Saturday Morning, Snow Covered, Random Thoughts…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

  • Bill O’Reilly: you hypocritical, misogynistic, smug piece of garbage; if you had even an ounce of decency in you, you’d give those millions that Fox paid out to you, to women’s shelters…You, Bill O’Reilly, represent all that is wrong with America today.O'Reilley
  • It’s snowing this morning, no really, it’s snowing this morning…after just a beautiful spring day yesterday!!  It’s freakin snowing this morning.
  • Day 5 of no elevators in our building…my legs feel like rubber going up and down those 8 flights of stairs.  Starting to feel locked in, claustrophobic.
  • Did I happen to mention that I was sitting at the ballpark yesterday, under a beautiful warm sun…the weather so nice the Goldeyes could have played…and this morning…SNOW!!   SNOW!!   NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    snow
  • It feels like we are mere moments away from WWIII…Russia flying jets within miles of both the USA and Canada; North Korea flaunting its nuclear mite; China, a behemoth flexing its muscle with North Korea…and Donald Trump playing golf, while trying to decide whether or not to Nuke North Korea!!
  • I can’t thank the Winnipeg Goldeyes enough; you guys are simply the best.
  • Giant snowflakes!!!!
  • Can not wait for by six days at the cabin in Falcon Lake…peace and quiet.
  • That home run that the Yankees Aaron Judge hit against the Chicago White Sox  on Wednesday, has just landed in New Jersey…man oh man oh man…did he destroy that pitch!!  Super star in the making!!

    Judge

  • After all of these years of watching the Yankees sign over the hill stars, it is so refreshing to watch some young blood on this team; and they’re playing well without two of their young stars, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorious.  It’s nice getting some solid starting pitching and seeing players like Starlin Castro, Chase Hedley and Matt Holiday really contributing.
  • If the Jets had Mike Babcock behind the bench and Fredrick Anderson in net, they’d be in the playoffs.  The Jets are far more talented than the Leafs, but Babcock has them playing a much more disciplined game than Paul Maurice could ever get out of the Jets.  It also doesn’t hurt when you get solid consistent goaltending.
  • Two weeks from today and the Winnipeg Goldeyes start training camp; without SNOW, please!!!
  • My dear, dear friend Lisa; yesterday was your birthday.  I can’t put into words how very much I miss you…I hope you have found some peace.  You just knew me, understood me…you displayed empathy when I needed it and lit into me like nobody else could.  You know my pain, you understand my pain…yet, you too, didn’t have the strength to carry on.
  • It’s amazing how many of Trump’s minions have fallen since he took office…from Mike Flynn to Bill O’Reilly, it is only scratching the surface…
  • You caption the above…sad, so very, very sad.  I may not have been a fan of Reagan, but at least he was composed and had some dignity.

  • If you’ve never read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale…it is a very important read, given the circumstances of the world today.
  • Well according to Ben:  Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals is old (32), Carly is turning 40 and she’s really old…and Zaida Chuck “you’re really old Zaida”…oh to see life again through the eyes of an 8 year old!!!
  • Kim Jung Crazy and Donald Bloated Psychopath…they will be the undoing of this planet…
    Un
  • And finally…Aaron Hernandez…what a sad, sad, story…what a wasted life.

Memo to Brian Pallister: Investing in youth both reduces crime and produces better citizens; contact info for our Premier!! …by Chuck Duboff

Pallister

Hon. Brian Pallister
Email: premier@leg.gov.mb.ca

Office: Room 204 Legislative Building
Phone: (204) 945-3714

Brian Pallister, Premier of Manitoba, a politician who took a 20% salary increase last year, who has a $2million home on Wellington Crescent and spends several months a year at his Costa Rica home, has decided that investing in our future, investing in the youth of Manitoba, doesn’t fit into his “heartless’ government’s plans.

Both Kelvin High School and Dakota Collegiate have volunteers and parents who have raised money to improve the athletic facilities at both of their schools.  These are parents who are recognizing the importance of improved fields and gyms for their kids; they have done fundraising and have commitments from civic officials to contribute to their vision.

Study after study after study has shown that young people who are actively involved in extra curricular activities both stay out of trouble and are successful students.  I have a firsthand seat at this table, as I have seen the results of new soccer and hockey facilities giving my grandchildren outstanding experiences at the sports they love.  They are happy, academically successful, have lots of friends and are great kids!!  That’s what happens when you invest in the youth of this province.

