Vin Scully meets Farmer John

If you know me or follow my blog, you know that KD loves to play sports, from the moment he wakes up to the moment he tumbles into bed. When we force him to slow down a bit, he loves to go in his room and play “pretend baseball,” which includes home and away uniforms, batting gloves and helmet when he’s hitting and glove when he’s fielding. His favorite shoes and glasses frames are orange. He loves his Giants.

Every once in a blue moon he’s exhausted and simply sits cross-legged on his bureau and listens to the game, blocking out the rest of the world, transfixed by every pitch. The first time I noticed this, I flashed back to doing the same thing as a child. It seemed like the Dodgers were always on the radio or TV, and I hung on every pitch. Without going too Norman Rockwell on you, I remembered sitting and listening to Vin Scully (who is in his 66th year as announcer of the Dodgers and makes the Giants’ announcers sound like 11th graders fumbling through scripted lines on their school radio stations) brilliantly weaving together stories of Steve Garvey and Fernando Valenzuela with stories about Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Jackie Robinson. Feel free to rag on LA, but don’t try to mess with my Vinny.

Moving through high school, college, and my 20’s, I didn’t pay too much attention to the Dodgers. I was too busy being busy, and baseball was WAY too slow. I preferred going to Laker games (sorry Warrior fans, but you’ve got to keep your team going for about the next ten years to come close to matching the Lakers of the 1980’s!), playing basketball, and doing what kids without full frontal lobe development do.

When I hit my 30’s, life shifted, and I moved to Berkeley. As I approached my departure day, I focused more and more on what bothered me about LA: bumper-to-bumper traffic at midnight on the San Diego Freeway, the arrogant guys who had a fake siren on their Hummer and laughed at me as I pulled over and they passed by, the incredible economic disparity between the haves and have not, and the overall scene.

I also was way-over-the top incredibly excited about moving to Berkeley, a place I once said was, “a fun place to visit but a place I’d never want to live.” Still, since I was moving there, I chose to focus on what I hoped would be my reality: great food and coffee, great weather, and most of all, warm and wonderful people. (In fairness, my awesome brother and his family and some wonderful friends lived nearby. Of course, they helped tremendously with my transition, but focusing on them takes me away from my point…)

Sure, the food and coffee were great, but the weather kind-of sucked and many of the people were incredibly unfriendly. I lived a block from campus and regularly passed brilliant kids walking along, making every second count by reading their astrophysics books. Of course, they made no eye contact. Even worse, were the countless people around town who would stare at me as our paths crossed. When I smiled or said hello, they’d look away. I realize this happens, and I realize I’m a sensitive dude who is way-too dialed in to peoples’ non-verbal cues and shouldn’t take it personally, but the frequency that this happened was way over the top.  I called this the “Berkeley Look Away.”

Eventually, I found my rhythm and Berkeley and the Bay Area were routine and tolerable. There was some cool stuff to do and the negatives still bugged me. The food and coffee were great, and many of the people still sucked, as did the Giants. (Yes, there was a time before Buster Posey and AT&T Park. You had to be a diehard to watch a horrible team play at Candlestick Park, an eyesore and coldest stadium west of the Mississippi.) Then, when it was time to move to Sacramento, I did the same thing as with LA: I trashed the entire Bay Area and got as pumped as possible about Sacramento, which has worked just fine.

Fast-forward almost twenty years after leaving LA. As I watch my son, I’m able to look back at my childhood and the city where I grew-up. I’m aware that I’ve blended together my childhood with who I am today. I miss dearly my Vinnie, my family and my friends. I don’t miss the bad traffic. The Lakers stink and that Hummer has been sold for parts. It serves me no purpose to trash LA, and I can and do enjoy all the positives. LA is a great place to visit as often as possible. But I’d never want to live there again.

There is a point to my story. Transition is a common theme right now in my practice. Many of my people I work with are finishing high school or college, moving out for the first time, etc. They’re trashing what they’re leaving and unrealistically excited about what’s coming next. If you’re reading this and going through transition (or love someone who is) your excitement is natural. Embrace it. At the same time I hope you pause for  a moment and take mental notes of all that is positive. You won’t forget the negatives, but down the road I also hope you’ll be able to pause and reflect on what you miss.

One Response to Vin Scully meets Farmer John
  1. elizabeth
    June 4, 2015 | 4:26 pm

    A terrific walk down memory lane for you. Saw Vince Scully not too long ago having a fancy dinner in a special French restaurant. You could not miss his voice over all the other diners.

    I think wherever you live is great if you have a loving family, good friends, interesting work and a good balance of excitement and accomplishment. It’s really about you and who and what surrounds you rather then your address.

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