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 Tourney. Patrick, The Governor, veto'd 3 pitches over the fence in this game.

3rd game: vs Paradise Falls/Blue Sox: 3:30...OOPS! I mean 3:15, Field 4: Lose 14-7. Well..darn #* shoot #@* heck*#..& phooey. Congrat's to Paradise Falls, they earned the game. Pink to the Team Counselor, he earned the shorts. We were home team but it didn't matter. It was a 9-7 game in the top of the 7th and they scored 5 runs. We just did not seem to have it offensively. Won't win many games scoring 7....Maybe you can get away with it in the 8th game of the weekend, late Sunday afternoon, but not the 3rd game of the tournament, Saturday afternoon. Being an optomist..a floater not a sinker, I think this was the best thing for us. Had we won the tourney undefeated, it would have been fine, but I think in regards to being prepared for the State Tournament, playing 8 games, 5 of which were loser out, was exactly what we needed. We know we can win tournaments. We have learned that this year. Dealing with the moments of team disappointment, how well do we do with this? We did good. Here are the stats for the Paradise Falls game. We were 15-35..for a team ave. of .428. Yikes!! Enough said. Next game please.

4th game: Sunday morning 9:AM. Field 3, vs Silver $/Hoagieville. Win 10-6: Silver $ scored 4 runs in the bottom of the 1st. to take a 4-0 lead. We scored 2 in the 2nd and 7 in the 3rd to go ahead 9-6. It was a game that was played hard, but it was a subdued kind of hard. They really miss Alex. Haven't seen much of our good buddy, since he helped us out that night at league, after drinking about 5 Sparks, and fouled off strike 3 in his first at bat, to earn the pinnk shirt. Poochie Smoochie..Man, that poodle swears like a drunken sailor. Our 7 run 3rd, along with our typical great defense, is what won the game for us. The team Counselor looked like a Hollenback (only faster) in his 2nd degree pink belt, outfit. Gray hair and pink shorts, sounds like a mid-life crisis. David O'Henry Felker, out of compassion, fouled off a 3rd strike to earn his 2nd degree pink belt. David chose to wear the pink knee high socks rather than wait for the pinks shorts. There will be 2 pairs of pink shorts available at State.We were 17-33 for a .515 team average. The Governor lobbied his 5th home run of the tournament out of the park, in this game. Them Democrats sure can hit. James and Mike Fuchs told me to say that.

5th game: vs, Gilleys, 10:15..Field 3..Won 19-12.. Justin McKay..is fast!! If there is anything, anyone in the league knows about Justin McKay, it is that he is fast. Sprinter speed. Our good friend Butterbean is always challenging people to a race. No one ever wants to race him. Shawn "The Smoocha'" wants nothing to do with James' speed, Hack Weaver won't even consider racing his good buddy James. Allen Bones Fox.."No Mas!!" when it comes to racing James. I guess James is the 2nd fastest guy in the league, because Justin put the hoofs to him. James even false started but still didn't break the tape 1st. The team appreciated the show of spirit and competetion. Way to get our team fired up James. Gilleys had played very well Saturday morning, having a tough draw in the bracket, but defeating Silver Dollar/Hoagieville and Silver Dollar/Advanced Imaging in their 1st two games. The brackets were lopsided. It doesn't really matter in the end, but it does make for some uneven early round games. We hit well this game and it was good we did. We opened up an 11-4 lead after 2. Allen Fox had 2 hits in our 8 run 2nd. We went scoreless in the 3rd-and 4th. Gilleys climbed back, scoring 6 runs, making it an 11-10 game after 4. Mike "The Bookie" Fuchs CPA'd a big 2 run homer in the 6th. Gilleys gave us a tough game. They never went away. It was a good win. We were 31-51, for a team ave of.607. The 51 at bats and the 31 hits in the game were both tournament highs for us. We thank James for sacrificing his "Fastest guy in the league" title, to the Softball Gods for us. It was a noble and unselfish move. The ground shook. What's that song? "I feel the earth..move..under my feet, I'm racing.. Gilleys..and I'm getting beat."

6th game: vs Paradise Falls/Blue Sox..11:30 Field 4: Win 14-8: It's rematch time. The Thrilla in Manilla..dibs on being Ali. Evil Knievel returns to Ceasar's Palace..dibs on being Ceasar's Palace. The Griz vs. the Cats..dibs on being the Griz..Democrats vs. Republicans..dibs on..oh never mind..we are a team. A fun team who plays great bi-partisan ball. Another game with solid defense. I am going to have to start keeping track of double plays our infield turns. With Jeff guarding the hot corner, highlighted by a play where he charged a slow roller (the kind you can never get the batter out on), picked it barehanded, and threw the runner out at 1st. Mike Fuchs played the keystone sack, made sweet scoops and perfect feeds to Tracy, to start many a double play. Patrick, put those long legs and arms to great use at first. What a fun infield to watch. Jeff, the Hacker, was especially impressive, considering he has spent most of the season playing outfield for us, due to his versatility. Double plays are a thing of beauty. Exciting to watch and a huge momentum builders for us and killers for the opponents. This was a close game through 5 innings. We were up 9-8 at that point. We scored 5 in the 6th and held them scoreless in their final 2 at bats. The team was 21-40 for a game ave. of .525. Tracy was 4-4 this game..and just about every game this weekend, as he was absolutely on fire at the plate. Tracy was 9-11 on Saturday and 17-20 on Sunday for a total of 26-31 for a team high tournament average of .838. If only he played hard. Good Lord. Excellent weekend Tracy. Now don't do anything riskier than playing pinochle until after State.

7th game..1st Championship game..vs.Rausch Wood/Team Fuel..12:45..Field 4..Win 11-3: It was a good start. Zilla Dimmitt pitched a 5 hit shutout through 6 innings. In the bottom of the 7th, Rausch broke though with 3 runs, as Rich, The Hammer hit the nail on the head and pounded a 3 run homer to knock in Troy and Donnie . Even though Rausch lost this game, scoring some runs in their final at bat and not getting shut out was probably an important momentum builder for them. Rausch played very well this weekend, going undefeated until this game. They made some excellent plays, infield as well as outfield. Both teams brought excellent defenses into this game and will take them to the State Tourney in two weeks. We look forward to more games with Rausch. We also look forward to games with them that are without the hot-headed behavior that occured during the two Championship games... There is no reason to taint a good, clean, hard played game against two teams filled with nice guys. Not meaning to offend, or cause trouble..it just left a sour taste that merits mention, with the sole purpose of hoping that these were isolated incidents. Everyone is entitled a "heat of the moment" meltdown. That is a part of competing hard. But when it continues through two games, it hurts both teams, and if you are not composed, it can change the focus of the game. We were 19-40 for a team average of .475. The Governor got handcuffed by an inside pitch and responded by Schweitzering it over the fence for his 6th homer of the tourney. It was an odd looking home run that showed what kind of power Patrick has. Not many players will hit one out of the park on a swing like that. A note of sportsmanship is that after this game most of Rausch's team came out and shook hands with us, that was great, most of the time the team who loses the 1st championship game does not extend that gesture. Thanks guys. We had hoped James would challenge Heather to a race, but Butterbean, in a damage control mode, cut his losses and decided to just lose the coin flip rather than the coin flip and a foot race. I can understand James' thinking. That one would take a while to live down...After the tournaments was over..out in the parking lot, I did overhear James challenging his wife Peggy to a race. Peggy declined, even though James promised not to leave early.

8th game..2nd Championship game..2PM..Field 4..Lose..6-5.. Well..Rausch was home team again...James..James..James..James..put on something pink..do something to get on the right side of the Softball and Coin Flip Gods. Oh well...maybe you are just saving them up for the State Tourney..Good thinking buddy. Okay, here we go..we've worked hard, had our back against the wall all day, it is our 5th consecutive game of the day. These are the days and tourneys you remember the most. They are the stories you tell on down the road. "Remember in Districts, back in 2008, when we lost our last game Saturday and had to play 5 loser out games, in a row, on Sunday, to get to the 2nd Championship game vs Rausch..that was fun." This game was fun. The final game Sunday at District Tournament is beginning to have a familiar feel..and outcome. Remember last year, vs Rocky Mountain Eye. Another low scoring, 1 run loss? Another story to tell. We scored 2 in the 1st, leaving 2 men on base. We ended up stranding 14 men on base this game, an average of 2 per inning. Big Stat here..we had 18 hits and were able to score only 5 of those 18 runners. In our 1st Championship Game with Rausch, we had 19 hits and were able to score 11 of them. It happens, Rausch helped the cause with some more excellent defensive plays. Again, I did not keep track of double plays. It would be interesting to know how many each team turned. Rausch scored 3 runs in their 1st inning when Troy team-fueled one of Zill'a pitches over the fence, despite the wind being at the batters disadvantage. That wind combined with fatigue, was a player in this game. Both pitchers, both Mikes, were able to throw strikes and flash way more thigh and tummy than anyone but them wanted to see. Something about those pitchers, even when their wifes are in attendance. It must be some sort of venting response to having batters hitting shots at them all weekend, In softball, pitchers are the 2nd Lieutenants of Viet Nam. They are the Little League team coaches, sitting on the plank above the dunking booth, with the kids on their team, lining up for a shot at dunking them. They are the burcellosis Buffalo at Yellowstone Park, just a' wandering towards the Park boundaries, Rangers packing high-tech, 98 MPH composite rifles, taking aim at them. They are..well..you get the idea. Just trying to find some rationale for their sometimes unusual behavior. Both Mikes pitched excellent games.

We scored 2 in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd, 3 in the 3rd, and not a dang thing after that. Rausch scored 3 in the 1st, 1 in the 4th, and 2 in the 6th. They were home team and had the final at bat, but did not need it as we were unable to score in the 7th. Patrick was on 2nd base, Tracy was on 1st base and Mike D. hit a nice shot up the middle that their 2nd baseman made a great play on. Had this hit gone through, we'd have tied the game and had a chance to score a few more runs. That is softball though, nice clutch shot by Zilla and a nice clutch play by their 2nd baseman. Fun game. Looking forward to State. We were 18-37 for a team ave of .486. And..oh Jon Riley is a good Daddy..hitting that 3rd strike foul so his 3 boys could hoot and holler and email pictures of Dad the Poodle-Kisser, home to Mom on the cell phone. They are such nice boys. Proud of their Daddy. Thanks Jon.

Tournament Summary: For the tournament we were 166-318 for a team tournament average of .522. If we left out the final 2 games vs. Rausch (just for statistical fun) we were 129-241..for a 535 average. Not that different. On Saturday, in 3 games, we hit 613. On Sunday..in 5 games,against tougher competition, we hit 521. In the 8 tournament games, we hit in the .700's 1 game...... in the .600's, 2 games..... in the 500's, 2 games....and in the 400's 3 games.

