Time for a Refresh

I know, I know, I missed you all also. I’ve been plenty busy since my last post; lots going on around here. So much to do, so little time…

You’re probably well aware GBQ’s leadership made the decision to give employees the entire week off following last week’s 4th of July celebration. Several employers chose to do the same; was yours one of them? Undoubtedly an enormous and generous show of appreciation, particularly to the accounting industry for what has been a very trying 18 months since the pandemic hit the mainland.

No sports enthusiast can argue the last week of June and the first week of July felt more normal this year – Stanley Cup Playoffs, College World Series, NBA Playoffs, the US Open and even Wimbledon (bucket list item) – all taking place every night of the week for the last two weeks. (Who remembers where they were while watching a white Bronco fleeing the cops this same time of year 27 years ago?)

Before our week of freedom from time reporting, my son’s 8U travel baseball team suffered an enormous setback, losing the end of the regular season league tournament to New Albany, costing us our 5th trophy on the season. We didn’t play great, came out flat, and probably didn’t deserve the “W.” However, we did finish with a very respectable 34-6 record and we’re already looking forward to next year.

Immediately upon leaving the field that Wednesday night, while plenty dejected for our kids myself, I was forced to begin preparing for what was about to become my second job over the next 5-7 days. My to-do list was waiting for me at home, and I knew there was no time to waste because my wife has been waiting to throw the biggest July 4th party our neighborhood has ever seen. And did she ever.

But it did mean getting several minor construction projects tied off before Sunday morning’s parade. It also meant the beer kegs were being dropped off on Thursday night, and those can’t just sit untapped ($14/day in ice was more than I bargained for). How were we supposed to put up the tent that covered our entire driveway Friday night without also dipping into the beer cooler that already had ice on it? The margarita machine was dropped off Saturday while I was golfing, and those obviously required a taste test as soon as I got home (next year we’re doubling that order). Priorities.

Fortunately, the party went off without a hitch. We even managed to have enough leftover chicken tenders and nacho dip to kill a small horse and spent the next 5 days picking at both (as well as the leftover kegs). And that’s when the real work began…during my off week…job number three.

Baseball tryouts for the 2022 season begin almost immediately after our current season ends, which, as you may have guessed based on our community’s obsession with July 4th, coincides with the holiday. We tell all of our families to sit tight on vacations from March 31st through July 4th, and we cram in two full days of tryouts for every age group before the day traders head to the Hamptons (the majority of you are reading this from vacation).

Youth travel baseball has become a spectacle even I can say I wasn’t fully prepared for. Yes, we’re fortunate to live in a community where the travel baseball teams are pretty darn good. We also value our kids’ experience and have learned if we want to be the best then we need to play with and against the best. The evaluation process for this year’s tryout was unlike any other from a parent scrutiny standpoint. So much so that I often find myself reminding folks this is 7U-9U, i.e., not the end of the world. And that’s saying something because even I am guilty of overcoaching and forgetting I’m being entrusted to teach baseball to a bunch of 7 and 8-year-olds who are only interested in chasing pop-ups into foul territory because I promise a caught foul ball is a free pizza. (Yes, literally, and it cost me $70 this season until my assistant coaches started chipping in.)

Full transparency, I am the coach who jumps up and down in the 3B coaching box when someone doesn’t tag on a fly ball to the OF (at home that night, I was called embarrassing). I’m also the coach that will not listen to other coaches or umpires tell me the rules of the game, much less talk to one of my players like it’s their first day on the job. I even contemplated how long I wanted to argue a call in the state tournament championship game because I knew if I took one more step back toward the umpire who blatantly missed a play at 1B, he was tossing me; no questions asked (incredible restraint). So yes, one could argue that I am part of the problem. In a state tournament game we lost 10-9 to an elite Cleveland travel team whose 7-hole hitter is the son of the Cleveland Indians starting catcher. My son was our 7-hole hitter that weekend and his dad’s largest contribution to society recently includes blogging about being a blogger.

But I do remind our kids we’re a community team and we should be darn proud of the fact our tryouts include kids from within a 4½ mile radius, and we absolutely had our chances to win that game. Similar to Dean Smith’s ability to keep Michael Jordan under 30 points per game in college, I told all of our parents from the onset the only thing getting in the way of this collection of ballplayers was their head coach. That team was special, and this season was a total blast, and I’d even go as far as saying we may never have another like it!

Now I’m back at job Number 1 — the one that actually sends me a check for my services. And I do genuinely feel refreshed. Whether that’s because baseball is on pause for a couple of months, July 4th was a huge success, or because we have multiple vacations still planned for this summer, that break felt amazing!

Next up, this week’s Annual Firm Meeting, my favorite job of the year – Co-Chair of the Annual Firm Meeting Fun Committee. Speaking of entertainment, who remembers one of Chris Dean’s more unforgettable videos?


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