Remember the Heroes…Who Fight for the Right to Choose

This week started off with a bang as we had four games on Monday night. We rushed home to get changed and head out to the ball diamonds. Abby started off the night at 5:30 that they won easily 8-1. Bu went 0-2 with a K and line drive out to the pitcher. : ( In the field, she finally got to move to centerfield where she still saw no action, but at least she got to touch the ball during overthrows back to the pitcher. LOL! Her game ended just as Matt’s game was starting at 6:30. Matt went 0-1 again with a walk, a strikeout and a run scored. He also made a nice play at second base during the final inning. He also played right field for the first couple innings. Unfortunately, they lost the game – running their record down to 2-4. I was able to catch only the first inning of his game and the second game of Abby’s began at 6:45. I wasn’t able to see any of it, as Luke’s game started at 7:15. In the second game of Bu’s, she again started in centerfield, occasinally covering 2nd base in an effort to prove herself worthy of infield play. At the plate, she went 0-2, but did not strike out, which is an improvement. Her team won this game, running their record to 4-0!!! As for Lukey, he played pitcher again and hit two nice line-drives to the grass – one for a double and the other for another homerun (his second on the season!!). Defensively, he was on fire that night. He made several assists and had 5 putouts!! We treated him to ice cream afterward and didn’t get home until after 9, when we all passed out on the couch after showers! I also found the article of Allen’s Biggest Loser entry and a picture of Dennis & I from last week’s Omelet Day.
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On Tuesday, we travelled an hour away to Brookville over by Cincinnati for a Babe Ruth league ball game. It took us a little while to find the place, as it was out in the middle of nowhere. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find a fairly modern facility nestled in a little valley with the stands set in the hills. There were no fences beside a backstop, so it reminded me of some of the old fields I used to play at for both organized and pickup games when I was a kid. It was clean, quiet and had a beautiful view of the surrounding hills. As for the game, it was a blowout. Matt’s Brewers won 10-0 and was called after 4 ½ innings. They played with only 8 players (2 in the outfield) and had a player simply give up and quit. He could be heard to say, “I just want to go sit down.” They continued on for a few more at-bats, but by that time Don (Matt’s coach) had thankfully called off the dogs. He was very gracious and made sure the kids didn’t embarrass themselves, which is easy for them to do at this age. Don is a very good coach (he’s a baseball guy) and is very good with adolescent boys (a player’s coach), knowing when to let them be boys and when to pull on the reigns. Matt started in right field, moved to 2nd base and then out to centerfield. He made a good play at second, moving quickly to his left, scooping up the ground ball and firing to first to kill a rally in the 3rd inning. At the plate, he was 1-2. He had a nice 2-out / 2-strike single to center that scored a run and kept the inning alive. In his second plate appearance, he struck out looking which drew several jeers from the crowd. It was decided that the umpire must be hungry and must’ve been trying to hurry up the game so he could eat…as the ball was at least 8” outside, clearly crossing over the opposite side’s batter’s box. However, I was proud to see him take it in stride and not argue (believe me; the crowd was plenty loud enough!). The game didn’t get over until after 8:30, so the kids were all hungry. We stopped there in town to eat at El Reparo and were shocked to see a familiar face. Back in Greensburg, our favorite eatery is Acapulco Mexican restaurant. We hadn’t seen our favorite waiter in a few months and now we know why as Felipe had been transferred to here in Brookville. We didn’t get home until after 10. The kids were all sound asleep by the time we rolled in to our driveway. We were pleased to find Abby had made the paper, as there was an article on their multi-award winning performance of their tap routine.
