Monday, February 07, 2005

One Game For All the Marbles

1 Corinthians 9:24 (New International Version)

“24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

Last night Nancy and I watched the Super Bowl with a group of friends. We had a great time. The food was really good. The company was excellent. And the outcome of the game was outstanding! The New England Patriots just keep rolling along. Now the good folks in my brother’s neck of the woods have another Lombardi Trophy to go with the World Series Trophy the Boston Red Sox won a few months ago.

I called by brother, Bill, in Gloucester early this morning and left a voice mail congratulating him and the rest of the people in New England, who must now be living in a state of euphoria. “Congratulations,” I said. And, hey how about leaving a trophy or two for the rest of us.”

About an hour ago I got a return call. Bill’s first word was spelled out, to ensure that the message was clear. “D…..Y…..N…..A…..S…..T…..Y!

Well, we shared a few laughs together about the years of frustration we had to endure while growing up. The Celtics, who won the NBA championship eleven times in a thirteen year span in the late fifties and sixties, were about our only refuge from the “agony of defeat” back then. Oh there were the Bruins, but they didn’t win any Stanley Cups while I lived in Boston. They waited until I migrated to the Midwest.

But there was something else on my brother’s mind. He’s still the stickball champion of Chatham Street. The last time I held that title was in 1954. Those were the good old days. Ike was the president, the government didn’t meddle or over-tax, and I was on top of my own little stickball world. It all came crashing down on me when Bill Dillon, with his famous “pimple curve” won the title in the only sixteen hit shutout in stickball championship history.

Bill had read my recent post about our classic games and threw down the gauntlet. “We’re coming out the summer after next and you’d better be ready, you’d better be in shape. I’m coming with that “pimple curve.” “Bring it on,” I responded as I accepted his challenge. “Your ego’s gonna’ get a bruising.”

I can hardly wait. It’s a year and a half away and I can hardly wait. What a sight it will be. Two old wheezers acting like the “boys of summer” one last time. One game for all the marbles. And after the game is over and I accept my trophy, we’ll have a cold one together, and then we’ll go pick up our Social Security checks.

What he doesn’t know is that I’ve been pumping iron for months now. And now, with the challenge ahead of me, I’m going to ratchet the workouts a bit. By the time he gets here I’ll be doing “two a days” and looking like a buffed animal. He’ll never know what hit him. I think I’ll even get a surprise or two ready for him, something like Rip Sewell’s “blooper pitch.” The only guy who ever hit that one was Ted Williams, and while I love him dearly, my brother is no Teddy Balgame.

So, Bill, if you’re out there reading right now, “Bring it on, big brother.” Be ready! Make sure you get your bifocals checked before you come. Take your vitamins and say your prayers. We’ll play one for all the marbles. When it’s all said and done the stickball championship trophy will reside here in Emporia, Kansas.


Tom Reindl said...

Stickball as in hardball? Yeah!! My game!! Of course, I no longer have an arm, but I used to be able to bring it, Phil. Can I play? :)

Anonymous said...

Well Brother, You're on! I love you as well but 'on the field" it'll be all business. And like M.C.Hammer you'll see that you still "can't touch me".
I'll bring the linament,you bring the ace bandages.Nancy and Marilyn can do the umpiring[ in between laughing]. Love ya, Bill