This might be easier on another format but some of these pictures will not fit into a square.

The beautifully imperfect sidewalk

Our new house. Will share more pictures in another post.

The walk to the park.

The Elizabeth Lane Elementary School where the most walkable park is. Where Henrik will be starting in July or August, still need to go thru orientation.

Hanna, not giving up the smiles.

Owen

Monday, March 26, 2018

We are officially home owners in Matthews, North Carolina. Charlotte. Linda got Henrik and Hanna off to school this morning and they both settled in nicely into their new class rooms, teachers and friends.

Linda and I drove to the attorneys office uptown and signed paperwork. Interesting and cool tidbit, unique opportunity, we met our sellers. They are also named Brown, no relation but a very nice couple, lived in the house 18 years.

While waiting for the deed to be registered, Linda and I had a nice lunch. Toured our local YMCA. Went back to pick up our keys and then off to pickup the kids from school, who each had a very good first day.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Took an Uber to meet the moving truck, who arrived ten minutes early. Linda got the kids to school for their day two. The boxes keep coming.

Kids seem to be doing great at school. They are bonding with their teachers and getting to play outside a lot.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Unpacking all day. I am spending the morning rebuilding my shelving in the garage so items stored there will have their home back. Things are starting to get in shape but the journey is long.

Met a neighbor. This is a going to be fun place to live. Evidently the uber locals call our street Mayberry. We will see.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

More unpacking but making a serious dent. I even setup the horse mats in the garage and got in a set of cleans to push press. After seven days of moving and unpacking, getting under some weight unleashed some serious endorphins.

Linda and I took a lunch break and discovered a very nice Indian restaurant. The owner is from Nepal and an interesting guy. It is great to find so much diversity here.

Took a walk Hanna this afternoon, and met another neighbor. Told me she watched our house being build. She has lived here 24 years. Wow.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Completed 99% of our unpacking and tidying. Mopped and vacuumed. Got lunch at a local spot in the back of a Korean market. Amazing.

This is the last weekday before the great big new routine for me, so both kids and I walked to the elementary school playground and played for over an hour. Had a familiar dinner and bedtime.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Got the baby gates installed and hopped in the car to checkout the local Matthews Library. Fancy place. Kids got in on a great story time and had a blast. Picked out a few books and headed home for lunch and nap and quiet time.

So far, so good.

Week One Observations

  • This neighborhood has so many trees, mostly great big old trees
  • I saw deer run across our street one morning
  • The sidewalks are beautifully imperfect and mostly set back from the street
  • The relative humidity is around 45%
  • The neighbors are all incredibly friendly
  • Evidently your zip code “matters” here? Will get back to you on that one
  • To some folks, not all, a perfect lawn is really really important
  • There is a constant breeze
  • The sound of our screened in porch reminds me of my grandma’s house in Arkansas
  • Drivers here on the neighborhood side streets are ridiculously nice and courteous. Main roads not so much

Owen

Saturday, March 24, 2018

This is the Brown’s first official day as residents of North Carolina. Technically we do not close on our house here until Monday, but we’re here.

Back in Maricopa, AZ this morning, the grown ups woke at five a.m. and even though we have been at this for what feels like months, there was still no less than an hour of prep work before our final exit.

I made a coffee run at six. The kids were up at 6:15 and 6:40, and we were out the door by 7:15.

Good thing because it took over an hour and a half to check in, get Linda and the kids settled, return the rental car, and get back on the shuttle, and to go thru security.

The flight was smooth. Both kids did very well. Got dinner and groceries and made it to our three day rental house (VRBO) without incident. I can hear the rain hit the roof of the house as I write this. We are staying in the same vacation rental house when we visited in late January. Seems fitting.

  1. Kids start their new school on Monday morning
  2. Close on the house later Monday morning
  3. Our stuff delivered on Tuesday morning
  4. Thanks to great friends our cars are scheduled to arrive on Tuesday as well
  5. Spend the first night in our new home on Tuesday night
  6. Taking the week off work to get settled
  7. Back to work on Monday, April 2. For Linda it’s business as usual. For me, It will mean driving to an office for the first time regularly in eight years

Here’s my wish, for our luck to hold, for things continue to go as planned. In offering I give a haiku.

Nearly flawless trip

Warmest weather for the rain

New chapter to write

Owen

Every Coach’s Dream, A True Story about Dixie Youth Baseball in Three Small Towns, by Harold A Brown

Chapter 18: All-Stars & Epilogue

Find satisfaction in the struggle.

All-Star selection can be such a political process and often unfair to the kids. Coach was not going to be the head coach of the team. That was an honor won by Coach Bennett. He would do a good job with the boys that he wanted on the all-star team.

