Results tagged ‘ family ’
As 2011 came to a close, I wasn’t exactly at the highest point in my life. Recovering from the passing of my grandfather was difficult, and it was hard for me to look at the bigger picture. 2012 provided me just what I needed to help move on.
It all began on January 6th, when I received an e-mail from Major League Baseball asking me to sign a form allowing them to perform a background check on me. I had applied for the MLB Fan Cave in 2011, but didn’t hear anything back from them. This year already had a lot of potential.
Through the next few weeks, I learned that I was selected as one of the final 50 applicants out of over 22,000 people. I was one step closer to finally getting a job with Major League Baseball, one step closer to making a dream of mine come true.
It was around this point where I got to start knowing most of my fellow finalists. In a strange turn of events, instead of competing against one another, we somehow became friends. I dubbed us the Fan Cave Family, and it has stuck ever since.
In February, I went to Florida with my family for the least relaxing vacation I’ve ever been on. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun getting to escape the cold and go to Lakeland and watch the Tigers during spring training, but I wasn’t able to sleep. MLB announced they would be cutting the 50 finalists to 30, and those selected would be flown out to Arizona for the final interview process.
When they informed us the day we would be told either way, I didn’t feel like doing anything. Instead, I went to play some putt putt with the family. Borrowing my sister-in-law’s smart phone, I’d periodically check my e-mail in hopes that I would receive some sort of closure. Finally, I received word, I was going to Arizona.
So I flew home from Florida, had one day to prepare myself and then I was off to Arizona. Finally, I got a chance to meet the people who I had spent so much time over the last month getting to know. I’ve never felt so close to a group of strangers, and I doubt I ever will again.
To make a long story short, I wasn’t selected to be a member of the 2012 MLB Fan Cave, but it was still an amazing experience.
In April, I got a chance to go to New York to hang out with the Cave Dwellers (plus a few other finalists who also happened to be visiting at the time), and even got to watch the Tigers play in Yankee Stadium on a Friday night.
Along the way, I went to Chicago twice, and even got a chance to watch the Tigers play the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Several of my friends and family got married, and I was relieved to find myself celebrating instead of mourning. Although life is full of ups and downs, 2012 gave me more reasons to be happy than any other year I can recall off the top of my head.
In October, the Tigers found themselves back in the playoffs, and I got a chance to attend both ALDS games with my father. It was a memorable experience, and hopefully we’ll get a chance to do it again one day.
After a five-game series with the Oakland Athletics, the Tigers swept the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. For the first time since 2006, the Detroit Tigers were finally back in the World Series. The main difference for me being the fact that in 2006 I didn’t have playoff tickets, in 2012 I made sure I did.
I made the decision to go to at least one game, and unfortunately it was game four. The Tigers lost a heart breaker, and the San Francisco Giants were officially the World Series champions. Even though it was disappointing, it was kind of cool to be at a part of baseball history.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving, my favorite day of the year. This year I hosted Turkey Bowl XI, an annual football game played on Thanksgiving morning with my family and friends. Despite nearly blowing a very large lead, my team was able to hold on and claim victory once again. I thought that would be the highlight of my day, but I was so very wrong.
My brother and sister-in-law invited the family over their new house for Thanksgiving dinner, so off we went. Before eating, my brother stated that he had an announcement he’d like to make. Never at a loss for words, my brother went on to announce that he and his wife were expecting their first child, who will be arriving in late May of 2013. For the first time in my life, I was going to be in an uncle.
Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with happiness. Not just for myself, but for my brother, his wife, my parents and the rest of the family. It really didn’t matter what I was going to get for Christmas this year, I got my favorite present a month early.
I don’t know what 2013 will have in store for myself or anyone else, but I can only hope and imagine it will include a great deal of excitement and happiness. So here’s to another year of the unexpected, and hopefully we’ll all find plenty of reasons to celebrate a year from now.
They say Thanksgiving is a day for all of us to realize all of the things in life we’re thankful for. It’s no secret that Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It’s the one day each year that I get to spend with friends, family, play football and eat until I don’t feel like moving.
Every year, my Thanksgiving is pretty much always the same. No, that’s not a complaint, in fact I don’t think there’s really much room for improvement. Normally I wouldn’t be very excited about the fact that my alarm goes off at 6:00 AM, but on Thanksgiving, I never have a problem waking up early.
