2010.08.09 Weighing the ups and downs

Written by David Green.


I think I had a lousy day Saturday, but I shouldn’t jump to conclusions. I suppose I should weigh things out to really see how it went.

I had to get up 6 a.m. That’s not necessarily bad, but I went to sleep too late to get up that early.

I had to drive to Grand Rapids for the state track and field meet. It wasn’t a bad drive, but there are better things to do than sit in a car for more than two and a half hours.

I didn’t pack a very good lunch, and besides, whenever I drive off to a long sporting event I manage to eat most of what I packed before I reach my destination.

I watched as Phoenix Duncan nearly dropped out of the high jump at the opening height, then I got a so-so photo of Max Gautz long jumping. I hurried back over to get something of Phoenix in the long jump. I got some good photos—finally, something to place on the “good” side of the scale—but she never got higher than 5-2 and was out of the competition early.

Max didn’t make the finals in the long jump, but Phoenix did and she placed third. The Adrian paper said she shined at state, but that’s not what I saw on her face.

Brooke Bovee made it through the preliminaries of the 100-meter hurdles, but I was disappointed in my photos. I knew I would have another chance in the semifinals.

Oh, the semifinals, the crushing semifinals. Brooke’s challenger from the regionals—another freshman—was bumped out of the competition due to a false start. One less impediment. The race started, she was leading the pack, then she tripped on the final hurdle and she, also, was out.

I took a long, dejected walk back to the car for the hour-long break until the finals, not that I would have much work to do that afternoon.

By that time I only had an orange and an apple left for lunch. My tally of the good day/bad day score stood at 3-10. Not looking very good.

I decided to watch the district baseball game that was also going on. Good decision. It was refreshing to watch some little kids playing. I saw a three-run home run and was amused by the excited mother of the hitter.

I watched as a man suddenly smacked his wife on the butt, just as a sign of affection, I guess. I don’t know if I’d ever seen that before at a high school baseball game. I wondered if I could quietly walk up behind them and do the same. Hopefully, she would think it was her husband again. I had too much photo equipment; I couldn’t run fast enough to risk it.

I went back in to get photos of our 800-meter relay team. I haven’t looked at the images yet, but I think I did better than they did.

A man needed someone to complain to and suddenly started talking to me about the lack of a drinking fountain.

I headed for the shade under the bleachers to wait for the next hurdle event. I pulled an old New Yorker from my camera bag and re-read a favorite article about a spider hunter. “One Dutch researcher estimates there are some five trillion spiders in the Netherlands alone, each of which consumes about a tenth of a gram of meat a day. Were their victims people instead of insects, they would need only three days to eat all sixteen and half million Dutchmen.”

The score: 8-11 and improving. I found a quarter in the grass. Brooke is not running her usual 300-meter hurdle race. It’s over for me. Back to the car.

Since the meet was in Jenison, I drive south to my sister’s cottage to help celebrate her recent clean MRI in regard to her brain cancer. I arrive and no one is there. The doors are open but the vehicles are gone.

I stop at my wife’s favorite restaurant and buy her favorite meal as a take out. I get something for myself and it’s really not very good.

A detour takes me off the main road in Eaton Rapids and I see new territory. Once again I’m happy to see the factory building that was converted into apartments.

South of Hudson, I’m passed by a motorcycle. I glance out the window and see that the passenger is a large dog.

I get home and enjoy good food. My wife and daughter Maddie arrive later. I get to see Maddie’s photos from her study abroad. A good storm arrives.

Final tally: 16-14. Not quite as bad a day as I suspected, but it still doesn’t feel like a winner.

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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