Saturday, April 06, 2019

It's easy like Saturday morning ....

Just like the Lionel Ritchie song "Easy" (except he sang about Sunday mornings - which isn't always easy because we're getting ready for church - my wife is the pastor), I'm enjoying an easy Saturday.

It's the only day where I get to sleep in. I typically feed the dog (Rudy, a 14-year-old dachshund) then feed myself. This morning it is a three-egg omelet with fresh eggs supplied by teaching colleague Mary Osteen. Add in cheese and it is outstanding. (Mary's cousin is Joel Osteen, the famous pastor from Houston). Toast a couple pieces of whole-grain bread and layer on the Jif, in honor of my grandfather John Ihrig who loved peanut butter on his toast.

It is also the morning I catch up on Twitter, for since retiring from sportswriting a little more than a year ago that's about the only social media I stay active in for there are so many of our local sports people who I covered in youth and high school sports in Elk Grove that are doing well. I watch a vdieo which shows Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez teeing off at Augusta National for the Women's U.S. Amateur. Both still have great swings. I will be showing that video to the Burbank H.S. golf team, stressing extension of the arms, fluidity of the swing and nice transfer of weight forward.

I posted on Twitter a photo of one of my beginners (all the players on the LBHS golf team are beginners), Ilaisa Batimala. On Thursday in a match against Kennedy he fired a 54 on the back nine at Bing Maloney Golf Club. That was his lifetime best. Also, worth mentioning is Xao Thao. He shot a 56 - his lifetime best. Great to see this kind of improvement.
Xao Thao, a senior at Luther Burbank H.S. working on
his golf swing

Kennedy is one of the region's best teams with their top five guys fully able to shoot par golf. It is evident Coach Dean Ogasaki has these boys working hard daily on their game. Dylan Van Ostram is a name to remember. He was easily driving 300 yards, right down the middle of the fairway every hole - well, except for the first hole. He topped his shot and it scooted about 50 yards down the fairway. Yet, he finished with an even-par 36

I have found it normal to be following the New York Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays on the MLB app just to watch the progress of former Elk Grove High School teammates J.D. Davis (Mets 3rd baseman) and Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays' 1st baseman). Both are starting the season a little slow, but each have contributed in key parts to their teams' first week.

David Hernandez (Reds) is closing out games in Cincinnati. He hinted earlier this year on Twitter that this may be his final season.

Worth following are other EG-based minor leaguers Nick Madrigal (White Sox), Derek Hill (Tigers) and Matt Manning (Tigers) - these two are teammates right now in the minors - Dylan Carlson (Cardinals), Dom Nunez (Rockies) and David Freitas (Mariners). The MiLB app is a good tool to do that.

Then there are the tweets that remind me I work in Sacramento City Unified School District and we are in a big uproar. I likely will go on strike Thursday, something I have never done in my 48 years of working for pay. To support my teaching colleagues I will walk the picket lines for the scheduled one-day protest. But, I will look forward to returning on Friday to the classroom. All we are asking the school district to do is honor an agreement made in November, 2017, which was brokered by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

What is interesting is that teacher unions in cities such as Oakland, Denver and Los Angeles, which recently went out on strike, are watching our tussle because this is an example of a District agreeing to a contract with its teachers then backing out on the deal. These other unions say if Sacramento gets away with it, their local Districts may have the precedent to do the same thing.

Then, the tweets that wonder if SCUSD will be taken over by the State. Financial mis-management has led to a $35 million deficit. A balanced budget is needed to be submitted to the Sacramento County Office of Education by June or else.

I recently talked to my area Board of Education trustee, telling her my concern about a real plan to cover this deficit. The most logical is to make an even, equitable reduction in expenses. EVERYONE takes, say, a three percent cut in pay. No one loses their jobs, no programs are eliminated, just an across the board reduction in expenses.

I guess that idea is too simple. We'll see.