Month: July 2019 (Page 1 of 2)

Reaching for the Stars, Vol. 28

Chart Week: July 24, 1976
Song: “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” – Elton John and Kiki Dee
Chart Position: #8, 4th week on the chart. Peaked at #1 for four weeks in August.

What a song. I could stop right there, throw up the video, and that would be enough. A quarter-century after its release it was a Saturday night staple at a bar many of my friends and I frequented, a song that brought a smile to the face of everyone in the house as people sang along with those “OHHH-OH! Nobody knows it,” lines.

The summer of 1976 was a big one in my life. That was the summer my family packed up and moved from a small college town in western Kansas to a small college town in southeast Missouri as my dad began his teaching career. I was used to moving. I believe my parents moved every year the first five years I was alive as they completed their educations and began their careers, bouncing around from yearly rental to yearly rental. This move was more exciting, though, as it took us two days of driving to get to our new home. And it was in a whole new state! 1

My memories of that summer are about as hazy as you would expect, the actual events being 43 years in the past. Everything comes back to me with a Kodachrome tint to it. I remember the heat and humidity of southeast Missouri in the summer. I remember hearing cans of soda, which failed in the boiling heat, exploding in the cooler in the car trunk that my parents forgot to remove. I want to say I remember watching a presidential debate while at a hotel somewhere in southern Missouri.2 I thought the hotel was the coolest because A) I had never stayed in a hotel before and B) they had a pool I got to swim in. I can only imagine what a dump it was, being 1976, located on the side of a highway, and my parents not having much money. Motel is probably the better word here.

I also remember the music of that summer. “Afternoon Delight.” “Shop Around.” “You’re My Best Friend.” “Turn the Beat Around.” “Let ‘Em In.” “A Fifth of Beethoven.” “Sara Smile.” All these tunes playing over-and-over as my mom and I drove in our car with my dad driving the moving van behind us.

Force me to pick one song from that summer, though, and it would have to be “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” As I would do with friends in a bar three decades later, my mom and I would sing it loudly as we travelled over the hot asphalt. We had to sing loudly; we had no air conditioning and rolled the windows down to get some relief from the heat. I’m sure my sweaty skin stuck to the vinyl seats and it was uncomfortable as hell. But Elton and Kiki made it tolerable for a few moments. And then I waited to hear it again an hour or so later, when one station faded out and we searched for another down the dial.

As a bonus, Craig Finn joined Frightened Rabbit for a messy and delightful cover of this for a 2010 FR B-side. They performed it once live, as far as I know, and, happily, there is video of that wonderful night.

  1. A few more miles east and we would have been two states away! 
  2. I have no idea if this happened. I mostly recall a couple guys on screen and the sign language interpreter in the little box in the corner. We were a better country when there were sign language interpreters on screen. 

Reader’s Notebook, 7/30/19

I Love You, Michael Collins – Lauren Baratz-Logsted
This is the second book that L has read for her book club that I’ve gotten sucked into. It is a wonderful book.

It is written as a series of letters from 10-year-old Mamie in Connecticut to the sometimes forgotten member of the Apollo 11 crew. Her letters begin in the school year and stretch through the first moon landing, sharing progressively more about her life and her family’s slow and somewhat shocking unraveling. Like Collins, she is left behind to command the ship while others go off on adventures. The book is charming, funny, sad, and then up-lifting. L said it is one of her favorite books she’s ever read.

As I read it and reached the section where Mamie is alone – her parents and sisters have departed all thinking another is taking care of her – I had to connect that to my life when I was 10. It was actually when I was nine that I began staying by myself at night. Fixing my own dinners. Following some carefully laid out rules from my mom to keep her mind at ease. It was a big but necessary ask. But I also knew my mother was coming home every night where Mamie wasn’t really sure when her family would return. And by 1980 latchkey kids were normal, where in 1969 a kid staying by themselves was cause for concern.

Ten Innings at Wrigley – Kevin Cook
This had the potential to be a fine baseball read. It centers on the game between Philadelphia and Chicago on May 17, 1979, a legendary 23-22 Phillies win. It is subtitled “The Wildest Ballgame Game Ever, With Baseball On The Brink,” which led me to believe Cook would use this as a jumping-off point for exploring the massive changes that were taking place in baseball.

