Friday, May 18, 2007

Twins win, Sox lose, one week until camping

It would have been nice if the anemic Minnesota Twins could have defeated the Stinktown Indians once this week, instead they have to get their act together on Friday night against the Brewers.

While the other three contenders in the AL Central soundly defeated their NL cupcakes tonight, the White Sox bullpen promptly gave away a lead, again. Starting pitcher Mark Buehrle didn't leave any room for error when he was yanked in the 7th inning, but Mike MacDougal promptly served up cream puffs to the Cubs hitters. I'm staring to think it's time to file MacDougal under J, for junk.

Chip wasn't watching the game at home tonight, and he wasn't in attendance, either. He'll be there for the Saturday night tilt, but he spent Friday night at some place I thought he called Kennedy's, mingling with co-workers. (Perhaps I heard the name wrong, because I can't find an online listing for it.)

The only places I know definitively are Milwaukee Ale House, Centanni, Club Garibaldi (which the locals call "Club G", I think,) Dino's, Taylor's and the Pfister's Blu, where visiting teams can sometimes be found after a game.

Chip called me when he got home, long after Rush called and wanted to gloat via conference call. I'm sorry I didn't get to mediate that.

At times this season I've had to put both of these chuckleheads on suicide watch when their team has struggled. I'm glad I'm still bitter about the 1994 season, otherwise I'd take White Sox losses a lot harder than I do.

A week from now I'll be sleeping in the woods of central Wisconsin, outside of Wausau. I have vague memories of our first trip, and my memories are often hard to sort by year, but little did I realize during that first year that an underage drinking party would wind up to be a tradition that now spans nearly two decades.

In the spring of 1990 one of my college friends, German Bear, organized a camping trip on his family's private property outside Wausau. We piled into any car we had available and headed to Wausau, about three hours away. We had quite a few people who went that first year, and while I don't know what the motivation was for all of them, I suspect it was underage drinking that sold many on the idea. One or two people were 21, but 90 percent of us were underage.

A couple of guys had tents and camping gear, but most of us had nothing of the sort. I don't recall where everyone slept or if I had a sleeping bag that year, but somehow it all worked out. These days we have as many coolers and tents as we have adults, not to mention tons of gear, including a few things we keep tucked away in the woods year round.

In the beginning we had quite the entourage heading to Wausau, but within a few years it was down to a core group of us. We would go in late April or early May, a couple of weeks before finals started, so it was often cold at night, sometimes too cold for me to sleep. I remember sitting up by the fire quite late at night simply because I couldn't stay warm long enough to fall asleep in a tent.

It was a lot of fun, despite the hardships of those early years, so it became an annual tradition. By 1994 we were all out of college, so there seemed to be little reason to plan our trip for early May. We moved it to Memorial Day weekend, and it has remained a tradition for four of us, although we have occasional guest appearances. I'm the only one who is unmarried and unfettered, so I travel solo while my buddies have kids in tow the entire weekend. It's still a lot of fun, but it's definitely a different trip than it was 17 years ago.

And while German Bear owns the land we use, he couldn't make it a couple of years ago due to family obligations, so that makes me the lone participant in all 18 annual camping trips. If you would have told me in 1990 that we'd be heading back to the same private real estate annually through 2005 and I would be the only one to make the trip all 16 times, I would have thought you were nuts.

If our trip continues through 2014 we'll have completed 25 consecutive journeys. While I am not expecting to maintain perfect attendance through 2014, there's no indication it won't happen. If it does, I'm calling the Wausau Daily Herald, because our trip is one of those amusing stories that an enterprising young reporter would enjoy chronicling.

1 comment:

Dinesh Ramde said...

That's a really cool story.

It must be amazing to have an annual tradition like that. At the very least you know you get to see your buddies once a year, and you've got 16 years of memories that you can just keep building upon.

And when you get your very own Mrs. C and have your own little Richie and Joanie, you'll be able to pass the tradition on to them.

Let me know if the Wausau paper does do a story on you guys. It's an AP member so we could pick up the story (rewrite a condensed version and add an AP bug)...