Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dartball Champions 2015

I started playing "Dartball" in the Wabash Valley Church League about 1990 when our oldest son Sam, then about 9 started to toss darts as the youngest member of the Celina St. John Lutheran team...I batted .286 that first season, and thereafter I hit anywhere from .300 to .500 over the next couple decades, made the All Star Team for all of those years, and won a boat load of trophies for League RBI to League Batting Average Champ...as our older players began to sadly, die off, I became the oldest member, age wise, on the team, but stayed competitive and actually finished 2nd in the league in RBIs last season{the top 3 average wise and RBI wise collect trophies, which in turn collect dust in my basement}.  This year, while still making the "all star" team, my average slipped to .294 with just 19 RBI's, the worst stats since my rookie season a quarter century ago...still finishing 3rd in stats, to yet make another all star contest, but approaching 66 I feel my ability slipping, at least on those night where I worked a Junior High Basketball double header before heading off to toss Darts.

In the 25 years since Sam and then I began tossing Darts at the baseball diamond board, we were, at least for the first 15 years, one of the better teams in the {now} 8 team league{down from the 12 church teams when I started}.  As our veterans slipped away or just got to old to continue, and some of the other top players got caught up in family and work obligations, our numbers dwindled and we teamed up with Celina First Church of God under our church and continued to play...younger kids without much dart knowledge joined and we have suffered, as has the league in general.  Over the past 25 years we had won the post season tournament a handful of times, came in runners up a few more.  As for the regular season, we were always, at least in those first 15 years I played, competitive, not so much the last 10 years....dropping down to the middle of the pack, sometimes lower...however, even with a couple of South Division Championships, we have not won the League Title in those 25 years since I started.....that all changed last night.

Our season started out winning a boat load of close games, so much so, we won the South Division's first half with a 14-7 record....the second half we reverted back to form, losing a lot of close games, finishing 8-13.  The first half championship gave us at least the opportunity to play 2nd half winner, Hopewell Township Lutheran, for the South title and the chance to play North Champs, Rockford Methodist{winners of both half seasons up north}.

We were quickly eliminated by Schumm Zion Lutheran in the Tournament opening round...but got the chance to use the same lighting and board against Hopewell in the South Title games.....frankly we stunk, but Hopewell was even worse, we came away with 2-1 and 2-0 wins.  Anybody that knows darts and dirtball will quickly realize that is some pathetic dart tossing...but a win is a win, and we took 2 of them and the South Crown, giving us a chance to play host Rockford, without a doubt the best team in the league this season.

Playing the best 2 of 3 for the title we really had little to lose, they had taken 4 of 6 from us during the season and were playing at home...the first game quickly started to get away from us, as we fell behind 4-0 after 2 innings.  Playing on this board and same lighting for the 3 straight time we were hitting, but just could not put a group together, and despite hits in every inning we still found ourselves down 6-3 going into the bottom of the 9th...after a quick out and the bottom 3 in the lineup coming up, things didn't look good, to say the least...I told the guys to "Go for Singles" so we could hopefully load the bases for our RBI leader JD{the only guy on the team who has been playing longer than me}...and the bottom of the order came through, 3 straight singles, gave our leading Batting Average guy, Tyler, a shot to tie it with a triple, first dart, hits the Orange "Out" and we are down to our last chance...JD gets two quick strikes and we are down to one..."Bang" he hit's a triple to tie the game at 6, leaving me with a chance to pull out an unlikely first game win...one dart nestles into the top of the First Base{single} white square and we come out a 7-6 winner to go up 1 game to none.

I drive in JD in the first inning of game #2 and we never trail pulling off a 7-3 victory and an unlikely Championship in League play...our first in over 25 years. 

Despite a miserable season, by my standards, I finished last night with 5 hits in 11 at bats and 6 runs batted in, JD went 6 for 11 with 5 RBIs, but it was really the younger guys and the bottom of the order who came through with big hits at the right time....guys batting in the .160-.180 range had 5 and 6 hits each to set the RBI guys up, and thus giving us the long awaited title.

Next week I participate in my 24th all star games, along with JD and Tyler, both more deserving to say the least, and we finish things up on March 9th with a Banquet at Rockford Methodist....the end of Dartball Season, usually harkens the beginning of Spring...let's hope the next couple of weeks brings and end to this miserable cold spell, which has been with us since just before Christmas.

back later>>>>>


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Roundball...Just About Done!