Yet we have a heartless Premier, a man who benefited from government paid for gyms, to play basketball at many levels.  A Premier who didn’t turn down a 20% pay increase!!  A Premier who will complain about crime on the one hand, yet not invest in improved facilities at Dakota Collegiate and Kelvin High School!!  How cold and sanctimonious can one person get!!

CONTACT THE PREMIER!!  CONTACT YOUR MLA!!  CONTACT THE PREMIER

Hon. Brian Pallister
Fort Whyte

Premier
PC
Email: premier@leg.gov.mb.ca

Office:

Room 204 Legislative Building
450 Broadway
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0V8
Phone: (204) 945-3714
Fax: (204) 949-1484

Constituency Office:

Unit 143-99 Scurfield Blvd.
Winnipeg, MB R3Y 1Y1
Phone: (204) 489-0828
Email: info@brianpallister.com

You can’t make this stuff up…American spring break students, partying in Cancun, Mexico, chant: “Build the Wall”

© Chuck Duboff

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Take a few minutes to process this: American students, enjoying the beauty, great weather and beaches of Cancun, Mexico, begin chanting: “Build the Wall.”  No, seriously; these half-wits, perhaps buzzed on too much Tequila, are a metaphor for the insanity overtaking the populace of the United States.  It is no wonder that when traveling the world, anywhere but the United States, even the mention of that country draws outright anger for what was once such a great country.

What Donald Trump (read: Steve Bannon) has unleashed upon the world, is beyond troubling.  Racism, hatred, disrespect, lying, lying and more lying, has given permission for seemingly all Americans to bring out their most vile behaviour.  When the President of the United States is spewing lies on a regular basis, when anti-semitism is tolerated, when hatred of Muslims and Jews and Mexicans and Gays is cheered, when the President proudly talks about “pussy grabbing”, when Russian operatives control the goings on in Washington…

It is no wonder that the youth of America goes down to the beaches of Mexico and taunts their hosts with chants of “Build the Wall.”  Perhaps next year they will celebrate Spring Break in Fargo, North Dakota.

This is Donald Trump’s America…

MAKE AMERICA HATE AGAIN!! 

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The ugly rise of Anti-Semitism in the United States; synagogues, cemeteries, community centres, all being vandalized…if you say nothing, if you do nothing, you empower the racists. By Chuck Duboff

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© Chuck Duboff

Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, married an Orthodox Jewish man; she converted to Judaism.  They have children…and these children are Donald Trump’s grandchildren.  Yet the President of the United States sits idly by, taking instructions from Steve Bannon, and does nothing as the ugly rise of Anti-Semitism emboldens itself.

When you hide your head in the sand and pretend like nothing is happening, the result is Muslims being shot, Mexicans being deported, Jews being targeted, blacks being threatened…this is the reality of Trump’s “Make America Hate Again.”  This is the America which Steve Bannon has dreamed of, an America pitting one group against another and allowing the White Nation to take over.

First they came …” is a poem written by German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

http://www.jta.org/2017/03/12/news-opinion/united-states/holocaust-is-fake-history-scrawled-on-seattle-synagogue

fake history

Rather than pandering to the bottom line, “Imagine” a media dedicated to Positive News!!…by Chuck Duboff

 

POSITIVE-NEWS

© Chuck Duboff

As I indicated in the most recent blog, the media chooses not to focus on positive news stories, but rather contributes to the on going tension and angst which has overtaken much of the “chatter class.”  Were the talking heads and decision makers to decide to focus on more uplifting news stories, society would be much better served.  Rather than worrying non-stop about the “bottom line”, news organizations like CNN, Fox News, CNBC, CBC, CTV, BBC, could all contribute to a more healthy spirit permeating this world. Alas, though this may be a pie in the sky notion, I can dream and “Imagine” as John Lennon did in his wonderful song.  Giving up isn’t an option, contributing to a better world only makes us all better.

The following is from the website Positive News.

Build a wall of kindness

“While Donald Trump was first talking about his divisive wall, the concept of a ‘wall of kindness’ was blossoming in Iran. Stretches of wall are painted and furnished with pegs. Then, people hang clothes, food and goods that they no longer need for the homeless or poor to take. The concept is spreading: several towns in the UK currently feature their very own walls of kindness (in the case of Brighton, it’s a seafront shelter of kindness).”

