The best game I never watched and why I no longer regret it.

Thursday July 23, 2009 was a typical summer day for the Roller family at that juncture of our lives. Emma was at the library and we had friends from our home school co-op over for a play date. That particular day Fred Prasil had brought his son Danny and daughter Ashleigh over who were close to the ages of my son Charlie and my daughter Lucy.

At the time I was the only full time home schooling Dad I knew but Fred Prasil was the closest thing to that. Fred and I had many things in common. We were both married to wonderful women named Amy who both worked full time in the public schools. We were both avid White Sox fans and could talk for hours and hours about sports.

Fred and I were the only men who taught at the co-op at the time. Fred taught art and gym classes where he was known as coach Fred. His paying job was also teaching gymnastics and other classes. He and his Amy would split the homeschooling duties at their house.

This particular Thursday was no different than the many times I had spent with Fred. The boys played light sabers and legos, the girls played princesses and Fred and I talked sports and held court on a variety of subjects.

I bet we mostly talked about the White Sox as it was the heart of baseball season. We didn’t think of switching on the radio and seeing how our beloved team was faring against Joe Maddon’s Tampa Bay Rays. We were enjoying each other’s company too much to think of it.

While we weren’t thinking of it, this was happening on the south side of Chicago…

Yes my favorite White Sox pitcher threw a perfect game and me the die hard White Sox fan that I am missed every single pitch because I was too busy talking White Sox with another die hard fan.

I didn’t realize the perfect game had happened until Fred and his kids had left and Charlie and I drove to pick up Emma from the library. We stopped at the Mcdonalds drive through on the way to the library and I turned the radio on to see if I could catch the end of the game. The post game was already on and people were already calling in to talk about the game. This happens at the end of every game, so it’s not unusual. What was unusual was the type of comments people were making and how excited everybody including the announced clearly was. It took me a few calls to realize what had happened.

At that point I got super excited, started switching channels to find out that Chicago was buzzing with the news. I got my food and drove home. I got out of the car and started telling Amy all about the game, but before I could get too far, she asked, “Where’s Emma?”

I had gotten so excited about the perfect game, that I had forgotten my daughter at the library! This was the reason I had left the house in the first place. Emma was eventually picked up and all was fine.

Or was it? For the next 9 1/2 years Fred Prasil , myself and Mark Buehrle’s perfect fame were inextricably linked together. If I saw Fred, I would think of the perfect game. If I saw Buehrle I would think about that day and how Fred and I could have been listening to the game while we hung out.

A few years after that Fred left the co-op but our families would still get together from time to time. Ashleigh and Lucy were in the same Awana program for a few years and last November I ran into Amy Prasil and Danny at Walmart and found that Fred had some interest in returning to our co-op. I was very excited and talked to Fred a week later and was glad to hear that he would be rejoining the co-op.

A very short time after that Fred died of a heart attack while he was coaching gymnastics. Like any sudden unexpected death it shocked everyone in the Prasil’s orbit. I went from anticipating weekly time with my friend to grieving his loss overnight.

Danny and Ashleigh were able to return to the co-op this year where they have been able to reestablish old friendships and grow new ones. I may not have seen Fred every week in co-op as I had hoped but I was able to see him in them.

And Mark Buehrle and my perfect game regret? I no longer have it. I still think of Fred when I see anything Buehrle related and think of him especially today on the 10th anniversary. But I would not change the day I spent with Fred on July 23, 2009 in any way (I would pick up Emma earlier. ) I always taught my kids that people are more important than things. The perfect game was really a thing, Time spent with friends and the memories they produce now that is as perfect as you can get here on Earth.

But Fred is not here on Earth. Like me, Fred was a child of God and a follower of Jesus Christ. Fred is in heaven right now enjoying an eternal relationship with his creator and savior. There is nothing more perfect than that!

A to Z Road Trip 2019 – The June Files

As I stated last month, I am participating in the A to Z Road Trip. This means that I am visiting select blogs between May 2019 and March 2020 and commenting on their A to Z posts. At the beginning of each month, I will post links to the blogs I visited the previous month along with the comments I wrote.

