2008 Archieved

2008 post-season team player update...where are they now and how are they doing? - Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I had a nice talk with Mike Dimmitt. He called me to check in and to say how much fun he had this season. Zilla asked if I knew how the guys on the team were doing, so I made some calls and was able to get these first-hand updates from the players. Interesting lives our team leads.

Smoochie made the news recently (see "Softball Talk" on our Team Geritol website).According to the Missoulian article, "Mr. Shawn Hollenback, of Lolo MT. recently had a harrowing experience with a small furry girl deer. The doe was apparently so fed up with the non-stop yipping-yapping poodle sounds that came from the Hollenback's 5 acre Poodle Farm, (Pink Acres) that the deer "snapped," and attacked one of Mr. Hollenback's pink poodles. Mr. Hollenback reported hearing terrible high pitched, shivering, bug-eyed cries of pain from his yard. He ran outside and saw the highly-agitated female deer head butting, kicking, and trying to forever silence, the small, pink, rodent-like family pet. Mr. Hollenback, a self-described Poodle Baron, reportedly grabbed one of the many heavy metal street signs from his nearby workshop. Apparently Mr. Hollenback married into a well-to-do Traffic Control Business. Anyway, Baron Von Poodle began hitting the doe in the head with one of these often misused street signs. (see The Bubba's in the Team Photos category), Reportedly Baron Von Smoochie was able to make solid contact with his swings, (which according to his softball team-mates is unusual). The deer, realizing she was up against a hardcore poodle lover, gave up her poodle mercy killing mission, and retreated to the safetyof the nearby woods.State Fish, Wildlife and Game animal profilers, have theorized that Mr Hollenback's blows to the head, probably brought the deer back to her senses, and she realized that no poodle was worth dieing for. The Lee Newsaper's article concluded that "Clearly, Mr. Hollenback holds his poodles in high regard." So, as you can see, things are pretty much same-old, same-old, for our left-fielder and last year's lead-off hitter. Your poodles need you Smoochie.

Mike, The Bookie, Fuchs, MIA..AWOL..IRS..TAX...No Mike Fuchs sightings until after April 15, 2009. He has gone Osama on us...hunkered down in a secluded tax shelter somewhere. Mike did tell me that he has decided to fulfill a longtime dream by joining a musical group, you know, like a band. They are all accountants, each of them with individual musical talents. Mike is lead vocalist. I don't think that will come as a surprise to any of his teammates. Mike is constantly singing.....in the dugout, singing while he warms up, humming a little tune to himself on his way on and off the field between innings. It makes us happy. When a person has a song in their heart, they may as well let it out. Mike is going to get us a schedule of their upcoming gigs. I asked about some of Mike's favorite songs and he mentioned a couple. Tunes like, "The Yellow Rose of Taxes," and "The H and R Block Boogie," His favorite Christmas songs are, " Rudolph The Red Nosed, Refund," and "I Saw Mommy Kissing our CPA." Mike also likes old rock and roll tunes, like the Rolling Stones, classic, "I Can't Get No, Tax Deductions." This is neat stuff. I think we all liked it when Mike sang in the dugout. We could tell he had talent. Mike works hard, and this is a great move to help alleviate some of that stress. He told me his singing style is a composite of Elvis Presley and Tom Jones. I can picture it. Oh yeah... Mike also said the group is unsettled on the name of their band. Some of the names they are tossing around are: "Auditors For Anarchy," or ' The Rocking Refunders," 'The Swinging CPA's." to name a few. they will get it worked out. On a different note, (so to speak), I would like to add that it is that time of the year again and the Bookie, also know as the Puxtawney Phil of Team Geritol, will be underground until Accountant's Day, April 16th. 2009. According to legend, Mike will emerge from his tax shelter on that day, and if he sees the shadow of an auditor, it means there will be 6 more weeks of tax season. If so, Mike will go back into his shelter and not emerge again until the Saturday morning of our first softball tournament. It will be nice to see him again and to hear his tunes floating through the dugout.

James Stokes..aka The Chief, has many monikers. He seems to inspire them,. James did tell me that the nickname, "The Chief," is fitting, because he actually is a Chief. James is from the Coyotey Tribe on the Shelby Reservation. James said he is a direct descendent of Chief Plenty Big Noggin. Who am I to argue? Just being around James is a spiritual experience. James reports to be wintering well and says he is in serious training for the 2009 season. He continues to claim that had he not injured himself , playing competitive shuffleboard and beer pong, with Peggy and her parents, we would have won the State Tournament in Butte. James is still grumbling about having to wear the pink skirt..I mean pink shirt. Says his team-mates had to resort to made up rules, to make it happen. Something about pink with an asterisk. Chief Big Noggin is also claiming that Justin from Gilleys, broke the "no false start" treaty they had signed prior to their legendary footrace back in June of 08. The Chief has bestowed upon Justin, the honorary Native American name, "He who sells bad gas."

Jeff, the Hacker, Weaver... is nesting. Nesting like a Yuppie. Settling down, domesticated, upper middle-class. Jeff is at risk of quitting the team. All the signs are there. He has a boat, he has a camper, he has dogs with pedigrees, he and Julie are raking in the big bucks, he is growing a home-boy gut. Jeff bailed on us at St. Regis last year...probably just as well. as Hack has historically struggled at this tourney..with the free beer, Fred's dancing girls, unconditioned, computer geek hamstrings, ready to go "twang" on him at any moment...smoking cigarettes in the dugout with Squeak. I think all of us have noticed the distancing behaviors on Hacks behalf. Slowly setting us up to start his sentences with, "Uhm, I might not play this year." Don't do it Jeff, you need us, you are not fully formed yet, you are still evolving. Take the team boating or camping with you, have a party at your new house, let us get on your computer, take us to Fred's with you, C'mon on brother, it's time to make a deposit in the relationship account.