The weekend was good batting and fielding practice for us. It was also good, "deal with adversity time" for us. Despite losing our 3rd game on Saturday, our team kept it's perfect record alive by not having one single word of anger or criticism said by anyone on our team towards any teammate. That is what I am proudest of. In our years together as Team Geritol, there has never been one single time when a teammate berated another teammate. We were disappointed after the 3rd game, we just sucked it up and went home. Sure James challenged Peggy to a foot race, but other than that we were fairly well adjusted. Thank you guys for being that way. We can turn around and look backwards at how far we have come from the early years as Team Geritol. Calling guys, trying to get a team together. Always feeling fortunate to be able to pick up good ball players with great attitudes.

Chemistry came before talent. Some of the team had played with each other, some had not, but boy we sure jelled. No matter how State goes this year, it has been a year to remember. I won't put down any numbers until the year is over. Too superstitious for that. Most accidents happen within several miles of home. We are rounding 3rd base and heading towards the home plate of this wonderful 2008 softball season. Before we leave for State, we'll fill the Geritol-Mobile with high octane, smooth fielding, extra base hitting, non-poodle-smooching, fuel; buckle up, check our rear view mirrors, keep our eyes on the road ahead, use our turn signals, rent or buy a GPS JEFF and JULIE, listen to our 3rd base coach....PATRICK. Win a coin toss or two for us James, and we are set. State will be what State will be. I feel no undue pressure about it. How good a team we are, is already taken care of. Place high at State..win State..frosting on the cake of an incredible season. Finish in the middle of the pack or make an early exit..C'est la vie. We are on a really great ride. State is not a destination or ending point. It is an exciting place to visit on our Team Geritol drive through Softball Land.. How long a shared drive we get to take together, I don't know. I just know it has been the most enjoyable softball drive of my life.

Last year we kind of let State "happen to us". This year I think we will be more able to "happen to State." I don't mean going to Butte and blowing people away. I just mean that we don't go down there and be awed or puckered up or driven inside our individual heads and disconnected as a team, by the pressure we put on ourselves to do well at the big show. It is a team experience, it is a chapter in our team story. I expect us to be Team Geritol, to have fire in our bellys and composure in our heads. I think we will be less likely to be taken out of our game by a strong team or a team with poor sportsmanship. That happened to us last year.

Remember what we have accomplished this season, remember we win as a team and lose as a team. Forget how good or alpha-male'ish our opponent looks, and remember how well we have played all season long. Forget about bad calls, they will eventually go both ways. Think about what you want this tournament to be like, and try your best to make it happen. But whatever the outcome, enjoy the process. Read the "Tao of Pooh." State will be as good to us as we are ready to let it be. We will learn a little bit more about ourselves on this weekend. I am excited about that. I really like what we have learned about ourselves already. Great stuff guys. May James, Patrick, and Travar, give one up for the team and go pink...and most importantly, may James seek some clinical help for his newly developed butt-patting fetish. What is up with that? Poor Allen Fox. Bad boy James.

St. Regis Tourney..Camping and softball..oh yeah! - Friday, July 25, 2008

What a fun weekend. We were fortunate to be able to have most of our Team Geritol crew play this weekend. This was the first year for several of the guys. It is a nice family weekend and hopefully we can put it on or schedule again next year. Great campgrounds, some excellent and intense softball, campfires surrounded by kids and grownups, lawnchairs, food, ghost stories about things that really happened..true ghost stories, kids actng like they aren't scared...edging closer and closer to their parents...a swimming pool, a shower facility, a laundry room, tents and RV's..oh yeah..now we're roughing it...oh yeah and kids getting sick in the middle of the night..Brodie being taken to the ground Saturday night by a major league, full body, charlie horse. Mike Dimmit losing his bearings Saturday afternoon and blurting out something about "Owning the Softball Gods" or having them wrapped around his little finger..I just had to cover my ears and leave..because I knew what was coming. Sure enough, very next day, the Softball Gods took a big ol' bite outta Zilla. Bit him right in the hamstring. Down went Zilla, it was a different kind of grunt this time. It was the grunt of prey rather than predator. It was also a bit of a poodle grunt as the Softball Gods showed Zilla no mercy..they waited until strike 3 to bite him. He pulled the ball foul and crumpled to the ground like a poodlle with shock collar on. He limped back to the sidelines and manned up..said "where is the shirt?" Put it on and began the healing process, a much wiser man. May James keep this in mind.

1st Game vs. St. Regis Travelers: Win 20-6: Off to a good start, we hit the ball well and played the strong defense that would carry us through tight games that lie ahead. It was a special treat to have 2 generations of family playing. David Thompson and his son Brandon played with us. Brandon has been at this tournament with his family ever since he was a little guy...and it's been a while since Brandon was a little guy. The kid can play baseball..he hit some shots that were amazing, highlighted by a line drive home run that went over the shortstop's head and just kept on going till it cleared the fence. Unbelievable hit. Fun to watch. As a team we were 30-48 in this game for a team ave. of .625.

2nd Game vs. I don't remember: Win 16-11. This was a close game through 6 innings. We led by 1 run 10-9 in the top of the7th. We were able to score 6 in this at bat and hold them to 2 runs in the bottom of the inning to end the game a 16-11 winner. We were25-41 for a .560 team average.

3rd Game vs. the beginning of a rivalry, camo guys from Idaho. Win 13-10: Mike Fuchs came to our rescue in this game. David and Brandon had to leave for a Baptism ceremony for their daughter and we were short a player. How many teams are lucky enough to be able to call up a guy like Mike and have him say, "Sure I'll drive down and help you guys." Mike was great help, he played 3rd base, made several key plays highlighted by a heads up double play, where he tagged the runner going to 3rd and flipped the ball with his glove to Don chery covering 2nd base. This got us out of a jam and robbed them of momentum. Mike was also 4-4 this game. We told him if he would stay, we'd cut Don Chery from the team but Mike packed up his bags after the game and drove him. At least this time the drive hom on the same day was following a victory, unlike last years' 2 State tournaments. We were home team and did not need our final at bat. We were 21-38 for a .552 batting average. Our defense was very strong. Tracy was voted by the umpires in the tournament as the Gold Glove winner. He made outstanding plays every game, as did the rest of the defense. So we got out of Saturday undefeated. That feels good.

Smoochie's poodle ate my homework & James challenged the Softball Gods to a game of "Chicken" - Thursday, July 24, 2008

It is a good thing school is out for the summer, else I'd be staying inside for recess because I didn't get my homework done. Sorry to be so far behind, especially when what I haven't been able to write has been all good news.

We have District Tournament this weekend. Our start time is 9:AM Saturday Field 4. We will meet at 8:AM at the Rugby Fields to take some swings, loosen up and enjoy the pre-tournament comraderie that is one of the special aspects of team sports. Butterbean, Zilla, and Smoochie may take the opportunity to burn off their excess testerone with an impromptu scrum.

This brings us to the next matter at hand. James has openly challenged the Softball Gods to a game of "Chicken." Ever since he used his forearm to give a young gal in the co-rec league, the infamous Shelby Shiver, he's been a little full of himself...talking big guy talk, Red Rover-Red Rover, send Bronco Nagurski right over. I am refering of course to James saying that now that he has made it through league play without eaning the pink shirt, he is home free. As if the end of league play was like crossing over the Mexican Border. Perhaps the Softball Gods are saving James' reward for a bigger arena. Pink shirt at Districts..pink shorts at State...oh yeah!! We will see. I think most of us are just hoping James will get on the good side of the coin flip Gods. It would be nice to be home team every now and then. Henry has done a fine job in James' absence.

Tournament updates..and major thank-you's to the Softball Gods. - Thursday, July 24, 2008

Holy Checkered Flag, Batman!!! Our enchanted season continues:

2nd Place..Elbow Room Tourney...

Champs..+35 Thompson/Corr Tourney..

Champs..St. Regis Tourney..

Big steps forward this year. The team has continued to improve. It seems a classic example of talent, chemistry, and the benefits of several seasons together. It has been a season unlike any I have experienced. Great stuff guys!

ELBOW ROOM TOURNEY:

Yikes! We lost our 1st game, then won our next 4 to get to the championship game. We lost this game to a team from Idaho. Ran out of gas, but it was still an exciting tourney. The highlight of the tourney was a fun win over Boomers, in the losers out, semi-final contest, to move into the the 1st championship game. More about that in a bit.

1st Game: Lose 13-12 to Gilleys..The price of gas and hot dogs just went up. Gilley's led 7-0 after 2 innings. We worked our way back to make it close, but the reality is that Gilleys was home team and did not have to bat in the bottom of the 7th. The other reality is that our good buddy, Mike "The Bookie" Fuchs, became a 1st degree pink belt in his 1st at bat of the game, hitting a 3rd strike foul...hmmmm..can you say grumpy. Funny how that puts a smile on everyone elses face. A quiet smile at first, but a smile that knows when to emerge from hiding and give their buddy a little good natured support. Mike did not stay grumpy as long as Deano "The Dogfather" Thompson did, we'll give him that. Geritol was 22-40 in this game for a team ave. of .550. Zilla Dimmit, T-Rex'd 2 out of the park.

2nd Game: Win 13-5 vs. Jackson Construction: This was a team of young guys, from the Thompson Falls area. Nice kids. The highlight of this game was our 11 run 5th inning, with Donny, "Uncle Scrooge" Chery, making the 1st and 3rd outs of the inning. Pink Chery, sounds the Shirley Temple of slowpitch softball. The wonderful "carry-over" rule came into effect with Donny owing 3 innings of pink in the next game. Donny embraced his pinkness, like a true Republican. (James told me to say that). Geritol was 20-39 for a .512 team average. Chris "Dudley Dooright" Jones hit one over the Canadian border for us.

3rd Game: Win 16-4 vs Gilleys.. It was our turn to win. Also it was the 1st game Sunday morning...can you say...it's 2:AM boys....closing time. This was a 5 inning, 12 run game. Chris Jones, with the great Dudley Dooright chin, hit 2 homers off Justin, aka. Snidley Whiplash, the nefarious owner of Gilleys. Mike Fuchs came through with the game ending hit, which seemed to somehow make him a little bit grumpy again. We were 25-35 for a tournament high .714.

4th Game: Win 12-6 vs Paradise Falls/Black Sox: This was a 1 run game till the 5th , when we scored 6 runs to go up 11-4. Patrick, "The Governor" went deep for us in the 3rd. We were 19-39 for a .487 ave. Our defense was strong, praise the Lord. We won't win many games hitting under .500. This win put us into the semi-final game vs. Boomers/Elbow Room...Can you say...drumroll please..