Each coach presented what he thought were worthy choices from all the teams and then Coach Bennett would make a case for those he wanted. There was much discussion but little changed. Lajuane made it for his defensive skills, Rocket because of his bat and arm. He hit .613 for the season and won five of six games on the mound. Marty made the team because of his bat and Owen was chosen because he was the best catcher in the league. He hit for an average of .394 and had an on base percentage of .623.

Jimmy, Teddy and Darrell certainly were worthy choices for the team but did not make it. Coach made no excuses for them not making the team. They would have to find satisfaction in the struggle, it’s just part of growing up. Into each life some rain must fall.

Nolensvelle Red finished the regular season with a 9-3 record as did College Grove. The Red team had an overall record of 13-3 and College Grove finished with a 11-5 overall record. Rockvale finished the regular season 8-4 and overall 10-6. Nolensville Blue finished the regular season 2-11 and 3-13 overall.

This all took place in the summer of 1987 with a group of youngsters that bonded into what could easily be called every coach’s dream.

The end.

Epilogue

What is contained in the series of eighteen posted chapters has been the entirety of “Every Coach’s Dream, A True Story about Dixie Youth Baseball in Three Small Towns”, the book my Dad wrote about one of his favorite baseball coaching experiences.

I feel he wrote this book just for me, but it is my hope you feel he wrote it just for you.

Throughout the experience of reading the book, preparing each chapter in WordPress to share, rereading each chapter as it posted, and seeing your reaction and interest, I decided to take a few next steps.

If you want to print the book yourself to read, I added a few buttons at the bottom of each post, one of which is Print. I am also considering looking into setting up a printed version so let me know and we may pursue the paperback book option if there is enough interest.

I am moving my family back to the southeast early 2018. I will be planning a team reunion after we are settled. If anybody would like to help please let me know. Charlotte, North Carolina is much closer to Nolensville than Phoenix, Arizona.

After seeing the reaction to the book I decided to include the wisdoms from each chapter in one place here. Some of these wisdoms have hit me very hard over the last few months, even though they are each lessons my Dad began teaching to me since the day I was born. My Dad, always teaching.

18: Find satisfaction in the struggle.

17: The more you learn the more you realize how little you know.

16: Youth looks to the future and old age looks to the past.

15: Life isn’t about saving, it’s about scattering.

14: See the ball, hit the ball.

13: Life is about how we handle imperfections.

12: Things that matter the most should not be placed at the mercy of things that matter the least.

11: Understand the past, Respect the future.

10: Always get even with those that help you.

9: What you become depends on decisions not conditions.

8: You can learn from everyone.

7: We have to learn as we go.

6: The strength of the individual is team and the strength of the team is the individual.

5: Will our experience be a friend or foe?

4: The real challenge comes from within.

3: Life and dreams do not exist apart.

2: They felt good as a team.

1: The higher your expectation the greater your achievement.

I hope you enjoyed!

Sincerely,

Owen W Brown

Every Coach’s Dream, A True Story about Dixie Youth Baseball in Three Small Towns, by Harold A Brown

Chapter 17: Game Two In The Tournament – College Grove

The more you learn the more you realize how little you know.

The finals of the tournament would be Saturday night at College Grove.

Nolensville Red had won the Jamboree at the beginning of the season and wanted to win the tournament. They tied College Grove in the regular season, but The Grove had beaten Nolensville Red more times in the head-to-head during the regular season. Because of that they were going to be rewarded with the first place trophy.

The all-stars had been chosen, but would not be announced until after the game. The stands were full of fans from all four teams.

Rocket would get the start in their final game. Keith Bennett would lead off the top of the first with a walk. Not a good start for Rocket. Toby Pace would line out to the pitcher and Mike House hit a grounder to Lajuane at short. Lajuane threw to first for the out and Keith moved to second on the play. Rocket was told not to throw anything close for Lakeith.

If College Grove was going to win, they were going to have to do it with some of their other players. Rocket didn’t like it but he gave Lakeith a free base. While J.D. Martin was batting, Keith thought he would steal home. What was he thinking? When he made his move to home, Rocket threw a shot to Owen to record the last out.

Lajuane struck out to start the inning and Owen walked and stole second. Marty was hit by the second pitch he saw. Rocket couldn’t get the bat on the ball and was sent back to the dugout with out number two. That left Jimmy to bring Owen in. He got under the ball for an easy pop fly for Lakeith at second. Two base runners were stranded.

J.D. Martin came back to the plate and grounded to second for a force out at first. That was a big out. Martin had been hitting the ball all season. Rocket got Williams on four pitches but walked Holt. His control was not what Coach had hoped for. Lewis grounded to second and Marty threw to Lajuane who was covering second for the third out. Thank goodness for good defense.

The Red team sent four batters to the plate in the bottom of the second. Darrell struck out but Teddy reached first on a fielding error but was thrown out at second trying to squeeze that extra base. Derek walked and Frank flied out to first. Derrick was left on base.