Patrick, Da Gov'na Hiller, has been busy being quoted in the local newpapers. Patrick is still searching for a season defining voctory with his Sentinel High School girl's volleyball team. Patrick and the girls are having a very successful season. We wish them well at State. We are however a bit disappointed that Da Gov'na has not yet given Team Geritol any press or mention during one of his many high profile press conferences. After all we have done for for the quoteable left-winger. The life lessons, the sense of team, the permission to believe in yourself even though you are wearing pink in an alpha based setting. Many deposits have been made into Patrick's "feel good'" account by Team Geritol...and do we hear even one little single mention of thanks or acknowledgement.......Nooooooooo...well that just might be a mistake that comes back and bites the Gov'na right in the caucaus...politically speaking of course. One of your team-mates who shall remain anonymous, (JEFF WEAVER) has expressed big time position envy about you playing 1st base and batting in the #2 spot...Just one quick little.."I'd like to thank my team-mates on Team Geritol."..That is all it would take.

Tracy Elam has grown a full beard, is living Kaczyinski-like somewhere deep in the mountains, near the Montana-Idaho border. He is living off the internal organs of back-country animals. Why??? Because Tracy is a Montana born, meat eating shortstop. He has a strong hankering for bad hops and undercooked, difficult to digest wild meat. Tracy likes that plugged-up feeling, he says it gets him in touch with his inner-ancestor. Mostly though, he is trying to erase all traces and remnants of the large amounts of pink poodle he wore during the softball season of 08. Lord knows the boy was purty in pink. Liver-eating Elam. He shaves on Fridays, comes home on weekends,acts civilized, is a good daddy and husband for two days, returns to the mountains Sunday nights, wakes up with a full beard Monday morning, and is roasting critter innards on a whittled stick, over a solitary campfire, under a moon-lit, star-kissed, Tuesday night sky. The wolves detour, the coyotes howl on weekends only, the pumas tiptoe, the grizzlies whisper his name, vultures circle cautiously overhead, concerned that swooping for left-overs, could turn them into appetizers on the gruesome menu of Liver- Eating Elam. Arrgh!!! It's going to be a gnarly 2009 softball season.

Mike Dimmitt has opened a daycare. It is called, "Runts and Grunts." Mikey loves kids and kids love Mikey. It has been a perfect fit and a great outlet for Zilla's inexhaustible supply of Jurrassic-like energy. Trina reports that Zilla is sleeping well at night, knowing that he is helping raise the next generation of grunters. Each of us gets to decide which footprints we will leave in the sands of time.. well done Zilla. Softball needs nice guy grunters.

David Felker has joined a Buddhist Monastery. He is spending the off-season focusing all his energies on an effort to somehow reverse the pee..poop..fart..boogers and burps..influence that the Chief has had on his son Henry. We wish David well. Every parent has their demons to face. The barnyard spell, cast by James, is like quicksand..slowly sucking in the niave and curious....Ooooohhhmmmm...."Hey Henry, pull my finger," one innocent, fleeting moment of unguarded parenthood, and is has been all downhill from there.

Allen, Bones, Fox went back to college and has been playing wide reciever for the Montana State Bobcats. Allen has made several spectacular one-handed grabs this season. The coaches just can't Bones'y to use two hands. They are perplexed. the Big Sky scouting report on Allen is unusual. It say's, "Great speed and great hand." Allen is in graduate school doing indepth research work on the art of making consistent solid contact with a long skinny object and a small round object dropping from a 12' arc. Intruguing and worthy field of study. May Allen bring his findings to the 2009 softball season to share with the rest of us. We could all use some a little help in this area. Bobcat or not, we welcome Allen back.

Chris Jones has been co-coaching Sentinel's volleyball tean with Patrick Hiller. Chris' daughter is a star player for Sentinel and has accepted a scholarship to Cal Poly. Chris figures this might be his ticket to an early retirement. Chris wants to make sure Patrick doesn't screw it up. Chris has Patrick's cell phone number. Patrick never told me not to give it to Chris, well..not until it was too late, he didn't. Chris also knows where Patrick lives. Chris knows what time Patrick and Nancy eat dinner. Chris is a good eater. Big appetite and many large muscle groups to feed. Chris's daughter is a senior this year. Patrick is thankful for the small things in life. He says he also misses having leftovers in the fridge. Maybe next season Patrick. Although James is looking for another part-time job...

There are Maulers and Mallers and Travar is both. He supports the Missoula Maulers from his new hockey store in the Missoula Mall. Travar is working hard to make this a success. We know Travar is a solid guy and the store is in great hands....However...Travar is another guy, like Jeff Weaver, who has been doing some distancing from the team. Travar, like Jeff, bailed on the St. Regis Tourney. now both of them may want to play because we were fortunate enough to win it last year. Sounds like Travar and Jeff have some deposits to make in the ol' Team Account. In 2008 Travar missed just enough games to not have to wear the pink shirt. How distancey can a guy get? Travar has been a bit skitterish too, you know, kind of flinchy,. a bit like Baron Von Hollenback's traumatized poodle. Then you add to it the fact that he is an infielder...and there goes all predictability. We have some of our "Team Geritol People" keeping an unseen eye on Travar. They've been into his store, they've asked leading questions, we are compiling a running risk assessment. We are there, because we care.

Dean Thompson and his lovely wife Lynn just had their 16th child. He was a 26 pound, middle-linebacking, baby boy. Dean wants to name their son, either Deano the 8th, or George Foreman. Lynn wasn't real excited about either. Lynn told me she is getting Dean, a Dick Cheney-Donald Rumsfield Shock and Awe, vasectomy for Christmas. If for some reason it does not work, Lynn has made arrangements to contract Dean the fertile-turtle, out to a nearby Hutterite Colony that has expressed interest in starting up their own short, stocky, occcassionally moody football team. We certainly wish them well. Dean was not home when I called, I had a great talk with Lynn. She says to say hi to everyone from Dean.

Don Chery, former child prodigy Bank President has been busy bankrupting America. Yes, Donny and his cronies are partially responsible for the Bazillion dollar bailout that we are paying for. His new job is Kalispell went broke and Donny recieved a 3.5 million dollar severance package. Donny is think about splurging on a new batting glove for the 2009 season. He is negotiating a price on it with local Wal-Mart. Donny has applied for some of the bailout money. If the funds come through, Donny asked me to tell the team that the Pop-Tarts and O'Douls are on him. I am not implying that Donny is frugal or cheap, He does donate $50 each year to the family of the unknown soldier. His son Brian, a fine lad who is a sophomore at Glacier High, has shared with me that it just does not seem right to him that he has to wear those old Lone Ranger and Rin Tin Tin boxer shorts that Donny still has from when he was in high school. We feel your pain Brian, we feel your pain.