5th Game: Big Win!! 17-14 vs Boomers/Elbow Room/Gologoski/Sonny's Wyoming/Yankees/Red Sox: OK, so I got a little carried away...but it was a signature win for us. This is a very good team we were fortunate enough to beat. It is a team you don't get a bite out of very often, and when you do..oh boy does it taste good. They were good sports about it and we didn't run around like teenage boys who'd just seen their first Playboy magazine. This game was close from the get-go. James was golfing with his Father in a Shelby Tournament...so we won the coin toss and were home team. Thanks buddy. James contributes in many strange and wonderous ways. We would also like to thanks James' Dad for responsing to our phone calls..oops..that was confidential.

Anyway.. Zilla hit one out of Jurassic Park in the 1st and another out in the 5th. A couple of prehistoric grunts and a 4-4 game for Mikey. This is a team that hits the ball hard and hits the ball back up the middle. Zilla was devouring line shots. He also took a very hard and hurtfull hit off his orange shin pad, recovered in time to throw the batter out at 1st base (interestingly it was Boomer's pitcher). Zilla kept his composure, (unlike some opposing pitchers we have seen this year) and the team was able to keep our focus on winning a tight game. Lots of rallying points in a game, lots of events that can turn the direction of a game. When a pitcher loses his focus, or control of his emotions, the shopping cart gets a wobbly wheel, the instrument panel in the cockpit quits working and the team loses some of it's direction.

We were behind 13-10 going into the bottom of the 6th, we had the bases loaded with no outs and 1 run in, when up to the plate steps our esteemed shortstop, Tracy..notice it rhymes with Casey..as in "Casey At Bat." Tracy plays hard, makes amazing plays at short, hits shots to the gap, takes the extra base, great slides into home. Overall, you would charachterize him as a team player...that is what is so amazing about what unfolded in his at bat in the bottom of the 6th. Tracy was already a 1st degree pink belt..so were about 8 other guys on the team. He got 2 strikes on him, much to his disapproval, as he thought the umpires strike zone was kind of Poodley. Perhaps this affected his decision to swing at the next pitch which to me (coaching 1st base) appeared to be short and inside.. a tough pitch to hit..as Casey, I mean Tracy proved when he swung and hit the top of the ball, off the skinniest part of the bat handle, straight down into the ground, narrowly missing his foot. Tracy, aghast in horror, much like when Smoochie hit his pink pitch foul, tore out of the batters box, sprinting for 1st base. like Shawn's Poodle sprinting for his Daddy's arms.. Alas! The umpire barked "Foul Ball, batter is out." Tracy is a man of few words. He saves them up for situations such as these. Cause he was a'talking, talking with feeling and passion..and..what was that? What is Tracy saying?? Tracy is trying to talk the umpire into callling it a fair ball..and calling it a double play for those guys..and then Tracy would not have struck out and become our 1st 2nd degree pink belt..Can this be true?? Mr. team player is sacrificing our 6th inning rally to the Pink, Poodle Shirt and Shorts Ensemble Gods?? Unbelievable.

That's a Bubba, brother.

Fortunately, the ump stuck to his guns and called Tracy out on strikes. There are times when discretionary discipline is called for. This was such a time. There was that yellow, crime scene, stay away ribbon, invisibly wrapped around Tracy. Not a time to pass the pink shorts and shirt to our poodle smooching buddy... no..no..didn't have to be a counselor to figure that out. You don't go inside the Nuclear Reactor just after it melts down. You give it a little time. You wait for the fallout to clear. To Tracy's credit he kept his focus on playing the great defense we have become accustomed to. We went on to score 7 runs in the bottom of the 6th to go up 17-13. We were able to hold Boomers to 1 run in their 7th inning at bat and win 17-14. What a game!!! Very proud of us. Oh thank you thank you to the Softball Gods.We were 29-45 for a team ave. of .644.

6th Game: vs A good team out of Idaho: Lose 15-5..Oh well.. We just did not have it this game. Won't win any games scoring 5 runs. They had some guys who really hit the ball hard. One great big guy who hit it out every swing he took, until we walked him. Another left-handed guy who absolutely crushed the ball to the opposite field. He hit one of the hardest line drives to left field I have ever seen hit. WE played hard but were not able to give them the kind of game we wanted. They were gracious winners and hopefully we will get another chance to play them and make it more of a game. We were 17-36 for a team ave. of .472.

Fun, fun tourney guys. A boost to our ego's. Deposits in our team account. Pink on a few more of our teammates. Ah! The softball Gods are smiling on us.

Black Belt..Brown Belt..Pink Belt??? - Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Team Geritol, "Idea Box" is always open and waiting for suggestions. The latest idea/suggestion comes from Smoochie Hollenback...and it is an intrigueing one. I spoke with the members of the Board of Bubbas and it recieved enough support to be moved to the next stage before officially becoming a permanent clause in the Team Geritol Constitution. If approved, It will begin our next league game, Monday, June 9th, @ 9:45 PM. This is incidently the same time of the evening that the Smoocha earned his first pink shirt of the 2008 season. It is only fitting that it would be Smoochie who came up with the following idea. He felt strongly and verbalized that he would not have another moment of pinkness this year. He said, "I'm done with wearing pink for this year." Personally I thought this statement met most of the criteria for a profound thinking error, but who am I to say? We'll see if the Poodle-Kissing Gods were listening??

Anyways..here is Smoochies idea....he feels there are different degrees of pinkness. The 1st DEGREE PINK BELT , is symbolized by the donning of the pink Poodle-Kissing shirt. Shawn goes on to say, that if a player were to earn the pink shirt a second time..that it should be celebrated in a way that honors it's uniqueness. It deserves it's own symbol of achievment. Smoochie suggested a pair of pink shorts would be an appropriate symbol to honor a player's earning of the 2nd DEGREE PINK BELT. Butterbean, sitting on the Board of Bubbas, gave the stamp of approval to Smoochie's pink shorts suggestion. Butterbean was so inspired by Smoochie's' idea, that he suggested the recognition of a 3rd DEGREE PINK BELT POODLE-WARRIOR ...Pink, knee high socks, worn outside the baseball pants like a proud Dude's jeans, tucked into his new cowboy boots. Yeehaw!!

Let's go find us some Poodles to smooch!!. These socks would provide clear and undeniable honor to a Team Geritol player who has gone where no poodle-kisser has gone before, kissing the poodle on the lips three times in a season. A menage' poodle..if you will. (Never thought I'd get a chance to write that sentence). Rites of passage are time honored traditions. Every culture has them. In our case, even sub-cultures have them. Boys to men, men to poodles, poodles to shirts, shirts to shorts, shorts to knee high socks. That would be the Triple Crown of Softball. Were a player to smooch the Poodle an unthinkable four times in a season, he would become a 4th DEGREE PINK BELT ...we would be left with no choice but to top that achievement off with a beautiful pink hat. What an ensemble of pinkness and glory that would be..Pink shirt, pink shorts, pink knee high socks, topped off with a stunning pink baseball hat. Only to be worn for 7 innings of course. You have to give them back.

Oh Lord, I'll be good, I promise. I won't do anything wrong, just please, please, don't make me wear them pink shorts, those pink socks, or that pink hat. I'm not sure I could take it. Now I'll you what though..we do have some guys who look mighty fine in pink..and some of them are well on their way to trying on those shorts. Remember Lord, what Shawn said..about being done wearing pink..James said it too and so did Jeff...and Roger Wilhite is coming up from Butte, on his Harley Davidson to play with us in the Thompson/Corr Tournament and he said it..and he even swore when he said it....Yes, Roger used the Poddle-Kissing, Softball God's name in vain. For his pennance it would be fine to make that Butte boy wear something Poodle-pink. A small piece of Humble Poodle Pie.

So...it looks like I may be doing some shopping this weekend. Shopping in sections of the department store where I don't usually go. I'll be sure to get sizes for everyone. Just so there is no confusion, the Board of Bubba's has stated that each time a person kisses the poodle on the lips, he adds a piece of clothing to his attire. For example, were Shawn to smooch the pooch again, he would wear the pink shirt, to designate his 1st degree pink belt...and he would also wear the pink shorts, to celebrate his passage/transition into the society of 2nd degree pink belt Poodle Warriors. Kind of like strip poodle-poker in reverse. Any questions, appeals, etc. please call James @ 273-0874.

Shawn and James have made these proposals and I have entered them on their behalf. It seems to me that in the true democratic spirit of Team Geritol, a move such as this..calls for a team vote. Please feel free to log on to our softball talk forum and let us know how you feel. Otherwise we will vote prior to Monday evening's 9:45 game. Please see the forum for Jame's vision of a hat that Ol' Smochie would look fine prancing around in. It is a 4 Poodle Hat

The rest of the 2008 season - Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Three tourneys down and not enough to go. Here is a quick look at what we have left: The unofficial and informal majority feeling has been that we will not play an out of town tournament this year..because we are playing in league. Rumor has it that Jeff and James are going to Goosetown with the O'fers, from Idaho.

May 24/25..Open..........................................

May 31/June1..Open...............................

June 7/8...Open......................................

June 14/15..REDS:...(Father's Day) I won't be here but will get you guys in the tourney if you are interested.

June 21/22..ELBOW ROOM: This is essentially the last of the local tourneys.

June 28/28..+35 Thompson/Corr..I can't wait for you young guys to get older. This is a fun one. This will beJames' first year.

July 5/6..St. Regis..Fun tourney. A number of Geritol guys have played in this one. Let us know if you are interested. Fun weekend of camping and softball. Nice campgrounds with a pool. Close to Missoula.

July 12/13..Open................................

July 19/20..Superior.Home of Smoochie Hollenback. Tough tourney. Lots of teams. House party at Shawn's parent's home,as they are gone for the weekend. Shawn puts a team together.

July 26/27...Men's District Tournament, Missoula. This is a fun one too. Hopefully playing in league will keep us sharp through the end of the season.

August 2/3...Open............................

August 8/9/10...Men's C State..Butte America...We should talk about booking rooms. Butte or Fairmont..Maybe Shawn can get that Team Suite again...actually,we should pitch in on it. It is nice to have a gathering place.

August 23/24..State+40 Championships..Great Falls. We truely are Team Geritol down there. The older you get, the more softball there is to play.

Thus far in league play, the Softball Gods have smiled on us. I also am most thankful to you guys for taking timeout of schedule and coming down to play. We have been fine each of our games. We've been able to pick up a player or two when needed. I appreciate it when you guys let me know if you can/can't be there. WE have played 5 league games. that means we are 1/4 the way through the league season. Yikes!! It goes fast.

