Monthly Archives: August 2011

I’m up, I’m up

I suppose the same is true about everybody, but when I wake up in the morning, my voice always gives me away that I’ve just awoken. I hate being stirred from slumber by a phone call because it is always instantly obvious that I had been sleeping. I’m really not sure why I consider this such a problem, but I am uncomfortable with the idea of, not being woken up by a call, but the caller knowing he or she woke me up.

I’m sure this has happened to me many times, but the one that stands out most to me for some reason is back on Thursday, May 10, 2008. I was planning on going to the Cubs game that day. I didn’t want to go to the Cubs game that day but I was going.

As my memory continues to disappear, I lose track more and more of why I have ever gone to a game, and this day is no different. I was in the midst of finals, finishing up my first full year of college. I was mostly done by Wednesday afternoon, with just two more tasks to finish. The first was a philosophy paper. I forget exactly what it was about, but it was probably pretty bad. The second was a Friday morning test in my Writing for Mass Communication class.

I have always preferred writing papers to taking tests because when you’re done, you’re done. Since I had nothing to do this particular Wednesday, I set a 9:00 deadline for finishing my paper, which was only about five pages, nothing to really worry about. Many times in the past, I waited until the last minute and stayed up all night writing. Actually, I usually slept on it and woke up at 4 a.m. to write. Not this time. I told myself I would finish in time for my nightly walk around the neighborhood.

Whenever I got a little stir crazy in my dorm room (which was pretty much all the time) and the weather was nice, I always indulged myself in an evening walk around the south suburbs. Now on this particular night, I was working under the recent realization that The Wonder Years, one of the great TV shows, had shown back up every weeknight at 9. For this reason, my walk, which I preferred not to be too late – you never know what kind of weirdos lurk around Evergreen Park on Wednesday nights, myself being a good example – would have to wait until 10. Naturally, I could have finished my paper at ten and gone right out a-walkin’, but I would have lost the reward of my show. Therefore, the ultimatum was no paper, no reward, including TV and a walk.

I worked all afternoon and into the evening on this philosophical composition, and was just a concluding paragraph away from finishing at 9:00. At the television program begun, I decided to allow myself to move along with my evening plans even thought the paper was not quite finished. I proceeded to enjoy the next several hours which took me through two episodes of The Wonder Years and a walk in Evergreen Park – not Oak Lawn, though I often toured that neighborhood as well – that featured a gazebo among other thing. Yes, I’m aware that if a gazebo sighting is the highlight of your night that you remember four years later, the night may not have been as wonderful as you thought, but I’m still happy with it.

The following morning, I awoke to the buzzing of my telephone. It was my brother, calling to check in about meeting up for the Cubs game that afternoon.

“Did I just wake you up?” he asked rather indignantly, responding, no doubt, to the hazy quality of my “Hello.”

“No,” I told him, not wanting to ever admit when someone wakes me up. In fact, I had set my alarm for right around this time and felt as though I had managed my time perfectly. Furthermore, I thought I had done an excellent job of disguising my tired voice.

On the first count, I think I got it right. I got up, turned in my paper and met my brother in plenty of time for our trip to Wrigley Field.

On the second count, I’m not so sure. This story is relevant to almost nothing, but it’s what I think of when “morning voice” occurs to me. That morning, i was rather embarrassed to be awoken by the phone and I was very conscious of my voice as I answered. I wanted to make it sound as though I had been up all morning. It didn’t work; he saw right through me (or heard right through as it were).

Recently, I was listening to a radio broadcast I had done earlier this season of a 10:05 game. 10:05 games are not much fun for almost anyone. I usually have to be up by 5:30 to get to the ballpark in enough time to get my work done. Coming off a night game the day before, this doesn’t leave a lot of time for sleep. On one occasion, we actually had a morning game after a road trip. We returned home around 1:30 a.m. with a the game less than nine hours later. Naturally, that doesn’t lead to a lot of sleep either.

The day games tend to kill me because it is near impossible to get all my pregame work done. But I’m not so worried about that in hindsight. I’m more concerned with the quality of my voice. Coming off little sleep and going right on the air, I have the same kind of voice that my brother recognized four years ago when we were going to the Cub game. I guess the concept is the same, I’m being woken up for a call. This bothers me more than having my phone wake me up.

This season has had a lot of ups and a lot of downs, but maybe my biggest concern for myself is the sub-par performances in day games. I don’t know where I’m going with this, but I know I’m going to work harder from now on to pick up some energy. I just need to write this down so I can come back to it whenever I sound dead for a morning game. Complaining about early games is a pretty weak move. I won’t do it anymore.

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Good food found here

I always cherish our annual trip to Gateway. It was, after all, the first road trip I ever came along for. As an intern in ’09, I only worked home games but I was granted the privilege of attending the July 29-31 trip to Gateway. It was then that I discovered what a different world we lived in on the road. While the home games are filled with constant work, stat accumulation and reading, when you’re on the road, the world is your oyster. There is still plenty of work to do, but you can do it at your own pace. It’s just a totally different atmosphere to operate in.

Last year, when I became a little more experienced as a traveler, I realized that Gateway really isn’t such hot stuff. I generally judge road trips on hotel quality, the surrounding area and the stadium, and though Gateway does not receive negative marks in any of those areas, there are better. Still, I couldn’t shake the positive feelings that I possessed simply for the memories of my previous year’s trip.

It was Friday, July 2 when we reached the hotel in Fairview Heights, IL last year and I was discovering that it was easier to navigate the area the previous year with a car than it was on foot. Despite the 210 degree heat, however, I made it to the mall and looked around wondering why exactly that had been my destination. Sure, I had been there before, so it had the familiarity factor working for it, but what else? Then I saw what else. In the food court at St. Clair Square there was a Chick-fil-A. Over the past year, I’ve had Chick-fil-A a number of times and the shine has worn off a little bit to the extent that it has gone from being the Holy Grail of foodstuffs to just being a wonderful meal. But at the time, I hadn’t partaken in the chicken delight in over a year and it was calling out to me like the sirens. I looked around the food court, which was more full than just about any food court at any mall I’ve ever seen. While I glanced across the tabletops, I noticed that not everyone was eating Chick-fil-A. This confused me. Was it possible that heaven nuggets sat within arm’s reach but these people were OK with Subway? i tried to disregard this crazy notion and strolled to the counter, the first time, I realized, that I had been at a Chick-fil-A restaurant, my only previous experience coming at a catered event. As I took my first bite into that golden brown nugget, I decided that it was far too hot. I burnt my tongue and was unable to fully enjoy the rest of my chicken. I took this as a sign that I had flown too close to the sun and ate lunch the next day at Charley’s.

That night, we lost to the Gateway Grizzlies 16-4 or some obscene score like that. When we returned to the hotel, I turned the TV on to discover the movie “George Washington Slept Here” starring Jack Benny. All’s well that end’s well I always say.

This year, on our only trip to Gateway, I made sure to visit Chick-fil-A day one and on my way out, I spotted Five Guys. Could it be, my two favorite chain restaurants within a stone’s throw of one another?

Over the last few days I’ve decided something. The novelty of the first trip may have worn off and maybe there are better hotels in the league, but I really do enjoy my Gateway time. Now I’m off to eat the Krispy Kreme burger.

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