Sadly most of the book is a rather by-the-numbers accounting of the game. There’s a post-game section that looks at where some of the game’s key players – notably Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Dave Kingman, Tug McGraw, Bob Boone, Bill Buckner, and Donnie Moore – traveled over the rest of their careers and lives. There are bits about each franchise eventually got their elusive World Series title. But unlike my all-time favorite baseball book, Daniel Okrent’s Nine Innings, Cook isn’t nearly as ambitious in taking this one, notable game and using it to explain more. At least it was a quick read.

Weekend Visitor Notes

Sometimes it takes visitors to shake you out of your routine.

Our good friends the Nesbitts – who many of you know – were in town over the weekend and we hit a few spots we either don’t hit enough or had never checked out before.

They drove in Friday, so we met them at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, thinking their kids would enjoy touring the museum and then taking the bus ride around the track.1 One problem with that: there was a race going on so the bus tours were closed. That was kind of a bummer. Two of our girls had done the museum before but none of us had done the track lap, so we were all looking forward to that. Still it was cool to see those Ferraris racing on the road course. We could walk right down to the barricades and were maybe 100 feet away from them as they raced by. And even if you’re not a race fan – which I don’t think any of us are – it is really cool to see all the old race-winning cars that are in the museum. The kids all got to take a picture in a car and a couple of them drive a simulator that looked fun.

With friends from Kansas City in town it seemed necessary to share some of our inferior but still tasty local barbecue with them. Our go-to spot is less than a mile away and does a decent job. But we decided to shake it up and go to a place we had heard good things about down in the Broad Ripple area. It is a dual-concept space, with a German restaurant in front, a large, open beerhall-style space outside, and then they serve barbecue in the middle. The food was all ok, not great. They did have burnt ends on the menu, although under the appetizer section, and I felt obligated to try them. They were the best thing I had as my brisket sandwich was a little too fatty for my tastes and the sides were kind of meh.

We parents were laughing at how it took awhile for the kids to begin interacting. It’s been two years since they’ve seen each other, and although they remember each other and hear stories about each other from us, they didn’t immediately settle into a comfortable space until well after dinner. There was a lot of awkward silence at their end of the table at dinner. As the adults were finishing dinner a few of them went outside and played corn hole, which apparently began to break the ice. They all got in the pool when we got home and it took a good 15-20 minutes before they got truly comfortable together. Something did the trick, though, and they were finally talking, laughing, and running inside to watch Minecraft videos together. The rest of the weekend they did fine, and seemed disappointed when it was time to separate Sunday.

Saturday we went down to the Mass Ave area to show them one of the coolest parts of Indy. There have been a lot of changes in this district in the past couple years so this was just as fun for us. We went into several of the quirky shops and were laughing at all the funny magnets, cards, shirts, etc. Our girls especially loved picking up something that had an F-bomb or other naughty word on it, showing it to us, and then laughing when we laughed. We stopped at a really good taco place for lunch that we hadn’t heard of until that morning. As we were paying our bill we asked our server how long they had been open. He said they just passed one year. We really need to get out more.

In the afternoon and evening our friends the Heberts joined us for a pool party and cookout.

My fellow lovers of music, or just anyone who knows me and Mr. Nesbitt, would enjoy how we delighted at hearing old American Top 40s or Sirius Big 80’s countdowns throughout the weekend. There was much eye-rolling from the wives and kids, which I do not understand.

It was a busy and fast weekend, filled with good conversations and times. It was great to have long-time friends visit, even if I had just visited them two weeks earlier!

Going back to last week, Thursday all three girls had a friend over to swim and then we went to the festival at our old preschool’s church. We really enjoyed the festival this year because A) we went on wristband night when $20 bought the kids unlimited rides and we didn’t have to worry about tickets and B) we turned them loose and sat under a tent drinking a beer until some adult friends arrived. No more hand-holding while either L rides the kiddie rides, or the one girl who doesn’t have a friend there requires assistance. It was pretty nice!

Now shit starts getting real. Every girl will be in practice this week. M begins her orientation cycle on Wednesday. I know the shorter summers are better for retention of knowledge, test scores, and how are kids are prepared for their next academic steps. But these earlier starts still don’t feel right to me.

  1. Side note: my kickball supplier is out that way so I was able to stop in before and stock up on kickballs for the new season! 

Friday Playlist

“I Need a Teacher” – Hiss Golden Messenger. I’m never sure how to pronounce this band’s name. Is it hiss like a cat? Or just his with an extra S? Good thing I’m not podcasting anymore and don’t have to worry about it. This is right in their sweet spot.