If the media paid more attention to wonderful stories like this…the world would be in a much more peaceful, kinder, gentler place. Please take a couple of minutes to watch these fine young men…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

Before you read my words, please take the time to first watch the video.

Our media is obsessed with sensationalizing the negative, the hurtful, the racist, the depressing headlines.  CNN has stated their ratings are through the roof covering the disaster known as Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, fine young man as were seen in the video, demonstrate what it is to be a good citizen, to be kind, to give back to your community.  These young men are doing more to “Make America Great Again” than Herr Trump ever will.

Young Black Men in the United States are stereotyped, harassed and never given the benefit of the doubt.  These boys in the video show the world that with good parenting, anybody can turn out to be a fine young man or woman.  Black, Latino, White…it doesn’t matter, good parenting, positive role modelling, enhances every young person’s chance to lead a healthy life.

Perhaps the media should focus on stories like this one.  I would expect that initially there would be little interest in “good stories”; but with persistence and a dedication to improve society in United States…this could make a very positive difference. One would expect though that the bottom line is all that CNN and its sister networks care about and presenting good news stories doesn’t interest them.

There are great young people all across America, and I dare say Canada, attempting to make this a better world to live in…if the media put forth the same effort, respect and decency may return…and “making America Hate again” would disappear.

Saturday morning random thoughts; by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

jets-team

There’s still a chance boys…17 more games!!  Just win baby, just win.

  • So you’re saying there’s still a chance; last night’s Jets game gave us a brief glimpse into what the Jets future looks like.  Sure we may not may the playoffs this year…but having talented players like Scheif, Troubs, Morrisey, Laine, Ehlers, Lowrey, Copp and Dano…the future is bright.  As for Hellybucyk…last night was his fourth shutout of the season…the skill is there…he is still learning the mental part of the game…the future is so bright!!
  • Thank you Puerto Vallarta; what a magnificent two weeks under clear blue skies, hot sunshine, spectacular mountains, beaches and the Pacific Ocean…see you next winter.
    fav-pic
  • Great stopping in to see Goldeyes GM Andrew Collier and Broadcaster/media guru Steve Schuster.  Got caught up on some of the new players we’ve signed…and brought Andrew, Steve and Goldeyes skipper, Rick Forney,  championship Coheba cigars!!  Baseball is in the air.
  • The noose is tightening on Herr Trump…and as it does, he gets more and more unhinged.  I said it during the election…Russia was behind the Trump tainted win…and it’s all coming to fruition.  Trump is now starting to blame Obama for all the coverups and Russia mess…sad Donald, very sad.
  • Making America Hate Again”        North Carolina man arrested for threatening, knocking over gay couple as he said “you live in Trump Country now.”
  • Watch this video and see further evidence of Trump’s success in Making America Hate again: 
  • http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2017/02/18/rise-in-anti-semitism-in-us-tuchman-ac360.cnn

  • Jacob Trouba is becoming the #1 defence man we all expected he would evolve into…now, hopefully, Jets can lock him up long term like they did his buddy Mark Scheiffle.
  • jacob-trouba-winnipeg-jets
  • So many great friends down in Puerto Vallarta; must say, it was probably the most difficult time saying goodbye to everybody…They truly are wonderful people, hard working, friendly, kind and caring (Didn’t see any of the “bad ones” Donald.)
    jose
  • So Brian Pallister spends two months down in Costa Rica; comes home and immediately announces his slash and burn campaign!!  All the while accepting a 20% salary increase last year…after all somebody has to pay for his home in Costa Rica.
  • Warning to my friends in the teaching profession, especially the young ones who have just started their careers.  I experienced the same thing in the early 1980’s under the Filmon government; Filmon Fridays came in and  civil servants had to take an unpaid day off a month.  Then teacher layoffs came; I was a young teacher, with a young family…and 35 teachers were cut from the school division I was in.  Lost my job.  Be ware…the Education system is on Pallister’s hit list.
    brian-pallister-nurse-001
  • Excited to take our Laine to the Jets game tonight; so blessed that I’m in a position to afford so many tix and have two wonderful grandchildren who are huge Jets fans.  Pretty sweet.
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  • There is a 100% correlation between getting older and the degree to which I can not tolerate winter.
  • Two years in a row I’ve had blogs I’ve written about Puerto Vallarta picked up by PV online websites and official twitter accounts.  Pretty great feeling.
  • The Sierra Madre Mountains, the Pacific Ocean, the beautiful beaches, the hot sunshine…all inspire great workouts and clarity in writing.