Dean Thompson and Libby Loggers..State Class A Champs!!! - Monday, May 26, 2008

Congratulations to our good friend and Geritol teammate, Deano Thompson for guiding his Libby Loggers to the State A High School Championship this past weekend, in Butte and Anaconda. Atta boy Deano!! Libby was able to cruise through the tournament undefeated. Dean has had a couple of 2nd place finishes at State with his girls, but this is his first State Championship. We are hoping for a picture of Dean and the girls so we can post it. Lord knows there have been enough posts of Deano lately. It will be interesting to see what he looks like when he is not wearing pink.

Rhino Rumble Champs!! Thank you to the "extra-innng, if-game," Softball Gods - Sunday, May 18, 2008

Today, I caught a bit of good-natured grief (Jeff and James) for not keeping the website updated after our fine win, two weeks ago..at the C'mon Blue Tourney, I told them, I just hadn't the time to sit down and get it done. That excuse, fell on dead ears of course. So, I will do my best to get this week's tournament update done on Sunday evening, before the work week and the Little League week takes over. Knowing that Jeff, will do his best to promptly post the pictues of him wearing the Poodle-Smooching shirt, for his first at bat Sunday morning.

Holy Double-Plays and Diving Catches, Batman!!! There is more than one way to win a game and a tournament. You can do it with your bats, with your gloves, smart base running, strong and accurate arms, but you won't do it any of these ways for very long if you don't have team chemistry, determination, and composure. All of which paid off nicely this weekend, especially on Sunday.

I am sure the guys on our team, who with us two years ago,remember our season long battles with Team Hype. We had great games with them, but lost more than we won. The past two seasons, we have had those same kind of games with Silver Dollar. For whatever the reason, we are winning the majority of them. We are evenly matched teams and it has made for memorable games. Today in the Rhino Rumble, second Championship game, we beat our friends on Silver Dollar, 5-3 in 8 innings, to claim the tournament title.

First, some thoughts about the championship game. It was influenced by man, nature, and industry.

The industry portion..was the softball. The Worth Gold Dot. All sports have sounds specific to them. Basketball, football, baseball..softball, they all have their own sounds that tell you how well the game is being played. In softball, the sound of a good swing hitting the ball solidly, is integral to the game. It is like a swish in basketball or pads hitting pads in football. Remember the backyard basketball rim that had no net? It just wasn't the same. A swisher is not a swisher without the net. That reassuring sound of softball was missing this weekend. It was replaced by a nerf-like, dead-ball sound.The sound of a dead ball is the sound of disappointment. It offers no reinforcement for a well-timed swing and solid contact.It can make you feel like you have lost your pop, it is a withdrawal from the "I am a good hitter," account. It was fair, because it was the same for every team, but I do not think teams on any level of play, like the dead-ball sound. We are not talking about home runs flying out of the ballpark, or souped up, high-tech bats.

We are talking about the sound of solid contact, ingrained in us since little league. Wooden bats have it, metal bats and composite bats have it. When we were kids and didn't have a ball or anyone to play with, the sound of rocks coming off our Dad's old wooden baseball bats had it.. We looked for things to hit that sounded good. Golf balls and super balls were the best. Dirt clods, crab apples, green apples were even okay. They did not go as far or sound quite as good, but at least they did something, they exploded, and that was cool. We hit lots of things with ourbaseball bats when we were growing up....but one thing we never hit...was marshmallows...that would make no sense. Hitting marshmallows would make you feel like a weenie...and who wants to feel like a weenie? No one I know. Well, this weekend we were hitting some marshmallows..and it tells me that MSA's decision to discontinue using the Worth Gold Dots was right on. The Dudley Thunders have at least sounded solid. Even if it is crabapple solid.

The nature was the wind. It blew hard, it blew sideways, it blew in the batters faces. When the wind blows in the batters face, it also blows in the batter's mind. It messes with you. Pitches move, balls don't carry, holes in the infield and outfield close up. Ground balls become double plays. lines drives hang in the air and are caught. If hitters are not careful, they begin doubting themselves. Batters change what works for them. They try things that are hard to do on a calm day. Technique is abandoned, pitch selection becomes compromised. The wind was a major factor this weekend. It was good mental practice for us. Wind, combined with a dead ball, superior pitching, and great defensewill make for 5-3 Championship games. We hung tight. That is good. There will be more windy days.

The human component was two teams wanting to win with all their might. This was a blue collar game. It seemed to me to unfold batter by batter, out by out and inning by inning, The scoreboard was used and it was great. Everyone knew the score, the inning, and the stakes. A small rally would have won it. An error could have lost it. Silver Dollar had defeated us in the first Championship game, to force the "if-game." Iit was a boost to their moral. They had come up short against us the past two years. Close games that always seemed to go our way. Eventually that starts to creep into a player's and team's mind. We have all been on both sides of that dynamic. (It was a huge boost for us to beat Boomers last week in league). Mike Dimmitt and Alex Kefler pitched great games. Wind can take a good pitcher down. Mike and Alex are good enough to use it to their advantage. The other human component was the great defensive plays from both teams. Infield, outfield, didn't matter, with the glove and with the arms. There were outstanding and clutch defensive plays that changed the course of the game. It was as fun a game as I have had to watch from the sidelines, with a pulled muscle, in a long time...and I've watched many.

Kudos to both teams. Excellent sportsmanship. Thanks to Kelly for his hard work putting together the tourney. It is not an easy job. Stats to follow, there is a lawn to mow and a sprinkler system to turn on.

1st game..vs. Anaconda, Rocky Mtn. Brewing Co. Win...18-9: Our shortstop wore pink and made some sweet plays...Arf..Arf.. I believe a few of the Anaconda boys had been supporting their sponsor on the way to the game or the night before. Good athletes, but they said it was their first game of the season, league begins Thursday for them. Their catcher yelled at our batters as we began to swing...not many people do that..enough said. We scored in every inning and ended the game via the 10 run rule after 6 innings. Our biggest inning was a 7 run 2nd. We were 30-47 for a team ave of .638. Chris Jones hit a 3 run homer for us.

2nd game...vs. $ilver Dollar/Advanced Imaging..Win 15-10...Tight game for 6 innings. . This is a good team that plays us well. Great guys on the team who help us out during times in league when we are short. The score in this game was 11-10, us in the bottom of the 6th inning. Zilla Dimmit came to bat with the bases loaded and his wife Trina's video camera recording..what do you think is going to happen?? A great big grunt and a towering grand slam down the left field line. It turned the tide of the game and we won 15-10. This was a good win. We were 23-41 for a .561 team ave.

3rd game..vs..Hayloft..Win 20-1: A 7 run 1st inning. We had some help from them, in the form of an error or two. It was much appreciated. We scored 8 runs in the 4th to end the game early. Lots of good friends on this team. Hayloft is the top +45 League in Missoula. It is good to see them get in the local tournaments. They traveled to St. George Utah last year and played very weell in the World Senior Games. We were 27-37 for a .730 team average. This was our final game of the day.

4th game..vs.$ilver Dollar/Huggieville: Win 15-5 in 6 innings: Here we go again. What a fun rivalry..especially because we have been winning. We were home team for a change (James is not yet at peace with the coin flip Gods) and scored 5 in the 1st, and 5 in the 2nd, for a 10-1 lead after 2. The $ never did get their bats going in this game. What did happen however was that Jeff Weaver got his lawn planted just in time to come help us play on Sunday. Man oh man does this guy ever look good in pink..wowee! Please check "The Bubbas" for more the rest of the story.

OH-OH!!! I THINK THE SOFTBALL GODS WERE LISTENING.. Something subtle but significant, happened in between the 4th game and the 5th game. As we sat in the shade, on the hillside, between games, waiting to see who we would play for the championship, a couple of our players whose identities are protected, (Travar and Patrick) engaged in a conversation that may well have come back to haunt us. Superstition has a room in the house of softball.

First off, it should be said that the sitting and watching to see who you will play for the tournament championship is a luxury, a priviledge, and an honor bestowed on one team, and one team only, in each tournament. It is a time of humble status. I was in my late 30's or 40's before being given the honor of watching from the sidelines, in the shade of victory, as two opponents battled it out to earn the right to play us for the tournament title. It is a time to be giving thanks to the Softball Gods. Do it openly, do it quietly, but get 'er done.. The Softball Gods share our victories with us. They are also a bit like parking meters. You have to keep making deposits in them. You don't get to park with the Softballs God's without letting them know you are willing to pay homage to them to be there. Your time will run out. You will be ticketed...and perhaps towed away. They need be fed. They need be thanked. If you eat their glory and success, or take it for granted, they will offer it no more.They also abide by a strict code of conduct. It is a code that has fit our team make-up nicely. We have reaped bountiful rewards for our on, and off the field conduct. These Softball Gods also happen to be running buddies with the "Wind Gods", the "Rain Gods", the "Good Hop, Bad Hop Gods". the "Bats Gone Dead, Gods," the "Coin Flip Gods," (James) lots of Gods, many many Gods exist in softball. It would appear a conference call was made from the Softball Gods to the Wind Gods, the Bats Gone Dead Gods, and the Coin Toss Gods".

Both of these unnamed players are humble and down to earth guys, however they slipped up and started talking about some stuff that caused the Softball Gods to sit up and take notice. It wasn't blatant or obnoxious, not at all. To use a baseball analogy, it was a bit like mentioning to the starting pitcher, in the 6th inning, that he has a no-hitter going, or maybe even just asking him if he was getting nervous. Our good buddies were two moths flying around the lightbulb that illuminates the Room of Softball Taboos ...what they were talking about was our won-loss record, how many tournaments in a row we had won, and something about a certain team, who we were about to play, not being able to beat us over the past two years..I am not sure exactly what they were saying because I got scared and my brain shut down in a desperate attempt to make it all go away, and not be true. It would be like Shawn saying that he will never wear the Poodle-Smooching shirt again. Smoochie would never say that..he knows better.

Anyways...even though other Team Geritol players, immediately notified these players of their softball faux-pas. They kind of chuckled, yuck-yucked, yeah-yeah, and joked about having just cursed Team Geritol. Well..off we went to play SilverDollar in the 1st Championship game. Uhmmm......needless to say, we kissed that 2 year winning streak goodbye. Now it may have been coincidence...that is for each person to decide. I know what I believe. What was reassuring, however, was to hear these two fine gentlemen and ball players, come to their senses after the loss in the 1st championship game and mention to each other (as they were standing on the sidelines, injured...hmm?) "Oh-oh, maybe we shouldn't have been talking that way. The tall left-handed one, who plays 1st base, started chanting. He actually did. It was a nice little Native American, speak-to-the-spirits, kind of a song-chant. The other one, (another infielder...sheesh!) got solemn .. 'eh. It was good to see and hear. A chant and solemness were in order. They apologized to the Softball Gods and said out loud, "That is the last time we'll do that. We've learned our lesson." The Softball Gods, apparently appeased, rewarded us with a most memorable and hard fought victory in the 2nd championship game. Thanks guys, we wouldn't have won, if you hadn't of meant it. Many game changing events happen during the course of a tournament. Not all of them on the playing field.