“Forever Half Mast” – Lucy Dacus. Dacus put out a special track for Mother’s Day and then followed it up with this for the Fourth of July. It’s a pretty solid, modern protest song.

“The Way You Make Love” – Gena Rose Bruce. The most obvious comparison for Bruce’s sound is Mazzy Star. But Bruce has a swing and smolder that Hope Sandoval never, ever had in her music. This is a really good track.

“The Twist” – Wintersleep. As part of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Frightened Rabbit’s classic The Midnight Organ Fight, the band was working with artists they admire to produce an album of covers of all the Organ tracks. That project was nearly done before Scott Hutchison’s death but was set aside in the wake of his suicide. The surviving members put the final touches on the disk over the spring and released it two weeks ago. It’s been a weird listen for me. Organ is one of my four or five favorite albums ever, and hearing the entire thing covered, in order, with multiple versions of a few songs, is a little tough to get my head around.

It’s really a fine collection of performers: Craig Finn, Benjamin Gibbard, The Twilight Sad, Julien Baker, and Aaron Dessner of the National and Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES collaborating are the most notable names. I like some of the songs. Others I don’t particularly care for. I think it is because the lyrics were so personal to Scott that it is hard to hear others sing them.

Anyway, this is my favorite by a band I’ve enjoyed but never dove into enough. It is faithful to the original but you also know, immediately, that it is a Wintersleep track.

“Endless Summer” – The Jezabels. This video says it is uncensored. Scanning through it quickly I think it is just for some graphic-ish violence. Consider yourself warned.

Dog-ish Days

We are in weird times. I’m talking about our family and the point in the calendar we’re at, not more globally. Summer’s end is coming up quick and we’re beginning to squeeze in as much as we can. But we also just came out of the hottest stretch of weather in nearly seven years here in Indy, which made it tough to want to get out of the house. Or use the pool, which was a rather disgusting 98 degrees much of the weekend.

Fortunately, it has turned cooler, even if for only briefly, and life is a little better.

In the midst of all that heat, L had her soccer camp at Cathedral last week. This was her second year there and I could tell she thought she was pretty cool as high school players acknowledged her by name on the first day. They won the state title last year, and I think L feels like she was a part of that somehow. Unfortunately, she’s been fighting a minor injury to her dominant foot and struggled through camp. We’re hoping a couple weeks of rest will have her ready for the fall kickball and soccer seasons. Still, she had fun at camp.

M spent last week in Michigan with her best friend’s family. Man, was it a quiet, enjoyable, low-drama week in our house! I kid a little. She also had a fantastic time and is lobbying for us to head north next summer when her friend returns. I’m pretty mellow about sending my kids off with others. I will admit, though, I had some weird feelings about sending my almost 15-year-old off on a vacation without us. I hope she didn’t talk to any boys.

Friday night S and I went out on a local lake with one of her coworkers and her husband. It was a balmy 95 with a heat index well over 100, so the cheese tray they brought had to be consumed quickly. We were on their boat about five minutes before they asked if we missed our boat. I immediately said, “Nope,” and they laughed at how quick I responded. A little later, after we had cruised for awhile, S said, “Well, maybe we miss the boat a little.” Again I said, “Nope. Having friends who own a boat is way better than owning one yourself.”

Yesterday L went to the driving range at our local pitch-and-putt course with me. We planned on just hitting a few balls together. But midway through the bucket she asked if her swing was good enough to play. I watched her a bit and while there were plenty swings-and-misses, when she hit the ball it generally went the right direction. When we were done I asked if she wanted to play, she said yes, so we did a quick nine.

She didn’t do bad for her first time, a rather loose 47.1 She did manage to go six holes longer than me before she lost her first, and only, ball of the day. As I love to do on this course, my first tee shot was hot and scooted right through the green into the water behind it. She waited until the sixth hole to shoot a ball deep into a grove of pine trees. She seemed to both have fun and work up a healthy bit of frustration over poor swings. Which is what golf is all about, right?

Me? A pretty meh 35 after starting 5-5. Keep in mind, the longest hole is 84 yards and most are in the 60s. I generally only hit PW and maybe GW around the green. The last time I played this course in May my short game was much better and I was actually hitting putts. I guess the highlight of the day was some of those changes my coach made starting to feel a little more normal and me absolutely lacing my final tee shot over on the range. I figured it was time to stop hitting after that one and kicked the last few balls over to L.