Why would I wake up at such an early hour on a holiday? Two words: Turkey Bowl. If you’re not aware, for the past eleven years, I have been part of an annual football game. It started years ago when I used to play with guys that I used to work with, but since I was younger than everyone else, I didn’t get to play much.
So once I no longer worked with those guys, I decided to start hosting the game myself, and started inviting all of my friends, thus beginning one of my favorite holiday traditions.
For the first few years, I was always the captain of my team (Team Sexy), and a few others would alternate who would be the captain of the opposing team. After several years of asking, my brother eventually decided he would start attending and ultimately ended up being the captain of the other team (Team Awesome). Team Sexy versus Team Awesome, a rivalry between both friends and family.
So who won this year? You’ll have to watch the highlight video to find out!
After I got home, I watched a little of the Lions game (although I’m not exactly sure how much I watched, since I dozed off a few times). From there, it was off to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. If I didn’t have enough to already be thankful for, I was soon about to have another reason.
Before dinner, my brother wanted to make an announcement. Although he and his wife had already adopted two animals (a giraffe and a monkey), they decided to have another addition to their family. My brother declared that it was not an easy task, since my mother pretty much dislikes all animals, but he felt confident that he found one even she would approve of.
With that, my brother handed my father a folded piece of paper, and asked him to read it for everyone. On the piece of paper was an image from an ultrasound, and written next to it was ‘Hi Grandma and Grandpa Jeffers, I will see you in May.’ Just like that, I found out my brother is going to be a dad, my parents are going to be grandparents, and I’m going to be an uncle. Simply put, I don’t have the words to say how happy and excited I am for everyone.
Needless to say, my Thanksgiving was one for the ages, and it’s going to be pretty difficult to beat it. I’m thankful for my friends, my family, my life and the opportunities I’ve been given. I hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving, too.
I went to the Tigers game this afternoon with my parents. While they sat where my season tickets are, I decided to buy a ticket in a different section, allowing me to get a different look.
Much like in life, sometimes it’s good to have a different perspective on the things going around you. At today’s game, I got a moment to do just that. Although I didn’t sit in my new seats for the duration of the game, it was fun to get a chance to talk baseball with several fans, including a few who drove up from Ohio to see the game.
Being in the middle of a pennant race, each and every single game seems to have more significance than the one before it. For instance, if the Tigers lost and the White Sox win this evening, then we would find ourselves back in a first place tie with them.
Instead, the Tigers were able to get a walk-off win in one of the more unusual ways, with the game-winning RBI coming courtesy of Alex Avila.
The Tigers now have a one and a half game lead over the White Sox, who begin their four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays later tonight.
Over the weekend, I was able to take a quick and fun trip to Chicago. Not only was I able to go to a baseball stadium that I haven’t been to before, but I got to have to spend some quality time with my brother, sister-in-law and catch up with a friend I haven’t seen in a while.
My trip started early on Saturday morning (a lot earlier than I’d like, but was necessary due to the lengthy drive), as I headed to my brother’s condo. From there, we began our adventure. Being in the backseat and running on little sleep, I didn’t make it too far before I fell asleep.
The next thing I know, the car is slowing down and we’re entering the parking structure at FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek. I’ve only been to the casino once before, but was able to turn a profit. Despite being half awake, I still felt confident that I would be able to repeat my success.
I started off by playing a Ghostbusters slot machine, and I got to say, I was thoroughly entertained. I only won five dollars off the machine, but I got plenty of laughs while playing it. I bounced around to a few other penny machines, and sure enough, I left with a 30 dollar profit. Not bad for a quick stop.
From there we headed straight to Chicago, where we first stopped at the Museum of Science and Industry. I hadn’t been to the museum in 12 years, so it was cool to get a chance to experience it once again.
Inside of the museum, there was an exhibit for the show MythBusters, an interactive experience for fans of the show. If you’re a kid or have kids, it’s a great introduction to the fun side of science. To be honest, it was cool to see a lot of stuff that was used on the show, but I felt like the exhibit definitely lacked in some areas. It cost an additional ten dollars to get in to the exhibit, which seemed like a pretty fair deal.
After we left the museum, it was off to the hotel where my brother and his wife were going to stay. Once they were checked in, we met up with one of their friends, who took us to one of her favorite pizza places.
The restaurant was Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta, but we all opted to get Chicago deep-dish pizza. We all agreed that it was delicious, and I would be more than willing to go there the next time I’m in town. Once we wrapped up dinner, my brother and I headed to U.S. Cellular Field, and Lindsey and her friend headed out for a night on the town.
