Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Boys Weekend

What a wonderful weekend we had, JAM, my Dad and I. I grew up in "upstate" New York. I put that in quotes because it is considered upstate to some but downstate (is that even a word?) to others. Basically the line is like Rockland County. If you live below it, anything above is upstate. If you live above it, anything else is downstate. Us? We were in the amazing Hudson Valley. Check this out...


See that gray house two doors down from the million-dollar home above the yacht club? That was where my God-Parents lived. Nice huh? Overlooking the Hudson, Bannerman's Island, the Newburg-Beacon Bridge... just amazing.

Anyhow, as usual I digress... I grew up in New York, I played baseball almost my entire childhood (everyone in my town played Little League it seemed), and I never went to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. So, this year, as JAM was playing in his first games of organized baseball I decided that it was time to make the pilgrimage. I called my pops and told him we were going - I mean seriously, was he going to say no to this? - and we packed up and went. The hardest part really was finding a place to stay. The old man has gotten soft in his old priveleged age - he said his body has become accustomed to sleeping on nice beds now, no more sleeping bags and rolled up blue jeans for pillows like he used to make us do when we went camping. :) But I found a place about 20 miles south of Williamsport, not too bad really, it was close enough to make an easy drive in the morning and night but not too crowded with traffic like it was in Williamsport.

All in all, it was such a fun time. JAM is still a bit too young to care all that much about sitting and watching baseball game after baseball game so the focus there was on the hill sliding. If you haven't seen hill sliding think of sled riding only on cardboard in nice weather. You've got to check this out.

JAM was lucky enough to find a whole side from a refrigerator box sitting on the hill. I guess what happens is that kids either bring cardboard with them or there is a ton generated by teh concessions people at the complex and they just leave it around when they are done with it. His sheet that he found was just great for him, but it also made him so jaded when it came to the next day - the cardboard he had in the afternoon just couldn't cut it. This video was from the first day of the tournament and already this section of the hill had been worn down quite a bit. By the second and third day the hill was looking a lot worse for wear. I can't imagine what it will look like at the end of the two-week tournament. Here are some pictures of the kids hill sliding-

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By the time we left for dinner on the second day the hill had hundreds of kids sliding down, into each other, over each other, through the legs of one another, it was just so much fun to watch. The fact that all these kids were having so much fun in an unstructured activity like this, while all keeping themselves under control, safe and happy was just amazing. Then, to really drive home how important this was, I heard about this study done about how kids are being so reigned in regarding their play that they just aren't the same anymore - check it out at Kids need the adventure of 'risky' play.

Speaking of risky play - check out surfer dude in this video...

We had so much fun, just the boys. And I know that both JAM and his grandfather will remember this for a long time. Priceless.


Some panoramic pictures that I pieced together from individual shots. When I bought my camera I made the choice to buy one that took decent (not _great_) pictures but also took video (again, not _great_). So, no wide-angle lenses for me. Please don't laugh at the changes in brightness, etc. I did the best I could to match them up. I wonder if I've got a friend who reads this blog that has a husband who is also a friend who doesn't read this blog who knows how to use these dang cameras far better than I ever could who wouldn't mind giving me a 30 second lesson? Especially since I'll be up at the butt-crack of dawn this weekend building them a roof? Hmmmm... I wonder..... teeheehee

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The first one is the main stadium, Lamade Stadium - where the finals take place, taken from down low. The second is the same stadium taken from on top of the hill. I really like that one. The third is Volunteer Stadium which is slightly down the hill from Lamade. Here's the stadium complex from Google Earth. Lamade is on the bottom, Volunteer on top.

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