Jon Riley has left Home Depot and is now working for Lowes. It was time for a change he said. Jon claims it has nothing to do with the pictures of him wearing the pink poodle kissing shirt, that his fine sons emailed to the Home Depot headquarters; who subsequently enlarged and plastered them in Home Depot stores all across the Northwest, as an example of Home Depot's employees being "open-minded." Jon said he is proud to have smooched the pooch. He said he is well-adjusted, calm and supportive of the friendly banter that has come with the incorporation of the pink, poodle-kissing shirt, into our Team Geritol lore. Jon's son's where-abouts are unknown, as they remain in the Witness Protection Program and are reportedly attending school somewhere in New Joisey. We hope to have them back for the 2009 softball season.

That is all I have for now. there are still more team-mates to check in with. I will try to get it done soonly. I'd hate to have to just fake it and make some of this stuff up. Fair and accurate reporting is our motto. I am proud of all you guys and your families. Stay solid. We'll be in touch.

2008 Bubbas....the street sign boys...and several Griz fans of little faith - Sunday, September 7, 2008

Please check "Geritol Moments/Bubbas" section for a listing of the 2008 Bubbas. We'll make a few entries re: last night's fine awards ceremony, potluck, fib-fest, end of the season get-together.

Attending the bubbas were, Mike and Trina Dimmit and their daughters who had hiked 5 1/2 miles earlier that day, David and Daphne Felker and son Henry, the super-glue expert. Brodie and Erin Ellis and two children, to whom I apologize for our dog's behavior, Aneska and Tracy Elam and their kids, Ethan and Colter, were there. Thank you to Tracy for bring the case of Home Town Beltian Brew to the party. Allen, Baby Powder, Fox, Smoochie "Hind Leg" Hollenback, Mike, Blue-Collar Fuchs, Jeff the faithless fan Weaver, Jon, I'm going to leave before you give me Bubbas for striking out 2 times this year, Riley stopped by...and then long after whatever party Jeff went to was over, James stopped by and graced us with his presence and humor.

Clearly. I was not the only person making pre-party plans. Smoochie's little sign shop has been working overtime. I also believe that the Smoocha' recruited Mike "The Bookie" Fuchs to co-conspire in his little street sign caper. The signs were up early...Mike Fuchs was the first to arrive and he came in like a cat with feathers in his mouth. As a "reader of body language, The Bookie had the muscle movements of a man who was saying, "I am guilty and proud of it." This of course would make two years in a row that Smoochie has gone to bizarre extremes, in the sign making category..last year he hauled an electronic signboard to the State Tournament in Anaconda, and recruited weak-willed Yogi Beera, to help write sign language that was at my expense. This year, Pee-Wee Hollenback, recruited Galusha, Galusha, and Signboard Fuchs to do his dirty work for him. Of course both of them were ethically unable to own up to their actions. They pled the fifth..and then they drank it.

I am struck by the realization that our team is suffering from significant increase in moral decline. It is a great thing to be a part of. There is a definite sense of pulling a prank on someone..and never, ever, under any circumstances.be honest about it. Except for me of course. We are gaining momentum. This is the kind of comraderie the Softball Gods can appreciate. Practical jokes have had a chair at the table of baseball history since the beginnings of the game. If you can't trick your buddies, who can you trick....I am going someplace with this...I am going to the State +40 Tournament in Great Falls, where someone replaced Don Chery's (apparently very precious)shoe laces with pink shoe laces. They must have been family laces or something, because he harped on me asll weekend to "at least give me back my shoelaces." Hard to do when you don't have them. The prankster knew Donny Paranoid was going to suspect and blame yours truely. And he did. Ranting and raving like a banker who loaned people money at too low of an interest rate. Oh my Lord, he squawked like an indulged child getting sent to bed early. He squawked on Saturday, he squawked on Sunday, and Dean Thompson told me, he squawked all the way back to Kalispell.

So...who pulled the pink shoelace caper on Dandy Don Chery? I realize we will probably never know.. I have to guess who pulled the street sign prank on me..I know Shawn and Mike will never tell. I also know Jeff Weaver will never come clean about emailing pictures of Dean Thompson to his school secretary in Libby...I also don't expect Butterbean and Hack Weaver to come clean about the original poodle-posting about Shawn and his poodle, Muffin, on the Team Geritol website...Even tho crack detective work by "Book-em Deano," busted that case wide open, exposing Ding and Dong as the culprits. I doubt that the sign-making Smoocha, will come clean about the pink shoelaces in Great Falls. Who was Don Chery rooming with? Who has a history of pranks and dishonesty???

Enough of that..the other revelation that came to light during The Bubbas, was the shocking lack of faith in our own Grizzly football fans. Most noticeable were Jeff, "push the women and children aside" Weaver.....Mike, "the stastistics/numbers say Cal Poly is favored" Fuchs,...Allen, "I'm not tenured yet" Fox....and Shawn, "Don't make me tell the truth" Hollenback. Bad boys. The rest of us believed. The rest of us helped the Griz to a 2 point victory. Hmmm...these are troubling signs for our team next year. We've already written about having faith. Looks like we need some off-season counseling sessions.

2008 record and stats. - Sunday, August 31, 2008

I have to go do some work, but wanted to get this entry started.

Team Geritol played in 9 tournaments this year..and what a fine year it was.

Champs in 5 tournaments

  • MSA..4-1

  • C'mon Blue...6-1

  • Rhino Rumble..5-1

  • Thompson/Corr..6-1

  • St. Regis...6-1

2nd Place in 2 tournaments

  • Elbow Room... 4-2

  • Missoula Districts...6-2

3rd Place in 1 tourney

  • State +40 ...5-2....Great Falls

5th/6th Place in 1 tourney

  • State "C" Tournament...5-2...(Butte Montana/America)

Our 2008 Tournament Record was 47-13 for a winning percentage of .783.

In Missoula..on our home fields, we were 31-8..in 6 tournaments..This is a winning percentage of .794

On the road, we were 16-5...in 3 tournaments. This is a winning percentage of .762...

Nice consistency. Even in the tournaments we did not win this year, we were strong, managing to never lose more than two games. Cool huh?

