This rambling effort marks my 50th post! It's been a difficult blogging week because all of my personal reserves are tied up in making it through this work week. It's been a long time since I've been the sole entertainer of kids for 5-6 hour stretches and I'm convinced the only person that likes being 'on' that much is Robin Williams on a 70's coke bender. I have exhausted all free possibilities for pre-teen youth within a 30 minute driving radius and reached my idea nadir when, on a foggy day last week, I just drove them to a cemetery and told them it was haunted. Then we did grave rubbings. This seemed sufficient.
This week we were invited, photo-op style, to Safeco Field to learn about steroids (*COUGH*potcallingthekettleblack*COUGH*). About 80 of us got to sit ...fieldside(?)and hear a talk from a trainer who'd lost a brother to steroid abuse. Despite my cynical mien, the talk was sincere and pretty affecting, or at least it was up until the point when he asked for crowd participation on a question about steroids' effects and some kids from the Police Athletic League said "It makes you grow TITTIES!" and then couldn't stop laughing.So......
After that, relief pitcher Mark Lowe, rakishly handsome in jeans that cost $mycarpayment, talked to us about how he developed diabetes. He's only 26 and just found out two seasons ago that he had the disease. He delivered a pretty good talk, making a tangible connection between his formerly poor eating habits and his culpability in developing the disease. He's very skinny in person and talked about carb regulation a lot. One of the most fascinating aspects of his talk was that he said, as a relief pitcher, he has to be ready at a moment's notice to go into the game and so he has to spend a lot of time checking his blood sugar in the dugout. Once he gets the warning he will be up to pitch in a while, he checks it one last time and either eats or injects so that he is in his ideal blood sugar pitching window. This seems like a hassle and you have to give him credit for what a pain in the butt this must be. Also, when a developmentally disabled girl asked a really long, rambling question, he gallantly answered and even made a joke to make her feel more comfortable. I can't express how this basic kindness made me feel relieved. I'm not sure that professional athletes are held to even the most basic standards of civil behavior, so him going above and beyond made me pleased.
Finally (FINALLY), we were allowed out onto the field and got to have M's first base coach (and former Mariner, Red Sox, Phillies and then Mariners again player)Lee Tinsley run us through warmups that despite their doofy appearance, made me sweaty and winded in no time.The best Tinsley moment was when I overheard a spirited debate between some of my kids as to whether or not Tinsley was Ken Griffey Jr. Clearly, these kids did not grow up in the Junior era.
Then, one of the trainers came to take us through some different exercises, though his main role was to answer the roughly 250 Ichiro-related questions the kids had. Here's some of what I learned:
-Ichiro is the most disciplined player this trainer has seen in 27 years
-Ichiro goes to bed and wakes at exactly the same times everyday, whereupon
-Ichiro eats the same breakfast every day prior to
-Ichiro doing the same morning calisthenics before
-Ichiro drives to the ballpark to work out
-Also, Ichiro is the only player that works out daily on the road (how could this be true, I wonder)
-Ichiro's body fat is 5.8%, the lowest on the team
-Ichiro regularly tells his trainer he plans on playing until he is 50 and they don't think he's kidding
On our way out, the kids were each given an autographed picture of Mark Lowe and I stood in line for mine, too, because I could. We were also given a promotional poster of a kids' Jackie Robinson night from 2003, because...not sure. I took that, too.
I had a very big day.