Nap time reading

While the baby naps in my arms, I typically go through some form of social media and check out interesting news and stories. Or I binge watch The West Wing. Recent favorite reads:

Sherman Alexie is one of my favorite writers

The Poem That Made Sherman Alexie Want to ‘Drop Everything and Be a Poet’ [The Atlantic]

I have no shame in admitting that I’m an Alexie fangirl. I was so disappointed when I heard he was in LA recently for a book signing and I didn’t find out until a week later. (He doesn’t advertise his readings on Twitter, but his feed is very entertaining.) Anyway, this piece for The Atlantic’s “By the Heart” series was enlightening and inspirational. I’m grateful his poetry professor gave him the book that included the life altering poem.

At the same time, I’d never seen myself in a work of literature. I loved books, always, but I didn’t know Indians wrote books or poems. And then to see myself so fully understood in one line of a poem, as though that one line of a poem written by someone else was my autobiography … It was like understanding human language for the first time. It was like hearing the first words ever spoken by a human being, and understanding for the first time the immense communicative power of language.

I had never intellectualized this feeling that I’d had my entire life. And then, to hear the thing aloud. To see it in print. These are the kind of emotions that nobody puts words to, at least not where I’m from. So an intellectual and emotional awakening were fused in this one line. They came together and slapped me upside the head.

Gibson In ’88: ‘It’s A Good Story’ [ESPN]

Tuesday, October 15th marked the 25th anniversary of the most dramatic, amazing, awesome walk-off home run in Dodger history. I don’t remember seeing it live, but do remember those playoffs and being excited that my dad caught a ball at one of the NLDS games against the Mets. I have seen Kirk Gibson’s home run dozens of times as it’s played on the Dodger jumbo screen all the time, but didn’t know everything going on behind the scenes. And there was a lot!

Arash Markazi interviewed players from the ’88 Dodgers, A’s, coaches and management to fill in the story.

One of my favorite parts was reading Vin Scully’s role in motivating the very injured Gibson to stop icing, suit-up, take some practice swings with the bat boy and tell Tommy Lasorda he could pinch hit in a close game.

Vin Scully (Dodgers announcer 1950-present, NBC announcer 1983-89): In the middle of the ninth inning of that game, we were in commercial, and I had told the producer and director, ‘When we come out of commercial, follow me.’ You don’t do that very often, but, in this instance, I felt it was important, so, when we came out of commercial, there was a shot from the blimp of Dodger Stadium and I said, ‘If you’re in the ballpark with binoculars, your first thought would be, late in the game, Is Kirk Gibson in the Dodgers’ dugout? The answer would appear to be no.’ They did a slow pan from one end of the dugout to the other, and I basically said Kirk Gibson will not play tonight.

Gibson: I was sitting there, and, when Vin said that, I stood up and said, ‘My a–!’ It was time to go get dressed. That’s not to say I wouldn’t have gotten dressed if he hadn’t said it, but he did say it, and I was vocal about it with whoever who was around me at the time.

Today we don't have the Dodger blues. Right after I got the hoodie on, AJ Ellis hit a home run.

The playoffs have been stress inducing lately. Xavi and I are crossing our fingers in hopes of celebrating another improbable, impossible victory.

This game is a nail-biter. #dodgers #nlcs

Go Dodgers!

Jaclyn Day

I’ve been following Jaclyn Day’s blog for a couple of years, but never really paid attention to anything aside her affordable fashion posts. I was missing out, but perhaps it’s good that I’m just finding some of these posts months later when I’m at the beginning of my own parenting experience and can relate to her fretting over the cost of childcare or dealing with her post-pregnancy body image issues.

These posts hit home:

The things about parenting we don’t talk about — on maternity leave, childcare and the privileges some parents have/don’t have

No easy answer — sharing photos and videos of our children on social media

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Silver for Leo!

Two things made me very happy yesterday:

1. Seeing Mexico beat Japan in the semi-finals to advance to the finals in men’s soccer. Mexico will face Brazil in the finals on Saturday morning (7 PDT).

2. Seeing Leonel Manzano win silver in the men’s 1500m race. He went from about 10th place with one lap remaining to passing up several men for a surprise second place finish. Leo’s is the first American to medal in the men’s 1500m since 1968. He also set an American Olympic record for the distance. [Replay of the race here.]

I didn’t start following professional running until last year, maybe the year before. I was looking around the USAAF website’s diversity page and checking out their list of Latino athletes. Leo Manzano was there. I looked him up and immediately took a liking to him just based on the Guanajuato roots. Mexicans are really big on home state and hometown pride. I added him to my short list of running heroes.

As a four year old Leo migrated with his family (sin papeles according to some stories) from Dolores-Hidalgo, Guanajuato to Texas. That migration story reminds me of my father and his family. Dad was just a couple years older when my grandparents uprooted the family from Salamanca, Guanajuato to south Texas.

I was nervous as I watched the runners lined up yesterday afternoon. I found it endearing that Leo crossed himself and said a quick prayer. He may be one of the fastest Mexicans out there, but he’s not that different from the rest of us. (Okay, his pre-race ritual does make him a little different.)

I teared up watching Leo’s amazing kick. I would’ve yelled and high-fived someone, but no one was around. I settled for fist pumping.

Reading stories about the race and watching post-race interviews made me even happier for him.

