. One of my brothers and I were breaking up the ice that had formed because the car had been driven over the snow enough to pack it down. Underneath that packed down stuff was ice. So we were breaking all that stuff up. It took forever.

I do not think that one long, arduous, back-breaking night of shoveling snow and breaking ice off the driveway was some sort of punishment. But it was surely a lesson. It taught me to shovel the driveway right away. Make sure that the snow gets off the driveway before the car drives over it. Which is what I have pretty much done since that day. It snows, I shovel. It snows, I shovel. I learned to like the routine. It snows, I shovel.

Nowadays, I still like to shovel show. Really. I am not sure if it is just that old routine or a compulsion or what. I just know that I like to have the snow off all our vehicles and off the driveway and sidewalk. I suppose it probably is a bit compulsive. But I still do it. And I still enjoy it. Both the work and the result.

The snow did get removed from the places it is not supposed to be on this particular edition of Snow Day, but not much else happened. However, the night before, I got a bit of snow on my body. But I must not have taught my children very well since my son did not put it down my shirt. Just on it. And it happened in the house. (Thankfully, no indoor snowball fight broke out.)

Like I said, not much happened on this latest edition of Snow Day. But besides the shoveling, things are much different than they used to be. Even different than they were just a couple years ago.

[Note: We had a second snow day on which I made a YouTube video of what I did the first snow day.]

© 2019 Michael T. Miyoshi

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