I mentioned squeezing stuff in before the end of summer. M has a series of high school orientation events that begin next Wednesday. The following weekend she has a nine-hour – NINE HOURS! – thing that S and I have to join her for part of. I’m honestly not sure what the hell they’re going to do for that long. Especially when they have another orientation session the day before school starts. And we have a big parent meeting for all kids playing sports two nights before school begins. Her first day is August 8. C and L get an extra week before they go back.

Anyway, we’re taking the girls and friends to the festival hosted at the church they went to preschool at tomorrow night. This weekend we have friends coming in from KC.2 And I asked the girls today to make a list of what else we need to do before we start worrying about classes and fall sports practices. I think these next two weeks are going to fly.

  1. I say loose as we did not count misses, when she ran into trouble in some thick rough I only counted the swing that got her out of trouble, and she got a couple free re-hits. 
  2. More about that Monday. 

Friday Vid

“Long Hot Summer” – The Style Council
’Tis time for this annual vid. It has been a long, hot week. One of those weeks that makes you, for a moment, look forward to fall. Then you’re shaken and realize that you don’t really want summer to be over quite yet. Fortunately the forecast looks much more reasonable beginning Monday.

BTW, this is a weird-ass video. A clear sign that it is from the heart of the 1980s.

Reader’s Notebook, 7/17/19

My last two books both came from the same list, GQ’s The 31 Best Beach Reads, According to Your Favorite Writers. Both were solid recommendations.

The Municipalists – Seth Fried
Drew Magary suggested this novel, which he described as “…a sci-fi novel that reads like flawlessly researched nonfiction.” That’s a pretty good take.

The book is set in the not-so-distant future, in a time when much of the rural world has been wiped out in favor of hyper-planned mega cities. Our protagonist, Henry, is a boring, joyless planner who is hated by his coworkers because of his dedication to his job of making urban areas more efficient. Henry is selected to seek out a rogue coworker who may be behind a growing terrorist threat to the existing order. Henry’s partner is an AI projection of his organization’s central computing system, called OWEN. OWEN is funny as hell as he attempts to understand human interactions and find ways of making his projection seem like a normal human. For example, OWEN writes a few lines of code that cause his systems to perform somewhat erratically when he “drinks” from a flask to make him appear drunk. Or when faced with a large force of armed soldiers, OWEN unleashes a series of increasingly ridiculous images to try to drive the soldiers away. Included are crazy clowns and dinosaurs. Seriously, the OWEN stuff is funny.

Henry and OWEN save the day, but they are also left wondering if what they have saved is worth it, and if those who were fighting against the status quo weren’t on to something.

The Municipalists is a funny, smart, thought-provoking, well-crafted novel.

Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline – Darrel Bricker and John Ibbitson
I followed up with this book, recommended by Chuck Klosterman. In it Bricker and Ibbitson, two Canadians, argue that the world is on the verge of an astounding change in population. Because of urbanization; greater education, empowerment, and freedom for women; and shifting societal norms, the birth rate around the globe is dropping rapidly. Much of the western, developed world has already dropped well below the 2.1 children per family threshold that is considered “replacement” level reproduction. Even areas that we think of as having astronomical birthrates – China and India the two biggest examples – are seeing their birthrates drop dramatically. In fact, Bricker and Ibbitson postulate that China’s population could be roughly half its current number by the end of this century.

While most of the book is spent showing why this is happening and testing the theory across different countries and regions, they also get into the implications of these drops. At first, as smaller generations are forced to pay for the extended years of the larger generations in front of them, the dropping population will be a drag on economic growth. As there are fewer people to buy things, manufacturing of all stripes will suffer, too. But, they also point out, after the world population reaches a maximum of about 9 billion, it will rapidly decrease, which should in turn begin to solve many of our pollution, resource, and climate change issues.

They also suggest that the US is particularly well situated to take advantage of these changes. As Russia and China’s populations decrease rapidly, the US’ population is expected to continue to grow. Why? Immigration. The United States’ traditional immigration policies have filled holes left by the falling US birth rate. Russia and China, meanwhile, allow almost no immigrants to enter their countries, meaning they will continue to get smaller, and weaker, as the US keeps growing.

Ahhh, but there is a rub. And that is the dramatic shift in our immigration policies over the past two years. Remember, our Idiot in Chief has been nearly as aggressive at stopping legal immigration has he has fighting to build his wall. Should his policies continue, the authors argue, the US will be kicking away a built-in advantage they have over every other world power.