In all humbleness and in wanting to give thanks to the Geritol Gods in the sky, I would like to make mention that I was fortunate enough to play in 3 Senior Tournaments: Wenatchee WA...Calgary CA..and the Montana Senior Olympics here in Missoula. Not only are the young guys I play with..darn good players..the old guys I play with also did well, winning gold medals in each of the three tourneys. It was a very special feeling playing ball with guys who fought in the war along-side Ulysses S. Grant. They all said Honest Abe could hit the ball a country mile.

THE BUBBAS ARE COMING..THE BUBBAS ARE COMING - Sunday, August 31, 2008

WHERE

  • 1180 Vicki Drive..off Spurgin Road..off Reserve Street..1st street after Tower Street..across the street from the Westside Little league fields.

WHEN

  • Saturday, September 6th... 4pm..and as long as you would like to stay.

WHAT TO BRING:

  • Your favorite potluck dish, or treat, or bag of chips, or beverage..or just yourself.

WHO SHOULD COME?

  • Team Geritol players and their family..

WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT?

  • Honor, recognition, the basking in glory of athletic achievement, pink prizes.

AGENDA:

  • Greetings and salutations

  • Special, "Welcome-To-the-Bubbas".. gift/trinket/girly-things for the Team Geritol Ladies.

  • Unstructured, milling around.

  • Food and beverages of ALL sorts. James and Jeff I have bought you the beer I owe you.

  • BIG SURPRISE AND SPECIAL TREAT FROM TRACY.

  • Crying from some of the children, happens every year.

  • Presentation of the Bubbas...

  • Some moaning and groaning and useless protesting..fron the adults..happens every year.

  • I forget what comes next.

  • More Bubbas

  • More food and beverage..

  • The Griz Cal Poly Game starts at 7:PM...We have 728 Flat screen, plasmatic, digitalized, HD-R2-D2-AC-DC-TV's in our house. Each with thier own set of individualized rabbit ears that can be pointed in lucky directions should the Griz be losing.

  • More food and beverages.

  • More laughing and crying..

  • Butterbean and Sugar-Ray Hollenback, starting to talk trash with each other...

  • Me getting them the boxing gloves so they can finish what they started at our pre-season roster signing get together.

  • A fire in the fire-thing out back.

  • James and Jeff asking if they can chop down some of the trees in our backyard so they can get the fire going better.

  • The hiding of all sharp objects.

  • Stories..all of which are loosely based on shreds of rumored truth.

  • So please come, it will be a fun time.

I am sure I have left important things out..so please call with any questions. 239-2717.

State +40 Great Falls..our annual end of the year tourney.. - Sunday, August 31, 2008

Well darn the dang luck. I have to admit, that of all the tourneys Team Geritol entered thhis season..I truely thought the State +40, was the one we had the best chances of winning.....hmmm??? I mean no disrespect to any of the other fine teams in the tourney. We were defending champs..we were taking a very strong team..It is a good thing that you don't have to win a tournament to have fun with your buddies. Although I admit that some of the fun and satisfying taste does get filtered out when you have to add two scoops of losses to teams who had never beaten you before, as you are brewing up your first pot of post-tournament coffee memories the next morning.

In looking at the positive side of this tournament, I need go back to our thoughts following the State C tournament, where we did just well enough to qualify us to play in the B Division next season. Next year we will be playing teams with more talent than the teams we played for much of this season. At Great Falls, State +40, I do not think the team with the most talent won the tourney. Perhaps the Softball Gods were saying to us, "See guys, no tournament is a given. Any team can beat any other team. In reality, we were the B team at State +40..and the other teams were..probably wondering how they were going to keep us from winning the tournament again. The Softball Gods were giving us a message that next year, we have the right to do what two teams did to us at State +40 this year...hang in the game, keep trying, hope for some breaks, don't give away the belief you have in your right to win any game, to get a hit in any at bat, and that every single game we play in, there is the possibility of an upset.

That is the philosophical take on the tournament, the statistical take on the tourney is that we played good ball on Saturday and not as good of ball on Sunday. It was a Tale of Two Different Teams. Saturday we were 4-0, defeating all 4 teams in the 5 team tournament. On Sun. we were 1-2, losing to the teams that finished 1st and 2nd. Each of whom were teams that had not beaten us in the years we have faced each other. To their credit, each of them, Old Dirty Dogs of Great Falls and KT/Hayloft of Missoula, played hard and did their best to win the games. They did not roll over or concede anything.

Saturday we averaged 17+ runs per game

Sunday we averaged 12 RPG.

Saturday we gave up 24 runs in 4 games, an ave. of 6 RPG

Sunday we gave up 10 RPG.

The ave. game score on Sat. was 17-6.

On Sunday, the average game score was 12-10 us.

For the tourney the average game score was 15-8 us.

Saturday we hit .612 as a team for 4 games.

Sunday we hit .516 as a team for 3 games.

Our tourney team average was .572.

I have more stats and will enter them later. It really was fun guys. Next year, we'll go back with the same team, but with a different memory of what happened the preceeding year. Calibration of preparedness is a matter of degrees. At this tournament next year, we may not look any different on the outside, but on the inside, there will a recalibration that I expect will have noticeable results.

2008 Bubbas and Potluck..and Tracy's Special Surprise!!!!!! - Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It looks like Saturday, September 6th is the best date for the most players. My sincere apologies to those of you for whom it is not a good date. As we bring our wonderful season to a cclse, the Griz will be opening their 2008 Football season at Cal Poly. The game is televised beginning at 6:PM. Hopefully we can combine two sports. Our wives will love that. We need time to present the Bubbas, so we need get that started prior to the game. How does 4:PM sound? As you can imagine, we have lots of Bubbas this year. James has graciously agreed to co-host the presentations with me. As with all Team Geritol gatherings, this is a family affair. Wives, parents, children, etc. are encouraged to attend.

This years, to save you from eating my burned hamburgers, let's have a potluck. Being a stickler for detail, let's just let people bring whatever they like to bring to potlucks. It will be an adventure. Cool! Please call with questions, suggestions.

2008 Season Stats - Tuesday, August 19, 2008

There is one tournament left for Team Geritol. The State +40 Championship. It is this weekend in Great Falls. When it is over I will post the team stats for the season. In honor of the Softball Gods, I feel it would be at least a venial sin to post them prior to the end of the season. Thanks for you patience.