From ABC news, written by Karma Allen: Muslim activists raise funds for vandalized Jewish cemetery. A VERY IMPORTANT READ.

© CHUCK DUBOFF: IN THESE TROUBLING TIMES, IT IS SO WONDERFUL TO SEE MUSLIMS AND JEWS COMING TOGETHER…AND SETTING AN EXAMPLE FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE HOW DIFFERENT RELIGIONS CAN CO-EXIST.

Muslim activists raise over $70,000 to aid vandalized Jewish cemetery

As of early Wednesday morning, a crowdfunding campaign started by Muslim activists had raised over $70,000 in an effort to help repair a vandalized Jewish cemetery near St. Louis, Missouri.

“Muslim Americans stand in solidarity with the Jewish-American community to condemn this horrific act of desecration against the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery,” read the crowdfunding campaign’s website, which was spearheaded by Muslim-American activists Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi. “We also extend our deepest condolences to all those who have been affected and to the Jewish community at large.”

The effort comes after more than 170 headstones were damaged late Sunday or early Monday at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, located in the St. Louis suburb of University City, according to a report by the Associated Press on Tuesday.

As of early Wednesday morning, the LaunchGood-hosted campaign had raised more than $58,000, far surpassing the original $20,000 fundraising goal that the organizers said had been met in just three hours.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens called the cemetery vandalism a “senseless act of desecration” in a tweet on Monday.

The incident at the cemetery comes amid a spate of threats directed at Jewish centers across the nation this year. The FBI and the Justice Department announced earlier this week that they would investigate the multiple bomb threats directed toward at least 60 Jewish centers, including 11 threats made on Monday alone.

The Anti-Defamation League called the situation “alarming” and “disruptive” in a statement and said that the threats should be taken seriously.

In a speech on Tuesday, President Donald Trump denounced anti-Semitism after facing criticism that he had not acted strongly enough against the threats.

“The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil,” said Trump after touring the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

The fundraisers for the “Muslims Unite to Repair Jewish Cemetery” campaign said they launched the campaign in an effort to “send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities” and to condemn “hate, desecration, and violence.”

The campaign said the proceeds would go directly to the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, and that any additional funds leftover after the cost of restoration would “assist other vandalized Jewish centres nationwide.”

Straps and demeaning words leave life long scars…by Chuck Duboff

©Chuck Duboff

I was always afraid.  My mom would finish her wooden spoon ritual, a few more nails broken on my fingers and then she’d utter the words “wait until your father gets home…” Try going to school feeling fear all day; try concentrating on the provinces and their capitals, while at the same time worrying about getting the strap from dad.  What was it this time? I only got a B+ on a subject rather than an A…that certainly warranted the wrath of the strap.

I was always afraid.  “Do you think money grows on trees?  Who do you think you are going out with girls and spending money?”  Nothing I ever did was deemed acceptable.  School not good enough.  “you’re too fat, we have to buy you special clothes.”  Too fat, too “stupid”, waster of money, “you’ll eat that food the way it’s made, I don’t care what you like”

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I’d escape into baseball.  I’d read magazines, create my own games and leagues.  It was my temporary escape from the insanity of my house.  I’d be the shortstop for the New York Yankees for a few hours; I’d be the starting pitcher in the World Series.  Baseball helped me to escape.  My body would be in horror “waiting for your father to get home.” while I dreamed of being Mickey Mantle.

When he’d get home, I’d hide in terror in my room.  Sometimes under the blankets, other times just lying staring at the ceiling waiting once again for the punishment.  Some nights he’d be too tired to come in and destroy me, while other nights he’d enter and unleash his frustrations and failures upon me.  I cried for hours and hours and hours.  There never seemed to be an end to it.

Fast forward five decades; “now you know why I am so fucked up Carly”  To this day I feel the pain, the hurt, the worthlessness of those terror filled nights; those demeaning hurtful comments which are seared into my soul. “you’ll drive me to Selkirk”  I walk around aimlessly filled with the question: “Why, what did I ever do…” I always tried to behave, to be the good son, but even today it doesn’t matter what I do.  I am still begrudged any happiness…”why would your student get up at 3 in the morning and drive you to the airport?”  Maybe because my students saw the good side of me that you and dad never did mom.

Your straps and mean words forever scared me…and I still live with that pain today.

