It’s Been a While…

Blog updates have happened in inverse proportion to world events, it seems.

That can only mean one thing: I have a job. Two, actually.

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Here I come…

I’ve been back at work for a little more than a month now, slowly getting back into the swing of things. It has been fun going back to my old team, where we support Another Armed Service that Shall Remain Nameless (rhymes with “smarmy”). Nonetheless, it’s always a challenge to get back up to speed at anything, and standard growing pains apply.

At the same time, I’ve continued chugging along with the Navy Reserve, though at a weird sort of inflection point. As soon as I returned to my old unit in Norfolk, I was applying for a new billet, so was never really put into a job since my time would be so short. I found things to do, to be sure, but nevertheless the last couple drill weekends have probably been the quietest I’ve ever had.

It makes me think of something a friend who entered the Reserve before me said, that “it isn’t ‘real.'” What he did in his billet, four or five years ago at this point, didn’t seem to him to have any impact or real value – it was just “make-work” in the military-industrial complex. I have been lucky to not have that problem, having been in a position to support exercises for real ships and real Sailors preparing to deploy. As these things go, that’s really pretty cool.

This coming weekend will be my last drill with that unit. My orders came today – I’m headed to OPNAV next year, where I can hope that the work will be at least as validating as that which I could do in Norfolk. There’s much less commute, at least – I can take a bus to the Pentagon from my house. Better than driving 180 miles.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on. I’ll let you know how it goes. Hopefully I don’t become an Angry Staff Officer. Although his blog is pretty good.

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A Very Long Season

Too much is happening these days to coherently discuss. So let us speak of the Cubs.

Let it fly. Since pigs must be.

Let it fly. Since apparently pigs can now.

Hyperbolic statements are generally not suited for those with pretensions to historical-mindedness, but I think this one will hold up: The 2016 World Series was one of the greatest in baseball’s history, capped off by a Game 7 that ranks in the top tier of baseball games every played.

And the Cubs are world champions. Repeat: The Chicago Cubs, they of the North Side, are world champions.

But now a word of warning to the Cubs. From America.

They love you now. But they will hate you.

(Ask the Red Sox if you don’t believe me.)

Everyone starts small like you did, Cubs. The United States rose from the rough-and-tumble colonial leagues in the late Eighteenth Century, gathering strength for a few decades to contend in the bigs. In the middle of the Nineteenth Century, the team nearly broke up over differing interpretations of the members’ contracts, but they worked it out after a bench-clearing brawl and changes in management. Rebuilding years followed, in which the U.S. was able to convincingly defeat the veteran Spanish team but still hadn’t completely broken out from the pack in the Western Hemisphere Division. Argentina, for one, was still able to attract many of the league’s best players.

The first half of the Twentieth Century, though, saw the playoffs come. After the French and British teams prematurely exhausted themselves, the U.S. defeated the Kaiser for the pennant and advanced to the World Series against the Nazis (same ball club, different ownership) a couple decades later. By 1945, it was the undisputed world champion, with the hardware to prove it.

However, no one likes a winner. They say they do, but if they don’t get to be the winner themselves, then they simply resent whoever does get to stand atop the podium. So the U.S. finished the season astride the world, but had to assume league-wide responsibility for keeping lesser sports from undercutting their own achievements. Insidious Russian soccer players had to be prevented from spreading their revolutionary game into baseball-friendly territories and stealing their fan base. No team but the U.S. had both the means to protect what they’d built, and the will to do so.

But soccer is seductive (“Look, all you need is a ball!”). Many countries could not stand up to the onslaught, or were willing to give in for expediency’s sake. Often those whom the U.S. was defending attacked the very efforts the U.S. was making on their behalf. Perhaps they’d have preferred those other games to the messy yet dignified one they grew up with. But perhaps not. Certain multi-sport athletes who’d seen both sides would have argued the latter. Ultimately, the U.S. did well in that struggle, and continues to try repeating its success in the current season. But no one’s work is less appreciated, no victory less valued by those it benefits.

So, Cubs, congratulations on long-delayed victory. But beware its fruits.

In the meantime, fly the W.

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