People Out Loud: Baseball ‘n’ Homer – It’s the little things that add up to ‘hometown’

August 2016 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

dixon2016By Dixon Bledsoe

The Rio Olympics are finally here. It was exciting to see Katie Ledecky beat her own world record in the 400 meter free-style for the gold by nearly two seconds, Michael Phelps win his incredible 19th gold medal, and the U.S. women’s gymnastics team leaving every country in the world behind in just the prelims by an astronomical margin. Men and women’s basketball teams are expected to dominate at the time I write, track and field is going to be amazing, and hopefully, Brazil can pull off the Olympics with nary a Zika hitch. But Russia shouldn’t be there. The International Olympic Committee needed to send a message that state-sponsored doping cannot and will not be tolerated or rewarded. The message was a whisper. Did anybody hear? It was good, however, to hear the young American woman swimmer say in an interview that the Russian woman she was racing against failed two drug tests and shouldn’t be in Rio, and then to drive the message home, cleaned her competitors’ collective clocks. That was kind of fun.

Speaking of clocks getting cleaned, we could all take a lesson from a lovely lady on the Mount Angel Tower’s Traveling Beanbag Baseball Team. This is a game, apparently based on baseball and bean bags, where participants throw into boxes to determine if they got an out, a single, double, triple, or home run (“Going yard,”  as they say in the hood). It seems the Tower Terrors have rolled over the competition with other senior living facilities in the Valley, winning all 18 matches to win the Marion County sweepstakes. Then they played a team at a facility that brought in “ringers” – in sports vernacular, ringers are athletes much more gifted than the recreational players on the field. It would be akin to Damian Lillard of the Blazers showing up as a starter for the Willamette Bearcat Basketball team. In this case, instead of playing a team of their 60-80 year-old peers, the Terrors were faced with a team of teens and pre-teens. In a tight game that was neck and neck, this Bean Bag Babe who may have voted for Kennedy came up to the plate. As she was about to make her toss, some of the kids started booing. She stopped mid-swing, gazed down the line and looked each one of the evil-doers in the eye, and said rather firmly, “Don’t boo me.” Then cool as a cucumber, she proceeded to “hit” a home run with the bases loaded. In baseball terms,  it was a grand slam (aka “Grand Salami”) that scored four runs and clinched the Tower Terror’s victory over the testy teens. You go, Gramms! Schooled ‘em.

Homer’s come and gone again. Summer is flying past. Not as fast as that Silverton Postal Connections’ Jet Float during the Homer Davenport Community Festival Parade Saturday, but fast. The parade was packed, the weather was perfect. I especially liked Amy Amano’s Homer Davenport Bike/Trike, and Silverton Jeweler’s float with rings. One of the best floats I’ve seen here in this Norman Rockwell town. But man, that jet flew past, apparently necessary to create steam and smoke emanating from the engines. Biggest float and beautifully done. Great parade, wonderful festival, and many, many kudos to the organizers, led brilliantly for years by Richard Carlson, the Homer Davenport Community Festival Committee. Cindy Jones, Darin Rybloom, Gus Frederick, Janet Dalisky, Ken Hector, Dennis Sherwood, Rick Schmidt, Gordie Goschie, Tonya Rue-Perez, and Glen Damewood – thank you for your time and energy. It takes time to do good things for your community.

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