Saturday Morning Random Thoughts…by Chuck Duboff

pv-beach

The beach I run every morning down in Puerto Vallarta; the Sierra Madre mountains in front, the Pacific Ocean right beside.

© Chuck Duboff

  • Four more sleeps until two weeks of the hot sun, beaches and babes of Puerto Vallarta.  One of my many great thrills last year while in PV:  having one of the blogs I wrote about how much I was enjoying myself down there, picked up by a PV travel blog.
  • Brian Pallister’s actions are flying under the radar because of the craziness down south.
  • Mr. Pallister: make sure to call them Filmon Friday’s…you haven’t had an original idea in your life.  Slash and burn, while you enjoy your months down in Costa Rica.
  • When people you respect and admire let you down…that hurts…a lot…you know who you are.
  • Pitchers and catchers report in three days!!!!!!!!
  • Can’t wait to watch SNL tonight…Alec Baldwin should be a rockin’.

    2-trumps

  • There are those who choose to hide their heads in the sand about what is happening in the States; that is your prerogative…but, be forewarned, Steve Bannon has been playing out this scenario for years, and his Alt Right, white supremacist ideology, is going to result in a Holy War of unparalleled magnitude.
  • The Jets aren’t even in the same area code as the Black Hawks and Wild.
  • Patience, patience, patience…wearing thin on Jets fans
  • Watching the insanity coming out of Herr Trump’s administration on a daily basis is like an ongoing SNL or Monty Python skit.john-cleese
  • The new 60 inch, 4K Samsung TV is beyond breathtaking…watching shows in 4K (4000 pixels compared to the 1080 of High Def) it’s like they are in the room with you.
  • If not for the sports stations and the required basic cable…I wouldn’t have any cable TV…between Netflix and Crave TV…there is so much to watch while not having to endure advertising.
  • Currently binging three great series:  Bloodline, House of Cards and Scandal.
  • For those who don’t follow the minutia of politics as I do, Steve Bannon is making all the decisions in Herr Trump’s White House…and it’s right out of the Alt Right playbook.
    bannon
  • My mornings in Puerto Vallarta…get up around 6:30; shower and go have an energy filled breakfast to fuel my day…the sun is rising and the temps warming up; go back to room and get changed…head down to the beach for a one hour run on the beautiful sand; mountains right in front and Pacific Ocean in my feet…back to room to switch up gear and then go and workout on weights for half an hour…and THEN…it’s…a full day of hot sun, tequila, cervesa and bikinis!!
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  • When I get back it’ll be time to buy the MLB TV package for the season; every game, every day on the 60 inch, 4K TV…it’ll be like being right in the ballpark.
  • I trusted both of you…and you let me down so much
  • Tonight’s Jets game with: Carly, Laine and Ben…does not get any better!!
  • I hope everybody is enjoying their cut of the PST from 8% to 7%!!  Oh that’s right; while Pallister was enjoying two months in Costa Rica…he broke another promise. When jobs are cut and salaries slashed…I hope those who bought Pallister’s “make Manitoba great again” garbage are happy.pallister
  • Last year while in PV, I wrote this blog following a so very cool adventure running the blistering hot beaches of PV in the middle of the afternoon…lesson learned…one of my favourite pieces of writing on this blog:
  • https://chuckduboff.com/2016/02/20/a-hemingway-adventure-in-puerto-vallarta-burnt-shredded-feet-by-chuck-duboff-2/
  • Do not like the New England Patriots…when they are so good, why has there been the need to cheat…but, I will give Brady and Bellichek props for an amazing comeback last Sunday…that was one for the ages.
  • Pitchers and catchers report…sounds pretty good, doesn’t it Mick?

Part 2 of Josh Alen’s story: “I have overcome physical, mental and sexual abuse…and there are many people I would like to thank for helping”…by Josh Alen

© Chuck Duboff

Editor’s note: Upon first reading Josh’s writing for yesterday’s blog, I anticipated that there would be a very large number of reads and a positive response.  That is in fact what ensued, with 219 reads of Josh’s story.  It took a lot of courage and strength for Josh to share…and today we get to read a little more of what Josh has been through.  When you see him at the ballpark this summer, stop by and say hi and tell him how very proud we all are of him.

The Winnipeg Goldeyes are much more than just a baseball club.  They are our local professional baseball team, positive role models, community supporters and a place where people come together on hot summer nights to laugh, share, cheer and cry.  This has been evidenced in so very many different ways…most importantly, they are an organization which cares deeply about its fans

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© Josh Alen

Chuck asked me yesterday if there was anything I wanted to add to the piece that I’d written.

