My Favorite Sports Moment: Hank Aaron’s 715th Home Run

I recorded this for the new HBO series Sport In America, which is asking people for their most memorable or significant sports moments. Mine, obviously, was Henry Aaron’s home run that broke Babe Ruth’s all time record. The reason it is my favorite sports moment is not due primarily to Aaron’s athletic prowess but for the moment’s historic significance for which I was blessed to experience a unique persepctive. Found at YouTube from davideerickson.

Hank Aaron’s 715th Home Run

Found at YouTube from TheStoreAtReinabiz.

Harmon Killebrew

Harmon Killebrew
Photo: Harmon Killebrew
Harmon Killebrew at bat

I was so sad to hear that Harmon Killebrew is entering hospice care after losing his fight to esophageal cancer. A good friend of mine died of it; it’s nasty.

My first memory of Harmon Killebrew is my first iconic boyhood memory: It was my first ballgame with my father at the old Met Stadium. The Twins were hosting the Baltimore Orioles. We went with a neighbor and our seats were along the third base line, so our neighbor kept telling me to keep an eye on the great Orioles third baseman of the time, Brooks Robinson.

I remember fat men standing around on the concourse drinking beer and the smell of their thick cigar smoke. I remember Tony Oliva breaking a bat by pounding it on home plate after disagreeing with the umpire’s called third strike.

In the bottom of the ninth the Twins were behind by a run. Harmon, in his last years as a Twin and relegated to DH duty, stepped up to bat to the thundering feet of the crowd, stomping in expectation.

Crack. The ball arched high across the sky down the third base line and settled into the upper-deck stands…just foul. Harmon ended up striking out and the Twins lost but I was astonished that a human being could hit the ball so hard and so far.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Harmon Killebrew but from afar he always came off as a kind and gentle man. Thank you, Harmon.

Light Rail

Minneapolis Light Rail
Minneapolis Light Rail

I admit to being highly skeptical that light rail would work in the Twin Cities.

You had to convince me–someone who loves to drive (Seriously? I get to do this every day? For free?!?)–to get out of my car and take a train, with a bunch of other people?

No way.

Then, during a trip to Washington, DC, I tried their subway system and I was sold. I’d totally use light rail, if the Twin Cities built such a system.

Well, years removed from that revelation, I finally took my first light rail ride two weeks ago from my office in Bloomington to three blocks from Target Field. It was a breeze and I imagine I’ll be doing a lot more of it once the Central Corridor system connects Minneapolis to Saint Paul.

In the meantime, I’ll need to endure this (still, no pain, no gain):

Light Rail Construction on University Avenue
Light Rail Construction on University Avenue In Saint Paul

The Benefits Of Aging (or I Hope I Die Before I Get Old)

Mom In Hospital 04

My mother turned 80 this year and, as octogenarians often do, she’s been having some health issues recently. Life has been sucking for her more than it’s been awesome recently. I always suspected that getting old sucked but the last few years helping my mother deal with various issues has confirmed that suspicion.

As I think about it, that insight was about the only bit of wisdom I actually had as a young man. I had a discussion with mom not long ago about just this subject.

“Mom,” I said, “it looks like getting old really does suck.”

She didn’t agree but neither did she disagree.

“There are some benefits,” she offered.

“Like what?”

“Wisdom,” she said. “You get wisdom.”

“Yeah, but you need wisdom at the beginning of your life, not the end.”

“That’s true…but you can impart your wisdom to people younger than you.”

“But young people don’t listen to it…they don’t understand. So it’s a waste.”

We both fell silent in agreement.

What amusing irony! It takes you a lifetime to accumulate the very thing that would make living your life that much easier and enjoyable.

I’ll leave you with The Who. Found at YouTube from polydorclassics.