Monday, August 21, 2006

White Shoe Limo Rides

Ask Mr. Long IslandBY MICHAEL WATT

For all intents and purposes this is the last column for the summer of 2006. Oh sure there will be a column next week, but that column will kick off the Labor Day weekend and anyone who has ever put away his white dress shoes for the season knows how depressing that can be.

I actually owned a pair of white dress shoes, back in that wacky decade known as the 1970s. I was all of 13 years old and somehow talked my mother in buying me white shoes, red pants and a red/white plaid sports jacket to create an outfit that Bobby Knight would have laughed at. “You know you won’t get to wear them past Labor Day,” she might have said to me about the white shoes but I was undaunted. I thought I looked pretty spiffy.

I don’t know if she said that or not. I do know that I wanted that pair of shoes because the father of the family next door to us had a pair and at the time I thought he was somebody worth admiring. I have since come to learn that he was a Class A Jerk to his wife and family so now when I see white dress shoes I think of this jerk so I don’t buy them. Plus, and I am not totally sure about this, white dress shoes might not be in style in anymore.

Where was I? Oh yes, the end of summer. Both my sons (Alex, 16 and Max, 12) are heavily involved in travel baseball during the summer. I would venture a guess that between the two boys they played in more than 50 games since Memorial Day, games that included a trip to beautiful downtown Binghamton for the New York State High School Championship finals and another where we spent 11 hours on a field in Ronkonkoma in one day during a tournament. Not complaining, mind you. I know there are hundreds if not thousands of parents in hospital wards who would switch spots with me in a second. But as a result of all this baseball we have to put off our vacation plans to the end of August. In fact we are leaving right after I finish writing this. Just in case you wondering, our vacation is this: we will fly to Seattle to take in a Yankee game there then drive down to San Francisco to take in a Giants game, adding two more stadia to our growing list of baseball parks across the country that we have visited. That’s right, more baseball. We have gone certifiably insane.

The weird part about waiting to take a vacation is having to watch and listen as others go off on theirs. It’s like being the last person left in the college dorm at the end of a semester because of some stupid final or something. As everybody else leaves for their break they feel compelled to wish you “good luck” on their way out the door, and all that does is make you feel even more lonely and forlorn.

But now it is our turn. We go away today to see a part of the country I have never visited before. Woo hoo! I wonder if they wear white shoes on the West Coast.

A word or two about my summer, if I may. It was fun. It had its ups and downs but the Little League team I coach and on which my younger son played went to the finals in the local Williamsport tournament. After that we played in what is known as the District 34 tournament involving 17 other teams in our age bracket. We won the Gold Round of that tournament, first time ever. In doing so we beat the team that we affectionately refer to as “The Evil Empire” because it has prevented us from winning it all in the past several times. That made the victory all the more sweet. Sometimes the good guys do win. We also had an occasion to ride in a limousine bus to one of our games.

You may have seen the photo and story in Newsday. The team was getting ready for a game when my son Max spotted a Hummer limousine across the street from the field. “Hey dad, do you think the driver would let me take a ride in that limo?” he asked.

Not thinking this one through I replied, “You pitch a no-hitter today and I’ll get you your own limo ride.” Well, Max not only pitched a no-hitter, he pitched a perfect game. Eighteen up and 18 down against one of the better teams in the tournament. As he came off the mound amidst the celebration afterward he turned to me and said, “Now, about that limo ride.”

My friend Matt Silver (see and yes, that’s a shameless plug) set it up so that the boys could travel in style to their next game. You have not experienced actual kinetic energy until you’ve gone for a 10-mile ride with 13 11-year-old boys in a limo bus. How much fun was it?

Let’s put it this way: After we won the Championship we were posing for pictures with our trophies at home plate. Max said to his teammates, “Guys, you are going to remember this moment for the rest of your lives.”

To which one of his teammates replied, “No, I am going to remember that limo ride for the rest of my life.”

It was that kind of summer.

Thank you for reading this column.


NYPortMom said...

Hey, Michael!
As a fledgling blogger, fellow Islander & parent to a teen ... just wanted you to know I enjoyed the entries I have just read on your blog. Keep up the good work!

You will LOVE the "Left Coast" -- I would, however, nix the white shoes. (just a thought :)

My beloved nineteen year old just drove himeself home from VERMONT yesterday ... I am also writing to tell you that it does get better... (their driving skills) I promise!!!

In fact, after I left a very anxious voicemail on his cell phone last Friday: "...try NOT to talk & drive ... even though you have a good handsfree set ... Long-ditance trips are not the time to multitask ..."

So: what did this Mom do while she sat at her desk late yesterday afternoon? She calls said beloved son on his cell phone! Needless to say, we kept it short.
Have a great time in CA!

Daphne said...

I enjoyed reading your column. What's nice about growing older is that we have childhood memories that shape our adult mind. Your son must be feeling more self-confident after that limo ride. You promised him that ride, he set his goal high enough, and you fulfilled that promise. I know what your son must be thinking now: My dad is the coolest ever.

LiMousine said...

You had very interesting summer holidays. And most of all I like is that you spend it with your family. Family is the dearest what we have and such memories will be kept for a long time.

Limo Service Bradenton FL said...

Awesome post. I really had a great time reading it. Keep up the great work.