My first stop this month was at a blog called The Vagabond where I really enjoyed the post Accept Your Child. Here is mt comment:

I am participating in the A to Z Road Trip. What an excellent post. Acceptance is a tough nut. I think we need to be practicing two other kinds of acceptance, 1) to accept our selves and 2) to accept the praise, criticism and love of others. Most people who struggle to accept their children struggle with those other 2 as well. Thanks for such an insightful post.

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Jeanne from, the blog, Everyone has a Story wrote a most excellent post about Uncle Frankie’s Pickled Eggplant.

My comment to her was: I am participating in the A to Z Road Trip. Pickled eggplant reminds me of the years I spent in Russia. Not because I ate it there, I didn’t I did ear eggplant for the first time while living in Russia and fell in love with it. I also ate pickled tomatoes for the first time in Russia. I would love to try pickled eggplant. It sounds amazing.

My next stop was The Rhone River, which I visited through the blog Me, in Me. My comment flowed like this:

I am participating in the A to Z Road Trip. I really enjoyed your post. I have some Swiss ancestry so I enjoyed your post on a multitude of levels. I found it interesting that your A to Z challenge was mostly about rivers in India, but yet you chose to focus your road trip visitors on a European river. I like how you tied India back into it. I hope to wade (pun intended) into some of your other A to Z river posts later on this month.

Mid month I visited some more blogs and read a post at http://uniquelymaladjustedbutfun.blogspot.com/2019/04/choicecompliments-and-coffee.html uniquely maladjusted but fun. This was my comment:

I am participating in the A to Z road trip. I was hoping that the leather jacket guy would have some redeeming qualities but quickly realized he got worse and worse. The transition between him menacing and tink rescuing needs some polish but I see where you are going with it. transitions are difficult for sure.

President Trump can only have it both ways when people let him

Before I get to the heart of my post, I want to clarify some of my positions on things from the outset. I am a conservative pro-life Christian who has predominantly voted for Republican candidates for 35 years. Also, I think that Donald Trump is by far the worse President this country has ever had.

There are many people who agree with my conservative beliefs and there are certainly many who agree with my estimation of our current President. However, the amount of people who meet in the center of that particular Venn Diagram is much much smaller than those in one end or the other,

For some reason this still surprises me. The reasons why I feel like I do about President Trump are too many to go into in one blog post. However all of them to me are very logical and in my mind should make sense to just about anyone. Almost all of my objections come down to his character and his seeming lack of any virtuous attributes.

In short, I have never been able to trust the man and anything he says or does is very easy for me to see the falsehood, hypocrisy or manipulative attempt in.

Last week John Dean , who was White House Counsel under Nixon, testified before Congress comparing The Mueller report to the Watergate hearings which eventually led to multiple criminal convictions including his own and Nixon’s resignation.

Trump’s “substantive” response when asked about Dean, while celebrating with the Indy 500 winner at the White House, was that “John Dean has been a loser for many years,” he then continued to say “he’s been a loser for a long time. He went to prison, he was disbarred but besides that he’s a great guy.”

He doesn’t even address the question, just dismisses Dean as a loser because he’s a disbarred felon.

I found it very easy to see inconsistencies in Trump’s comment. I immediately thought of Charles Colson, who like John Dean, was heavily involved in the Watergate scandal. Colson has long been one of my heroes. He had a conversion to Christianity in Prison. After his release from prison, he started an organization called Prison Fellowship that has had profound impact on prisons and society at large world wide. Colson died in 2012 and was revered in the evangelical community that has been so supportive of Trunp.

After I heard Trump’s Dean quote, I googled “Trump praises Colson” and found a transcript from the a speech Trump made at the National Day of Prayer earlier this spring. In the speech, Trump praises Colson and the work he did for Prison Fellowship.

So I was thinking, why didn’t Trump just say, “Colson was a loser for a long time, he went to prison, he was disbarred, but besides that he was a great guy?”