Some softball thoughts... - Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Give a guy a website and see what happens....Had some thoughts I wanted to share with you.

Having faith, is knowing enough to know there are things beyond our control. Faith recognizes there are importances, and difference makers, that need be respected and acknowledged. Even though we surely cannot know exactly what they are. Humility can be the co-pilot of our pride. Acceptance and composure are most compatible with, and in fact, bring out the best in our intensity and competitiveness. Defeat can foster self-improvement, if we allow, just as success can strengthen or crack, the foundation of self-confidence if we are not careful. Getting to know those around us, and allowing them to get to know us, will facilitate self-awarenes. I also believe that the stronger the team, the better the individual, rather than the better the individual, the stronger the team. And last but not least, change, can teach us how to remain the same (in a good way) and keep our course.

Okay, what is all that about? Why, it is about softball and life and us, and family, and team, and team chemistry, and success, and next year, and what is going to happen, and all of that.

We seem to have a team philosophy, it not just one person’s philosophy, it is a shared belief system. We beat some teams this year because we believed they did not have “THE INHERANT RIGHT TO BEAT US” Boomers is a great example. Boomers did not change this year..we did. Our trust in ourselves, our increased knowledge of each other and of who we were as a team, allowed us to play them on an even field, without the self-imposed, self-limiting thoughts, that Boomers had the right to beat us. Collectively, and unspokenly, we believed we had just as much right to win that game as they did. That is a subtle shift with incredible results.

My wife and I just celebrated our 24th Anniversary. Thank you to the Good Decision Gods, for guiding me to be on my best behavior when I met and courted my wife Jan. After 24 years, we are stronger, more trusting, more accepting of ourselves, and each other than ever. My eyes have been opened and my mind has been calmed in a manner I never imagined. We believe we have the right to solve our problems in a respectful manner. We try to control what we are responsible for, and join forces to accept and make the best of what we cannot control or wish had not happened. This relationship mirrors the relationships I see on Team Geritol.

Lots of thoughts. We did so well this year. And in wanting to understand it and learn about it, wrap my mind around it, I realize the season is a piece of a larger puzzle we are assembling. Tho we joke about it, I do believe in the Softball Gods, the Coin Flip Gods, the Good Hop, Bad Hop Gods. There is spirituality to life that often gets lost in our pursuit of success. Life without faith is life without freedom of choice. Faith allows us to not always have to know the right answer or make the correct choice. Faith also allows us to not have to defend our wrong choices. We tried, that is enough. Defending wrong choices will not allow us to learn from them. Trusting our teammates/partners allows us to hear from them, the information we need to learn and grow. We believe they genuinely care about us, have our best interests in mind, and are not just trying to control us. That requires faith. So….believing in the Softball Gods, is a form of softball faith. Believing in the Softballl Gods allows us to be kind to our teammates, to be humble winners, gracious losers, and to celebrate other people’s victories with them. It takes pressure off us. Faith allows us to understand that we have as much right to win a game or tournament as any other team we are playing.

When I close my eyes and envision our team, I see, players, wives, children, parents..I see family, I see relationships, I see faith. This seems a reflection of our understanding that softball is not just about us or just about winning. We have not separated it from life, (although I understand our families make huge sacrifices to allow us to play softball). The greater degree we are able to have our softball experiences join forces with the truly important relationships in our lives..the better able we will be to bring the successes of those healthy and strong relationships into our softball world. That is why we are doing as well as we are. That is what I have been trying to say. Our relationship with softball will be no better than our relationships with life. We aren’t shopping for talent. We are investing in relationship and faith.

As we succeed, we have gained outside notice. People have asked if they can be a part of what we have. Good people. People who share our beliefs. We have greatly benefited from that support system. The challenge becomes a version of planned parenthood. We do not cut players.(And not just because I’d have to be the first to go). Talent does not trump relationship. If it does, we have sinned against the Softball Gods. I see this as one of the challenges of the years to come. I don’t know all the answers. We’ll handle it with respect and honesty, and trust the outcome will be as good as it can be.

The other challenge I see is the harvest we have reaped from the crops we planted this season. Our garden has never looked this good. We won a lot of blue ribbons at the county fair. One of the fruits of our success is the honor of moving up to stiffer competition next year. We are going from the County Fair to the State Fair. Oh my gosh,!! Ma and Pa, I feel like a little old country boy again. Going to the city for the first time. So how well have we learned our lessons? Do we have to start all over again? Remember when we were pleased to still be playing on Sunday? Just as some Sunday morning 8:AM games are lost, at the bar on the Saturday night before. We may lost some of our games in 2009, because of what we believe going into the season. I hope we don’t give away our right to win. That is a version of giving up our faith. Let’s don’t allow this year’s success to put a crack in the foundation of our hard earned and well-deserved self-confidence. We can do damage control. It is bound to occur on some level. That is only natural. But to understand it, accept it as a growing and learning experience that will make us better, is to have faith. Next year’s challenges in softball will mirror the challenges ahead that life has in store for us. Hopefully we will be able to not try to control our instinctive urge to keep all those challenges from even happening. When we do that, we are at risk of feeling we have failed, when the challenge begins. Ideally, we will be able to tap into the relationships we already have, the support we have, the faith we have, understanding that scary situations, do not have to have fore drawn conclusions. We give it our best by not thinking self-limiting thoughts. We can defeat teams with more talent, when we maximize our talents by believing in ourselves. Losing a game is one thing, expecting to lose a game is another. What is the best we can play next year??? I think we don’t know the answer to that, but I smile when I think of what the possibilities of that answer could be. At the conclusion of next year’s season, regardless of our win-loss record, if we do this right, if we keep our faith, we have the potential to be the best we have ever been. Just as in life, we are still growing, we are not fully formed, we are evolving. Playing in the “B” division will challenge our faith. We will be in a philosophical battle with the forces of natural selection. I look forward to it.

