EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Reg Harvey pitching leads Hublit Hotelmen to 1978 Chapleau Fastball League title

Led by the excellent pitching of Reg Harvey, the Hublit Hotelmen emerged as Chapleau Fastball League champions for the second year in a row in 1978,  the Chapleau Sentinel reported.

The Hotelmen defeated the Sportsman Hotelers in "convincing style" four games to one. They "steamrolled to 11-1, 10-2, 5-1 and 11-6 victories while absorbing their loss 9-7".

The Sentinel reported that Hotelmen hitters J.C. Cyr, George Swanson, Bill Pickering and Paul McDonald "incessantly provided clutch hitting" in each game.

Rookies Ron McLoud, Gary Murphy and Rory Edwards provided additional depth to their roster.

"Their performance on the field and at bat proved a decisive factor in the final outcome as they individually rose to the occasion and consistently outplayed many of the oppositions more seasoned veterans."

Defensively Ray Larcher, Andre Cyr, Allan Larcher and Claude Noel were very effective.

The Hotelmen extended thanks to their sponsor Dennis Hublit.

A special thanks was also extended to Jamie Doyle and Dave McMillan for their efforts on behalf of the league during ths season.

All games were played at the ballfield on Pine Street behind the old high school.

As a matter of historical interest, I checked 'Pioneering in Northern Ontario' by Vince Crichton to see where fastball was played in Chapleau's early years. I knew that in 1916, my grandfather Harry Morris was playing on a team called the Young Elephants coached by Father Romeo Gascon, the priest at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church.

Vince wrote that the first athletic field was located where the YMCA was eventually located  (now where the liquor store is) but in 1908 when it was built, it was moved to a new site on Grey Street North.

Apparently it was on east side of the street and north of the cemetery. It extended over to what is now Connaught Street as there were no buildings in the area at that time.

Then about 1925, the area was divided into lots for homes, and the next location was across the river in the golf course area. This area did not prove successful as it was difficult to access so during the depression it was located on the playground behind Chapleau Public School.

In the 1940s,  it was moved to the grounds behind the old Chapleau High School, and that is where the 1978 fastball title was decided, although the high school had been moved to "the hill" in 1966, and the Chapleau Civic Centre opened on the school site in 1978.

Thanks to Raymond Larcher for the details on the fastball championship. My email is mj.morris@live.ca


Friday, August 15, 2014

Aging better as the merry-go-round slows down

Photo by Michael Pelzer
Gosh, with all the really big stories floating around the twitterverse recently, I thought that I would pontificate on at least one of them.

Maybe Robin Williams or the Robocalls guilty verdict or the veterans of Canada organizing to defeat the Harper government or Statscan not being able to count employment numbers. All worthy of attention indeed, but for the moment at least I will leave them alone, and share some thoughts on a column written by Virginia Bell for Huffington Post on "aging better". 

Bell claims it gets better as you get older. "You get better. Life gets better.The merry-go-round slows down and you can finally enjoy the ride..."

I don't usually read past the first couple of paragraphs of most stories ((I've become an all the news in 140 characters kind of guy) but Bell's comment intrigued me. 

She suggests that it's not easy but possible but "necessary to make peace with yourself, your past, and the whole process of aging. That naturally involves forgiveness, compassion, and patience; for yourself first of all and for others. In fact, aging is the ultimate 12-step program; Aging Anonymous! Instead of giving up drugs or drinking, you have to give up all the things you're still holding onto; the material things as well as the emotional baggage; the grudges, resentment, and regrets. It doesn't happen overnight; it's an ongoing process and like any recovery work it's tough, humbling but ultimately life changing."

Aging Anonymous! Nice touch. Bell also makes it clear that it doesn't mean we can't continue to be "active, ambitious and successful but hopefully the ego is no longer calling the shots..."

Damn ego. I recall that after retiring from College of the Rockies, the phone didn't ring as much; I was no longer the centre of attention as the sage on the the stage in front of the classroom, which I had, at least in my own mind, been for more than 30 years. It was downright depressing and I recall chatting over coffee with Dr Berry Calder, the college president about it.