The answer is obvious, Dean gave an unfavoeable opinion of the President. Many of Colson’s followers support Trump , so there was no need to dismiss him. The truth is that Colson and Dean both went to prison and were both disbarred. If we take Trump at his word that Dean is a loser because he went to prison , then shouldn’t Colson be one as well? And for that matter shouldn’t Prison Fellowship just be called loser fellowship? Why would Trump support a group that only helps losers?

By characterizing Dean as a loser, Trump is able to dodge legitimate questions about what Dean said. We should not let him do that. Trump’s inconsistency cannot be ignored. He needs to be held accountable for his comments and his actions. As I used to say, if someone is off base, we need to tag them out. Trump has been hovering between first and second base since he announced his candidacy and very few seem willing to do anything about it.

But what can we do about it? First of all, we should always seek the truth in a matter. If someone says something , we should check it out. We need to develop discernment. We need to operate between the extremes of accepting and believing everything we hear and accepting and believing nothing we hear. We also need to be far less partisan about things. I often challenge Trump supporters who attempt to defend any of his undefendable behaviors by asking how they would feel about that behavior if it was done by a Democrat or if Trump himself was a Democrat. If I ever get a reasonable response I’ll let you know.

He’s doing better than Hilary would have is not a defense. The economy is good is not a defense. He’s putting in the right kind of Supreme Court Justices is not a defense. Neither Trump nor any politician should be given a free pass especially by his own party when being inconsistent in their responses. Most of us feel we deserve better representatives but I’m not sure that we expect better or do much to insure better. Holding our politicians responsible for what they say and do is a needed step in that direction.

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

Whenever anyone asks me what my favorite book is in the Chronicles of Narnia series is I often reply whatever book of the series I’m reading at that time, unless of course I’m reading the last battle.

This is mostly due to how greatly I esteem the first 6 books in the series and only marginally due to my opinions of the final installment of C.S. Lewis’s beloved heptalogy. Since this is a review of the aforementioned final installment my opinions will surface soon enough, but first some background may be helpful.

I first became familiar with Narnia while in High school while attending a youth group called Campus Life. Speakers at events would read or tell stories from the books. At some point in the summer of 1980 I purchased my first set of the chronicles and I instantly fell in love with this series and subsequently all of Lewis’s work. This set which I bought back in the Carter administration, went every where with me: college, Russia, South Carolina, and back to Illinois when I returned home to court Amy. This was even the set I used to read to our children (initially in the womb) and the same set my children read themselves. Some of those books are now no longer in existence as while I devour books figuratively, my children seem to devour them literally.

In all that time I generally managed to reread each book every year. This year I decided that I would double down and read each book twice. First I would read the books in the order they were published and secondly I would read them in the order they happen in Narnian history, As my 100 days of summer reading began I was midway through The Last Battle, the final book in the order they were published. On this past Saturday I finished it,

The Last Battle is the last book in the series in either way of ordering them. As I have mentioned it is my least favorite. I’m not exactly sure why this is the case. Many people consider it their most favorite and in my multiple readings of it I have been open minded about improving it’s place in my estimation of it. This has just not happened.

The last battle is the story of the ending of Narnia and in a sense like Jill Pole, a character introduced in the Silver Chair. I hoped Narnia would never come to an end. In that way I may have prejudiced my self to a story chronicling it’s end. There are also parts of the book that if I read theologically I would find myself disagreeing with. However I’m not sure if that’s exactly why I find the book wanting. In fact I’m not even sure if I find the book wanting or it just pales in comparison to the other 6. Because like I said I don’t hate or even dislike The Last Battle, I just don’t regard it the same as I do the other 6.

That being said, I tried as much as possible in this reading to approach The Last Battle with fresh eyes. The past few years I even skipped reading it in my annual Narnia fest, so it would be less familiar to me when I did revisit it.

