Friday, April 29, 2011

Jamey's First On-base

While driving home after a long baseball practice (normal practice followed by another hour with just Jamey and myself), we got to talking about hamburgers and how hungry Jamey was. He asked:

"How many hamburgers could you make from one cow?"

Not being much of a meat man, I could only speculate based on vague memories of how much cows weigh and a guess at how much of that was meat that could be ground into burgers.

I came up with 1,000...not claiming any kind of certainty.

But then I pointed out that you probably wouldn't want to make hamburgers out of all the meat on a cow.

"Why not?"

"Because there are cuts in there that are way more valuable as steaks than hamburger meat"

"ooooohhhh....steaaaakkk.....slurp slurp"

That's when it occurred to me that it would be reasonably cheap to raise the stakes so to speak, and give Jamey something to think about while at bat other than the possibility of being hit by a pitch.

So I offered him a steak dinner after his first on-base in Little League. Hit, Hit-by-pitch or Base-on-Balls...all the same to me...getting on base is the only concern.

For a moment he was tempted to allow himself to get hit by a pitch as that seemed the most likely of the three options for achieving first base. However, in moments he decided that would make the task far too easy and so decided to challenge himself to acquire his steak by nobler means.

In Wednesday's game, the third played game of the season, Jamey walked on not once, but twice.

Especially on his second at-bat, he exhibited split-second decision-making with a skill that is hardly imaginable, falling for none of the traditional temptations of first-year Little-Leaguers (the high pitch in particular, comes to mind). Instead he kept his cool, took control of the pace of the at-bat by stepping out between pitches and once taking 7 or 8 practice swings, until the coach told him to get back in the batter's box. But, the damage to pitcher's (too fast) rhythm had been done, and he was subsequently unable to pitch a strike.

On the first BoB he was stranded, but on the second, his teammates moved him through the bases and he provided the game-winning-run!

And so, for exceeding the challenge put before him so extraordinarily well, he has earned an extraordinary steak: Filet Mignon from the Laurelwood Pub in Battle Ground.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dulcinea Driving

Never forget your balaclava on a cold day.

That's my advice du jour.

I thought I'd go for a short drive to start beefing-up my leg muscles today. The temperature was in the high 40's and a misty rain was falling. No problem, methinks...I'll be protected by Dulcinea and the temperature nor the moisture can affect me. True on the 95% of my body that is not my face. Somehow though, that 5% manages to suffuse 100% of your mind with thoughts of pain and suffering when you start going over 20 mph in cool rainy morning air. Thus...balaclava and goggles will be donned or brought along until the weather proves itself to be temperate.

Good news...I cut away a bit more heel-room below my pedals and that has all but completely alleviated the space issues I've been having. I've discovered that if I can keep my heels pushed forward just a bit, my knees don't bump. Keeping the keels pushed forward is perfectly comfortable, there just has to be room to do it. Now that I have the room, I'd say I'm 98% dialed-in. Cutting away just a bit more should take care of it. It's also possible that shoes with less tread would do the trick, so I'm weighing the option of getting new shoes as my next step.

I was happy to note that on a roughly level patch of road following a downhill, I was able do maintain 32 mph under my own power. I'm coming off 2 weeks of sickness that has left my lungs in a delicate state and my legs are still weak after three months of no biking. Considering that...I'm extremely pleased with the level-ground performance.

Soon, I'll be making an appointment to see EcoSpeed Motors about installing some hill-assistance. I expect to need shorter cranks to allow for the extra space the motor installation requires.