Most importantly, we lost two young men this week. We are not a small County by South Carolina standards but we are a close community. The degrees of separation here are getting higher with every new transplant from Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio but they are still much less than six.
Nephew (in-law) Chris is home for fifteen days after his first six months in Iraq. Two vehicles were hit by IEDs while he was riding in them. He is spending a few days with my niece at their home in Spaceman country before coming here to spend a few days with the families. Then, he is headed back for six more months. I swear I just went to their wedding.
I have been a little derelict in keeping up with the cool kids. I log into the IRC and don’t say anything. I reply to IMs in concise phrases. I comment rarely and provide little insight when I do. The poker blogging community has grown incredibly in the last year and I feel as though I am falling behind. I am a WPBT champion damn it! (as Mr. Petty said, “Even the losers . . .”) I should be more involved. To that end, I will accept challenges for heads-up, SNG, matches from my brethren. If you got the time and want to get into some heads-up action with the Pirate, IM (abandonedcamper@yahoo) me or e me (attorneywwj at alltel.net). I have regular games on Tuesday and Wednesday so don’t look for me on those nights but I am sitting in front of the machine almost any other time.
I owe something to the community as it has lent so much to my life. I have something interesting to read every day. If I have a question about how to improve my game, there are a number of sites that have helped me as much as any book ever has. It got me to Vegas to play in the WSOP. I’ve got nothing to give back but my silly little stories. Here you go. You can take it back if you want. I got the receipt somewhere.
I am really looking forward to the Falstaff tournament on Saturday. We are taking a little group from ColaTown north across the border. A contingent from G-Vegas will be there too. Live friends of the Pirate meeting On-Line Friends of the Pirate. Relationship George would not be happy. I am also looking forward to meeting TripJax. He has put more effort into his blog in the last week than I have since I started. It is always entertaining and inspiring.
Boy, would I love to make it to Austin for the get-together in March. It’s hard to find the time with the Swabs and the job. Without the distractions of the bright lights of Vegas, it’s easier to talk to folks. Anybody want to do a kamikaze drive in and out with me?
I’ve neglected this so far, but it is February. As bad as some people perceive the race problems in this country, I remain eternally optimistic. Eventually the world will be various shades of tan and it won’t matter but for now there are some obvious problems. One of the primary forces that have improved race relations is sports. My hometown has a large minority population and I grew up playing on teams with African-American kids. I don’t recall there ever being a problem between us or any parents. Now I know that others had vastly different experiences in the 70’s and 80’s but I look back on that time fondly as it laid the groundwork for the way I try to approach all people today. Many are quick to throw race and inequities into every conversation about sports and life, whether it is an issue or not. This does increase discourse though, and eventually it will reach a point when there is no cause to speak of anything other than performance. One of my heroes, and he should be one of yours too, is Jackie Robinson. It didn’t all start with him, but it started the irreversible momentum. He is one of the most important Americans of all time and along with Larry Doby (our SC guy), Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, and Branch Rickey, changed the landscape of American sports forever. Jackie was an unlikely candidate to break the color barrier as he had a history of defying dumb authority (the Army attempted to dishonorably discharge him for refusing to ride in the back of a bus). The courage and character he showed by not responding to the idiot actions of fans and fellow players was unbelievable. I won’t go into a history lesson but it is worth looking into to see how a man acts. The swabs are named Jackson and Hank in honor of Reggie Jackson and Henry Aaron. Without Robinson, their names would have probably been Ted and Walter. The Negro Leagues were full of talent that would have changed the record books. Babe and Josh would be near the top in hitting, Cy and Satchel comparisons would abound, and Ty Cobb would have been an even meaner SOB. Robinson's number is retired across the Leagues for a reason.
And you can find more on this subject at our local library.