After Friday Night's game at Antwerp, I am left with a few nights of Basketball Officiating to finish off the long season....

Tuesday a Boys JV game vs rival Crestview, before the Varsity Contest between the #2 ranked Raiders and the Defending D4 Champion Crestview Knights....

Speaking of Quality Teams...

Celina Clinched a share of the WBL, they can win it outright next week with a win over Elida, as they defeated Kenton 76-48...the D2 8th ranked Bulldogs then slipped to 18-3 by losing 60-50 at the #3 and defending D3 state champion LCC T-Birds on Saturday 60-50...Celina looked like they were just not into the contest from the get go...despite playing another quality team...

The only thing keeping my from total "Cabin Fever" in this 2nd straight miserably long and cold winter, are Basketball and the upcoming Dual Sport Motorcycle Adventure at Moab.....

back later....

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Deep Freeze of 2014-2015 Continues...



After a pretty "normal" beginning of this winter, it has turned bitter since early in January....probably not as bad, at least the Grand Lake Region hasn't had the snow, as last year, but the second half of this winter, is as bad as last year, and is approaching getting worse....miserable it has become.

About -20 for a chill factor this morning, to go with slightly below zero "real" temperatures....this afternoon it may reach 7 or 8 above, but the winds will keep the chill factor well below zero, as I head to Elida to work a girls basketball game....back down to about 5 below tonight, and the only day of any "warm-up" in the near future, will be Saturday, but by that time we are looking at 5+ inches of snow...next week the temperatures take a tumble and will remain that way until at least the end of February.

Not to worry however, we are not alone.... the folks in the deep south are feeling it as well....North Carolina is in single digits today, Dayton Beach will not get out of the 40s and even Key West is slated to only reach 59...likely one of the coldest high temperatures on record...

Hey Al Gore and Obammy....Shove your Mad Made Climate Change/Global Warming straight up your asses.....

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Heading for Moab Part #3

Much like last winter, it appears this one will last long and will contain brutal below normal temperatures, when all is said and done.  February has been pretty damn awful, temperature wise, and if the forecast for the next 2 weeks is any indication, there will be some record lows broken....nothing in the extended forecast to challenge the Groundhog's Prediction...and six weeks might be a bit of a low forecast.

Anyway, the Moab Region of Utah should be somewhat warmer when we arrive on March 21st...let's at least hope so....the 45 day forecast looks like they are expecting a wet first week of Spring, but I'm not buying anything as far out as 30 days...a week or two, perhaps, but not a month...the forecast is far too iffy to get myself concerned, at least not yet.

I did get on the TW on Saturday morning and rode out west of town on Fairground Road for a couple of miles...the temperature was 19 or so, and a light snow had began...it was still not bad, I was
dressed for the short run...Nick then picked me up,  and we took both bikes out to One Eye Concepts, to change out the stock tire....which frankly "Sucks" in off road areas...we both picked out Michelin T63s 130/80-18...a tire made for the rear of most dual sport and dirt bikes, but perfect for the larger tires and rims of the TW....not nearly as big and fat as the rear on the TWs, but large enough to put it's prints on the ground, and hopefully keep us upright.....Kurt suggested the tires and is putting the same on his ride...so I have someone to blame if this tire isn't what I need....{just kidding Borneo}.

So we are now 30 days out...and those 30 days are going to be cold and long back here in the Heartland....hopefully Mother Nature will be kind in the last week of March, at least in Moab.

In the meantime, I am left with a handful of basketball{regular season ends for me this week}
games...baseball meetings have began, and I am looking at just 2 scrimmages on March 16th and 18th, and looking at the forecast, I'm not betting the farm on getting those in....the regular season opener for me is slated for Monday March 30th.

back later>>>>

photos-My Blue 2014 and Nick's White and Silver 2015 with their new treads...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Basketball Officiating...and Moab Part #2

We have pretty well got our dates down for the Moab Trip and TW Adventure Ride in Utah set...

Some time in early March, Nick and I will haul our TWs, my 2014, purchased new last March, with 600 miles on it, and his new 2015 purchased last week with still less than 1 mile on it...up to Kurt's place near Auburn, Indiana...not far from my buddy Rick's place outside LaOtto.  We plan to spend some time, perhaps, if the weather ever clears, doing some riding around his ranch, and maybe shoot some guns...for target practice, unless there are some unsuspecting, Obama loving Liberals around....{insert eye roll, just for shits and giggles}...

