Saturday, October 22, 2016

Holy Cow Cubs Win!

I'm at my cousins house in Corona.
Watched baseball history with him.
Cubs are going to the World Series for the first time since 1945.
I'm thinking of all the Cubs fans who've been suffering all these years!
Party hard Chicago!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A September Dream

This is a dream I have every September 1st......
Phone rings
"Hi Felix this is Tommy Lasorda with the Dodgers. Congratulations kid! Your a big leaguer. The rosters are expanding. We need you tonight!"
Me- "Seriously Tommy?"
Lasorda-"Serious as a heart attack!"
Me- "Don't say that Tommy. You've had a couple of big ones. You mention the Big Dodger in the Sky, you almost with him!"
Lasorda- "Everyone is a comedian! Get on the bus to LA. You have no time to waste!"
Me- "Bus? I'm done riding buses! I'm a big leaguer now!"
Lasorda- "You're not a big leaguer until you put on that big league uniform in a big league clubhouse! Got it mister?!"
Me- "Yes, Tommy, see you soon....."
Alarm goes off.
It was a dream. But to a few select minor leaguers, it's their first time in the Show or for the older minor league veteran, it's his last chance to get to the bigs.
This is why I love September baseball!

A Life Gone Too Soon

I was at home enjoying my Labor Day holiday when a friend said, "Hey! You gotta see this!"
It was a message from Facebook from another friend asking if it was true what he heard about me.
So I start making phone calls checking to see if my father died. This friend thought I had suddenly past on.
After a few minutes, we got a message saying it was another Felix. Felix Castillo.
Mr. Castillo was the head baseball coach at Woodland High for several years. We've been mistaken for each other before. People thought I was the coach at Woodland High. (Friend literally laughed in my face when he saw that. He thought it was a joke that someone like me would be coaching a baseball team.)
Mr. Castillo was playing softball when he had a heart attack. He was 48.
I never knew him, but it made me think that life is indeed short and sweet.
We're not promised tomorrow. He looked healthy in his pictures. He had a family and was a beloved teacher at Woodland High.
There was a touching photo on Facebook yesterday that showed parents, students, faculty, family and friends of his at a memorial gathering at the athletic fields at Woodland High. It was at sunset. The place was packed.
Godspeed Felix!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Being Something You're Not, Trying To Be What You'll Never Be

"To be or not to be, that is the question", Shakespeare once said. There are those of us who have a plan in life and stick to it.
I on the other hand was a happy go lucky kid who just followed the crowd and was always the dreamer.
I never had a plan. I talked big and bold, but when it came down to it, I did nothing.
"I'm gonna try out for the baseball team", or "I'm gonna try out for quarterback", I'd say to whoever would listen.
All talk no action. I'd always have a bullshit excuse why I didn't do it. "I don't have time", I'd say.
I was a dream chaser. After high school I put it in my mind I was going to be a PE teacher. "I'm going to be a PE major!"
"Oh really?", someone would say, "What sport did you play in high school?"
"None. I just really love sports."
"Oh, good luck with that."
I didn't know I'd have to take anatomy classes, chemistry, and other science classes. I just thought at the time I'd take PE classes and get my degree. I was too dumb to be a dumb jock. The dumb jocks were smarter than me!
I wasn't a jock though. I was a poser, a wanna be that never was.
I just didn't have a clue.
I can remember taking tennis and golf classes thinking one day I'd be a club pro or a PE teacher. I wasn't thinking of the thousands of other people who had the same goal but had the sports background.
I had a co-worker who's brother in law was a few years younger than me in school. He was going to UC San Diego for his PE degree  (Kinesiology if you want to get technical). I was plodding along at JC while this guy was earning his BS, Masters, teaching credential and eventually a PhD in Kinesiology.
I remember feeling inferior to this guy I never knew, but with each passing year my co-worker would mention his progress. Must be nice to not worry about making a living like I had to. I would have loved to have just focus on school.
I knew my plan was a dream. I had a younger cousin who could rattle off the bones and muscles groups without looking at notes or a book. She had it memorized. That's when I knew there was no future in teaching for me. I was just talking the talk.
I was just struggling through my General Studies. What made me think I was gonna meld young minds someday when I couldn't meld my own?
So eventually I stopped focusing on PE as my major.
Then I focused on something else that was virtually impossible for me to accomplish. I had plans to be a scout, coach or manager in professional baseball.
Now, there were THOUSANDS of young men who played baseball who had the experience to get into professional baseball at some capacity. What made me think I could get involved with professional baseball? (Good Lord I was DUMB!)
I did volunteer coaching around Woodland, but the kids didn't respond to me. They had no interest in what I had to say. They asked me one question on the first day of practice and I answered honestly. With my honest answer, I lost all credibility.
"When did you play? How good were you? What position did you play?"
I answered I played one year of Little League, got cut from the Jr High team but caught on as a bullpen catcher and equipment manager for the team.
With that, I lost them. I lost them when I was running through signals and one kid asked what the indicator was.
I never heard of an indicator so I foolishly asked back, "What's an indicator?"
"You don't know what an indicator is? Are you serious? What kind of coach are you?"
Mind you, I was in my early twenties with very limited playing experience.
I may as well have quit right there.
It was the most humbling, humiliating experiences of my life. That's when I knew I had no future in coaching.
I would eventually give baseball coaching another try in 1994 at my old Jr high school. I didn't do much. Just sat around and soaked up what I could. It proved to be the eye opener I needed.
I embraced baseball so much at 17, 18, 19 years old, trying to make up for lost time. I should have embraced baseball at 7, 8 or 9 years old. I didn't have the experience of watching years of baseball situations to gather knowledge. I thought being a fan would get me involved in professional ball.
So I crossed baseball off my list and figured I would become that club pro I thought I would turn out to be.
I played recreational tennis and golf. I never played on a team. I was never around the golf course or country club. I didn't know how that worked.
My tennis instructor at Sacramento City was the club pro at Natomas Racquet Club. This guy was a major asshole. Very phony and full of himself. So were his assistants. Just trying to get his attention so I could talk to him about what I should do proved to be impossible.
I so foolishly thought I could crack into the world of tennis, I bought very expensive high end racquets that didn't improve my game. When I realized I was wasting my money, I tried to sell them to Play It Again Sports on Arden Way. I walk in and mention I want to sell these racquets (about $200 each back in 1995).
The guys behind the counter were in their late twenties. Very cocky and arrogant. I explain I switched brands and I didn't need the Wilson racquets and I play Prince racquets now.
They ask, "What difference is the brand you play? Are you a professional? How much do you want for these?"
I knew what they were doing. They were trying to lowball me by embarrassing me.
I mentioned what I paid for them and I was hoping for $75 or $100 each.
They smirked and said $12.50 for both.
Now I felt really stupid. I sheepishly took my racquets and walked back to my car.
I think I eventually gave them to a guy on the Sac City tennis team in exchange for tennis balls. I needed balls and couldn't afford to buy any after buying expensive racquets.
Now a days I rarely have time for tennis.
I think back to those days and laugh.
I tried too hard. I tried to be something I couldn't be due to lack of experience.
You couldn't tell me that when I was 19. I thought I knew everything.
Now I'm happy and comfortable in my own skin. I'm not a dreamer anymore. I'm a realist. Too bad I wasn't when I was younger.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sports Fashion Faux Pas

