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By In Family

The First Goal: Revisited

So, here we are, last day of the year — Happy New Year, everyone, and all the best to you and your family this year — and it seems like everybody’s recapping. On the radio, they’re doing a countdown of the best songs of 2013. On various blogs, I’m seeing the best movies, the best television shows, the best gadgets, the best apps, the best inventions, the best medical advancements, the best political moves, the best Miley Cyrus dances.

And, of course, in sports we cannot stop ranking stuff.

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By In Family

He Ain’t Heavy …

I’m about nine years older than my youngest brother Tony, so I didn’t really grow up with him. He was 8 when I went to college. He was 12 when I moved out of the house for good. My memories of him as a child are mostly when he was very young, like when we would send him into the neighbor’s yard to get the ball that had crushed their flower bed.

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By In Family

Fifteen Years

Our first date was at a Kansas City Royals game. I remember it being a day game against the Detroit Tigers. I believe Chili Davis homered. I believe the Royals lost. One thing I remember for certain: Margo — she was Margo Keller then — had to pay for the tickets. I had forgotten to get cash.

Margo told me that the Royals had always been hugely important to her and her family. They were a team that filled her imagination. She grew up in a tiny Kansas town called Cuba, which is near Belleville, which is near Concordia, which is not too far from Salina. At that point, I had not heard of any of those places — maybe Salina. She talked about what it was like to grow up in a small town. I talked about what it was like to grow up in Cleveland. She said her high school graduation class was 12. I asked, probably too quickly, if she was class valedictorian. She was. I said that was good. I couldn’t be seen with someone who finished second in a class of 12.

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By In Family

Swimming In Socks

 

When the winter season began, Elizabeth and I cut a deal. It goes like so: Elizabeth, who is 11 years old now, continues to be on her recreational swim team — she will go to practice three times a week and try really hard and have a lot fun. That was her part of the deal. My part of the deal is that I will not make her compete at the swim meets.
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By In Family

Swimmingly

Our oldest daughter Elizabeth swims. By this, I mean, she is on a swim team. She shocked the heck out of all of us a few months ago when she announced that she wanted to be on a swim team. Elizabeth had never shown any desire whatsoever to watch sports or play sports or even be around sports.* Whenever I tell people that, they invariably say the same thing: “Oh, well she’s still young, that could change when she gets older. When I was young, I didn’t like baseball at all, but now …” I suppose anything’s possible, but I’m not sure I’ve explained it well enough. Elizabeth actively, passionately, enthusiastically does not like sports. Put it this way: When we go as a family to baseball games, the most important thing we must remember to bring is not a glove or a hat or sunscreen or a blanket but a book for Elizabeth to read. She might last a few innings at the game if she has a book with her. If not, well, no.

*Except NASCAR, which fascinates her.
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By In Family, Joe Vault

An iPad Review

I left my iPad on a plane the other day. The crazy thing about it — as if there needs to be an extra layer of crazy about leaving a hugely expensive and personal and professionally vital device on an airplane — was that I thought about it five minutes before I did it. Not after. BEFORE. I put the iPad in the front seat pocket just as the plane was in its final descent, and I thought: “You know, I better remember this. I’ve got all my numbers and notes and work ideas and unfinished novels and secrets of the golf swing on this. It would be incredibly stupid to leave this iPad on the plane.”
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By In Family

The First Goal

Not long ago, I wrote a little piece about our 9-year-old daughter Elizabeth and her experience at Harry Potter World and Katie the Prefect. I have been assured by a couple dozen people that word has gotten back to Katie, which makes me happy. In any case, I don’t want to bore you with too many family stories — I feel like one of those people who tries to get you to watch my home movies — but I did come across a little basketball revelation watching nine-year-old basketball the other day that I wanted to jot down. Feel free to skip this one. I have ANOTHER baseball Hall of Fame post coming in the next day or so.

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Years ago — quite a while before I had even met my wife — I was talking with the father of a fifth grade girl. This father was a friend of mine, and he was a pretty conservative guy. I don’t mean politically. I mean he was pretty conservative in the way he acted in public. He was an eye-roller. I associated with that. I’m an eye roller too. If I ever went to a Karaoke Bar — something I would never do except by accident — I would not sing no matter how much people tried to guilt me or bully me or bribe me. I just wouldn’t. I would sit there and roll my eyes. It’s just the stuff we’re made of.

But this guy was telling me how he had taken his fifth-grader to the father-daughter’s dance at her school. And the band started playing The Chicken Dance.*
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By In Family

Katie The Prefect

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about our plans to take our daughters — particularly our nine-year-old Elizabeth — to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios in Orlando. I worried, I suppose, that nothing surprising and magical would happen. Well, as it turned out, something surprising and magical did happen.

The first thing I had to do when we got to Harry Potter World was stand in line. This was not unexpected. We had been told by several people to prepare for 1930s Soviet bread length lines. However, it was a bit surprising to find that I had to wait in line just for the right to go into Harry Potter World, where I could wait in those long lines. It turns out that Harry Potter World is rather small, and they can only let in so many people at a time. So, I had to wait in a 45-minute line that twisted and turned through the park just to get a return ticket — which would allow us to go into Harry Potter World four hours later.

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