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Luke & I stayed home on Wednesday, as he had his end-of-the-school-year picnic at the park. We had a blast playing with his peers in the park. One of his best buddies, Oakley, was there and they played together most of the day. Luke enjoyed playing on the jungle gyms and chasing the girls with Oakley. One of the mothers arranged to have a jumping tent thingy set up and the all the kids loved playing in that thing! They also had fun swinging and feeding the ducks. Luke especially loved seeing the new ducklings when we walked over on to the little island in the lagoon. That night, we took Matt out to the GJHS track banquet and Ann stayed with him while I came back in to town to coach Lukey’s ball game. Matt earned his second letter in Jr high track and his 5th sports letter of his 7th grade year! He had fun running around with his friends and even had a chance to do some fishing. : ) Grandpaw Bryan would’ve been proud… Lukey played against his good buddy Oakley! He went two for two on the night again, hitting off the coach both times. Derrick (his head coach) is getting much better at pitching the last few games and tonight it really showed. All the kids were hitting well…and their fielding was phenomenal. Luke had several assists and putouts at home, making tags and force outs alike. It was fun to watch as even though we don’t keep score, Derrick’s wife did anyhow and she said the final score would’ve been 18-2!! We came home to a late dinner of roast that Ann had been cooking all day. It was so succulent that it literally melted in my mouth…
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On Thursday, Matt had to miss his ballgame in Brookville (where the boys won without him and one of Matt’s best friends, Andrew) to pull their record even at .500…4 – 4). The reason they had to miss it was because the Jr high was putting on their annual Spring Arts Festival where the 6th, 7th and 8th grade bands and choirs performed. Matt, as the only percussionist, had to attend…plus it was for a grade and school always comes first. Matt did great, playing six different instruments throughout their three songs and all of them on the final song. In fact, his teacher even gave him a shout-out in the middle of it all! You can view the performance here and listen for the teacher’s comments between the second and third song:

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We are very proud of his accomplishments, as his playing has improved so much through the years. We made it back just in time to catch the final 10 minutes of Idol and couldn’t believe it when Kris was announced as the winner. We liked both guys, but still felt like Danny should’ve won…
On Friday, Luke went out to Stapp’s Farm for his last day of school and told us several cute stories that night. He enjoyed the monkeys catching candy, the bear cubs, and many other attractions, but did not get a chance to see the root beer-drinking cow! : ) That evening, we went to Abby’s softball game where the girls won their fifth in a row to keep their perfect season alive! Abby went 0-2 but hit the ball both times and swung the bat much better…it just went right at the wrong people: a sharply-hit ball right at the first baseman and a blooper that the pitcher caught. However, in centerfield she did see some action with a couple of balls hit out to her and on one, she fielded it perfectly and came up throwing to the plate to nail the runner by two steps for her first outfield assist of the year (and the first for the team as well). We dropped off Matt at the Jr. High for an end-of-the-school-year dance and went out to eat at Frisch’s Big Boy (per Abby’s request). We came home and finally watched the two American Idol shows from earlier this week. What a finale show! Mom called me earlier in the day and she was right, it was a really cool show. My favorite part was Adam singing with KISS! However, I do have to say that I still think it is pretty shitty that Tommy Thayer is dressing up as Ace Frehley (complete with outfit and makeup)…very poor taste… Mom reminded me of when my best friend Mark Crum and I dressed up with two of our other friends as KISS (I pulled my own Tommy Thayer, also dressing up as Ace Frehley – the lead guitarist) and performed to Detroit Rock City in Ms. Brickler’s 3rd grade class! I played lead tennis racket! LOL! That night, my friend Mike (Natalie’s husband) called and asked if I’d like to go to the Indy 500 with a few other Butler Phi Delts. The source of the tickets was one of our fraternity brothers – who has become a local celebrity – Dave “Gunner” of X-103, Q-95 and Bob & Tom fame! How could I refuse?
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On Saturday we were up early to head up to Indy to meet Natalie (and Mike & the kids of course) for the IPL Indy 500 parade. She was kind enough to invite us to watch it from her work. She works for Maximus, whose building is not only right on the parade route, but served as the backdrop for the TV performances on CBS’ broadcast! To say we had good seats was an understatement. It was so nice to sit up high and see everything in the cool of their air conditioning (it was so hot and humid outside). We sat right in front of the third floor windows and had the best seat in town! The pictures turned out really good, but even they don’t do justice for just how cool the view was from our vantage point. We got there a little before the Smiths arrived, so we walked around a little to see the sites. The kids were enthralled with the floats and Luke thought the parking meters were the coolest things! He wouldn’t leave them alone… We saw several celebrities, including Ms. America – Katie Stam (from Seymour, IN!) who sang America the Beautiful to kick off the parade, Dick Vitale (the Grand Marshall), Josh Duhamel (Danny from the TV show Las Vegas & husband of Fergie – who go to drive the pace car…although Dave Calabro said that Johnny Rutherford was driving during the race, so I don’t know…), Adam Vinatieri, Ruth Buzzi, a few of the Pacers, the Champion Indy Ice team and many, many others. We had a great time and Brayton came to stay the night with Matt afterward. The boys were a huge help, as I was able to go mow all three lawns and they cleaned out the pool, in preparation of our annual Memorial Day party on Sunday. When I got done mowing, we did some final touches on the pool and enjoyed the first dip of the year from dusk until it was nearly pitch-black! Luke somehow learned how to do front flips off the ladder over the winter…not sure how that was accomplished, but I think Brandy’s weekly trips to the Flip City gym to run, jump and tumble had something to do with it…