As some of you know I have a men's style blog. I write about my favorite types of clothing. At first I thought I was gonna be a big whale in a small ocean of men's style blogs. I quickly came to discover that I was a very small fish in a very large ocean.
I don't write on there as much as I used to. But I still have my eye on clothes.
As a sports fan, there's one thing that drives me nuts. It's when someone wears a jersey at a sporting event that doesn't match. For example, someone wearing a football jersey to a baseball game or vice versa. Wear the appropriate jersey to the appropriate sporting event! It's not that hard!
I used to wear jerseys out on public all the time. Not so much anymore when a female friend said a grown man shouldn't wear a jersey out in public unless he plays for the team.
I had a lot of football jerseys I'd wear without thinking twice about it when I was younger. My tastes changed so I stopped.
I know I made the right decision when last year someone was addressing the local news stations regarding a local crime wearing a San Diego Chargers jersey.
He looked ridiculous and it was hard to take him seriously.
Another faux pas is the person who "over gears" a team's gear. Essentially they look like a walking giftshop. I see it a lot with Raiders and Warriors fans. Head to toe in team colors. I can appreciate someone representing their team, but keep it simple!
Another faux pas that Raiders fans are guilty of is wearing your team gear during the off season. It's the off season! Take it off and give it a rest! (Giants fans do this too!)
I used to dress like I was part of a teams coaching staff with matching hat and shirt. Now I just limit it to one item of team gear. If I'm wearing a hat, then I wear a neutral shirt. Or if I'm wearing a team shirt then no hat. You get the picture.
Don't get me wrong, I love team gear as much as anyone. Just keep it simple! Make it work!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Brown Lives Matter

There's a lot of talk about lives that matter and the color of the life.
I'm getting tired if hearing about it. When did this racial divide suddenly happen?
It's worse than ever.
But who's getting overlooked in this?
Brown people.
We matter too, not just in life, but in sports too.
We have had a lot of "firsts" in regards to winning championships and minority hiring, but you never hear about it.
Who was the first Latino to be a head coach in the NFL? Anyone know the answer?
It's Tom Fears, who was named head coach of the then expansion New Orleans Saints back in 1967.
Anyone know who the first Latino to be inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Any guesses? Tom Fears.
Let's move on to other sports.......
Who was the first minority to win a golf major? Anyone??
It was Lee Trevino, but the media would lead you to believe it was Tiger Woods.
One magazine said he was golf's "first champion of color". Wrong!
Who was the first to win a tennis Grand Slam event?
I know, you don't know, so I'll tell you. It was Pancho Gonzales. Back in the 40's!!
Who dominated women's golf in the early 2000's? It was just before the Korean influence. Got an answer?
Lorena Ochoa from Mexico.
Why don't we get recognized? Why don't we get our voices heard?
It's because we're a proud people who hold our heads up high with dignity and we keep quiet and keep persevering.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Beach Day

I know, I know. I haven't posted in awhile. Been very busy with two jobs, a TV show in Napa and auditioning for TV shows. (Still waiting to be cast on a show currently shooting in the area. Ring phone, ring!)
Today was a much needed Me Day. I had a nice sushi lunch, a drive through wine country, played nine holes of golf and now I'm writing this at Dillon Beach.
I've always liked the beach lifestyle. I was once a landlocked teenager trying to embrace the surfing lifestyle. (Tried again in my late twenties. Give it up already!)
As you read in my last post, I'm currently doing light bodybuilding. The mecca of bodybuilding was at Gold's Gym in Venice Beach. The very genesis of bodybuilding started in Santa Monica. Some say Santa Monica is the original Muscle Beach. Others say it's Venice Beach.
Regardless of where it started, someone wanted to have a beach bod.
In the past I've enjoyed a run on the beach. I mean a good long run. Today, I was tempted to, but I just ran 100 miles last month and I need a rest. Besides, I left my headphones at home! Can't run without them.
Next time I plan to bring some dumbbells and have a muscle beach day at Dillon Beach.
Someday I'll visit the original Muscle Beach, where ever that is.