Berry laughed and gave  me the solution. "Come up here and get a cup of coffee from my pot which you have been doing for years, wander the halls and chat." I did and soon I drifted away from the college, gradually making the adjustment. I hardly ever visit the place now.

Bell offers good advice: "The projects we pursue and the life we lead need to reflect that and be aligned with who we are now and not who we once were. If we're able to make that transition then getting older can be a rich and fulfilling experience."

She offers four suggestions:

1.  Finding a purpose for this phase of life is essential: It doesn't have to be professional but we all need something that brings us joy and gives us a way to be in the world as an elder person. 

2. If you don't have a purpose then take some time to discover it: Ask yourself, if you died at this moment what would you regret not having done? A life review is a valuable process; one that is highly respected among psychologists, social workers and gerontologists. 

3.  Develop your inner life: Carl Jung believed what healed patients in the second half of life was to cultivate a spiritual outlook. He recommended tools such as dream analysis and creativity. Journaling, prayer, or spending time in nature are also ways to awaken those parts of the self that were not developed while we were building a career and constructing our social persona. Meditation is another.

4. Simplify, simplify, simplify: As we age the desire to acquire is less and the need to scale down becomes stronger. Our focus is shifting and we don't have the time or physical energy to deal with a lot of stuff. 

Bell adds: "Ultimately, aging well it's about being authentic; discovering your own rhythm, making your own rules, going at your own speed. It's being flexible enough to change and grow but not feeling pressured to stay relevant and look youthful. So lean back, lean in, reach up, lie down and most of all love yourself where you are."

Before you ask, yes, I have been working on bits and pieces of Bell's four suggestions for some time. Even today I am.

For example, when I was a daily newspaper reporter, I may have had to write on one of the political stories I noted at the beginning. If I was still teaching English literature, no question I would be preparing a lecture on Robin Williams outstanding performance as a teacher in 'Dead Poets Society" and the use of metaphor in Walt Whitman's "My Captain. My Captain" in the movie and in his life.

But I'm not. In fact I am on my way to have coffee with the guys in the Friday Morning Coffee Club where maybe, just maybe we will discuss the burning issues of the day, and maybe not too. We may just laugh at the absurdity of it all. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Friday Morning Coffee Club Holds Birthday Party for Three Members

From left Jim, Joel, Bill, MJ, Ron, Yme, Mark, Gordon
The Friday Morning Coffee Club (FMCC) which meets at the Starbucks in the Cranbrook Target store celebrated the birthdays of three of its regulars with Joel Vinge, one of the founders, leading a rousing rendition of  "Happy Birthday",

Celebrating birthdays and getting a muffin with a candle on it and a card were Ron McFarland, Gordon Ingalls and Bill Nightingale, youngsters all!

FMCC was founded over a year ago shortly after Target opened its store here. I started having coffee at its Starbucks mainly because I discovered that several of my former students from College of the Rockies were working there, and I wanted to show them my support. I also liked the friendly staff, (team members in Target jargon), excellent prices and customer service (guest service in the Target manual)

Shortly afterwards, Joel, who had just moved into the neighbourhood, decided to walk over from his new home, and  join me. We told Jim Roberts about it, FMCC was launched and has had as many as twelve show up for coffee.

Before FMCC some of us did not know each other too well, and we come from a great variety of backgrounds, personally and professionally, from all over Canada, with one from the United States.

For me, who has not gone for coffee "with the boys" since I was in high school, a few years ago, it has been a new experience. I look forward immensely to our weekly meetings where conversations range from being asked to check our wardrobes to see where our clothes were made to attempted smuggling of booze across the border, the latter in younger days of course.... and everything in between but all in a lighthearted vein.

I really enjoy hearing the stories the boys share, and I laugh a lot. Some of the members are at least a couple of weeks older than me, and some younger, but the lighthearted conversations bring us together. It is great fun.

I am a great believer that we should make every effort to focus on those things which bring us together rather than divide us, and FMCC does it for me. Thanks guys.

And, thanks to the Target and Starbucks  "team members" who extend the hand of hospitality to us each week.

I tweeted to Target Canada about the party and here is reply:

@MichaelJMo - Birthday greetings to your Friday Morning Coffee Club members. We're delighted you choose to celebrate with us. Thanks.

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


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Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE