Friday, November 30, 2012

The 1%

So, as I was pulling into school this morning, a woman in a black Mercedes, pretty common ride in these parts, cut me off - another commonplace event living here in China. The difference today was that with a car full of kids, I didn't use any expletives, I just wagged my finger and said, "let me get a good look at you lady, because I never forget."

Yes, I used my outside voice, and was cut off by an eruption of laughter from behind me.

"That is a good one dad."


I proceeded to tell them that I am cursed, and most likely so is at least one of them, with this strange ability to never forget people whom I feel have done me wrong.

The bus driver who told, the coach who squeezed up 10, the guy who snubbed us in the All-Star game, the parent who made it personal, the dude who "never sent that text", the punk who lost his job to a 9th grader, the redneck who took back his donation.

Generally a group of bullies and liars.

This list, thankfully short, is fairly evenly spaced over my life, an instance every 5 years or so. With that said, I guess China has been pretty good to me since the only thing I have had to worry about is the regular dumbass in the Mercedes.

As November comes to a close and giving thanks for what you have is apropos, I am going to tell my son on the car ride home today that he should not be like his dad, and instead of remembering those who did him wrong, remember those who have been kind, generous and thoughtful.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chicks Dig Me

Li Xiu Lan's sweater.

I tried to use my infantile Chinese to explain to her what the phrase
meant; she just laughed at me;)

Friday, November 9, 2012

World Air Toss Round 1 - 4M advances to the Championship


From Evernote:



First of all, I'd like to say that I think I am the luckiest guy in the world.  Throughout my career, I have been able to "go to work" on the baseball field.  For that opportunity, I'd like to thank my wife and sons who have offered me the chance to throw myself into doing something I love so much.

I'd also like to thank Jeff and the ISB community for the support throughout the season.  

Coach D, Coach Li, Joe Reed, Sean, Wayne - this was a lot of fun.

Mostly though, I'd like to thank this group of guys for their commitment to hard work, positive attitude, and mostly their willingness to learn the game.

All along the way coach D has told the boys, "lets make some memories."  The first meeting of the year where we named Bobby Yin and Sam Redding our Captains back in April, "let's make some memories".  The last day of practice at ISB for this great group of seniors, "let's make memories".  The five minutes before the first pitch of the championship game, "let's make one more memory."  

Mission accomplished.  

I got a text message from a friend the night before we left for APAC.  "Good luck this weekend coach.  Based on the shaving sounds coming from my neighbor's house, it sounds like the boys are ready to go."

Kaiwen and Solomon - (Bird Dog) were among the first to arrive to the bus, hooded.  Coach D. pulled down the hood to expose the new cuts.  I am sure those guys will remember that haircut for the rest of their lives.  Based on the growing number of Movember Mohawks showing up around campus, I'd say these boys set  quite a trend.

Tiger Wang showed up with a haircut as well - an ISB shaved in the side of his head.  He and Hubert were among the first ball players I met when I arrived in Beijing -  they were in 7th grade.  While it was immediatley apparent that they were talented players, it would have been tough to convince anyone, including them, that they would not only, "make varsity", but that they would both be 
everyday starters.

Among our Senior class of 8 guys four of them, Aaron - who without question holds the ISB carreer record holder for getting hit by pitch - Dong Yoon, Simba and DB - spent most of the year competing for two starting jobs in the outfield.  They made it hard to write that lineup everyday.  When we got to APAC, Simba and DB got the nod, and to be competely honest, they were the difference makers - they played the best baseball I had ever seen them play on the very last days of their HS carrer - something I hope that you will always remember boys.

Robert, Bavesh and Jorrick - these Seniors pass the torch to you.  It is your team now.  This year as a team we stuck to the plan and just got a little better each day and at the end of the season it didn't feel like we had to do something above our heads to be successful - we just had to play a little better than the day before.  You've been there now, lets go back and win it next year.

Louis - On every team that I have coached, from 5 year olds to 20 year olds, communication is one of the first points of emphasis and one of the most important aspects of playing baseball, particularly defense. Knowing the situation and what you are going to do with the ball when you get it is of crucial importance.   We never had that problem - "Louis,  How many outs we got?"  On every team I coach for the rest of my carreer I am pretty sure that when it comes time to talk about communication, I will start with a story about Louis Krieger.