5th game (1st Championship Game)..vs $ilver Dollar..Oopsie..Lose..11-5.... The Team Geritol Batmobile ran out of gas. $ilver Dollar finally cashes in. Our turn to pay the tab. The parking meter ran out of time...or perhaps, as earlier mentioned, the Softball Gods meted out consequences. It's okay, even the Bobcats eventually win a game or two vs. the Griz. Oops, I'd better be careful, just my Griz loyalty coming up with an analogy. Anyways, The $ played well and deserved to win this game. They were home team and the score was 7-5 after 4 innings. We did not score again in our final 3 at bats. An interesting side-note is that the $ scored 11 runs and won the game even though their first 4 hitters never scored a run the whole game. They were 21-37, for a team ave. of .568. We hit 13-33, for a tourney low of .394. I don't remember if we have ever hit in the .300's as a team. I don't think I will look it up either.

6th game.(2nd Championship Game)..vs. $ilver Dollar. Win..5-3 in 8 innings. What a game this was. I wrote about the spirit of this game at the beginning of this post, so here are some of the details. $ilver Dollar was once again home team. That didn't feel good. I thinnk everyone felt this game would come down to the final at bat...and did it ever. The score was 0-0 after 1, 0-0 after 2, 0-0 after 3. We scored 1 in the top of the 4th. They scored 2 in the bottom of the 4th (2-1 them). We scored 1, to tie it, 2-2 in the top of the 5th, they did not score in the bottom of the 5th. It was 2-2 after 5, 2-2 after 6, We scored 1 in the top of the 7th to go up 3-2. They scored 1 in the bottom of the 7th to tie it at 3-3. In the 8th, our 11 & 12 hitters were up. Travis led off the 8th inning with a single. That 1st guy up in the inning is so important. Great job Travis. Patrick, who was sitting and hitting because of injuries was up next. Normally Patrick hits 2nd. Today he was batting 12th, and he was the right guy at the right time. Alex gave him an outside pitch and Patrick crushed it into the gap between left and left-center. It had to be perfectly placed and it was. The dead ball and the wind had joined forces to lose up all outfield gaps. Patrick's double scored Travis, who then came back in and ran for ol' Hopalong

Casuality. Travis moved to 3rd, on Travar's at bat and then scored on Jeff's sacrifice fly.

We were up 5-3 going into the bottom of the 8th. Their # 11 hitter was up, went out. Then their lead-off hitter made the 2nd out. Their next two hitters each smacked singles, and the winning run, also their clean-up hitter came to the plate for the Dollar. He hit a sharp grounder to Chris Jones at 3rd base. Chris made the clutch play, tossed the ball toMike Fuchs at 2nd to win the game and earn the tournament title. Thank you to the Softball Gods. What a great game!! This was our 3rd tournament title this year and the 2nd year in a row we have been fortunate enough to win the Rhino Rumble. It is a year like I have never had. Great memories that will last forever.

We cannot write about this game without mentioning at least two defensive plays. Jeff made as clutch a diving catch in the bottom of the 6th, with the bases loaded and 2 outs, as you will ever see. It brought everybody to their feet. I didn't think he had a chance at it, some folks thought he dove too soon and wouldn't be able to reach it. It was an all out dive and a total rob-job on our good friend Alex. Alex hits line drives, they are not soft easy balls to catch. Jeff''s catch was one of the plays that allowed us to eventually win this game. The other play that needs mention is the double play that Tracy pulled off in the 7th inning, to end a rally the Dollar had going. In the bottom of the 7th, $ilver Dollar's 1st 3 hitters got on base. Randy Peak scored on the 3rd of these hits, to tie the game. So, $ilver Dollar had runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs and the game tied. Their next hitter smacked a hot shot to Tracy (our tournament MVP), who tagged the runner on 2nd base, who tried his best to ruin the double play, flipped the ball to Mike Fuchs, who made a great turn and narrowly missed getting the runner going to 1st, for a triple play. We got the next batter out to end the inning. It was a huge lift to us. It truely felt like a second chance at winning the game to have escaped this inning. This play was a back breaker,and I think it may have made some more deposits into the "What do we have to do to beat these guys?" account that we have going with Silver Dollar. This is an account we want to keep open. Thank you to the Extra-inning Gods.

There were certainly many other fine defensive plays. James made some key plays on pop-ups behind the plate. Nice glove on the Big Cat. David Felker was 3-3 the final game...atta-guy. Greg Kessler, playing in his 1st games of the 2008 season, did a nice job out in left-field with his glove and had a great peg to Jamie McHugh at 3rd base to nail a runner. He also provided us with a bizarre, middle-aged, pale white man, booby dance, all in the name of inspiration. Dosey-Doe, it's Flashin' Joe. Greg, Jamie and Travis all filled in, and fit in very nicely. Jamie did a nice job at both corners. Travis played like a gold glover in right field. Our thanks to them for helping us do as well as we did. I know I am forgetting something..of course I don't remember what. My apologies if I have left anyone out. Everyone did great.

League play update..Tracy goes pink..Team vote coming up. - Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nice win last night. Got a bite out of Boomers. 17-15. Don't get that very often. Tasted good. They were a player short and only had 3 outfielders. They are still the toughest team in town to beat. The Softball Gods smiled on Team Geritol and we thank them mightily. Kudos to Mike Dimmitt for fielding some hard shots. Zilla did a great job for us.

Also Tracy Elam went pink last night. Fouled off the 3rd strike. Tracy will be modeling the XL, Pink, Poodle-Smooching casual-wear ensemble, in the first game of the Rhino Rumble Tournament this weekend. Jamie McHugh played a nice game for us. Jamie showed up after the coin toss. OH-OH!! Sure, Jamie is new to the team and sure no-one has explained the Team Geritol Poodle-Kissing Rules to Jamie, but showing up on time is standard softball knowledge. It is however true that Jamie was being very helpful by making some last hour phone calls to try and find an extra player for us. Perhaps these are mitigating circumstances?? It appears there is only one thing left to do. TEAM VOTE.... We'll take a vote before the 1st game Saturday to see if Jamie should wear pink. Who knows, it could go either way. I have a hunch which way Tracy, Alan Fox and David Felker will be voting. Each of them will be wearing the pink shirt. David and Allen have several innings of pinkness remaining. James and Jeff said they have 5 innings left to fulfill their 7 innings of Poodle'dom. Oh my gosh!! If the team votes for Jamie to wear the shirt, it will mean that all 4 of our Poodle-Kissing shirts will be prancing around the softball diamond at the same time...I better bring my video camera for that. Yipes! I mean Yikes.

C'mon Blue Champs 2008 - Tuesday, May 6, 2008

In sports, in life, whatever it is..at the end of the day or the weekend you are left with the memories of how well you did or did not do. You get to play each tournament but once a year. This year's C'mon Blue made some nice deposits, into the good memory account.. Great job guys and many, many thanks to the Softball Gods. They continue to smile on us in tough situations. We are most grateful.

This was an interesting tournament. Several new teams. Back to the ASA, rule of batting 11. A brutal Saturday bracket that would eliminate all but 3 teams from the tournament. No concession stands. Out of town opponents, with low blood sugar and no fuel left in their tanks, accepting small handouts of Geritol Jerky, as I crossed the mound between innings, on the hike back to our dugout, from a trip to the provisions cache in the Geritol supply wagon that was hitched up in the Fort Missoula parking lot. We lost our 2nd game of the day and had to play 2 more just to make it into Sunday. We won 2 games by 1 run. We beat a team that brought in some late inning players with those alpha-male stripey pants, big "B" muscles, and a pony tail. We survived a team that scored 19 runs in 2 innings, was home team, and only needed 1 run to tie and 2 to win in the bottom of the 7th. We had 3 different players wear the poodle-kissing shirt, and last but not least, we had to beat the undefeated team two times to claim the title. Interesting that we have won 2 touornaments this year and both have gone to the "if game" in the Championship. Sportsmanship was great. Umpires were doing a fine job. Weather was beautiful. Wives and kids were there. Shawn, David and Allen look great in pink. We are indeed living a charmed existence.

We will get some game stats up as soon as possible. Been a little busy.

Here are some game stats. I will getmore in as time allows. Little league baseball every night this week.

The team batting average was...186-290..a .641 tournament ave. Very nice.We scored 122 runs in 7 games for a 17.4 runs/game ave. and 3.05 runs per inning. We played a total of 40 innings, for an ave. of 5.7 innings/at bats per game. We averaged 26 hits per game for an ave. of 4.56 hits per inning. More to follow.

Nicknames - Thursday, May 1, 2008

Nicknames are a time-honored tradition in sports and in no other sport have nicknames been as pervasive as in baseball. Especially in old-time baseball. Nicknames such as Preacher Roe, Icebox Chamberlin, Chief Bender, Cool-Papa Bell, Dizzy and Daffy Dean, Sliding Billy Hamilton, Gabby Harnett, Rajah Hornsby, Catfish Hunter, Highpockets Kelly, Yogi Berra, and Ducky Medwick are just a few of the examples .Wonderful, colorful nicknames that celebrated both special and less than special moments. Healthy humor, fun and relationship should always be the end result of a good nickname. So with all this in mind, it is hard for me to resist what seems to be a natural inclination to want to hang a nickname on a good buddy. I am sure it is just my strong interest in sports history that is behind it. At any rate, here are some of the nicknames that you will see in the new Team Geritol poll. These are also names that will make their way into the scorebook. The cool thing about nicknames is that as the softball season unfolds, nickname creating events are sure to happen.

Here are some early season offerings:

Shawn Smoochie Hollenback..What else could it be? He is a poodle-smooching machine. Every year he has led the team in pooch-smooching. Yip!Yip! Yip! Remember that old Walt Disney movie about the Shaggy Dog? Wasn't there a cute little kid in there named Moochie. I think so. Well Moochie has grown up and he still loves doggies. Moochie, now Smoochie, has traded in his shaggy dog for a cute little furry pink, yippy, yappy, poodle puppy. It all has sort of a Disney-like feel to it.

James Butterbean Stokes..enough said. He's a loveable tough guy with a shaved head. He hits really hard and has a pugalistic bakground. I don't know what his boxing record is but he sure has a winning record with Team Geritol.

Dean Muffin Thompson..He is the George Washington of Poodle Kissers. He was the first pink shirt wearing President of the Poodle Kissers of America. Forefather of the Poodle Nation. DNA testing has also proved him to be the biological father of Muffin. He is...and always will be...Muffin the 1st.

