I don’t say this too often, but the weather was perfect this weekend for some softball in Sault Ste. Marie. It had been just over a month since we’d been to a live ballgame, so when I learned that the Lakers were hosting Cornerstone University for some exhibition games, they became the priority of the weekend. It was a long day for the girls, as they played three games on Saturday. Brian joined me, and we saw bits and pieces of the first and third games, but saw the second game in its entirety. Because the games were exhibitions, I couldn’t find results or box scores for any of them. I know the Lakers won the second game, though, as they hit the ball well and produced some runs. They also played solid defense behind starting pitcher sophomore Jade Stein, who pitched a complete game. Brian and I had fun watching the games, and look forward to seeing the girls back in action at home this spring if the weather cooperates.
There’s really no sign of spring up here in Michigan’s crazy Upper Peninsula. In fact, it seems that there is even more snow, cold, and wind than ever. Things will be heating up for the Lake Superior State Lakers softball team, however, as they start their season today in the Superior Dome over in Marquette. The girls play three game today, taking on Lakeland, Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and Wisconsin-Superior. Good luck to the girls this weekend, and all season long. Their season actually kicked off last weekend, though, with the annual ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame’ spaghetti dinner. There was fun and games, and the kids were thrilled that they won two of the raffles. They won a movie package that included, movie passes, popcorn and candy, along with different popcorn seasoning. Also includes some free movie rentals. The other raffle we won was a cooler, beach towels, beach toys, water bottles, and sun screen. Uh…we’ll have to put that one up on the shelf for a few months, but very thankful that we got lucky. And all the money for the tickets goes to the softball team, so it’s a good cause. Brian had a good time showing off his throwing arm and playing with the balloons. Lily and Trevor drew pictures for the girls on the paper table cloths. We had a great time, but we’re sick of the snow and ready to burn the snowman, already.
Lily has been pretty busy with softball lately. Yes, I know it’s December, but there’s really no off-season for us. Last weekend she participated in a free clinic put on by the Lake Superior State Lakers, where she practiced all aspects of the game. Also, during the week, Lily has some hitting clinics going on. They were very productive, as she was working one-on-one with Lakers head coach Lori Shimasaki. I could really see an improvement in her hitting over the past couple of weeks. Lily had a lot of fun, which is the important thing, and the clinics may start-up again after the first of the year.
It’s always hard to watch baseball come to an end in the fall, but at the same time it makes you appreciate it when it comes back the next spring. As much as we miss baseball during the winter, we don’t just sit around and sulk. Winters up here can get dull and depressing, so we really have to keep busy to beat the winter blues and make it through until the baseball fun begins. As usual, we take in a lot of hockey games up here. We live in the original ‘Hockeytown U.S.A.’, so between our Lake Superior State Lakers, junior and high school hockey, we spend a lot of time at the rink. We also do a fair share of ice skating ourselves, too. The kids are involved in their own activities throughout the school year as well. Lily participated in the youth bowling league, while Trevor played flag-football and wrestling. A special treat this winter, too, was that we were able to catch a Harlem Globetrotters game. I took Trevor and Lily a few years ago, but this was Brian’s first time seeing them and he had a great time. We were also able to see the Stanley Cup at a Detroit Red Wings Alumni game which was a thrill for the kids. It wasn’t just sports that held our interest, as we saw some rock concerts, too. I took the two older kids up into Canada to see Avril Lavigne (my hearts pants…), and saw legendary rock bands like Slaughter and Stryper come to town. We also spent some time playing outside, and over at the tubing hill blazing down the icy slopes. Do you think that scared Brian at all…No. Anyway, I might not win father of the year..I’ve been known to give the kids NyQuil out of a shot glass, and help them with their math by teaching them Blackjack, but we do have a lot of fun together. Plus, only a single dad can get away with a full size hockey net in the living room, and foosball table instead of a dinner table!