Sam, you must have been standing some 280 feet away from me, and I was still afraid to make eye contact with you.  You had thrown more than you probably ever had in your life that weekend at APAC, yet every time a runner reached second base, I could feel your eyes on me - "give me the ball"    As a coach I have always tried to find that player on the team who "wants it" - confidence.  It is easy to say, but it is quite another to do, and the tricky part is that no matter how hard you practice it, whatever scenarios you run in practice, it is near impossible to recreate that pressure of knowing that your team is counting on you in this moment.  Well we found that player.  You commanded the situation and the situation never commanded you - those traits will take you far.  I am so proud to know you and I hope my boys to grow up to be like you.

Neil, you are the man.  I couldn't be prouder of the transformation you made from last year until now - both physically and as a baseball player.  You lead the way everyday, you outwork everyone else, and the most fun part - now you have a homerun trot.  I remember the first one this year, you kinda sprinted around first looking for the ball, then when you realized it was out you slowed down, looked at the dugout - "I just hit a homerun."  I'll never forget the one you smashed into the RC gap at HKIS - I think it may have knocked over some trees.  About two steps out of the box, bat flip, steady pace, fist bump for coach, teammates at the plate.  Just acting like you done it before. Congratulations, and I hope you get a chance to keep playing this great game.

Bobby Yin is the recipient of our other coaches award.  Bobby, I'll never forget two conversations we had.  First - After about two weeks of practice I pulled you aside.  I think you had had a particularly rough practice that day, and I could tell that everytime you got up to the plate you squeezed the bat tighter and swing harder.  I said, "Bobby, my hope for you this year is that you can just relax and play."  I think my dream was finially realized on that last day at APAC - in most likely the last baseball game you'll play.  I can't tell you how many coaches I've been around that said, "play like its your last time, because you never know..."  Well, on the last day of APAC, Bobby hit this rocket up the middle - probably the hardest ball he'd ever hit.  He slides into third, as the umpire yells, "safe" we both scream in excitement and give a forearm shiver-type high five thing.  "Wow man, that was the hardest ball I've ever seen you hit."

In typical Bobby fashion,  "Well Coach, I been saving up for my last game."  

"Oh really, where you planning on going to school next year?"

"I don't know, Cal, UCLA"

"Okay, your right,  this is probably your last game.  Good Job."

This afternoon Bobby told me that he already misses this season.  You'll miss it, and I am sure you will miss it fondly, but let me share one more "hope" for you.  I hope that you always find something to do in which you can completelty immerse yourself like you did this season.  The memories will last forever.

Cinta J
Neck Down
welcome Paul and Riley
mainly JV Talent
hand jiving iphone
Procari Sweat
Tiger Running
Lurking Louie
Atta Boy! (falcetto)
The American Club
Lost Phone
Middle of HKIS Sign
What color jersey  you wearing in the finals?
Burning Guitar
Head Banging
Leg up
Two in the Wagon & One Draggin'
Louis' sound off
fall down At Bats
base hit off the deck
Crispy Pata
Michael Learns to rock
2 wheel bus ride
Da gege
Pulling the rope
lefty Pick-offs
Catcher's Gear
knee savers
Breakfast hamburger
Break stuff
What's in your head
"Give me the ball coach"
Michael Irwin
Mr. Holiday voice
Jim Bo
Your crew run run?
"I didn't see anyone scared today"
Home run face 
Freddie Krieger
Just a block off
No man left behind
225 steps
Throat Lozenges
Bobby's Gear
Mama Barbalas

Thanks for listening and best wishes boys!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hello Tan Jing

Mom and Dad and I stumbled accross a Tan Jing photoshoot yesterday at
Ba da Ling Great Wall. Now, that didn't really register much at the
time, but upon further review, I guess this was more than your average
Great Wall Photo Shoot.

Tan Jing Images

Good Bye Dinner at Tavola

We had a big time meal at a really big table with Chef Alberto at
Tavola to say goodbye to Meemaw and Pop Pop.