About his faith

“I felt like I was 10th or 11th,” he said. “I knew I was in the back. I just kept praying, saying, ‘Heavenly Father, help me. Push me. Give me the strength to keep going.’

“My kick has always been there. Ever since I was maybe 12 years old, I’ve had this major gift from God. I guess sometimes it’s just been kind of overlooked.”

In an interview with Flotrack he admitted to being very religious. He talked about his short prayer and said, he felt a surge of energy for the kick in the final 60 meters or so.

I could relate. I’ve felt something — adrenaline, energy gel kicking in, God, spirit of my grandparents… who knows — kick in late in a race and help me to finish strong. I even made a line from a hymn I heard in Mass my motivational mantra (“we will run and not grow weary / For our God will be our strength”). It worked.

About his roots

Leo admitted in post-race interviews that he planned to hold up the flags of his adopted country and birth country if he won gold or silver. Sure enough, he took the American flag first and then held up the Mexican flag while jogging his honor lap around the stadium.

The U.S. is my home, and I wouldn’t change it for anything,” he said. “But my roots are still in Mexico. I love both countries. They both have a piece of my heart.

I think it’s fitting that Leo won silver. After all, his roots are in a state with a silver mining history.

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Dodgers home opener

Dodgers home opener

In the morning when I was still contemplating whether or not I wanted to run or just head in to work, I got a FB message from my cousin Juan. He messaged several of our cousins to see if anyone was interested in taking a pair of tickets off his hands for the Dodgers home opener. I mentioned the idea to Sean and he was down. I sent off some emails to work/students and took care of some outstanding tasks. Our program director wished me a happy opening day even before mentioning the game. He knows I’m a big Dodger fan.

Dodgers and Pirates lineups

Since I was the first to jump at the offer, Juan gave me the tickets. We coordinated a meet-up between his place and mine in East LA around 11:30. Juan mentioned that we might make it in time to see the opening day ceremony beginning around 12:15. Although it was a little over 5 miles from East LA to Dodger Stadium, traffic was happy. Luckily, I know my way around the area (in car and on foot thanks to the LA Marathon!) and we found free parking off Sunset Boulevard and got to our seats in time for the ceremony.

The Beach Boys sang the national anthem

Along with the standard team intros and national anthem, the opening ceremony also featured tributes to hall of fame broadcasters Vin Scully (who had to miss the game due to a cold, first time in 35 years) and Jaime Jarrín, Nancy Bea Hefley (Dodgers organist), the 1962 Dodgers (who played the inaugural season in the new stadium), and a first pitch by Terry O’Malley Seidler (daughter of former owner Walter O’Malley), The Beach Boys sang a sweet rendition of the national anthem.

Clayton Keshaw on the mound

I’ve been to one opening day game/home opener before. This time was better. It was warmer, we had seats in the shade, most of the game was a pitchers’ duel, Andre Ethier hit the go-ahead homerun and the Dodgers won. Even emo Juan Uribe had a good game going 3-for-3.

The only downside to the game was the annoying group of about 10 people sitting next to us. I get that people are going to drink at games. I’m prepared for that, but I get annoyed when they interrupt my game watching by making me get up 25 times to let them through. One time a guy almost fell on me. Not cool. One of our neighbors was so drunk that stadium security escorted her out. I assume that’s what happened from overhearing the rest of the people who came with her.

I found my cousin, Juan, at the game a couple sections over

Nevertheless, I’m thankful Juan gave us the opportunity to check out our first game of the season. I’m lucky to have several cousins who are generous and love the Dodgers as much — quite possibly more — than I do.

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An open letter to Andre Ethier

The hit that got him #29 in the hit streak

Dear Andre,

Congratulations on the hit streak. With the Dodgers’ long and storied history of some excellent ballplayers, I’d feel proud to be second on the all-time franchise hit streak list. Thirty games is might impressive. Even more, it’s cool that with a game loss and end to your streak you still managed to crack jokes about the media attention.

I really enjoyed watching you get closer to breaking the record. I’m sad the hit streak is over.

You don’t know how much I wanted to see you get to 31. It would’ve made my 31-loving heart so incredibly happy. I didn’t even care all that much to see you beat Willie Davis’ 42-year record. I’d actually have been cool if the streak ended at 31 and you just tied him.

Okay, maybe not, but only because your hitting streak has been of the few bright spots in a season with lots of troubles on the field, in the front office, and even in the parking lot.

Yesterday’s game was tough to watch. It wasn’t just that you kept flying and popping out, and struck out in the 8th. No, it was even more difficult because we could have really used a hit in the 8th when Matt Kemp was in scoring position and the score was tied. Worse, the rest of the team seemed to have the same problem. Sigh. I’ll stop complaining.

Dreaming of a better season in 2011

I’m still a fan. That won’t change. And neither will your place as my current favorite on the team and one of my all time Dodger favorites. You’re certainly higher on the list than Davis. I’m happy I got to see the streak in person (#29 up there) and have been able to watch you grow with the Dodgers over the last five years. You’re proof that good things do come out of Arizona.

Hope to see more great demonstrations of your batting (and fielding) skills this season and hope you inspire the rest of the players to start using those bats as intended.

With mad respect,

Cindylu

P.S. Glad to see that batting power back today with your home run in the Dodgers’ first victory in 4 games. Maybe you do better without the added pressure and media attention.

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