Sunday, March 23, 2014

God Bless America!

Meeting Mrs. Obama

What an incredible experience.  Take note of the wristbands that Devon rocks on his right wrist.  In one of many highlights of the day, as Devon reached up to shake Michelle Obama's hand, she took note of his collection of arm bands asking, "what is all this?"

Devon took one off his arm - an orange band sporting Chinese characters in a message about the 2008 Beijing Olympics - handed it to her, and she proceeded to thank him and put it directly on her wrist.  As she continued down the receiving line of handshakers, every time she extended her left hand to clasp another guest, Devon's, now Michelle's, bracelet got some airtime.

"Dad, do you think my wristband will get on tv?"

Here the boys emerge from the children-only backstage photo shoot with the First Lady.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A repost of The First Time in honor of JoJo's Birthday

The First Time

"If you get the chance, go," I said softly as Chris took his lead from third.  
Creep, creep, p-shew.  He took off.  

A variety of shouts interrupt the moment. "Step off," yells the third baseman among others, but in my memory his voice is slow and long like a video tape in slow motion.  Ev-ry-thing-is-slooooww.  Then my focus is right back on the play.  I feel a swell in emotion and possibly the noise, but I'm too locked in to hear it; hands raising slowly in a symbol of victory over my head.  Chris takes his last two steps with dusty wisps kicking up behind each cleat, then starts his slide toward the inside of the plate, hooking, hand outstretched, slapping the plate.  The catcher comes down, ball in hand, hand in glove, slamming his mitt down on Chris' shoulder blade, but already the umpire reaching his hands out, mask in hand, yells, "Safe, safe!"

"Jeaa," I fist-pump! Looking to the crowd, elevating a cheer.

Stealing home may be the single most intense play in sports, and on that day I felt like I had been a part of something pretty neat as a coach - you know, a first time.  In fourteen years of coaching there aren't many days when something happens that you haven't seen or done once before, but straight stealing of home, on that night, was one of them.  

We won that game, I can only guess that teams who steal home successfully don't lose too often, it is sort of a confidence play, and I think teams with confidence tend to win.  

After the game, my buddy Luke called me, "Hey bro, how 'bout we go to DeEtte's for a party tonight."

"Bro, I'm good, just gonna chill I think, I'm kind of tired, got some stuff to do around the house."

"C'mon man, six girls, two guys, good odds!"

"Well, I guess if you put it that way."

We arrived, knocked, and the door swung open.  "Sorry boys, I was just putting on some make up, be ready soon, c'mon in," said a sultry-voiced, blue-eyed blonde I had never seen before.

Apparently, with six girls in the house, mirrors are a hot commodity and the ones in the bathrooms, the hallways, the foyers, and in this case, by the front door were all booked up with DeEtte's female house guests preparing for the night out.  

I am none too proud of the next moment in time.  Quite possibly what transpired is the single most pathetic, yet influential, phrase ever uttered from my lips. The cheesiest of  pickup lines.    

"Hey girl, my name is Paul, and you don't need any makeup,"  I said, giving that caricature hey baby winky-eyed look that in some distorted way I thought looked cool.  


She reddened, giggling at the absurdity of such a statement.  I think Luke snort laughed, pressing his hand on my back to move me past her and into the room.  I wanted to shrink up, hide; I shouldn't have come - my confidence, shattered.  I felt flushed, yet tried my best to play it cool and act as if I was calculating every action and phrase.  I'm such a loser!

My first chance with a babe in months and I mushmouth the cheesiest of all pickup lines.

I stand in the center of the room as DeEtte emerges from the stairwell, "hey boys, you meet Joanne, yet."

"Uh, yeah, thanks," Luke says.

I still look for a shadow to slink into, but turn and acknowledge her. "Yea, thanks."

As I turn back, Joanne is is standing in front of me, blue eyes looking into mine, a broad white smile spreading across her lips.  "Hey, can I get you a beer?"   

"Yeah, that would be great, and uh, hey, sorry about that-" flipping my thumb towards the door where we had our first encounter moments ago.

She holds a hand up to stop me, "It's fine baby, I thought it was cute."  She walks off toward the kitchen, I guess to get the beer.

"Jeaa," I fist-pump!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Devon he pengyou yi da li fan guan

Devon and his buddies serve homemade pizza pies and pasta during the restaurant project in Chinese class. Good food and great language learning application.

Fei cheng hao er erzi!

Sent from the iPhone of
Paul R. Koch