Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Forgiveness and Baseball

Here's a little-known fact about me: Baseball used to be my very favorite sport. This was probably due to the fact that my Grandpa Janssen lived for the game and was a die-hard fan of any team with players who would "play the game" (mostly the Cubs). I was pretty young, but I still remember bringing my favorite baseball cards to show him whenever we made the trek across Nebraska to visit him and Grandma.

This is also part of the reason why baseball and I had a sort of falling out. When Grandpa fell ill with the sickness that eventually sent him home, all he could do was lie in bed and watch the ball games. That was also the year of the strike. I felt that in a time when he needed baseball the most, it left him; and all this out of selfish greed for higher paychecks. I still enjoyed the game, but I held a BIG grudge. I think it's time to forgive. That's what Grandpa would have wanted anyway.

As a result, this year I've been really getting into baseball again; and I'm really excited! In addition to keeping up on my favorite team (the Rockies, who else?), a week or two ago a good friend of mine invited me to try something new: Fantasy Baseball. All of this got me thinking, so I had to share it in my blog. I just started my team and designed the logo. My team is called the Phelpstowne Farmers, and I put the logo at the top of the post. I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'm sure I'll figure it out! At any rate, I'm glad I can fully enjoy the game again.

Baseball: I forgive you. Let's be friends again.

Here's to days just packed with the sounds of wooden bats and the smells of leather gloves, outfield grass, and roasted peanuts.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

No problem! I'm an engineer...

I find it funny that I'm constantly looking at the world through the eyes of an engineer. This could be good or bad, depending upon how you sway it. This outlook can be a little problematic when applied to abstract feelings and emotions (which are a couple things on my "to do" list to talk about later), but in the case of finding simple solutions to life's tangible frustrations I do just fine. Here are a couple examples:

On Friday afternoon I went to the gym to relieve some of the angst and excitement that the week brought me. After a substantial time bonding with my jump rope, I went to hit the speed bag for awhile. Since our new mat studio, equipped with two wall mounted bags and variously-sized big bags, STILL isn't open, I had to play with the crappy free-standing bag in the weight room. This bag isn't exactly stable, which makes it both hard to hit and VERY noisy. I'd been hitting this bag since they opened up the new part of the rec, but today I was annoyed in about 5 minutes. In my annoyance, I took my sweat towel and jammed it between the top mounting board and cross-braces. Instant fix.

Another time, I had to deal with a doorstop that wouldn't stop the door. Anytime someone would try to get the little wooden wedge to keep the door open, it would just slide across the floor and make a frustrating "buzz" noise as if it were laughing at our feeble attempts. Eventually, somebody went looking for a sandbag to prop the stupid thing open. Again, the engineer in me kicked into gear and I told them to save themselves the trouble. I took the wedge, spit on the bottom, and replaced it under the door. No more stupid door-that-wouldn't-stay-open.

I know, I know, it sounds like I'm bragging about being able to fix a few simple problems, but it's my blog and I feel I'm entitled to a little bit of bragging rights. I do have a point behind all this though. When I provide these simple, unthought-of fixes people actually seem a little amazed, like they can't believe how I came up with it. And they stay amazed until I tell them, "Oh, it's no problem. I'm an engineer." With that quick phrase, their amazement makes a sharp transformation into one where it makes perfect sense that I came up with a solution; I guess it's like saying, "Well, since he's an engineer, it's not so impressive."

Is this a problem? Not at all. If I was in the business of impressing people, I wouldn't tell them that I'm an engineer when I'm done fixing something. Why is this significant? I think it helps define my goals as a person. I just like fixing things and helping people. I try to use the gifts I have been given in order to help others. Spiderman and Superman don't like to take much praise for what they do, and they are in the business of stopping runaway trains filled with women and children and such. For them it's "All in a day's work."

That's how I think it should be. "All in a day's work." Go forth and conquer.