For those who don’t know, U.S. Cellular Field is the home of the Chicago White Sox. This was the seventh major league stadium I’ve been to, and it certainly had some pros and cons.
The stadium looked very good and was laid out very nicely. Not only that, but the look outside of the stadium was absolutely stunning.
They also had three big screens (one for the current game, one with more information on the game, and one with scores from around the league). One of the things that I didn’t like, was the fact that they played music with a great deal of regularity while the opposing team was on the field. By that, I mean they would play music after foul balls and in between pitches.
I don’t think it’s fair to have a stadium playing music playing while a pitcher is starting to look at the catcher for signs. It also seems bizarre that they would only do that for the opposing team. To an unbiased spectator, it seemed almost like a distraction tactic. Much to my dismay, the White Sox won, but at least we got to watch fireworks after the game.
Following the firework show, I met up with my friend Travis who was working at the stadium, covering the White Sox for the Associated Press. The last time I went to Chicago, I felt bad that I didn’t get a chance to hang out with him, so it was good to catch up. Not only that, but he was kind enough to let me crash at his place.
After I woke up, it was time to meet back up with my brother and sister-in-law at the hotel. From there, we headed to brunch. Their friend suggested Cafe Iberico, a Spanish tapas bar. Not exactly an ideal place for breakfast for me, so I just ordered dessert while they feasted on some delicious Spanish cuisine.
For our final destination, we headed to the Chicago History Museum, where we got to learn a bit about…well, the history of Chicago. It was significantly smaller than the first museum, but much more oriented for adults. They had exhibits for not just the history of Chicago, but one about magic, and another specifically about Abraham Lincoln.
With another history lesson completed, we headed back home. En route, we stopped at yet another casino (Four Winds) which proved to be profitable for all of us. While we were in the area we also stopped for some treats at Sweetwater’s Donuts. If you’re ever near one, do yourself a favor and stop in.
It was a wonderful little getaway, and I had a great time. The best part of the trip wasn’t necessarily the things I got to do or see, but it was the peopleI got to spend my time with. I’m thankful and grateful for having such wonderful friends and family, because they truly make my life one that’s worth living.
As I’ve gotten older and summer vacations have become a thing of the past, I don’t get nearly as excited about weekends as I used to. However, if every weekend went as well as the one that passed, I could see myself starting to change that.
It wasn’t so much how it started, but instead, it’s how it ended. Sunday was a day full of everything one could need, from work, to fun in the sun and finally spending some quality time with the family.
The day started with just a few hours at work. From there, the fun began as my brother and two of my cousins headed downtown, to watch the Tigers host Baltimore Orioles. I’ll spare the details of the game (we lost despite having a 5-0 lead after the first inning), but it was fun to spend some quality time with my brother at the game.
After the game, we met up with my cousin and her husband after the game. The four of us walked back to Greektown after the game and caught up on the recent events in our lives. I’m so thankful that I have such a good relationship with my family. You know, there’s a common expression that says something along the lines of ‘Friends are the family that we choose to be in our lives.’ Well if that’s the case, it says quite a bit when people in your family start becoming your friends.
From there, my brother and I headed to help out at my Grandma and Grandpa’s annual church festival. For about the last twenty years, I’ve always done my best to try to help out to some capacity. There’s something rewarding about volunteering your time to a worthwhile cause, and I always look forward to doing what I can while I’m there.
Once I wrapped up my activities for the festival, I had to head a few miles up the road to head to my first softball game of the season. Now that my baseball season has come to an end, a few of my friends decided to start up a softball team for the first time. The fact that it’s a lot more relaxed and recreational definitely makes it quite different than my baseball league.
Due to work I had to miss the first game of the year, but I promised my team I would do my best to make it to the rest of games. My coach decided he wanted me to play shortstop, which is fun for me, since it’s a position I haven’t played in probably around 15 years. Things didn’t start pretty, but as was the case for the weekend, it ended a lot better than it started.
Thanks to some rust and sloppy defense, we fell behind early in the game. In fact, we trailed by five runs as we entered the 7th inning. Despite having two outs, we rallied to tie the score. We stranded the game-winning run on third base, and we were off to play an extra inning.