Mike Gruntzilla Dimmit..Every team needs at least one grunter..and at most one grunter. We have a natural born grunter. Combining Mike's great grunt with his Godzilla-like approach to facing opposing batters, devouring the bullets, missles and hot shots that are rocketed back up the middle at him, make the name Gruntzilla, or Zilla for short, a natural. Every team needs a Zilla on the mound. We are lucky. We have a Zilla and a Muffin.

Patrick The Governor Hiller...Dapper, always looking good, living life right, a fine role model. Perpetually running for office, the Governor has an interesting voting record. He voted to pardon Muffin from the natural consequences of missing the coin flip. He again voted to pardon the Smoocha, when he hit a 3rd strike foul. The Governor's voting record leads us to believe he may be doing some campaigning and lobbying to drum up some kickback pardon votes when and if he gets caught in a pink scandal of his own. Put all of these factors together, shake it up and a nickname like "The Governor" comes out. We know the whole team would vote for a Democratic Governor. The Governor is also struggling a bit with the concept of term limits at 1st base. Please offer him some support, as this year he may have to step out of office for an inning or two.

Mike "The Bookie" Fuchs...A natural. He is a numbers man. He plays the odds and makes calculated risks, except when it involves his brother Mark playing shortstop, or me coaching 3rd base. My bad. Mike's Bookie appearance and demeanor defy his athletic ability and competiveness. This is one bookie who always gives solid returns.

Tracy Fishbait Elam..The guy catches fish and plays in the water for a living. No wonder he is always so calm and laid back. As we have all seen, fish are not the only thing Tracy is really good at catching.

Jeff The Hacker Weaver..Hack for short. The King of cut and paste. Do not let this man sit at your computer. It was his hacking (along with Smoochie and Butterbean) that started this whole poodle thing, and we thank you for that. Do not let Hack's peaceful demeanor fool you. He is a running buddy of Butterbeans. He starts fights and Butterbean finishes them.

Allan Bones Fox....Those bones can really fly and they are lethal. Last year Bones took out The Smoocha with a well placed knee to the thigh. The Smoocha was sniffing around the boneyard in left-centerfield and paid the price.

David O'Henry Felker...O'Henry's son Henry is a part of the team.Very special to see the next generation of Team Geritol ballplayers growing up and being a part of our team. The dugout is like extended family.

Mark Shiner Fuchs..Darn those older brothers. It was a great shiner Mark had last year. We are all pulling for Shiner to have an injury free season and begin a Lou Gehrig-like streak of onsecutive games played. Great to have Shiner back. We've revoked his brother's position coaching license.

Travar Zamboni-Rambo McLeod..Zambo for short...Zambo comes to us from the hockey leagues. If you have watched him play, diving, sliding, getting dirty, you know he is a Rambo softball player. When Rambo and Zamboni got married...their son was named Zambo. There are alternative names such as Zambini, Zam, Bozo..no that's not right.

The Counselor...What else could it be?? All of the dugout therapy that I do. Trying to keep you guys' bubbles between the lines, so to speak. I am glad to do it. I have seen growth and movement. The softball field and the dugout offer so many clinical opportunities. We have slowly been patching the holes in our teammate's buckets. Somebody has to do it. You can look around you at the teams that do not have a counselor...how well are they doing?

The Pink Poodle Kisser shirt MUST BE VISIBLE When worn...Shawn. - Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Call it a hunch..or call it an observation of patterned behavior, either way I have a feeling that Ol' Smoochie Hollenback will attempt to hide the poodle shirt he won on Monday evening, by wearing his orange sweatshirt over the top of his pink shirt....That is his choice...however..the Board of Bubba's has decreed that the Pink Poodle Kisser shirt must be worn and be clearly visible for 7 innings. 7 innings under a sweatshirt are 7 innings of unfullfilled pinkness. After all, this is the man who was going to tear the game page out of the scorebook, chew it up and swallow it. Be strong Smoochie, your kids and your teammates will be watching...

Shawn, Poodle-Boy, Smoochie Hollenback, Smooches the Pooch in League Play - Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Poodle-Boy rides again!!! Ol' Smoochie Hollenback puckered up at the plate in the opening night of league play. It was a beautiful evening game that began at 9:45 PM. Smoochie was at the plate, with 2 strikes on him. No one from the bench was really paying enough attention to the situation to be putting any undue poodle pressure on the Smoochster. There were no taunts, there were no voices from the dugout making mention of the impending poodle kissing moment.

There was only one voice...and that was the voice inside Poodle-Boy's head, mumbling statements of insecurity to himself. We are so glad Smoochie listened to those internal voices. As Smoochie, wearing brand new contact lenses, and swinging a brand new high powered composite bat, made just enough contact with the ball to send it squirting six feet out in front of homeplate. The tremendous spin put on the ball by Smoochie's two strike, swing of desperation, sent the ball gyrating towards the first base foul line, Smoochie, like a proud male poodle suddenly realizing he is about to be neutered, sprinted in horror out of the batters box. As Smooch and the ball converged on the first baseline, each going in different directions, the voice inside his head that made him pucker up, the voice he foolishly listened to just moments earlier, spoke up again, this time it was giving Smoochie valuable information, the voice was saying, "Smoochie, kick that ball, it is going foul, if it goes foul, it will be strike three, you will have to put on the pink poodle kisser shirt, you don't want to do that." For some inexplicable reason, (clinically speaking, I think Smoochie was engulfed in the terror of what was unfolding right in front of his very eyes, a softball version of PTSD. Smoochie was reliving past experiences of poodle-kissing trauma. A poodle-kissing flashback is a frightening, emotional experience and not to be taken lightly.)

Anyway, Smoochie chose not to listen to the internal voice, as he sprinted past the ball that was headed like a pink-poodle-shirt-seeking-missle towards foul territory, he knew his one brief, fleeting split-second chance to change his fate, was gone. He'd smooched the pooch. The umpire barked, "Foul ball, the batter is out." Smoochie had this truely special look of disbelief on his face. That look that says, "Oh please God, let this not be true." "Oh God, my kids go to Loyola and I am giving you lots of money, please make this go away." Suddenly there was a sense of awareness amongst Smoochie's teammates of what had just happened. Oh happy day!! Smooch has just kissed the poodle again. The boy looks in great shape to defend his title as the poodle-kissingest poodle-kisser on Team Geritol. Hmmm...let's see,we've got Smoochie Hollenback, Muffin or Muffy Thompson, Gruntzilla (Zilla) Dimmit, Hack (short for Hacker) Weaver and Butterbean Stokes. It's got a ring to it.

All memorable teams are made up of characters...we certainly have our share. Smoochie also chose to wait until this weekend's C'mon Blue Tournament to wear the Pooodle Kissing shirt. We support that decision, This is America, we are all about choices. Oh, one last note, we caught Smooch trying to tear the page out of the scorebook, he said he was going to chew it up and swallow it. Leaving no proof that the events I have described, actually happened. There is something about that pink poodle-kissing shirt that will take a weak man down. The clinical, therapeutic, personal growth benefits, of the poodle-smooching shirt are beginning to evidence themselves. We are having a great time, we are building character and a strong sense of team, and isn't that what softball is all about. Oh yeah, almost forgot, we won this game.

MSA Champs!!! - Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Great job guys!! What a fun start to the year. Here is a breakdown of the tourney.

1st game...Team Hype. We won 18-6 in 6 innings. This was a good opening game draw. We have had some great games with them. It was our turn to win this one.We came out swinging, scoring 12 runs in our 1st at bat. This seemed to set the tone for the game. Jeff came through in the clutch, as he made an out in his 1st at bat and came to bat again in the 1st with the incredible opportunity, to earn the poodle shirt in the 1st inning of the 1st game of the year...oh that would be a dream come true. Jeff disappointed all of us by hitting a geeky blooper just over the slow 2nd baseman's head. Dang! Travis, Tracy,and Patrick turned our 1st double play of the year and one of a whole bunch forthe weekend, by doubling up the seond batter of the game after their leadoff man had singled. Two up..two down. The team was 32-45 for a tourney high average of .711

2nd Game...Silver Dollar/Huggieville...We won12-6. Another good draw. This is a strong team. We did not score a lot of runs, but we did score in every inning except the 7th. Our defense was so much fun to watch. Infield..outfield..pitcher..catcher..oh yeah, except that Randy Peak did manage to steal home on Jeff Weaver and Mike Dimmit. Those guys have got to start paying more attention. The team was 27-44 for a team average of .613.

3rd Game..Silver $/Advanced Imaging...We won 17-5. This was another good team. We were home team, (James was gone to Jackpot), and we put it to good use by scoring 7 runs in the bottom of the 6th with 2 outs to end the game via the 12 run rule. Mike Dimmit provided the game ending hit with a sweet 3 run homer and a very nice grunt. Hmmm? Could that be a new nickname?? Grunt...Dagrunta..The Grunster, He's a Bounty Grunter..no wait...Gruntzilla, that's it, Gruntzilla...Zilla for short. Mikey does have sort of a "Zilla" aura about himself. The team was 27-42 for an average of .643.

4th game...Rausch Wood..Also the 1st Championship game. Oh-Oh..Time for the coin flip and Deano is nowhere to be found. Yikes, I mean Yipes! We have a Poodle-Kisser in the building and his name is Deano. Oh, he was not very happy about it. We're sorry. Anyways, back to the game. We lost this game 14-12. It wasn't really that close because they were home team and still had an at bat. Deano being late was not the only event to earn a pink mark. Shawn also got caught by 3 steps trying to steal home in the 5th inning. He and Patrick seemed to have some wierd and highly ineffective plan in place. Patrick sort of faked a steal to 2nd and Shawn broke for home...didn't work, wasn't close, in all our years together, we have never tried this before. Who knows? The team was 24-43 for a .553 average.

5th game..Rausch Wood... for all the marbles. It was interesting. There was a total sense of calmness on our team. I don't think anyone was worried that we weren't going to win the next game. Everyone was cool. We did win this game 9-2. It was not high scoring,but it seemed we were okay . Neither team hit well. We were 17-35 for a tournament low of .486..Rausch Wood was 7-28 for a .250 team average. They averaged 4 batters to the plate each inning. Again, our defense was incredible. Lots of double plays, lots of nice catches in the outfield..and of course Zilla is always tough up the middle. Great job guys! What a fun weekend. Couldn't ask for a better bunch of guys to play ball with.

For the tournament we were 127-209 for a .609 team tournament batting average. Everyone hit well except Mike Perry who is still o-fer for the year. We'll be rooting for him next tournament.

