Time is a Flat circle… or a Hoop

Basketball is a young person’s sport. The average NBA career is 4.5 years. The average WNBA career lasts just 3.5 years.

But then there’s Taru Tuukkanen. Not only still playing in her native Finland, but winning championships… and being named the MVP of the finals with her 13-point, 13-rebound, 14-assist triple-double. Not bad for a 46-year-old.

Excerpt above and quotes below are from this nice feature on Taru by Shelby Dermer on Cincinnati.com. (Taru played college hoops at Xavier.)

Yes, Taru’s been blessed with good genes – she’s never had a major injury. But she also has the will to keep going.

“I have the passion and a crazy mind that I cannot get enough basketball, I understand it’s not normal at all for someone to still be able to do this.”  

Taru Tuukkanen

It’s not normal. But it’s certainly admirable. Taru found something she loved, and she kept at it. The games are the easy part… it’s the long hours of practice, with no cheering crowd, that require a higher level of commitment.

Most of us never play in front of a crowd. But whatever we do, we can only get better through the hard work. The long hours. The practice. Yes, we talkin’ ’bout practice…

You’ve gotta be willing to put in the work. And you will, if you love it enough.

“I’ll know when it’s time. I don’t want to play if I’m not good. As long as there’s a team that wants me and I feel like I can give something to them, then why not keep going?”  

Why not keep going? Words for every middle-aged person to embrace. And be the MVP in a league of their own.

Home is where the music is

Mark, Lisa, and Chuck are coming over tonight.

[Photo credit: Michael Wilson]

We’re gonna hang out in the living room.

Oh, and 35 other folks — many of whom are complete strangers — will be coming over too.

Mark, Lisa, and Chuck are members of the Cincinnati-based band Wussy. Weird name, brilliant music.

[Photo credit: Jerry Burck, Plan B images]

Wussy rocks! Tonight, they’re going to bring their amazing songwriting to life in an intimate setting. And that gets me right where I live.

The show is part of Chuck and Lisa’s house concert tour. A company called Undertow organizes these tours for Wussy and several other artists. They take care of ticket sales and all the other details. You can host a show… or see one. Check out the current roster here. In my email exchanges with Jayne from Undertow, I thanked her for what Undertow is doing to bring great artists to folks all over the country. Her response:

She’s right, I do give a damn about artists like Mark, Lisa, and Chuck. (They also happen to be super-kind human beings… a huge bonus!)

Music is my happy place. Home is where the heart is. Tonight, I get the best of both worlds. It’s gonna be beautiful.

I’m a Quitter

I set a goal to read 52 books this year – one a week. And I was crushing it. 18 weeks into the year, I’ve got 17 books under my belt.

But I’m bailing out on my books goal.

I’m taking a page from Kenny Roger’s book (ha!) and knowing when to fold ’em.

Why? Because it was an Arbitrary Stupid Goal (also the title of a great book by Tamara Shopsin).

But mainly because I’m a sprinter, not a marathoner. I’ve always preferred short stories (Ray Bradbury is my hero) and short, medium, and long articles.

I subscribe to The New Yorker, The Atlantic and Cincinnati Magazine. And those issues have been piling up in my “to read” stack. I also like reading the Sunday paper. I was basically trading reading timely content for reading timeless content. There’ll be time enough for the latter — to paraphrase Kenny Rogers — when the dealing’s done. And the guilt of not reading the magazines and papers was outweighing the joy I got from the books.

I’ll still read plenty this year – including more books. But reading should bring me joy, not baggage. And I’ve learned that it’s OK to walk away.

[This post is approved by the ghost of Kenny Rogers.]

Here and Gone

Our youngest kid finished up his freshman year at Indiana University a couple of days ago. He came home yesterday. I use the term “came home” very loosely. I saw him for all of five minutes. He’s got other priorities now. Off to see his girlfriend. Home for about five minutes to change clothes, then off to play volleyball with his friends. Then to a friend’s house to watch a movie and hang out. This old man was long asleep when he came rolling home.

He’s already made plans to spend Memorial Day Weekend with his Hoosier friends from Indianapolis. They’re going to the Indy 500.

I feel like he’s already IN the Indy 500 – racing here, racing there… rarely making a pit stop at home. It’s part of the growth process, I know. But it’s still tough when you become a bit player in your baby boy’s life. He’s more “gone” than “here.”

The child born at dawn,
By evening has moved on, grey and gone

Buffalo Tom “Here I Come”

I know life is fleeting. I just wish the pace car went a little slower. Instead, I’ll have to cherish the pit stops.

The Grateful Alive

This past Sunday, I went to the initial “Grateful Gathering” in Cincinnati. It was organized and led by my friend and co-worker Susan Jackson.

It was just 14 folks at a coffee shop, chatting. Actually it was much more than that. Thanks to Susan’s prompts from the Grateful Gatherings guide, the conversation got pretty deep quite quickly.

Sharing with strangers can be daunting. And the whole concept may seem a little too “woo-woo” for you.

I get it. Getting deep with people you just met at a coffee shop may not be your cup of tea.

But this Grateful Dude is here for it… all of it. Anything that adds more positivity to the world is much-needed these days.

Here’s the welcome session video:

“Everyone will be blessed by you, just by your presence”

Next session is Sunday, June 30, 10 a.m. at Moonflower Coffee Collective. Please join. I’ll be grateful if you do. And even if you don’t!