This approach did work to an extent, and I think I enjoyed the book this time around more than I had in past attempts. There certainly aspects and nuances that I gleaned more from than I had previously. One such aspect I rediscovered was the integral roles Jill and Eustace have in this story. I remember them being in it, but they had an earlier and more prolonged involvement than I had remembered. I thought their part was reduced to the final chapters of the book like the other Friends of Narnia. However much like the Pevinise children in Prince Caspian, Jill and Eustace are called to Narnia for a to provide help in the midst of an already developed narrative and then are very central as the narrative comes to a conclusion.

One aspect I’ve always enjoyed about this book is the role of the dwarves in this book Especially near the end of the book when they are at a feast and all they see is dirt. I have had many such experiences when I have not been able to see the joyous things set before me because they have been obscured by my negative thinking.

I really enjoyed The Last Battle this time around, while it’s still not the best of the Narnia bunch, it still ends the Narnian story in a credible fashion.

If I’m to write a review for all the books I read this summer they will probably need to be shorter , so far I’m on pace to read 26 books this summer and only complete 5 reviews.

Last 5 Posts

As much as I enjoy blogging, I sometimes really enjoy what I call meta-blogging which is blogging about blogging, or as I titled it some years ago blah, blah, blogging.

This blog began when I compiled a few of my previous blogger blogs here at WordPress. These blogs were YBD: Your Basic Dave, Crazy Uncle Dave’s Sports Blog, Dave Out Loud and Writers Write, Readers Read, Rollers Roll. The plan was to post everything under one roof.

During the month of April I was A to Z challenge intensive. In the past few weeks I have been spraying to all fields and hope to continue you to do so.. From time to time, like now for instance, I will step back into the recent past and meta-blog about my last 5 posts. So here they are from least to most recent

A to Z Reflection Post.

I had hoped to write the reflection post 3 to 5 days after the A to Z challenge came to an end, This didn’t drop until the 19th of the month due to busyness, procrastination and mostly trying to do too much with it, I like to have a lot of segments to my blogs one of the segments I call ten things, kind of an homage to David Letterman;s top 10 lists. Once I decided to make the reflections post 10 things I boxed myself in the corner a little. Overall, I liked how it turned out, but if I had to do it over, I would have produced it quicker and shorter.

The Battle for Our National Soul

From time to time I hope to share links to other peoples blogs here. That is what the category OPB stands for. I wanted to get my 2nd post out in the middle of May after dragging my heels on the a to z reflection post. So familiarizing folks with the political observations of a former pastor of mine seemed a good way to go..

One thing I would do differently on this one would be to edit it better. In my 2 paragraphs I mistyped professor, missionary, and evangelical and only just now did I catch it and correct it.

Bill Buckner

Bill Buckner is a former major league baseball player best known for a fielding gaffe that cost the 1985 Boston Red Sox the World Series. He passed away last month. I wanted to pay tribute to him without mentioning the World Series incident. I was pretty satisfied with the attempt although reading it over I think I would put less statistics in it if I was writing it again.

A to Z Road Trip May 2019

The approach to these monthly A to Z posts is not be to caught unawares. During the course of the month I stop by the A to Z road trip spread sheet on multiple occasions go to a blog read and react to the post and then put all the information for that post including my comment on the post I am creating. At the beginning of the next month I publish that post and it has the feel of a blog carnival. The stress doesn’t get to me as I do it in segments. As I write this it’s just the third of June but I have already visited two a to z road trip blogs and wrote about them. When I finish today’s post I may go visit a third.

Summer Reading

Each year I plan to read quite a bit during the summer and I generally succeed in doing so. Each year I also plan to write mini reviews of each book I finish during the summer, I don’t far so well in completing that task. This year I felt If I posted about it, it would give me a little accountability on the writing part of the task.

I did struggle, as I often do with the ending to this post. After multiple stabs at the ending, I finally just decided to end with questions. I wasn’t totally satisfied with that ending either, but I did get a comment answering the questions, so I’m feeling a little better about it.

So those are my last 5 posts. 3 posts that I am currently thinking about or working on are : An open letter to Governor Pritzger (The governor of Illinois). 2 Lies and a Truth, and A Summer Fun Video. There will certainly be other posts than that including some book reviews.