 There are a few things I’d like to touch upon.

First, is how painfully much I miss Luis, every single day.

How much I miss feeling like a kid in a candy store every time I watched him go up to bat, whether it was the first time I ever saw it in person, or the millionth time, the feeling was the exact same, magic without a doubt.
I miss the pre-game chats. I miss the times where I was so overwhelmed with feeling that I couldn’t catch my breath long enough to even muster a simple hello.
I miss getting to watch my favorite player every night all summer long, and getting to congratulate him on every single great game, and every milestone or record set.
I miss hearing his walk-up songs, and having my heart skip a beat, every-single-time.
I miss all the times he made me laugh until I cried, (“la loca” is the one that I’ll honestly never forget). I miss getting a full summer to make all those memories.
I miss counting down the days until open house, and the best and biggest hugs you could ever imagine, seriously, the hugs…have I mentioned his are the greatest in the world?
I miss every single tiny little thing about him being my favorite player.
Everything about this past baseball season was hard, at times even agonizing, including the championship victory, and it will continue to be hard in his absence for a very, very long time to come.
There is nothing in this life that I would not give to have my Louie back.

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Secondly, I would like to take a moment to say thank you to a few people:

First and foremost to Luis, for simply being one of the most incredible people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. I can never express in words how grateful I am for all the summers I got to spend at Shaw Park with you, or how truly honored I feel to share a last name with you. Thank you, for everything.
To sections S & R. Alex, Angie, Jim, Carole, Kerri, Miles, Sue, Karsten, thank you for taking me in and making me a part of your group. You folks gave me the family that I’ve spent my entire life looking for.
To Annette, Cheryl, and Sean, thank you for being some of the first to start chipping away at the rubble.
To Daniel and Reggie. Damn, thank you both from the bottom of my heart for taking me under your wings all year and taking such good care of me. Thank you both for all the hugs, the love, the support. The two of you both have very special places in my heart.

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To the Winnipeg Goldeyes organization as a whole, you are collectively and individually some of the most unbelievably incredible people on this planet. The amount of passion and sincerity that you all put into everything you do, the way you all pour your entire hearts and souls into this organization, that’s what makes this what it is, that’s what’s given a kid a second chance at life. I’ve never experienced a more loving and genuine group of people, keep up the fantastic work, thank you all!

To Chuck, thank you for believing in my story, and giving me the opportunity to put it out there. I’ve been reading your blogs for so long, I never imagined getting to be a part of it. Your dedication is unreal, and your writing is something I look forward to every day, especially in the offseason. Thank you!

Lastly, I’d just like to say, for anyone that read my original piece, or that is reading this one. You can do it!
At twenty-three years old I have overcome it all, abuse-physical, mental, and sexual. I struggle with, and overcome daily the crippling effects of BPD, Anxiety, PTSD, and more.
Three years ago, I came out to my friends, and later my biological family as a transgender male, and while that’s agony most days, it’s so beyond beautiful to finally find yourself and to find people who love and accept you for everything you are, and even everything you’re not. 

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I promise, even if it feels hopeless or impossible some days it isn’t. You will find yourself, you will find what you were meant to be on this earth for, you will find people to call family. I promise, it’s out there, and it will be the most overwhelming joy you could ever imagine feeling. Keep going, even on the days that you feel you cannot, just keep going. I promise you, it is worth it. I promise, I promise, I promise.

Not a baseball story, but rather, a Winnipeg baseball fan courageously shares a very painful part of his life…by Josh Alen.

© Chuck Duboff

Editor’s Note: I have known Josh from a distance at Goldeyes games; he has always seemed like a very devoted fan…yet, I didn’t really know him.
Josh regularly reads my Goldeyes blogs and leaves commentary.  I was very impressed with this young man, yet still, I didn’t know his story.  Little pieces would come out, but it was still a puzzle.
Recently Josh posted some very personal thoughts on Facebook about the challenges he has faced in life.  I reached out to him and asked if he’d like to share his story on the blog…I sensed at first some hesitation, but with time and thought, Josh eagerly agreed to share his story.
What follows is the story of a transgender youth trying to find himself.
Well done Josh…very proud of you for having the courage to write this.  I know Luis Alen is proud of you also…as are all your friends and Goldeyes family.