Derek Pack: Derek loved playing sports. He was an excellent player and eventually went into coaching. Whatever he did, he was a winner. He was trying to fit in but born to stand out.

Nathan Scales was the ninth hitter for College Grove and led off the top of the third. Rocket got him on three straight pitches. Nathan was a big kid that had trouble meeting the ball. Heaven help any pitcher that hit his bat. They would still be looking for the ball. Rocket took great delight in striking out Keith Bennett. I don’t know why but there seemed to be some upmanship between the two.

Toby Pace had been moved back up in the line up and it was going to pay off for Coach Bennett. He hit a single in the gap between center and right field. Mike doubled putting runners on second and third. Sticking to the plan, Rocket gave Lakeith a free base to load the bags. J.D. Martin doubled, driving in all three runners. So much for strategy.

Things often go unseen in life and Coach wasn’t sure if the umpire had seen what he saw. At his direction, an appeal was made at third. Lakeith had not touched the bag as he rounded it for home. It was a successful appeal and Lakeith was called out erasing one of the runs and recording the third out. It would be a critical error for College Grove.

The Red team was back to the top of their order. Lajuane got his base on balls. Owen got a fielder’s choice that forced Lajuane out at second. Marty came to play and doubled to score Owen. Rocket hit the ball so hard that he forced and infield error that scored Marty. The game was tied. Jimmy liked what he saw Rocket do and he did the same.

Runners were now on second and third. Mike struck Darrell out and got a pop up from Teddy for the final out of the third. The bottom four batters in Coach Bennett’s line up were weak hitters. Rocket knew that but knowing and being able to do something about it wasn’t always easy. He struck out Williams on three pitches. Holt hit the second pitch back to the mound for a throw out at first base. Harris did the same and got the same results. Derek would lead off the bottom of the fourth with a shot back to the mound and was thrown out at first. Frank doubled and stole third. Lajuane struck out and Owen grounded to second for a force at first. Frank was left stranded at third.

Hazlewood had taken Nathan’s place but repeated the same results. Out number one. Keith struck out for the second time in a row. Toby walked and Mike doubled him home putting them ahead by one.

Rocket pleaded with Coach to let him pitch to Lakeith. Coach should have stuck with the plan but he wanted to show that he had confidence in his pitcher. It was certainly a chance to build character. Rocket was way ahead in the count when Lakeith got his single, driving in Mike at second. Two runs ahead. J.D. Martin singled in Lakeith. Three runs ahead. Williams struck out on three pitch and the bleeding was stopped.

Mike came back to the mound to start the bottom of the fifth. He had to be tired but he was the best they had even though tonight wasn’t one of his better games. With three runs down the Red team had a chance to prove something or fold. Marty led off with a double. He would finish the season with a team high batting average of .667 and an on base percentage of .773. I don’t think he cared about that one bit, he wanted to win this last game against College Grove.

Coach Bennett made what he thought was the best move possible to preserve the lead. Lakeith Vaughn moved to the mound and Mike took over second. With Lakeith you just had to be patient at the plate. He threw hard but his control was still suspect. In fairness, most batters were glad to take three swings and go sit down rather than take a chance on being hit. That was not the case with Coach’s boys. Rocket was patient and drew a walk. Jimmy hit a high fowl ball on the first base side and J.D. Martin made the catch for the first out.

Darrell was as smart as Rocket and made Lakeith throw strikes but he could not throw enough of them so Darrell got a free base. They were loaded with Teddy coming to the plate. He had been hitting the ball all night but not for base hits. With Lakeith ahead in the count one and two, Teddy tripled to the fence and cleaned all three off the bases. The game was tied once again. Derek took enough time at the plate for Teddy to do what he did to Rockvale. To make it sweeter he stole the base on Keith. The Red team was ahead by one. Derek struck out as did Frank. Five innings were in the book.

Because Rocket had pitched one inning at Rockvale he was not eligible to pitch in the sixth. Darrell moved to the mound and Jimmy took first. Rocket parked it at third after giving his best on the mound. Darrell would be facing their seven, eight and nine batters. He had a good defense behind him. All he had to do was throw strikes. Nothing for free. He struck out Holt and caught a pop fly off of Lewis who had reentered the game.

Big Nathan Scales had re-entered hoping to make some sort of contact. An act of desperation. Darrell recognized the danger and pitched very carefully to the big guy. The tying run was on base even though he was very slow and had only a slim chance of stealing on Owen. Keith was back up. He hit a ground ball down the first base line at Jimmy. Time seemed to stand still as Jimmy prepared himself to scoop up the ground ball. After what felt like an eternity he fielded that ball and stepped on first for the final out and the win. Darryl dropped on the mound as if he had been shot. Coach could see what that game meant to him and the others.

The more you learn the more you realize how little you know.

College Grove 5, Nolensville Red 6