2008 State "C" Tournament, Butte America..5-2..5th/6th place out of 43 teams.. - Monday, August 11, 2008

Well...the stats are done..but it doesn't seem right to start with them. A few thoughts first. Mixed feelings..Growing pains..moving away from from home for the first time..the training wheels off our bike..the deep end of the pool..speaking in public..turning 18 and having to register for the draft board..turning 50 and getting your AARP card in the mail the next day..your teenager getting his first driver's license, just a few of the things that are coming to mind. A job promotion that you are not sure you wanted. Possibly some of the feelings my wife experienced just after she said "I do" to the priest who married us. Hitchhiking, back to your hometown from Missoula, being halfway there, standing by the roadside, the evening darkness starting to settle in, an older model station wagon rumbling up and pulling over, a large limbed, institutional-looking, shaved-headed driver, with hands that dwarfed the steering wheel, offering you a ride, you get in, relieved to be on your way again. The hulking, large foreheaded driver, is travelling unusually slow, so you ask him if he has been driving very long (thinking he must be tired) the driver pauses, then responds, one-word-at -a-time, saying, "About-3-months,-but-I-can-do-it." (a true story) Yikes!! Stop the car and let me out. What have I gotten myself into? . Team Geritol is in the car, went hitch-hiking and got picked up by the big boys in the "B" Division. Unknown events lie ahead. What have we gotten ourselves into? We have enlisted for at least one year in Batallion B, of the Slow-Pitch Softball Army. Yes Sir!! Nice Alpha-Male stripey pants, Sir!! We are Team Geritol, Sir! Requesting permission to run out our home runs, and have fun, Sir! Yes, our lead-off hitter wears pink, is named Smoochie, and is a Poodle-Kisser, Sir!

Interesting that these thoughts are forefront. Important to put them into perspective. Do not want them to define or temper what we accomplished as a team this season. I was fortunate enough to win a State Racquetball Championship one year. It meant I had to move to the top division. I really struggled with it. Even had thoughts of wishing I hadn't won. Easier and safer to level off, stop improving. Just get good enough to stay where you are at. Oh, if only we hadn't had that great 7th inning comeback in the 6th game, vs. the top seeded team out of Bozeman... Rocky Mountain Eye Disease..Doing well but just well enough to be rewarded with a steeper cliff than you have ever climbed. If we were going to lose the next game, we shouldn't have made the comeback. Does 6th place feel worse to us than 8th place would have??

On some level, the honest answer is probably, YES. If we'd have taken one of our very special team votes, and everyone would be completely honest; we would probably have voted to finish 8th rather than 6th. Now, 1st, 2nd or 3rd, rather than 6th, might be a different matter, but 6th...is a little bit like the booby prize. Who in their right mind would want to give up what we have had this year? I'd take this every year. Winning sure is fun. So there you have it. I could be off base about this. Wouldn't be the first..or last time. I wanted to talk about it, get it out of me, so it doesn't bury any of the accomplishements of what has by far been the most successful and most fun softball season I have ever had. These feelings/thoughts are normal. It is okay to say it and talk about it. We just moved up a weight division. That's a bit unnerving. If we are not careful, we could lose the momentum we have gained. We could give away the confidence we have earned, and worst of all, we could end up not looking forward to playing softball next season, and be at jeopardy of not having as much fun. I think we have to re-understand next season a little bit. We are going to get to where we are going...We've got a plastic softball Jesus on the dashboard of the Geritol-mobile. You don't always need to know the directions. There will be friendly places along the way. We are going exploring in new territory. Off the old map. Reminds me of a favorite old poem.

Two roads diverged in a yellow softball wood

And sorry we could not travel both

And be one team, we understood

We rallied late and won the game

Next year’s path would not be the same.

We’ll be telling this story with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence

Two roads diverged in a softball wood, and we,

Tried our hardest and did our best

And that has made all the difference.

Apologies to Robert Frost. Compliments to the team. Good job not holding anything back. The price tag of not trying your hardest, is not knowing how good you can be. We are still learning. We'd talked about this being a learning weekend. I do like what we learned about ourselves in Butte.

We made huge growth this season. Had we been a company with stocks, we'd have been a great investtment. Let's don't sell out now. We'll stick together, talk as a team about what we want to have happen next season. Just like we talked about not letting the State tournament happen to us, let's us happen to the State Tournament. So let's not have next season happen to us, let's look forward to it, try to happen to it, and see what is the best we can make it be. I know we are one of those teams who is capable of over-achieving. I have seen it. Synergistic evolution is another phrase for it. I also refuse to believe we are as good as we are ever going to be. A team does not make the improvements we have made this year, and suddenly level off...unless they go mental and quit believing in themselves. We are just not going to do that. There was a time, not so long ago, that noone in Missoula really knew who Team Geritol was. Now they do. There was also a time when teams around the state certainly had never heard of Team Geritol..now they have. I hear people say good things about us. Look what we have done in a very short amount of time. It makes me smile. Very proud accomplishments.

Okay..enough said. I will get the stats entered this afternoon. Great job this weekend guys and thanks for a season I will remember forever...even if I get Alzhiemers. Oh, and by the way, that ride I hitchiked home..although it was a bit nervous, especially when he pulled off at the senic lookout of the Helena side of McDonald Pass, and wordlessly turned off the car and the headlights. We sat silently for about 5 minutes (during which time I had a grip on the door handle) He started up the car and continued driving. I got home safe and sound. Nice guy, took me right to my house. Thanks for the ride. No more hitchhiking for me.

Game 1.vs Corner Bar, Belgrade..Win 20-8 in 5 innings: Stodden Park#2 8:AM: Very nice start..Scored in every inning. 4 in the 1st, 5 in the 2nd, 2 in the 3rd, 5 in the 4th and ended the game with our 4th run in the 5th . Patrick's first swing of the tourney was a home run. Excellent defense and strong hitting from top to bottom. Lots of games the bottom of the line up has to carry the team..but this game the top of the line up held their own. David, Allen, and Deano told me to say that. We were 32-41 for a tournament high of .780. This is our new tournament high. It gives us something to shoot for next year. Everyone on the team had at least 2 hits in this game.