Once done there, we will wait another week and a half, while Kurt and his Nephew pack the goods and get the trailers ready for the trip...Nick and I will return the afternoon of the **th , spend the evening, and the four of us will head out the next morning for Moab, Utah.  We hope to arrive safe and sound the next afternoon{1500+ miles} if the vehicles and weather cooperate...you never know going across the plains in March and you especially never know going across the Rockies in late winter and/or early spring....once there we hope to enjoy good riding weather for 7 or 8 days before returning home in time for my Baseball Umpiring season to begin.

I will keep this updated as the big event approaches.



Basketball Officiating...the "End is Near"

Worked a Junior High Boys double header last night at Convoy Crestview, and I realized just how much I am beginning to dislike, maybe even hate, working basketball....I'm contracted out for two more seasons, but I am beginning to re-think that.

I got into basketball officiating, mainly to stay busy in the winter, and to stay in reasonable shape for my age{66 coming up next month}...it was never my favorite sport to play{I sucked at it}, or now, officiate....sure I enjoy college, if it's teams I favor, like Duke or Ohio State, and I was the play-by-play guy for the Van Wert Cougars for 20 years on Cable Channel 7, and held season tickets for Celina's Bulldogs for a number of years...but like golf, I never took it seriously...it was and always has been entertainment and little more.

Seems the lower the level, the more idiotic the fans and some coaches become....sometimes you would just like to climb into the stands and choke the shit out of some fool, for not knowing a gawd damn thing about the game, or rules, or realizing that at some levels, you just can't or won't call everything...if you did, the games would only end, when every player fouled out!

Anyway, 2 more weeks, then a weekend in early March of 5/6th grade games to keep me in shape...once I return from Utah, and Baseball begins, I will re-evaluate if I want to continue with Basketball or just stay with Football and Baseball....and frankly Football is next on the list to go...but we will see how the body holds out and that season, beginning in August goes.

In the meantime, I am ready for this roundball season to be gone...heading 75 miles north this afternoon, and working a Girls HS Game..??  What the Hell was I thinking when I took this contract???

back later>>>>

Sunday, February 8, 2015

March 2015...Heading for Moab{Utah}

As the long winter{not as cold nor as snowy as last year, at least not so far} continues, I and others from around the Midwest and Nation prepare to take our Yamaha TWs out west to the Moab Desert Region of eastern Utah.  As of last count, at least 22 of us, with the possibility of 30 or more, total have confirmed we will be riding the slow, steady, but mighty TW200s during late March out west.

Kurt, the Indiana Lawyer, his Nephew The Weasel, and my old buddy Nick, will be heading out as a foursome...while many will be tent camping in the hinterland, at least us four, plus others, will be staying at the Moab KOA Cabins just south of the city....tent camping in March, even in the Desert does not sound warm enough for me....




While Nick had originally planned on tagging along and riding a quad runner, we discovered space and cost were not in the best interest of that plan, so I finally talked him into looking at the TW, even though he had not ridden a Motorcycle in 40 years....finally after some searching, I called the Honda East folks at Toledo/Maumee, and Nick pulled the trigger on a brand new 2015, which he got a deal on that was as good or even better than the one I pulled off last March on a new 2014...

We picked it up a week ago last Wednesday, and that trip in itself was an "Adventure"...

Everything went smooth as silk on the way up, Nick made his deal, and we loaded up the silver and white 2015 and were on our way back down I-75 towards home when the adventures began....

First off a blown driver's side tire outside of Findlay....once AAA came to replace that with the spare, we headed back south, only to the weather rotted space give way less than a mile outside Bluffton...we limped into town and after a couple of stops, we found a tire shop who would put a new tire on and check the remaining tire...no damage done, and our 5 hour planned trip turned into more like 8 or 9, but we made it back to Montezuma, safe and sound, as did Nick's new TW...now we just need some riding weather before we deliver them to Kurt's before the trip west....




 Moab should be a blast...and I, and especially Nick, will see if we can handle the dirt, sand, rocks, ledges, and narrow paths of the Mounting Desert....

Less than six weeks away, and video and still photos await if we survive this latest "Adventure", now in our mid 60s.....