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Sunday morning came early, as I was up before the dawn to meet Mike up at his house in Indy while Ann got the house ready for our party. She had her Mom & Gigi over, as well as Dee & Grace and Natalie and her kids. They had a nice cookout and played outside and in the pool for several hours before a thunderstorm broke up the party prematurely in the late afternoon hours. As for Mike & I, we drove over to Gunner’s house and met up with another group of guys (there were 10 of us in all) and we all drove in to the track together. We parked just outside the track (and just outside the golf course (Brickyard Crossing), in a part of the city that I would otherwise not like to visit. We tailgated for about a half hour, getting loud and fired up for the day’s event! Gunner was very cool and told great stories. One thing to watch for in the near future is Bob & Tom sending him to fly with the Blue Angels in the next couple weeks! We only had to walk about 5 minutes to get to the track…however, our seats were on the other side of the Brickyard, and so we had a good walk once we got inside. I didn’t mind the walk at all; it was so cool just to be there. We walked through the gold course and under the track, into the infield. I have seen the 500 three times now and the 400 once and believe it or not, I have sat on the infield for all of them…not sure what that says… There was an excitement / buzz in the air that you could literally feel as we walked amongst the other attendees. We had killer seats, as we sat on the inside of the front stretch, near the gondola and start/finish line. We were about 75 feet from winner’s circle, etc and about 6 rows up from the bottom behind the pits. It was a perfect place to watch the race, as there was a jumbotron right in front of us and we had a mere 2-minute walk to the restrooms! : ) Richard Petty waved at us (we were little boisterous), David Letterman ignored us and Bobby Rahal grudgingly looked our way and smiled. We also saw Ashley Judd and of course Florence Henderson, Jim Neighbors and Katie Stam (who all sang). One of my personal highlights was Mr. Neighbors singing Back Home Again in Indiana…an annual favorite of mine. This was, of course, the 100th anniversary of the Brickyard and the Hulman’s were all out in attendance as well. As part of the Memorial Day festivities, they honored the Tuskegee Airmen (a black squadron from World War II and based here in Indiana), and in their honor had a pair of B-25 Mitchell Bombers do a flyover and a complete lap around the track! The race was a little slow during the first half, plagued by several caution flags but the second half flew. An obvious crowd favorite, Helio Castroneves, won his third Indy 500 (only the sixth person to do so). It was cool to watch him and his crew climb the fence during their victory celebration! I had Danica Patrick (another obvious crowd fave) in our pool and just missed out on the money as she finished third…the highest a woman has ever finished. On our way out, the other brother with us (Mike D.) was finishing a warm Foster’s lager he had bought with about 50 laps to go and was still nursing it as we wound our way back to the car. About half way there, a switch went off and he want from zero to drunk in a second. He suddenly started staggering and slurring and yelling at girls, etc. He was a fun drunk, but at one point Mike S. and I were following Dave and he and he started having words with a guy… Anyhow, Mike and I both have good training in taking down big guys and we’re looking at each other, getting ready to go “hands on” if necessary…but things worked out well and the crisis was avoided. : ) We had no trouble getting out afterward (I hope I can remember how we got there in the future!), although the police would not allow us to return on the north-bound route, from which we came…they forced all traffic down 30th St (they closed off the westbound lane and had all four lanes running east all the way to Martin Luther King Dr. – it was wild!). It took us down in to a really bad side of town that had gang bangers throwing not only gang signs but stuff at cars and in to the street. They were loud and obviously not pleased that thousands of cars were suddenly crowding their neighborhood streets. They would posture up in an attempt to intimidate the visitors or pick fights. Mike made the comment that they’ll end up coming out to see him at some point (he works at the Plainfield prison)! I chimed in that it would either be his place or mine…that we had beds for a few of the younger ones in the crowd! I was afraid Mike D. was going to get us shot or car jacked, as he was really surly by this point! Needless to say, he kept things interesting because you never knew what was going to come out of his mouth next! Actually, most of the inhabitants in the ‘hood were really cool and just went about their daily business or simply sat and people-watched. We went back to Gunner’s pad (a great home in an awesome neighborhood) and chilled out on his back patio, listening to the Beatles with his wife, who was very nice. I ended up getting home sometime after 9; and even though it was extremely hot out at the Brickyard, I came out of it with a great tan, lifetime memories and absolutely loved every minute of it… Many thanks to Mike & Nat for all their hospitality this weekend!
Here are a few short videos from the race:

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Thanks for reading this lengthy entry this week and have a good one. They are calling for rain all week, so we’ll see if we get our ball games in… Catch ya next time.
Later, Scheu

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