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7:37 p.m. - April 16, 2006
Smed Is Spelled S-U-C-K-E-R
I must have S-U-C-K-E-R tattooed on the back of my neck.

Because I canít seem to stop volunteering to do stuff.

This morning, I was the liturgist at Easter Sunday. Now that is all well and good. I like being the liturgist, well, because I get to be in front of a microphone, with people hearing me. (Yessss!) But on Easter, we also have a Sunrise Service.

What time does that start?

6:30.

In the morning (duh Ė itís a SUNRISE service).

So the alarm went off atÖ5:15.

Wowser.

So Iím pretty fried right now. And itís my own damn fault.

Oh, thatís not the only thing that Iíve volunteered for.

A long, long time ago (1986), I started being the PA announcer for Wabash football, on a volunteer basis. I was a junior in college at the time. The next year, Flack said that I would be a great stat crew leader for the football team, so I took on that job for a couple of years, and then I became the defensive statistician. Later, Sid asked me to do player participation and help in spotting.

So on football Saturdays, Iím doing about three or four things at once in the press box, all the while making sure I pronounce the names correctly.

Thatís not the only volunteering Iíve done at the college. For a while, I helped at swim meets when I could, and at some basketball games. I had planned to take it easy during basketball season, and watch some games with Katie.

However, Sid asked me to run the computer for a couple of games when he was shorthanded, and well, I enjoyed doing it so much I did the computer for almost all of the basketball home games this year.

Liz and Katie didnít mind Ė Katie would rather watch girls play ball and Wabash doesnít exactly have a womanís basketball team (though I bet the student body would support any womanís team that would play at WabashÖhehÖ)

This year, after moving back into town, I was asked to serve on the local Alumni Association board. (Yes, I know I work at the College, but this is a separate group and thereís no conflict of interest, because all the local association does is plan some events for the local alums. We donít get to spend thousands of dollars on junkets to Bermuda. Well not yet anywayÖ)

Also, Iím the coach of the Faculty / Staff IM basketball team. Last year, we won the title, but this year we werenít as lucky. At times, we had 13 players show up for a game, and that was hard trying to fit everyone into the game.

The softball team I play on also needs someone to write out a lineup and try to call people to tell them schedule changes, and that someone is me. I try not play that much (you know, weíre trying to win here, or at least not look like total mo-rons). But last year I did have to play some, and it wasnít quite as spectacular a comeback as you would help. In fact, I wouldnít call it a comeback either LL Cool J, but thatís not because I walk like a panther. Itís because I stunk before, and I still stink.

For a few years, I was the official scorer of the Indianapolis Ice, a former minor league hockey team here in the Heartland. Now, I went to almost every game: preseason, regular season and playoffs. I managed a 12 person stats crew and showed up an hour before each game and left an hour after (or more, depending on how much leftover beer there was).

I prided myself on us being the best damn stats crew in all of minor league hockey, and I think we were. But that was a lot of work, and the only pay was about $100 worth of merch a year at Christmas. Oh, and free beer and good pre-game food, though I rather much over-gorged myself on Hootersí wings a time or five. (Note: the Hootersí girls delivered the wings, and then they went downstairs to mingle with the season ticket holders. Thatís OK by me Ė because I preferred the chicken to silicon anyway.)

I have volunteered a lot for work organizations as well. I am the track team coordinator for our software product at the Datatel Userís group, so I work hard at setting the agenda for the annual conference, and I have about two conference calls a month for about six months while working on this.

I had been leading the regional userís group for a while, and planned that whole thing. I burned out on that a little bit, but I still am going to help out this year and plan one of the tracks and am a co-door prize wrangler.

And Iíve given presentations at other conferences as well. Now yeah, I get to talk in front of a lot of people again, which I like doing (Iím a sick, sick, twisted man, I know) and share my knowledge with others, but that also takes time and travel.

This upcoming conference in Baltimore, Iíve volunteered to lead a breakfast roundtable session. And at conferences, I like to stay up late and share some Ďfellowshipí with my colleagues. So those breakfast roundtables can be a bit, uh, dicey, but there I am, opening my big mouth again and telling people I do something, even as the Merlot from the night before is cascading down my armpits and out of my forehead. (Nice visual, eh? I thought youíd like it!)

Alas.

Actually, I really like doing this. I canít be passive Ė I have to be active. Yes, two darling little girls do keep me a man on the go at home, and work does keep me occupied a bit. Plus thereís this little daily (well, mostly daily) writing exercise.

Sure, there are days when I basically just fold up for a while and want to just chill out to my current book (Iím still working on that History of the Middle East during and after World War I Ė itís fascinating stuff, really) or watch some mindless TV. Thereís nothing like laughing at the idiocies of celebrities on Best Week Ever or The Showbiz Show. It makes your life seem a lot richer even though you are poorer.

One day, I think I will slow down. Oh, Liz has said that forever, but I always come up with another way of getting involved. I guess I think if I donít do it, no one else will or no one else can do it with the love and care that I put into it, so I may as well do it.

But in the meantime, I sometimes get frazzled and fried and burn the candle at both ends and also tried to light the middle.

Sleep! I think itís for weenies!

 

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