Retirement Guys: When a game isn’t a game — Part OneWritten by Nolan Baker Mark Clair | | firstname.lastname@example.org
As we sit here warming our tootsies making our way out of this week’s winter snow storm, the good news is Spring is coming. It is encouraging to know that even though our winters seem to be way to long, that eventually things will change for the better and spring will be here followed by summer. Phil the famous Groundhog even says it will be an early spring. The sun will come out, the skies will turn blue and the grass will turn a beautiful green. What a great feeling it is that first time the sun comes out and it is warm enough to get outside and enjoy it. A feeling of happiness and joy is felt as we feel the warmth on our skin and breath in the fresh air.
I (Mark) got to experience some of that early. Early in January I turned the big five-o and told my wife Lisa that I did not want any surprise party and just wanted it to be another birthday without too much fanfare. Although I did not want a party, Lisa wanted to give some kind of gift to recognize this landmark event. Being a huge lifelong Detroit Tiger fan and a decent athlete back in the day, she asked me if I would like to attend the Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp. My answer was, “YEAH YEAH YEAH!!!!”
If you have never heard what this kind of fantasy camp is, it is a week of going to Florida where the Detroit Tigers have spring training and playing baseball and hanging out with other nuts like me as well as former Detroit Tiger players. Attendees are assigned to a team and compete with the other teams to “win the championship.” You are given a personalized locker and both a home and away Tiger uniform with your name on the back and the number of your choice. I chose number 11 which was always my number going back to Little League and just so happens to be the great former manager of the Tigers Sparky Anderson’s number which the Tigers will retire in is honor this season. I must say that I think I looked pretty good in the uniform. I sure felt good.
I was assigned to a team that would be coached by former Tiger pitcher Walt Terrell and Jim Price who was a catcher for the 1968 World Champions and currently serves as an announcer on the radio for the team. Some of the former players that were there to serve as coaches, you may remember if you are a baseball fan. Willie Horton, Mickey Lolich, John Hiller, Willie Hernandez, Rick Leach and Milt Wilcox among others. The theme of the camp was Mr. Tiger, the great Al Kaline, who was honored at a banquet and conducted a hitting clinic. As the coaches explained what to expect for the week they said that the motto of the camp was to “start out slow and taper off.” Since the average age of the campers attending was about 52, boy they were right. They understood that by the middle of the week campers would start dropping like flies with injuries. That is why 16 players on a team were not too many.
I got through the first day OK that consisted of several hitting and fielding clinics, batting practice and our first game. We lost and unfortunately our team got into a bad pattern of not being able to score many runs. The second day wasn’t any better as far as winning and we lost our two games that would end up being a five game losing streak. I fully intended before I got to Florida to do everything possible not to get hurt. I wanted to make sure I would come back in one piece so I could continue without a problem taking care of my responsibilities here at home. Well, that did not happen. I hit a ball and while running to first base realized if I did not speed up I would be called out. My athletic instincts took over and I accelerated to try to beat the throw and felt something pop in the back of my leg. I went tumbling to the ground and had “pulled a hammy” (hamstring), and to add to my embarrassment from gracefully falling on my face, I was called out.
Would our team be able to recover from our 5 game losing streak? Would I be able to overcome my injuries (notice this is plural) ? Would I get the autograph of my favorite player? STAY TUNED. TO BE CONTINUED……..
For more information about The Retirement Guys, tune in every Saturday at 1 PM on 1370 WSPD or visit www.retirementguysradio.com. Securities and Investment Advisory Services are offered through NEXT Financial Group Inc., Member FINRA / SIPC. The Retirement Guys are not an affiliate of NEXT Financial Group. The office is at 1700 Woodlands Drive, Suite 100, Maumee, OH 43537. 419-842-0550