In the top of the 8th inning, we allowed one run. It was simple. If we scored no runs we’d lose, one run and we’d tie, two runs and we’d get to go home happy. The next thing you know, we have two outs and nobody is on base. A few minutes later, and I’m up to bat with the tying run on second and the game-winning run on first. On the first pitch I delivered a single to center field, and the bases were loaded. The next guy up drew a walk and the score was tied. Then came the moment of truth.
My friend Don came up to bat, and worked himself into a full count. A walk or a hit would win the game and any out would result in a tie. While standing on second, I got to see the hit go right over second base, and we were able to celebrate an exciting walk-off victory.
I don’t remember the last time I had that much fun over any weekend, and it was definitely full of great memories. I’m heading to Chicago next weekend, so we’ll see if I can keep this streak of good times rolling.
Tonight I got a call from a friend to go to the batting cages. Seeing as my first softball game this year (second for our team) is on Sunday, I figured it wasn’t such a bad idea.
It’s funny how hard it is to adjust from hitting a baseball going 75 MPH to hitting a ball that’s twice its size, and goes about a third of the speed. While I was there, I got a first hand reminder of how people of all ages and sizes love baseball.
First, you see the young couple. The guy is obviously doing anything he possible can to impress the girl. When it’s the girl’s turn to bat, she’s ecstatic to just make contact with the ball (now I’m not saying that’s the case for every girl, but it’s a common thing to see when you go to the batting cages). Baseball, it’s not only America’s national pastime, but it seems to be a common location for budding romances.
Then there’s the father, who’s attempting to teach his son how to swing a bat. Consider it a passing of the torch or good parenting, but seeing it always brings a smile to my face. It doesn’t seem like that long ago when my father would take me to the batting cages, only to try to find a way to correct my swing.
On that note, I’d like to give one small bit of advice to parents who take their kids to the batting cages, and that’s to always try focusing on the positive aspects of your time there. Your kid isn’t going to be a Major League Baseball player, so don’t expect him to be drilling every pitch he swings at. Encourage your child, and they will likely find themselves with a good boost in confidence. As they start to get older and develop better eye-hand coordination, then you can start to worry about their mechanics.
Young and old, male or female, everyone can be found at the batting cages. It’s just another fine example of how great of a game baseball really is.
Remember when you were a kid? When we’re young, there’s no limit as to what we think we can accomplish. A lot of kids dream of being doctors, lawyers, or even the President. My aspirations as a child were nowhere near as exciting.
When I was a kid, I thought the perfect job was to be the guy who made slushees at K-Mart. My logic was pretty solid, because I figured that would mean I’d get all the free slushees that my heart could ever desire. Much to my mother’s approval, I’ve now gone on to dreaming about accomplishing much more in my life. Besides, I can make as many slurpees as I’d like at 7-Eleven. It’s not quite the same, but it’s good enough.
It’s always fun to hear about what kids want to be when they grow up. At a recent family function, my mom asked a few of my little cousins what they wanted to be when they grow up. One of my cousins said that she wants to be a teacher, whereas the other wants to bake cakes.
The common theme seems to be that kids want to find careers that make them happy. Obviously, not everyone grows up to be what they want to be. Although it would be nice, it’s not always likely or realistic. As I’ve gotten older, my career path doesn’t matter as much to me.
Sure, I’d still like to get a job using my journalism degree (whether that’s working in radio or as a writer), but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I don’t. I’m at the point now that when I ‘grow up,’ I just want to be happy.
This blog is about a birthday, but it’s not a happy one. It’s a story about family and counting your blessings. If this doesn’t help you open your eyes and make you realize how lucky we all are, than I don’t know what will.
Today I went to work. There’s nothing spectacular or unusual about that. For the first half of my day, it was business as usual. Only then, did my day take an unusual twist. And to think, it all started with a couple of birthday balloons.
I was standing near the registers when a lady asked me if I could blow up a few birthday balloons. Since there was no customers near the checkout area, I wandered over to give her some help. I could tell that she was rather indecisive about which balloons to get. As is often the case, I asked her for some information about who the balloons were for.
“So what are you thinking? Is it a for a boy, a girl, a man or woman?” She then informed me that they were for a boy, her son. Again, nothing unusual about that. What she said next definitely caught me by surprise.
“I’m bringing them to the cemetery. They’re for my son who passed away 20 years ago, he would have turned 35 today.”
