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Your Life is Your Story, Issue #080 – A Great Game
August 29, 2010

"Your past is your story up to now. The future is the story yet to come. The present is where you live with that experience, your hopes and your dreams."

Your Life is Your Story Newsletter

August 29, 2010 Issue #080 – A Great Game

From Tom Gilbert – Editor and Writer,

In this Issue:

Opening remarks: Back to Basics
Featured Article: A Great Game
Resources You Can Use

Opening Remarks: Back to Basics

Students are back to school and in the early part of the year there is typically an emphasis on the basics. It’s important to clear out the cobwebs and refresh the memory. I’m discovering more personally this year how important that is as I continue my progression towards certification as an elementary and middle school teacher. This year I’ve been hired as an automatic substitute at a middle school, so I report to work each day at James Monroe (as opposed to assignments around the city) and it is great to work with the same kids all year.

The basics are essential to learn; they are fundamental to our education. This is true whether it is reading, writing, arithmetic or other life pursuits, including such creative endeavors as painting and music. Sometimes we avoid doing what is basic. And I think many of us like to overcomplicate things. Maybe we mistake that for sophistication and highly skilled. But if you are not grounded in the fundamentals it is really hard to take your writing and creative ability to its potential.

A fundamental of life story preservation is reminiscing about what meant a lot to you growing up. In my life one of the constants as a young boy was my love of the game of baseball. It’s a love I still nurture, but there’s nothing quite like the feeling baseball played in my life when I was in my “wonder years”. In this month’s issue I write about this love in the featured article, ”A Great Game”.

You are receiving this e-zine because you signed up for it or someone who is subscribed passed it along to you. If a friend DID forward this to you consider subscribing by visiting our signup page . Also, let me know what you’d like to see more of in this newsletter – simply reply to this email e-zine.

While the main focus of this newsletter is to share thoughts, ideas, and insights on life story writing you should know that I offer various services and also mention some products and services that can be helpful. You are under no obligation to purchase anything, but if any of these products or services are helpful and you decide to utilize them then I am most grateful.

Thanks for reading. – Tom

Featured Article: A Great Game

By Tom Gilbert - Copyright © August, 2010

I’ve loved baseball for about as long as I’ve been alive. I started playing little league ball when I was probably seven or eight years old, but even prior to that I think I was using a plastic bat, wiffle ball and toy glove. Although my playing days are behind me (aside from an occasional pickup softball game) I still love to watch and follow America’s Past Time.

Call me naïve, but I truly believed I’d play professional ball until the age of sixteen. Then I discovered just how difficult achieving that dream would be. The talent gap was just too wide. I was ok, but the guys with a real shot were phenoms. I had to face the reality that I wasn’t good enough to compete on the major league level. But it was fun having the fantasy.

When I was fifteen all summer long the kids in the neighborhood played stickball in the street. It was probably a little risky; I tumbled over parked cars now and then, diving to catch the tennis balls we played with. Stickball wasn’t so much a formal game with all the bases and scoring and such. It was more of one guy hitting the ball and the rest of us scrambling to catch it. I just loved to catch fly balls and that love stayed with me well into my adult years. When I played softball I’d regularly patrol the outfield and earned the nickname “Hoover” for the way I’d scoop up ground balls, chase down flyballs and make diving catches of hard hit line drives. Batting was fun, but I was a better fielder than hitter and it was quite a thrill to make some of those game saving plays.

When I turned sixteen I broke my arm. While at the plate I was struck by an inside fastball and the hairline fracture put me in the cast for six weeks and ended my season. I wiled away the hours playing Strat-O-Matic, a “pre-video” baseball game that used dice and player cards based on the players’ stats. If you rolled the right combination you’d get a hit – single, double, triple or home run. Other times it was an out or a walk. The pitcher’s had cards, too, and the set I had featured the 1968 season with nearly unhittable pitchers like Bob Gibson of the Cardinals and Denny McLain of the Tigers. My imagination came alive as I’d set up the game and pit two teams against each other. I kept track of statistics and the scores and played a little season with all the teams. No real life graphics, no manipulating a joystick; just the board game, dice, pencil and paper and the picture in my head of each game. I loved it.

Hard core baseball fans like me inevitably have one special team they root for. Mine is the Boston Red Sox. I first became a fan in 1967. I was probably in 5th grade and thought Carl Yastremski was just amazing. Indeed, Yaz had an amazing year that season, winning the fabled “Triple Crown” of batting (tops in average, home runs and runs batted in). The Sox also went to the World Series that year, but lost in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals. It was the first of many heartbreakers over the years. I vividly remember the 1975 Fall Classic between Boston and the Cincinnati Red – their great Big Red Machine of Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and Johnny Bench. That World Series also went 7 games with Boston again coming up short. And who can forget (as much as Boston fans would like) the World Series that slipped away against the 1986 New York Mets?

Through the years I followed my team, scoured box scores, rooted against the chief nemesis, New York Yankees, and enjoyed every Spring, Summer and Fall. I was glued to the television the year the Sox were down 3 games to none to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series in 2004. That year they performed a Herculean feat and came back to win the series with four straight victories. The Red Sox went on to sweep the Cardinals in the World Series and my joy was complete.

Having a passion for something is really important to fully enjoying life. What’s your passion?

I still love to watch baseball and I probably always will. I like going to High School games and watching the Little League World Series. Baseball is a great game.

You can read other articles on life-story writing here.

Resources You Can Use

Getting Started with Your Life Is Your Story Services

I try to give you a great deal of information on the many ways you can write your life story, an autobiography, keep a journal or have someone record your story. I hope that the various articles I’ve written and resources I provide are helpful. Furthermore, you can contact me to get some initial free information on ways to work with me. I am flexible with clients and give you customized proposals and varied payment options. To find out more visit Get Started and fill out the form and submit it to me. I’ll reply with some helpful information and we can go from there. I look forward to hearing from you.

Voices of the Elders – APH Conference

The Association of Personal Historians is a an excellent organization of people who work in the field of life story preservation. They are writers, transcribers, video specialists, interviewers, book producers and people with a love of personal histories (yes, I’m a member). Each year they hold a conference. This year it will be in scenic Victoria B. C., Canada from November 3 to 7. This year’s theme is Voices of the Elders and you can find out more at the special website created for the conference.

How to End Your Book

One of the most challenging parts of a life story book or videobiography is how to wrap it up. The final chapter needs to have substance, to sum up and to express something of great importance. That's not easy to do, particularly if the subject is still alive. It's not the end of life...just the end of the life story (so far).

One of the things you can do is comment on those things that matter the most. Your philosophy of life, what your hopes and dreams are for your family, your children, the future. If you are telling your story to another make sure that you discuss this. If you are the personal historian it behooves you to come up with some good questions for these areas.

Dan Curtis comments on this topic with his posting, How to End Your Book or Video Life Story. He also has some good questions for those who are approaching the end of life and dealing with the approaching finality. You can take those same questions and customize them for the conclusion of a life story.

Closing Information

That’s it for this month’s issue. Thanks for reading. Be sure to visit our blog regularly, and here’s to telling your story. Do give it some serious consideration because I just know you’ve got a great story to tell! Be sure to see the Get Started section.

Any comments, ideas or feedback is greatly appreciated. Just reply to this ‘zine and tell me what you think!

Until next time, – keep your story alive!

Tom Gilbert

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