Game 2 vs Kaos/Helena #1 seed: Copper Mountain, 10:40 AM: Win 14-13 in 9 innings... Whoa baby!! What a game. We were visitors..and this is the kind of game the home team wins. But not this time. We scored 3 in the 1st, they scored 4. At the end of 5 innings, we trailed 10-6. we scored 4 in the 6th, they scored 2 to go up 12-10, and us with our final inning at bat. We scored 1 run in the 7th, had 2 outs on us, Zilla, the speedster was at 1st base..James Stokes worked his 1st of 2 back to back walks..nice eye James! Jeff, Travar and Deano each followed with 2 out hits, driving in 2 more runs to give us a 13-12 lead going into the bottom of the 7th. Great slide at home plate with the tieing run by James. Kaos scored the tieing run when their #8 hitter just crushed a shot deep to right center. A home run in most fields. We got out of the inning without allowing any other baserunners. We did not score in the 8th..which was a bit nerve-wracking. Kaos led off the 8th inning with their #11 batter. He flew out. Their lead-off hitter, who was 5-5 this game, hit a double. We decided to intentionally walk the #2 hitter. So we've got a tie game, bottom of the 8th, probably a base hit away from losing. Their #3 hitter flew out, advancing their lead-off hitter to 3rd base. Yikes! Their clean-up hitter is at the plate..but Zilla is on the mound and was able to get Mighty Casey to fly out. Stranding the winning run at 3rd. Great job guys. Zilla led off the 9th with a single and scored the go-ahead run on hits by James and Travar..In the bottom of the 9th, we got the first batter out. Getting the 1st batter of the inning out in a game like this always seems huge. The scorebook is a bit sketchy here. Kaos did get 2 men on base this inning, but neither, reached 2nd base. We were able to end the game by getting out the batter who had scored the tieing run in their bottom of the 7th. What a game to win. We were 27-53 for a team average of .509. Very deep fences on this field. Probably 310'. It made playing the outfield kind of uncharted territory. Fun game to win. Especially without being home team. Kaos had to have been very disappointed. We would be..we would also be good sports about it and they were. The entire weekend, the sportsmanship was excellent! It is fun to play ball without having to get caught up in the emotions that come with trash talking and bad attitudes.

Game 3: Saturday 6:40 vs Harvest/Billings..Win 20-6: We did not let the alpha-males stripey pants beat us. This team had some very snappy looking uniforms. I did like the Texas orange stripes and shirts. We started off strong, scoring 4 in the 1st. Led by Patrick's 2 home runs, the first one came in the opening inning, the next came in the 2nd inning. The Smoocha' also hit one over the fence in the 2nd inning. Since James and Jeff are off the steroids, we have not had back to back homers very often this year. Harvest did all of their scoring in the first 2 innings. We scored in all 5 innings. The team was 28-42 for a solid .667 game average. Well we did it..we made it through Saturday undefeated. In our 2nd game we won an extra-inning contest that would have been very easy to lose. Composure, team chemistry, great pitching and defense, helped us stay out of the loser's bracket on Saturday. Thank you to the Softball Gods and the Virgin Mary who presides over Butte from atop an overlooking mountain.

There were a few in-between game shenanigans that were pulled by you know who..Hack and Butterbean. I'll address them in the summary. Ongoing issues, continued chinks in the team armour. What is the old saying..one boy has a full brain, two boys together have a half of a brain, three boys together..you get the gist. James and Jeff, Dumb and Dumber were trying to lead the Geritol flock astray. The Mother Mary on the mountaintop spoke to me and told me to throw that beer away. So I did..and then the Devil, the Satin of the suds, told those boys to steal my baseball shoe..so of course they did. A classic battle..good against evil...team interests vs. individuals weaknesses...but not even the devil could pull us apart. Through thick and thin, through beer and pizza, we stick together. Like clients and counselors, we are forged.

4th Game Sunday morning 8:AM: vs Paradise Falls/Blue Sox: Lose..15-10..What in the Wide, Wide World of Sports is a'going on? They have beat us 3 out of the last 4 times we have played. I guess it is about time we started viewing our games with them a bit differently. I always think we are going to beat them. Nothing personal meant by that. I just have that sense of confidence against them. In our first lose to them (14-7) at Districts, it was a close game until the 7th inning. They pushed across 5 runs in that inning. In this loss at State, we led 5-4 after 5 innings. They led 10-8 after 6 innings, and they scored 5 runs again in the 7th, all with 2 outs, to open up a lead we could not overcome. They just beat us. No other way to put it, they earned it. We were 21-40 for a team average of .525. This game was a bummer. I think we all felt it was a good draw for the undefeated game Sunday morning. Whatever the reason, I have a hunch we will learn from it. The other loss that hurt even more that losing the game to the Blue Sox, was losing James for the remainder of the tournament, to a foot injury. The big guy played great all day Saturday. In fact James led the team in hitting. In our 3 games on Saturday, James was 3-4, 4-5, and 4-4. This adds up to a 11-13 day for an average of .846. More about James later. Well, what the heck how about more about James right now. It turns out, that an unnamed player on our team, (Smoochie) noticed James hadn't wore team colors for our loss vs. Paradis Falls. Yes, James was out of uniform!! There was nothing else for us to do but take a team vote and determine if this was a poodle-kissing offense. Much to everyone's surprise, the team voted to have James wear pink. It was a really close vote. All the Democrats voted to give James a break. All the Republicans on the team, put down the hammer. No rescues. Let the prisoner wear pink, they cried in unison. Deano, The Dogfather, and Patrick the Governor tried to sway the right wingers, but to no avail. Just a hunch, but I am guessing it was the trash talking James was doing. The sort of talk that other teammates can take a bit personal. It was not politically correct smack talk. At a time when all of your teammates have worn the pink and they hear you saying it ain't gonna happen to you...no way..I'm just saying, perhaps a bit of humbleness and acknowledgement to the Softball gods for them having spared you the pink, may have been in order. Shelby is as Shelby does. Water down the field and food poison the opponents...pink is probably coming your way.

Game 5, vs. Sidney..10:40 AM, Copper Mountain 1..Win..21-1...And Patrick, The Governor, broke into the First Lady's wardrobe and came out wearing pink. Interesting game. We watched these guy play the game prior, they played well. We know how fickle the Softball Gods can be. The Eagles from Sidney lost some of their tailfeathers, and sent only 20 men to the plate in a 5 inning 21-1 loss. that is an average of 4 per inning. Yikes!! Each of their 10 players, batted twice. We did most of our damage in a 10 run 5th. Highlighted by Patrick double-faulting twice in the inning. He made the 1st and the 3rd outs. On the 2nd out, the team came forth with a united, bi-partisan, both sides of the dugout consensus team vote. We stood in unison at the dugout screen, cheering for Patrick to pucker up and smoochie that poochie. He did too, a line drive right on the lips to the right center fielder. We cheered, we were happy. The team hit strongly, going 32-42 for a game average of .761. Check out the legs on the Poodle-Kissers section of the website. Looks a little bit like a pink Carl Lewis. Again, the team we played, were excellent sportsmen. Our hats off to them for travelling this far to play softball. I noticed a couple of Geritolians on their team. Nice to see.