If you could think of an appropriate response, I’ll give you all the credit in the world. I went from being jovial, to sincerely sympathetic. Even though she wasn’t the first person to tell me something similar to this, it still doesn’t make it easier for me to hear. Normally I tell them that I’m sorry for their loss, but for whatever reason, I decided to ask her what happened.
It turns out that her son died of complications of leukemia, which started when he was just a young teenager. She told me how he went through chemo and eventually the cancer went into remission. She called that their first miracle. Eventually the cancer came back and required a bone-marrow transplant. Thankfully two of her son’s brothers happened to be perfect matches. The transplant was successful, and was their second miracle.
But ultimately the cancer came back again, which led to another round of chemo. With a weakened immune system, he caught a fever and died shortly thereafter. At the age of 15, her son was gone.
Her story left me speechless then, much like it does now. Despite it all, she told me how thankful she was for getting to spend as much time with him as she had. As she put it, none of us know how much time we have left on this Earth. After ringing her up, she got choked up and began to cry. I gave her a hug and thanked her for sharing her story with me.
Each day is a blessing, as are the moments we spend with those we love. Life is not something that should be taken for granted. We all should take a moment to realize just how lucky we all are. Perhaps then we can realize that all the things we spend time worrying about, they’re not so important after all.
So wherever you are, I just want to wish you a happy birthday, Dave. Know that your mother hasn’t stopped loving you and I don’t think she ever will.
Last night while watching the Tigers game, I found myself upset and frustrated with their sloppy defense and ineffective pitching. Almost immediately after the game ended, our home phone started to ring.
It’s very unusual for someone to call our house after 10:30 PM, so needless to say, I was immediately on high alert. Even worse, the caller ID showed that the call was from my the house of my dad’s parents.
You didn’t have to be very observent to notice that something wasn’t right. After a brief conversation, my father informed me that my uncle was rushed to the hospital with a severe head ache, and his arm had gone numb.
Since I was still awake, my father asked if I wanted to go with him to pick up my grandparents. Without any hesitation, I agreed.
While we were en route, I was informed that my uncle’s two children were spending the night at my grandparents house, as their parents were going to have a night out. I offered to stay at the house with the kids, that way my grandfather wouldn’t have to stay at the house. I figured that if things were bad, I could always wake up the kids and drive them to the hospital.
So off they went, and I opened my first can of Mountain Dew. I didn’t know how long of a night it would be, but I figured it was best to make sure I stay awake. It’s such an uneasy feeling when you aren’t sure what to expect.
About an hour and a half later, my father called to informed me that there was no immediate diagnosis, but the doctors didn’t think it was a stroke or a heart attack. He’s still at the hospital, and they’re running more tests, hopefully they’ll be able to diagnose it soon.
The whole night really served as a reminder, that it’s always best to keep things in perspective. While I’m sitting on the couch complaining about the Tigers giving up another run or making an error, there’s a lot more important things going on.
So the next time you find yourself getting worked up over something that doesn’t really mean anything, do your best to keep it in perspective.
I was having a conversation with a friend today, when an interesting question came up. What would it take for you to leave everything behind?
When I say leave everything behind, I don’t mean moving an hour away. I’m talking about leaving to go to a different state or even a different country.
For some people, it’s the prospect of love, a new job or just simply the desire to have a new change of scenery. I’m not necessarily sure it’s just one thing or another that would give me the urge to do so, but I wouldn’t rule any of them out.
When it comes to finding love, I’m certainly willing to do a lot of things. Is one of them leaving the state? My instincts tell me no, but deep down, I know that’s probably a lie. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not something I’d be eager to do, but I don’t think I could ever completely rule it out. Of course it would take a very special person to even make me consider it, but I could see the possibility of it happening.
I’ve gone back and forth about my willingness to move to a different state for a new job, but if nothing else, my experience with the MLB Fan Cave has certainly made me much more open to the idea. No, I wouldn’t move to a different state to work my current job, but I would do it for the right job.
I can’t see me ever wanting to leave Michigan just for the sake of needing a change of scenery. For all of the negative publicity we seem to attract, it’s really a beautiful state. It’s always nice to experience the changing of the seasons (although you won’t find me getting too excited about winter), and I’d hate to leave my family behind. Although I might not always be able to say it, I do like it here.
So what is it that makes someone want to trade it all away for the unknown? Is it a case of being a hopeless romantic or perhaps being overly optimistic? I don’t have the answer, but if I find myself leaving this state anytime soon, I’ll be sure to let you know.