Monday, March 23, 2009

A great week with the Florida son!

And in the sun! After sleeping into the early afternoon of last Mon. due to our late arrival, we grabbed some food, and made our way to the ball field. Max's team beat St. Michael's from Vt. Our 4th game, and 3rd win since arriving. Got another run in on Tuesday, and the weather was next to perfect. 85 degrees and sunny. We got to have lunch with Max, and made a run to the local Beal's to get him some needed shirts and pants. Max has practice every day, Mon. through Fri., after classes from 3:00 to 6:30. They usually play 4 games/week. Either Mon. or Tues. night games, and then always a game Friday night, and a double header on Saturday. His schedule, like all NCAA athletes, is brutal. I have so much more respect for all college athletes than ever before. Between practice and studies, it's a very full schedule every day and every week.

Had a terrific meeting with Max's coach, Jim Tyrell, after lunch on Wednesday. He feels that Max is exceeding their expectations. He's also doing very well academically. Wednesday night we met up with Max's long time girlfriend and family for dinner. Max has been dating her since high school, and lucky for him, she and her family moved down to Florida right after her high school graduation. We had dynamite steaks at a place called the Texas Cattle Company. Excellent food if you ever get to Lakeland, FL.

Thursday, after another really good run, we took off for Sarasota to take the tour of the John and Mable Ringling Art Museum and estate. Prior to 1929, Ringling was 1 of the 10 richest men in the world. Made his fortune running the famous circus named after him and his 4 brothers. He built this unbelievable estate with his wife on 66 acres overlooking Sarasota Bay. So we took the tour of the house and his private museum of mainly 17th century Baroque period art....but truly the highlight was the Circus Museum. It's a fabulous collection of wardrobe props, and all types of circus equipment including the carved parade wagons that used to bring the circus into town. We had a tour guide who abilities as a docent were excellent.

Then after a great Italian dinner at Caraguila's in downtown Sarasota, and a walk around the docks, where the average size of the yachts is about 100', we were off to see our Red Sox take on the Cincinnati Reds, in exhibition baseball. We saw John Lester pitch 4 1/3 great innings, giving up 1 earned run, 3 hits, and had 6 strikouts. Jed Lowrie went 3 for 4, with 3 RBI's including a 2 run home. The Sox won 9-1. What a great day!

Max pitched Friday night again, and had a super outing against Rollins College. He went 8 full innings, only 2 hits, and 10 strikeouts. Awesome! Saturday it was back to the ball park for our final double header. Florida Southern ends up sweeping Rollins, going into 1st place in the division, and is now ranked #1 in the country by Collegiate Baseball for Division II. In 10 days, Marla and I saw 7 Florida Southern games, they won 6, and Max pitched 2 of them. And we caught a Red Sox game...8 games in 10 days, we loved it! Now it's back to reality here in CT. If Max and his team continue on this track, we'll have to go back for the Regionals, and perhaps the Nationals at the end of May....stay tuned.

I hope I don't sound too much like the doting dad that I am. There's not too much that can beat watching your children succeed at something they love. It's one of the greatest parts of parenthood. I can only wish the same for everyone.

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