 

© Josh Alen

Sometime in the spring of 2007, my local indy-league baseball team brought a rookie bat catcher onto the roster, a little guy from South America with decent numbers. His name was Luis Alen, and I guess that’s where this story starts.

I didn’t know the first thing about baseball back then. I followed the Winnipeg Goldeyes casually, solely because they were the hometown ball club. That changed pretty quickly after that signing.

You know that feeling when something happens, and you feel a click, as if to say this is going to be important? That’s the feeling I got, reading that press release.
It would end up being six years before I got to see that kid from Venezuela play a game in person, but man, was it ever worth the wait.

I went to my first Goldeyes game on March 18th of 2008, my first words? “Where’s Alen?”
“Oh, he doesn’t play for us anymore.” I was told.
Needless to say, that was a disappointing summer. I didn’t end up going back for a while, but the reasons were unrelated.

In May of 2012, I was reeling from years’ of mental illnesses, abuse trauma, and a couple failed suicide attempts.
I didn’t want to live anymore, let alone go to a baseball game. I did anyway.
It was the 30th, just days before my nineteenth birthday. The night was warm, the breeze was perfect, and the sunset was one of the more beautiful ones I’d seen in a while. I didn’t know it at the time, but it would end up being the first day of the rest of my life.

“Just one game” I’d said.
That “one game” ended up being close to fifteen or twenty by the time September rolled around, and turned into becoming a season ticket holder by age twenty-one.
I don’t remember much about the 2012 season,
I remember that first game though. I remember finally seeing Luis in person, I remember seeing him interact with fans, how kind and sweet he was, how genuine he seemed, I remember watching him walk up to bat. It was like being a kid on Christmas morning again. I remember watching him hit, hit after hit, after hit…it’d be a while before I saw him strike out. He was a genius behind the plate too, called the game like few others.
That game set the stage for the coming years. I don’t remember if we won or not, it wasn’t important. I remember feeling, a certain safety, a sense of home (there was that click again).
I’d continue to feel that throughout the rest of the year, as I became more familiar with the team that was quite quickly becoming mine.


Everything was so new, and so fun, getting to know some regular fans, some of the staff, and some of the players themselves.
It was refreshing to have something to look forward to, something exciting, that was bringing me out of my shell after so long; the championship run that fall certainly didn’t hurt either.
Still, the best part of that first summer was watching, awe-struck every time #18 walked past, or went up to the plate.


That would be the case every year. I’ll never know exactly why, but nothing else ever seemed to matter quite as much. Maybe it was simply how good he was on the field. Maybe it was how he carried himself as a professional athlete, or how humble he was. Though it could have been that in getting to know him I’d come to find that the kind, gentle soul I’d seen interacting with kids on that night in May wasn’t the same act that most athletes put on to impress; but in fact just who he was. It was likely a combination of all those things, mixed with a little of the world’s best hugs.

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Whatever it was, it kept me coming back, not just in 2012; but every year that followed.
Life didn’t just magically get better after one summer, no. That has been a lengthy process that has lasted up until this day, and will continue for as long as I live.
There has been hurt, there has been heartache, there have been more mental illnesses, there have been my first steps in the world as a transgender male, there has been loss, so, much loss.
Though, no matter the mud that I’ve been dragged through, no matter how far past rock bottom I’ve sank, there has always been a light at the end of the tunnel, I’ve always had my boys. Even when I didn’t have “my” boys, even when every other player I’d liked had left for whatever reasons, when a large portion of the friends I’d made in years past had decided to not return; there was always, my catcher. That was what got me through even the darkest nights and back through the doors of my beloved ballpark every spring.

Until one day, he wasn’t anymore.

That’s when it became real.
That was the point which I had to sit back, and reflect on the years I’d spent telling myself that this one, amazing player had kept me coming back long enough to love a team that I kept claiming saved my life. I came to a crossroads at which I was forced to look at whether or not those claims were true, or if they were just the rugs under which I’d been sweeping my problems.
It was agonizing, to say the very least.
I was convinced that I didn’t have a chance in hell at recovering from the loss of the person who’d been there from the very beginning, who was the catalyst for all the friendships, all the happy memories, the person who none of this could be at all without.
I did have a chance though, after months of self-destruction and doubt I overcame, and I conquered with such tenacity that even as I write this a year later, I still cannot fathom.
I spent the last three hundred and sixty five plus days moving one of the most enormous mountains that life has ever dropped in front of me.
I didn’t do it alone though, not for a single second.

