A break from LIFE.

A temporary break from the Past LIFEs series to celebrate some minor victories.

I ran my first 5K since the Fourth of July today. No conscious reason for the break (I wasn’t injured); I just didn’t sign up for any 5Ks.

This one supported my town’s Boosters Club and was held at the high school, a 30-minute walk from my house. Gotta love a race you can walk to.

I’ve run this one twice. Scorched it in 21:32 in 2019 and wrote about the day’s adventures here. Waddled it in 23:35 last year and mentioned it in passing here. The race is always full of high-school athletes and I always enjoy seeing if I can beat any of them.

I didn’t match my 2019 performance this year but I greatly improved on 2021. More importantly, I stayed ahead of a group of three or four teenage soccer players who were breathing down my neck for much of the race, and even held them off with a decent kick on the closing segment on the school track.

The message I often tell myself when I race nowadays is don’t hand anything to anybody. I don’t care if people at my skill level beat me, but I want them to have to work for it.

Today I did not hand anything to anybody.

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The baseball field and the track at Millis High are smushed up close to each other, to the extent that I imagine they cannot safely be used at the same time.

How close are they? The new home dugout that was recently constructed is on the other side of the track from the baseball field. (The finish line of the 5K was about five steps further to the right beyond this picture.)

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I hadn’t been close to that dugout in a while. Memory says that at my son’s high school graduation in June, that was a student gathering area, and I didn’t go there. But I got close enough to it after the 5K to notice a banner on the back, thanking everyone who donated.

“Hmm,” I thought. “That sounds like something I would have supported if I’d heard about it. Wonder if I did?”

I did.

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Kind of a nice surprise to find out that I have my name on a dugout — however temporarily. (Who knows how long the banner has been up, or how long it will stay.) This is the sort of thing that makes one’s day when one is like me.

This is actually not the first piece of ballpark infrastructure I have underwritten.

In my Lehigh Valley days, either Lehigh University or Lafayette College did a Kickstarter or GoFundMe or something to raise money to rebuild their bullpen, and I donated to that as well.

Memory says it was probably Lafayette, which has a fancier bullpen; the pens at Lehigh’s ballpark are just fenced-in areas down the foul lines. The paper trail, though, is long since gone from my email.

I’m pretty sure there was no banner or other public acknowledgment of donors on that project, but I have the private satisfaction of having improved the working lives of Leopard relievers. And now I know I have done the same for the Millis Mohawks, as well. (The school district has stopped using Indian-head imagery but their teams remain the Mohawks; we’ll see how much longer that lasts.)

There is no dugout on the third-base side — just a length of fence for visiting players to sit behind. Perhaps the district will solicit help for a matching dugout at some point. If I’m relatively flush, I will be glad to play ballpark tycoon again.

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