Sunday, October 16, 2011

Out of the Park!

As you probably know, I've been gone for a little while.  The annual regional PCA conference was held in New Orleans recently and I've been blogging about that experience over at the other blog; the one I reserve for more academic musings.  (The Nest is a bit more free-form in its range of subject matter.)  You can click here to go to the latest conference post over there, if you're interested.  The city of New Orleans was quite interesting but it didn't seem useful to double post.

But a few musings and then some "new stuff."  I really, really enjoyed New Orleans.  Not just the conference (although I heard some quality material and my own presentation was well received), but the city itself was just stupendous.  Can't wait for an opportunity to go back - must buy a lottery ticket!  Also, I had the great experience of seeing for myself that the recent surgery was a success - it was the first presentation in years during which I didn't have to stop - not for a dramatic pause, but to simply catch my breath.  Wow!  It felt great to just be able to concentrate on my paper and the ideas I was trying to convey instead of constantly thinking, "Just breathe.  Stop and breathe.  You're okay."

Last night, it was my dad's turn to be the speaker.  He was chosen to be inducted into the Davidson County Sports Hall of Fame for his contributions to his college baseball team's victory in the 1955 College World Series - the only ACC team (so far, anyway) to ever win that contest.  (Click here for the newspaper article - Dad's on page two and you can access the slideshow from there, too.  I've already posted my favorite a little further down.)  That was his senior year of college and he was the catcher, as you can see from the picture at the top of the post.  It was quite an honor and I know how humbled he felt at being inducted.  I must admit to being right proud of my dad, but not exactly for the same reasons.

You see, I like sports.  Quite a bit, actually.  But I especially like the good qualities that sports can (and often do) instill in the participants.  Qualities such as teamwork, accepting responsibility, a strong work ethic, and sportsmanship are all qualities that are useful off the field as well as on.  In my opinion, my dad has used those qualities to make his community as a whole a stronger, better place.  Among the contributions my father has made to his hometown that were left off his blurb in last night's program are his work in establishing a permanent location for the homeless shelter, his work to get a medical ministry up and running in town for indigent folks who find themselves in need of medical care, and keeping a public food pantry supplied.  He also dresses up as Santa Claus and visits seriously ill children in the hospital around Christmas time, a trip I've accompanied him on and had to admit was just too darned hard to do.  Yet Dad does it year after year.

Baseball?  It's a great game.  And that picture at the top of the post doesn't come close to capturing Dad's glory days.

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