This may seem like just a formality at this point, with record highs here up north in the mid 70’s, but our tradition of burning the snowman took place anyway. This is the first time I can remember us seeing this without at least having on a winter coat and hat. I’ve been taking Lily and Trevor for about six years now, and this is Brian’s second time. In all, this was the 42nd annual Burning of the Snowman and it’s always a fun way to spend the afternoon. It takes place at our local college Lake Superior State, so lots of students and town folk turn out to see the snowman burn in effigy and usher in spring. We enjoyed some hot dogs and the kids each got a free t-shirt from the radio station. Kids love getting free stuff, really, no matter what it is. The event always seems to take place when the kids have a half-day of school, so luckily we’re able to come every year. I hope this keeps winter away this year for good, though, and living in Michigan anything can happen. We’ve already been outside playing some catch, and really hope we have this kind of weather next month when we start going to the baseball games down state. While driving through the campus, I made sure to blast some Def Leppard in the Town & Country just to prove to all of the college kids just how cool I still am…and my kids think I’m embarrassing…
The Lake Superior State Lakers softball team is ready to this the road this spring, as the first leg of their season takes them to California. Trips like this are expensive for small programs, especially since LSSU is the smallest state funded college in Michigan. One of the ways the girls earn money for the trip is the annual Take Me Out To The Ballgame dinner. This has also been a tradition for the kids and I, as we’ve attended all since Lily and Trevor were babies. We had fun again this year, and the kids’ Papa was able to join us, too. One of Lily’s favorite things to do is to put a pie in the face of her favorite player. They started doing this last season, and it’s been a big hit. A lot of the players already know Lily from the local softball camps and clinics, so it’s fun for them, too. The girls were also raffling off a flat screen TV and went out on the ice during the hockey game that night to announce the winner and promote the team. Pictured above is the team sporting their very cool new uniforms. The photos below are from the banquet, and feature Lily sporting her new softball hoodie and us enjoying our spaghetti dinner. Good luck to the Lady Lakers this season, and we hope the weather is decent this April for their home games here in the Sault. Here’s the link to the girls 2012 schedule:
Bottom photos property of M.I.B.
The Lady Lakers were able to play through the crazy U.P. weather to close out the season at home. They hosted Northwood Thursday and Friday, and played a make-up game against Saginaw Valley State on Sunday. The Lakers lost 11-9 on Thursday in game one, but the second game was postponed due to sleet. Friday the girls played a triple-header against Northwood, dropping all three games 9-2, 4-0, 9-3. This was the best day weather wise, though, so nice to be able to see a few games in one day. The Lakers last game of the season was Sunday, losing to SVSU by the score of 14-4 in a make-up for a rain out on April 20. Seniors Ronlea Peterson (SS) and Nicole Cartensen (OF) played their last college game for the Lakers, and were honored after Fridays games. These girls work very hard every game, and under first year head coach Lori Shimasaki only good things will come to this program in the coming seasons. The team will be hosting some softball camps next month, and Lily will definatley be attending a few of those. Brian spent most of the game playing in the mud puddles. Such is life with a three year old.
Photos property of M.I.B.
The Lake Superior State Laker girls softball team was able to beat the nasty weather on Friday and sweep Ohio Dominican. They won the first game 9-8 in extra innings and pounded their oponents 18-8 in game two. The Laker double-headers on Saturday and Sunday were rained and snowed out, so I guess we were lucky to see at least a couple of games. Lily knows many of the girls from their softball camps, so she was able to get plenty of autographs and they took the kids into the dugout. It’s also fun to talk with the parents and get their take on things. A lot of positive comments on new head coach Lori Shimasaki and how she’s building a solid softball culture at Lake Superior. The team is scheduled to play some more games, so hoping the weather hold up for them.
Photos property of M.I.B.
As another blizzard hit our small humble town here in lush Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I find myself more and more concerned with the fact that I’m supposed to be sitting in a ballpark just a few short days from now enjoying baseball. I assumed this ghost was exercised a couple of weeks ago during a tradition that makes my also small and humble university as unique as it’s five National Hockey Championships and it’s banished words list. For the last 41 years at Lake Superior State University we burn a snowman in effigy to signify the end of winter and bring on spring. Apparently the snow gods, or baseball gods, or whatever, must have missed it this year, because the snow just keeps coming. I’m hoping they are one of the three or four people (or gods) who read this blog…just to remind them that it’s supposed to be over.
This was Brian’s first year watching, so he was a little awestruck. He enjoyed the free hotdogs, though.
Photos property of M.I.B.
The last several months have been the hardest off-season for the kids and I yet. I wish it was simply because there was no baseball, but unfortunately, it has nothing to do with our favorite sport. Without going into to much detail, I believe a family is like a team, and when one team member is selfish the rest suffer. If there’s one thing this experience has shown me, it’s how strong and special my kids are. I know I’m the dad and it’s my job to take care of them and be there for them, but the fact is they’ve been there and taken care of me more than I ever imagined. I truelly believe that if it wasn’t for them, I’d be in some padded cell right now being spoon fed pudding three times a day. I can honestly say that my kids are my best friends, and I really believe that we’ll be ok…as long as we stick together. We didn’t just hang our heads, though, we kept busy and shared a lot of laughs together this winter. Here’s a few pics from how we survived our toughest off-season…Opening day is on the horizon, and I’m determined to make this summer one of the best they’ve ever had. They deserve it.
Lots of Hockey
Photos property of M.I.B