Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Mind was Elsewhere Today

   This morning was beautiful. The air cool and crisp, the sun brightly shining in a cloudless sky, and Mother Nature resplendent in her spring wardrobe. She has never been lovelier. The birds chirped pleasantly, the cars on Woodruff Farm Road went by with only the buzz of the rubber meeting the road, and a train sounded its horn as it approached a distant crossing.
   While I soaked in the sights and sounds of the Georgia morning, my mind was back in Ashtabula. An item on the Star Beacon website took me there. Under the headline “Conneaut pulls a stunner,” sports editor Don McCormack wrote about the Spartans boys tennis team’s 3-2 win over Geneva.
   In my mind, I was there, although I was probably at the wrong place. Notebook in hand and dressed for a chilly early-April afternoon in northeast Ohio, I was circling the perimeter of the courts at the old Geneva High School. Odds are the Eagles now play their home matches at the new high school or at The Spire. But when I covered tennis, they played at the old high school, and in my mind that’s where they played Wednesday.
   As the sun edged westward and the shadows lengthened, the match was tied, 2-2. Geneva had victories from Brock Ebersole at first singles, and from the tandem of Josh Roney and Zach Stehura at second doubles. The Spartans’ Scott Gerdes and Rashad Al-Arabi won the second and third singles matches, respectively.
   All eyes now were on the decisive first doubles match, where Conneaut’s Jacob Edwards and Alex Gerdes were facing the Eagles’ Louis Murphy and Anthony Barzczewski. The Geneva duo won the first set, 7-5. Edwards and Gerdes answered, winning the second set, 6-3, and then took the third set, 6-4, to give Conneaut only its second win over Geneva in five decades. I made my way on to the court, and after Spartans coach Dave Simpson finished talking to his jubilant team, I rushed to ask Edwards and Gerdes about the match. My questions might have been trite, but their comments weren’t. As a result, I was able to write a story that elicited a “Hey, this doesn’t suck,” from editor Don.
   Last week, there was a staff meeting here at Covenant Woods. The purpose was to tell the employees to call the residents by their names and not use terms such as honey, dear or darling. Stacey, one of the servers, told us about the meeting that evening at dinner. Then she turned to me and said, “But I can call you Butthead. It’s not on the list.” And in a flash I was back at Ash/Craft. Jolene, one of the clients with whom I worked, gleefully called me Butthead all the time. “Hey, Butthead,” she’d yell. And when someone would ask Jolene if she knew where I was, she’d tell them, “Butthead is over there.”
   I miss not having to get up and go to work at Ash/Craft, hurrying home in the afternoon, getting something to eat, rushing off to cover a game, and then going to the Star Beacon office to write and answer the phone.
   My mind, I think, is still up to the task. My body isn’t. Some days, like today, that really pisses me off.

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