I want to thank Tracy, Travar, Mike Dimmit (Zilla), and James (Butterbean) for helping with the field prep. It was most appreciated. May you not earn the pink shirt all year.

Deano (Muffin Sr.) gives birth to Muffin Thompson Jr. - Monday, April 28, 2008

You'd a' thought the old boy was passing a kidney stone..or giving middle-aged man birth to a 10 pound baby poodle...putting on that pink poodle smooching shirt almost took more oompha than ol' Deano could muster up. He went through three innings of hard labor and defiant denial before he could unpucker himself enough to deliver, go through this rite of passage, and get on with life. Muffin, I mean Dean, even exhibited a few early warning signs of an oncoming mood swing, but Deano is stuffed with good stuff and was able to make a fine decision. His teammates, like the true friends they are, offered support by assuring Deano that we would like him no matter what choice he made. We also told him that putting on the pink pooch was his choice. Finally in the 4th inning Dean had worked through enough of the stages of grief to accept his fate, perhaps even celebrate it, by passing that kidney stone, and giving birth to a brand new pink baby poodle girl. Yes, Muffin Thompson Jr. was born to Daddy Dean (Muffin Sr.) and welcomed into the Team Geritol family at approximately 12:15 PM, in the 4th inning of the first championship game of the 2008 MSA Tournament. Muffin Jr. looked absolutely stunning, content, and securely attached, as she lay there on Daddy Dean's chest. She is a gorgeous yipping, yapping, hot-lipped, pink baby, showdog, princess poodle girl, who just adores her Daddy, Dean Muffin Thompson Sr.

How many teams have players named Muffin, or Muffy, Butterbean, and Poodle-Boy on their rosters?? I suspect not many. Oh, just one other little thing...When all of this happened and the team realized there was a possibility that Deano was about to become pregnant with the papoose of a pink poodle-child Deano's democratic teammates took a vote on whether or not Deano had truely earned the right to forever go down in Team Geritol history as the biological Father of Muffin, thereby earning the Team Geritol nickname of Muffin the 1st... or Muffy for short. The vote was 12 yes's, 11 teammates and the home plate umpire, all voted in favor of Deano entering the Poodle Daddy Hall of Fame. Patrick, voting as a fellow member of the Brotherhood of coaches, was the lone dissenting voter. If our good friend Patrickreally wanted to make a show of support for Deano, he could have joined him in pinkness and put on a poodle shirt of his own. We'd support that.

With this historical team vote: let it hereby be known, that from this day forward, "The Softball Player Formerly Known as Deano" will be forever-more entered in the Team Geritol scorebook, refered to on the website, in team newsletters, and on the backs of any Team Geritol shirts that are to be printed, as MUFFIN. The team has asked that I communicate to Muffin that they realize there are new Team Geritol shirts being ordered. It is their sincere hope that the name MUFFIN be printed on the back of the shirt of "The Softball Player Formerly Known as Deano." Let us celebrate this victory with you. You have made us all proud.

Baby pictures were taken of this blessed event. They are being developed and will soon be posted on the website for all the world to see. More writeups to follow.

"Muffo" kind of like "Deano" is on paternity leave for 2 weeks. He will not be playing with us this weekend, in the C'mon Blue. The Muffster is planning on playing with us in the Rhino Rumble the weekend of May 17-18. Oh boy, the possibilites with the name Muffin are endless, The Muffarooster, Muffy the Tuffy, McMuffin the Crime Dog, Eggs McMuffin, The Muffalo Bills, Muffy the Vampire Slayer, Muff the Magic Dragon, Coach Muffy, Hmmm? Wonder if we could get word of this to the girls on Coach Muffy's Libby Logger's softball team? I believe that last year when he won MVP, Muffy wore that shirt to the next day's practice and let his girls celebrate that victory with him. I am certain they would love to celebrate this special moment with you too. We'll put James on that assignment, beings as he has already hacked his way into the Libby School District's computer system. To think the season has just begun. It is going to be a fun year.

Team Geritol is playing "Upper C" in league this year. - Thursday, April 10, 2008

For the first time ever, we will have a Team Geritol crew playing in the men's league. We are fortunate to be able to play double headers on Wednesdays. It seemed the only way to make it work was to be able to play one night a week and the MSA Board was kind enough to agree to make this happen for us. There are 20 teams in the C division this year. The league will be divided into two 10 team divisions for league play. We will be playing in the upper C division. There will be strong competition.

In essence, we will have two Team Geritol teams. One will play league and the other tournaments. Many of the guys are on both rosters, but because not everyone on our Geritol tournament team has been able to commit to playing league, we have been fortunate enough to add some very nice guys and good ball players to our league team ranks. These are guys who will help us out for league whenever they can and will be available to play in tournaments when we are needing another player. We are most appreciative to these players. They include, Jon Riley, Greg Kessler, Chris Jones, Dane Oliver, Steve Jones, Jon Umbright, Andy who owns the Missoula Batting Cages, and Brodie has also offered to help out if we are short and his team is not playing.

This year we will have enough players on our tournament roster to absorb family vacations, injuries, honey-do's, anniversaries, birthdays, or whatever else may arise. Of course we want everyone to be able to make every tourney, but we also know it just doesn't always work that way. So, we have a bigger roster and some great guys on our league team ready to help out. The softball Gods have indeed been smiling on us.

There are also 20 teams in the Men's D division. This number is up from last year. There is no +35 league in 2008. It had dwindled to 4 teams. The +35 teams will be in C and D this year. The + 45 league has 8 teams. Down from 9 in 2007 and 10 in 2006. Hopefully it will hold steady. Some of the Paradise Falls players are joining teams in the C league and the +45 league. It will be great to have them. Every league need new blood. Most of these guys are life-long ball players.

Overall this year, numbers are down a bit. Last year we had 123 teams, this year we have 114. The toughest nights of the week for scheduling are Mondays, Wednesdays. Monday and Wednesday are Men's league and we have 40 teams to schedule. This is 20 games. We only have 3 of the fields at the Fort. Parks and Rec has the other 3 for their league. We also have McCormick and Northside. We can play 6 games/night on the 3 Fort fields. 8 games/night on McCormick's 2 fields, and 4 games/night at Northside. This adds up to 18 games, leaving us without fields for games 19 and 20. It means we will probably have to go to an 11 week schedule to give each of the 40 teams their 20 games. We also have to schedule in openings for rainouts.

New Batting Rule for League play: Everyone bats. - Thursday, April 10, 2008

The MSA Board has adopted a new rule for league play re: how many players can bat in the line-up. Teams will now be allowed to bat as many of their own players as they wish. Previously, a team could bat 10 or 11, and had to substitute any remaining players into the game. The goal of this change is to get everyone some playing time. Even though you can only play 10 guys on defense, you will now have the option of batting 12 if you have 12 or 13 if you have 13. The Senior Leagues have used this rule for many years and it is a good one. High School is over, let's let everyone play. Here are the guidelines for this new rule:

Women’s and men’s league play only. This rule does not apply for co-rec league play.

Old Rule: A team may bat no more than 11 players

New Rule:

**A team may bat more than 11 players.

**This is optional. A team may continue to bat 10 or 11 players.

A team will now have the option of batting as many of their rostered players as are at the game.

**A team must use their own rostered players if they are available.

**A team may not add a non-rostered player to their batting line up if they have 10 of their own players.

**If a team bats all of their players, the batting order must remain the same, the entire game.

**If a team has a pick-up player filling in for one of their players, the team must immediately substitute their player for the pick-up player, when/if their player(s) arrives.

The pick-up may not continue to play.

**All pick-up players must bat last in the batting order.

**A team must finish the game with the same number of batters as they had at the start of the game, except in the case of an injury, ejection, or a player being unable to continue. In these cases, if a team still has 10 players available, the injured, ejected player may be scratched from the lineup without penalty. However the batting order may not be altered.

**A team shall consist of no fewer than nine (9) players. A team shall not be allowed to start or continue a game with fewer than nine (9) players. If a 10th player is added after the game has begun, the tenth (10th) player must bat in the tenth (10th) position in the lineup. A team that begins play with nine (9) players shall not be penalized with an automatic “out” in its lineup. This type of addition is only allowed if a team begins with 9 players. If a team begins with 10 or more players, and a player arrives after the last batter in the line-up has batted, they can only be used as a substitute. A team that begins play with ten (10) players may end the game with nine (9) players, but the missing player becomes an automatic “out” in its team lineup, unless said player was removed for an injury.

**If a team begins with 10 players and loses a player due to ejection, (leaving them with only 9 players), and does not have an available substitute on the bench, that team may continue to play; however, the team will be assessed an out every time the ejected player comes up in the batting order. If they have no substitute, and it drops them below 9 players, then the game is a forfeit due to not enough players. If the team loses a player due to injury, the team may scratch that player from the line-up, and continue without penalty of an out, unless that drops the team below 9 players. Then the game is forfeited due to not enough players.

**A team may keep a substitute(s) on the bench in case of an injury, ejection or just to substitute into the game in later innings

Practice..Saturday April 12th and 19th. JEFF!! - Friday, March 28, 2008

Dang!! Another Montana spring.. We had hoped for practices on the 4 Saturdays leading up to the MSA tourney. It was too cold on the first two Saturday's so we are down to two practices before the MSA. Forecast is for a beautiful day this coming Saturday, April 12th., Warm enough even to get Jeff Weaver out of hiding. He is a snowbird wanna-be. Fort Missoula fields..12:Noon-2:PM'ish. Should be fun.

2008 Rule Changes. - Wednesday, March 19, 2008

In Missoula league play and in local tournaments unless otherwise specified, the home run limit this year will be 3 for B and C, and 1 for D. After the home run limit is reached, the next home run will be an out. The State ASA rule for D this year is 0 home runs and the inning is over if/when a homerun is hit. This was the same rule the D division had last year. It will be used at the District and State Tournaments.

All home runs this year will be "walk-off" home runs. Apparently this is being done to conserve time. I guess they have not seen Mike Fuchs' faster than a speeding bullet home run sprint..I mean trot.

Tournament play mercy rule, will be 20 runs after 3, 15 runs after 4 and 12 after 5. League play will remain 12 runs after 5. All league games will go at least 5 innings.

We (the Missoula Softball Association) are going to use a different ball this year. We have used the Worth Gold Dot in the past and it just has not held up. We had hoped to be able to use a higher compression ball, than the 44 core, 375 compression ball we've used in the past. We were told that ASA mandates the 375 compression ball. We could use a higher compression, say the 425, 500, or 525 compression, but if someone were injured using this higher compression ball, the ASA insurance we have, would not cover any injuries that involved a higher compression ball than the 375. So.......after lots of checking around, we are going to give the Dudley Thunder a try. We know there are other good balls out there, the Miken, the Baden Lexum, etc. However we have recieved nice feedback about the Dudley ball. Lets hope there is a noticeable difference.