Game 6: vs #1 seed out of Bozeman Win 15-14: Great 6 run, 7th inning comeback. Oh Lord what have we done? I think we just picked a fight for next year with somebody's big brother. Very interesting game. We scored 9 runs in the 3rd inning. Highlighted by Smoochie's, 3 run, inside the park, hamstring pulling, get out the old guy goo, home run. We scored all of our runs in this game in 2 innings. 9 in the 3rd and 6 in the 7th. Bozeman, also benefited from a big inning, 8 runs in the bottom of the 6th, to apparently give them the momentum and a 13-9 lead going into the top of the 7th. But oh no!!! We 6 big runs in our final at bat to take a 2 run lead. It really was a memorable comeback against a very good team. This team had just 12 runned' Kaos, from Helena, to put them out of the tourney. In their final at bat, they led off with their 2, 3, & 4 hitters. We got the 1st 2 batters out, the #4 hitter hit a single, then we forced out him out at 2nd on the next play, to end the game. You play to win..and we played to win. It is just that way. Any other way and it would stain the season we have had. We were 26-45 for a team ave. of .578. Smoochie was hurting, pulled muscle in his hind leg. James was out. Zilla had popped a T-Rex disc out of place, warming up for game #5 vs. Sidney.

Game 7 vs. Speiker Sprinkler Helena..Lose 17-11.. I do believe this is back to back years the Sprinkler boys have Rain-Jetted us out of the State Tournament. Well Holy Lawn Fertilizer Batman!! This has got to stop. I think we were just fine. No real reason to lose this game. At this point in the tournament all the teams are strong and capable of playing well enough to win any game. We just did not play that well. We had our lowest batting average of the tourney, going 18-38 for a .473 team ave. Zilla did manage to hit 2 home runs and a sommersault in his final two at bats. We had 5 runs after 4 innings and the game was still close, 8-5. Speiker then scored 9 runs in their final two at bats to distance themselves from us and earn the victory.

TOURNAMENT SUMMARY AND STATS:

Runs scored: interesting stats here:

Saturday we scored 54 in 3 games & our oppenents scored 26..for an average game score of 18-9, in our favor.

Sunday we scored 55 runs in 4 games & our opponents scored 46..for an average game score of appx. 13-11., in our favor

For the tournament we scored 109 runs in 7 games & our opponents scored 72 for an average game score of 15-10 us.

BATTING AVERAGE:

Saturday the team hit .640 in 3 games.

Sunday we were .588 in 4 games.

For both days we were 181-301 for a tournament average of .601. I will go back and compare this to other tournaments. I'll also find last years State stats and compare. Definite signs of improvement.

High game was .780 in our first game. Next was .761 vs Sidney. Our low games was .473 vs. Speiker.

Saturday we had 87 hits in 19 innings (3 games) for an average of 4.5 hits per inning.

Sunday we had 97 hits in 26 (4 games) for an average of 3.7 hits per inning.

For the tournament we had 184 hits in 45 innings, for an average of 4 hits per inning. The 184 hits came in 7 games for an average of 26 hits per game.

The most hits we had in a game was 32, and we did that twice, The least hits we had in a game was 18 vs Speiker. Fairly consistent stats.

We are careful to be team-oriented in our website entries. We do however give print to special weekends and efforts. As I mentioned earlier, James was 11-13 for a tourney average of .846. Another weekend of note of Zilla's 23-29 weekend for a tourney ave. of .793. We know Mike had to suck it up and play through a hurt back. Excellent work Zilla.

There will be more to come. We are lookin forward to the Bubbas. Can't seem to find a weekend that works for everyone. Please forgive me if the weekend we choose is not the best.

District Tournament 2008..8 games and 2nd place. - Thursday, July 31, 2008

8 games this weekend..now we are talking! Anyone can do things the easy way, no sense in that. It was a fun, fun weekend, and I think, as long as noone got hurt, it was just what we needed. A whole bunch of games together, to get us connected and primed for State. Players participating in Districts were: James Stokes, Mike Dimmitt, Patrick Hiller, Mike Fuchs, Tracy Elam, Jeff Weaver, Shawn Hollenback, Alan Fox, David Felker, Jon Riley, Mike Perry, and Deano Thompson joined us. Thanks guys. Here is a run-down of the weekend.

1st game: vs Charlie B's, Field 4: Won 20-8 in 6 innings: A quiet 1st inning and then we got the bats going. Charlie B's was a lower C team. They made some nice defensive plays, but their bats were sleepy for this 9:AM game. The Governor hit one over Capitol Hill for us and the team hit well, from top to bottom of the lineup. We were 29-45 for a team ave. of .644. Those 29 hits came in the final 5 innings, for an average of almost 6 hits per inning. David Felker was 4-4 and on his way to a 9-10 Saturday. Someone on our team (Jeff) tried to curse him in batting practice Sunday morning, by mentioning it.

2nd game: vs Koala Care..Field 5..11:30: Won 24-2 in 3 1/2 innings: James over-heard our opponents talking before the game. They had received a scouting report that we were a bunch of older guys who could hit the ball hard, but did not play good defense: We promptly made 2 or 3 errors in the 1st innings, playing very un-Geritol-like softball, giving them their only 2 runs of the game. They sent 8 men to the plate in the 1st, leaving the bases loaded with 1 out, as we finally turned a double play to end their early uprising. We were home team this game...living proof that even tho the Coin Flip Gods don't take kindly to trash talking (James), they do know when it would be best to only let us bat 3 times, and show some mercy on a young team that we hope will continue playing. We've all been there. Their best days are still ahead of them. As our ours..of course...they may just have used up less of their life calendar is all I'm saying. Young bucks, as in Class of 2008 and 2009. Go Spartans!! We were 30-39 for a tournament high team ave. of .769. This eclipsed our previous game high team ave. of .750, in a 33-44 game vs. Jagermeister/Softballers of Helena in the C'mon Blue To