On a frigid, January morning the safe, familiar home that I’d built for myself burst into flames, and burned to the ground; leaving me buried so far beneath the rubble that I was rendered virtually unrecognizable. At the time I was thought that everything I’d come to know was over, when in reality it was just beginning. Slowly, everything that I had gained from the interest in baseball that a catcher had sparked a decade prior started to unfold everywhere I looked. All the happiness that reminded me of why I started this chapter to begin with, the memories that I’d miss making, the love that would be left over with nowhere to go should I make good on my “resignation” from my Goldeyes, the friendships that I’d come to cherish that would likely be lost.
That last one was the most important, and ultimately what has gotten me to the place I am in right now.

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The friends that I had made and continue to make, the people who found the multiple feet of rubble, and chipped away to find me at the bottom. The people who pulled me out, and dusted me off, the people who held me up and showed me not only how to stand again, but how to walk on my own; those who stood on all sides of me, and picked me up every time I fell, every time I still fall. The people who believed in me, who loved me until I could be myself again, the people who ended up showing me what it meant to belong, and to be truly accepted.
The people who I would never have met, had it not been for the love I developed for that rookie catcher from Venezuela, who I’ve now come to call My King.

I will not forget the bad that came with this last year.
The sheer terror on that morning, the devastation I felt when walking away seemed like the best and only option, or the weeks I spent lying awake at night, most of the time fairly intoxicated.
However, I will also not forget the good.
The leaps and bounds I made towards recovery after so many years, the obstacles that I laughed in the face of, as I surmounted them.
The night before my twenty-third birthday; on which I summoned the courage to tell the man that started this all, a watered-down version of this story. The same night that I asked him for his blessing to take his last name as my own (I should mention that he said yes, and I’ve never been more proud of anything in my all my years).
The new people I met along the way that help each and every day to shape me into the man that I hope to eventually become.
Oh, and the championship run at the end of this season wasn’t too shabby either.

14424708_258700601196799_3623375460493997764_oI have learned so much about the mental strength that I did not know I possessed, about perseverance, and resiliency. I’ve learned what it means to truly love, and to be truly loved.
I’ve learned about taking risks, and making the most of every precious moment you’re given, how not a single one of those moments should be taken for granted, and making damn sure that you tell the ones you love that you love them while you still have the chance.

I’ve had proven to me the meaning of fate, and destiny. I learned to trust that click, to trust the feeling of this was meant to be. If something screams “this is your purpose, this is what you were meant to find” for a decade, you should probably stop being stubborn and just listen.

I am finally on a road to a real, and long-lasting recovery after over a decade of suffering, I am on a path to becoming the most authentic me I can possibly be; none of which could be possible without the environment that a small sports organization in downtown Winnipeg creates for their fans

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Sometime in the spring of 2007, my local independent-league baseball club signed a soft-spoken, catcher, with a heart of gold, and one of the most beautiful souls this world will ever know. His name was Luis Alen; and he, along with his team changed my life forever.

…on Day 4 of the Illegitimate President,Trump’s Old White Men cabinet takes control of women; 1950’s back alley abortions return!!…by Chuck Duboff

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Eight Old White Men returning America to the dark days of the 1950’s

© Chuck Duboff

On Monday, President Trump, surrounded by his Old White Men Cabinet, reinstated a rule first instituted by President Reagan, which gave foreign nonprofits a stark choice: Stop providing abortions, or any information about abortions, or lose valuable dollars from the United States

It prohibits giving U.S. funding to international nongovernmental organizations that offer or advise on a wide range of family planning and reproductive health options if they include abortion

Pro-life officials and groups praised Trump’s action. “This is a vital step in the journey to make America great again, recognizing and affirming the universal ideal that all human beings have inherent worth and dignity, regardless of their age or nationality,”said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

Trump’s action, coming just two days after massive women’s marches around the world to protest his presidency, sparked a flurry of angry responses from Democratic lawmakers and women’s health organizations.

http://www.beliefnet.com/news/2005/01/my-back-alley-abortion.aspx

It would seem that Make America Great Again means returning to the days of the 1950’s, when women who needed an abortion were forced to resort to back alleys and the use of hangers.  There was nothing great about the America which the Old White Men of Trump’s cabinet are attempting to recreate.  It was a time of women in the kitchen, white men calling the shots and racism at every corner.  This is the vision of Trump’s Great America.

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