Practice schedule, that's right..it's time. - Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The first tourney of the year is April 26-27. The second one is the following weekend. That is 5 weeks away. So how about we practice on the following Saturdays, at 12:00 noon, at The Fort.

Saturday, March 29, April 5, 12,and 19th. That will give us 4 practices to get ready. We'll make some phone calls.

Team Gerber...Our Farm System - Sunday, March 16, 2008

We have some announcements to make. Team Geritol's farm system, Team Gerber, is alive and well.

Dean and Lynn Thompson welcomed Teague Ellis Thompson to Team Gerber. Opening Day was October 11, 2007. Game time was 9:56 PM, Height 20 3/4" Weight 8lb. 40z. Teague crossed homeplate after a 13 day rain delay.Teague joins his teammates Trey and Taryn in the Thompson family line up.

Tracy and Aneska Elam welcomed Colter Edward Elam to Team Gerber on March 2, 2008. Game time was 8:31 PM. Colter's game day weight was 6 lb. 15 oz. He was 20" tall. His teammate at home is Ethan Elam.

Mark Fuchs and his wife are expecting an addition to their starting line up any day now. We will update as soon as contract negotiations have been settled.

As Dean and Lynn Thompson put it on their baseball card announcement...each of these new players have guaranteed lifetime contracts with their new teams. I borrowed the baseball language for these announcements from Teague's Rookie of the Year baseball card that Dean and Lynn sent to me.

James "Butterbean" Stokes & Shawn "Sugar Ray, No Mas" Hollenback - Sunday, March 16, 2008

It was a nice turnout for the team roster signing hootenanny. We are mild mannered reporters, everyone was on their way home by 9:30. It was good food, (thanks Jan)good company, and good entertainment. Much of the entertainment was provided by James "Butterbean" Stokes and Shawn "Sugar Ray" Hollenback as they put on the boxing gloves after talking a little tough guy trash with each other. Each of them have boxed in smokers in their younger days, each of them have also been knocked into Palookaville by an opponent who knew what he was doing.

Last year they had a wrestling match between games in one of the local tournaments. Each of them ended up with stiff necks the next day. Both claimed to have whupped the other. Butterbean and Sugar Ray have had a running battle for some time. Shawn's high school football career ended in James' hometown, Shelby. James said the final score was 46-0. Shawn says it was 6-0 and Shelby watered down the field, let it freeze overnight and then food poisoned their quarterback. Shelby also won the State Class B basketball championship this year, coupled with the fact that Shawn's nephew Adam, was also playing in the State Tournament for Loyola...which of course means that James won the State tournament and Shawn didn't. I found them a pair of oversized, well padded, antique boxing gloves..and they...well... Sugar Ray and Butterbean..what else can I say. I just can't tell the rest of the story. What happens at Team Geritol parties, stays at Team Geritol parties. Suffice it to say, the next Team Geriotol party we have, they each have to pay a damage deposit

We will have 16 players on our roster. In Poodle Kissing, Bubba earning order, they are:

Shawn Hollenback, James Stokes, Jeff Weaver, Mike Fuchs, Tracy Elam, Dean Thompson, Don Chery, Patrick Hiller, Mike Dimmitt, Allen Fox, David Felker, Lance Horner, Mark Fuchs, Travar McLeod, David Thompson and Mike Perry.......

Tournament Schedule - Sunday, March 16, 2008

April 26-27....MSA

May 3-4.........C'mon Blue

May 17/18.....Rhino Rumble

June 14-15.....Grateful Red

June 21-22.....Elbow Room

June 28-29.....+35 Keith Thompson/Ron Corr

July 12-13......Hotbox (In Bozeman)

July 26-27......C District Tourney, Missoula

August 8-10....State Tournament, (Butte)

The Rise and Fall of Goosetown - Sunday, March 16, 2008

Goosetown went down. Unfortunately Kalispell also went by the wayside., Mike Fuchs proved to have a clear eye for detail by noticing that the Kalispell tournament, which was a runaway winner over Goosetown, was being held the same weekend as our Men's "C" District tournament here in Missoula. That was disappointing. The decision was made to consider the Hotbox Torunament in Bozeman. It is the same weekend as Goosetown. It is 2 weeks before Districts, and State is 2 weeks after Districts. That seems like good spacing for us. The majority vote was to try to go to Hotbox. Very sorry to Dean Thompson and Don Chery who live in that neck of the woods and were hoping to be able to play there. Very much ha-ha to James and Jeff who were hoping to create some Woodstock type memories at Goosetown. We told James we would play Goosetown if he would pitch.

2008 roster signing/pre-season get together - Sunday, February 24, 2008

Saturday March 15, 6:PM, or 7:PM or whenever it works for you.

1180 Vicki Drive. My house. Home of the Bubbas. My wife is cooking some Grizzly Chili. Like all of our Team Geritol gatherings, this is a family affair. Bring your crew with you. We will contact everyone by phone. If you can't make it, James and Jeff will forge your signatures. Just kidding Bob Rowlings.

We will have a team roster for players to sign. Rosters are due the following Friday, March 28. We should talk about the State "C" tournament in Butte. It is close to Missoula. About a half-hour drive for Jeff and Julie. Do we want to go? I think we would all like a chance to improve on last year's performance. Discuss participation in an out of town tournament. Perform an intervention on James re: his compulsive voting disorder. Try on the poodle-kisser shirts, so you will know which size fits you best, before the season starts, because when you earn it during a game, it may throw you into a state of cognitive dissonance, or just plain grumpiness, like it did to Dean Thompson, rendering you unable to think clearly. It is good to plan ahead. We can take a look at this year's local tournament schedule. There is some business to take care of, but mostly it will be good to get together. The MSA tournament is a month after our meeting. We can talk about some times to loosen up our arms, shag some fly balls, take some grounders if the fields are okay, get in some batting practice, and for Shawn to let his poodle get out and run. Hopefully we can also welcome back Mark Fuchs and Lance Horner from the injured reserve list.

2008 State Tournaments - Wednesday, February 13, 2008

All State Tournaments are August 8-10

Billlings.....All Women's Divisions

Billings.......Men's D

Helena........Men's +35

Kalispell......Men's B

Butte............Men's C

A controversial decision has been made to hold all tournaments the same weekend. (I do not know when or where Co-Rec State is being played).

Proponents of this move say it will open up the +35 State Tournament to more teams by forcing the top tier teams who are old enough and good enough to compete in both +35 B and Men's B, to choose which one State Tournament they will play in. Their thought is that the best +35 B teams will choose Men's B and the +35 B division will then open up to more teams who will be willing to play with the "top dogs" gone to Men's B.

My worry is that softball is on the decline and placing restrictions to establish some sort of parity will backfire. I am concerned that neither the +35 nor the Men's B divisions are deep enough to survive restrictions. I understand the frustration of the +35 B teams who can't compete with the Men's B teams who also dominate the +35 B division, like Sonny's did last year. Being sacrificed to the Big Dogs is not a fun experience. Perhaps the +35 B division should be smaller?

Not that I support it but if the true goal is to divide Men's B and Men's +35, then just these two tournaments could be held the same weekend....I know many folks who play Men's C and D who also play +35. With this new ruling, they will be unable to participate in both tournaments. My concern is this will hurt the +35 C Division.

Having all men's and women's tournaments the same weekend will also prohibit softball playing couples from supporting each other.

Time will tell if this was a good move. If it is, let's support it. If it isn't, let's go back to the drawing board and refigure what is in the best interests of the majority of softball players.

Other 2008 ASA Softball news - Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I have been told of two other decisions made for the upcoming 2008 ASA softball season:

1. Montana teams will be allowed to drop down one division when they compete in regional and national tournaments. A, "B Division" Montana team may play in the "C Division" in Regionals and Nationals. A, "C Montana" team may drop down to "D"..etc. etc.

2. Apparently the +35 division is going to begin to move to a +40 division. The +35 leagues will remain +35 this year, next year they will move to +36, the following year to +37..until they are at +40. This will align us with much of the country that currently competes in a +40 division.

This is all second-hand information. I think it is reliable. If I find it is not. I will correct it. If anyone knows of other news or of corrections that need be made, please let us know.

2008 Missoula Softball Association News - Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bob Wards Sporting Goods has generously offered the Missoula Softball Association (MSA) office space for the upcoming season. Thank you to Bob Wards. The MSA offices will be in the back of the store. Please be sure to thank them for their kind gesture. We also want to thank Justin at Gilley's Gas for the use of his upstairs office last year. It was very much appreciated.

Here are some dates of importance for the 2008 year:

March 5..MSA office opens.

March 10..1st Captains Meeting and Tournament Directors meeting. Downstairs at public library at 6:30. Captains pick up roster forms for 2008 year.

March 22...3rd Annual MSA .Recruitment/Try-out day at McCormick Park..10:AM-2:PM. Players wanting to get on a team and team managers looking for new/additional players are encouraged to come. We have had 100+ players attend and participate each of the past two years. Players get a chance to field, throw, and take some swings. There is always some very nice talent and enthusiasm out there. See Missoula Softball Association website for more info.

March 28..Rosters and softball fees due at MSA office.

April 22...2nd Captains Meeting. Pick up Schedules.Public Library at 6:30. (downstairs)

April 25...League play begins.

Please check "Tournaments" section for 2008 tourney dates.

Out of Town Tournament poll - Wednesday, February 6, 2008

We have a new team poll re: participating in an out of town tournament. This came about after last years' disappointing State "C" Tournament in Anaconda. We thought that perhaps it would benefit us to play in at least one out-of town tournament to sort of expand our comfort zone a bit. The majority of our local tournaments are over with by June. State is not until August, so we ended up a bit rusty, come State Tournament time. The 3 tourneys we have listed in the poll are each in July. If anyone knows of another tourney they would to have considered, please let us know.

Jeff came up with the idea for the team poll. Initially this sounded like a great idea. Jeff and James are really pulling for Goosetown and I am beginning to smell something fishy in Denmark. As of this entry, there are 9 votes, 6 of which are for Goosetown, again...something smells fishy. Me thinks the ballot box is being stuffed. BY JEFF AND JAMES!!! When am I going to learn? Please feel free to vote. You just need log in/register to vote. It looks like we will have to have an actual team meeting to get a true count.

Kalispell, The 14th Annual Great Northwest Showdown..for B-C-D teams is tenatively scheduled for July 26-27.

Hotbox in Bozeman. This is a fun tournament that Mike Fuchs' has gone to for a number of years. It is the same weekend as Goosetwon. July 12-13.

Goosetown... In Anaconda, Butte, Walkerville, and Rocker, is July 12-13.

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