It’s an interesting take. The numbers and ideas behind those numbers seem to make sense. But it flies so counter into what we’ve been led to believe that it’s hard to know if the are on to something, or if they’re just making shit up to sell books. I mean, China is just going to keep getting bigger, right? Maybe not.

KC Trip Notes

A belated and brief wrap up of my weekend in Kansas City.

Thanks to Southwest’s always morphing flight schedule, I believe for the first time ever on one of these trips I flew over late in the afternoon, landing at 4:00. That certainly shortened the weekend up a bit. But, to be honest, often when I came over in the morning, after meeting people for lunch weariness would set in and I would seriously contemplate going to a library or bookstore and taking a quick nap. No need for that when you get in late in the day!

Friday evening I dined with friends at Char Bar. I had been there once before and it was another very solid meal. From there we went to the Westport Ale House for some drinks. We rolled in around 8:30 and thought it odd there were only a few other folks there. Turns out the kids don’t go out until later, because the joint started hopping right around 10-10:30. Which was about the time we were leaving. I noticed that there seemed to be more diversity in the bar than everywhere I went combined 20 years ago. Good to see Kansas City is changing.

Saturday I met some folks for lunch at Planet Sub. That seemed appropriate since we are about a month away from the 30th anniversary of my first visit to Yello Sub in Lawrence. To celebrate, I got the sandwich I’ve been ordering for three decades: Planet (Yello) Sub, no dijon. The best, Jerry, the best.

It was then off to Lee’s Summit to hang with friends before the Royals game. On our way to the K, we stopped and had Gates for dinner. Can’t go wrong, although I missed the more in-your-face Gates experience you get further into the city.

The Royals game was hot – HOT – for about the first 20 minutes until the shadows hit our seats. After we were able to cool off, it was a solid game. The Royals played well and wrapped up their win in a brisk 2.5 hours.

We were left needing something to fill the extra hour we planned on being at the K, so headed to a bar in my old stomping grounds of Raytown called The Dirty Bird. It was a surprisingly solid establishment. There certainly weren’t any bars like this in the RYT back in my day there.

Sunday I met friends for brunch at Port Fonda, a place that is new to me but has apparently been in Westport several years. It was tremendous, would definitely eat there again.

Then it was back to Indy.

I also got in my obligatory walk around the Plaza, drove by a couple of my old apartments, and did some other brief exploring. I got the girls some gear, although when I was moving some items around at KCI to make more room, I apparently misplaced the shirt I bought M. It was not in my bag when I got home. Fortunately she’s out of town for a week so I ordered a new one that should be here before she returns.

Several people asked how KC feels to me now. I recently realized that being gone 16 years is a long ass time.1 So when I go back, I’m not always sure what is new and what’s been there for five years but I haven’t stamped into my memory yet. While I don’t always remember the best way to get from point A to point B, there are also lots of little shortcuts that I can recall the moment I get to an intersection. The city is still in my DNA, but those traces get a little fainter each year.

It was great seeing all of you who made time to meet me one place or another. The food, baseball, and other things are all great. But spending time with my friends is always the best part about these trips.

  1. I’ve now lived a third of my life in Indianapolis. No, I’m still not a Hoosier. 

Friday Playlist

Some new songs from groups that still seem like representatives of new music, but have actually been putting out songs for a long time.

“Born and Razed” – The Raconteurs. Not a huge fan of the new album – it’s ok, should be better – but this is easily the stand-out track.

“Can’t Stop You” – Pete Yorn. I shared his other new single a few weeks back. I find this one to be both stronger and more reminiscent of his classic sound. Speaking of, I listened to his debut album musicforthemorningafter a couple nights ago. It is still amazing and is one of the albums that helped move my tastes a bit in the early 2000s. I’ll never understand why Yorn wasn’t a bigger star.

“No Bullets Spent” – Spoon. Spoon has been putting music out for 33 years now! I didn’t discover them until 2002’s Kill the Moonlight – “The Way We Get By” was on my favorite songs of the decade list – and that was their fourth studio album. Jeez. They are finally releasing a greatest hits compilation and this is the obligatory new track. It sounds what a Spoon track should sound like.

“Denver Haircut” – The Hold Steady. THS has been releasing a series of singles over the past couple years and most people figured they were one-off efforts. The band just announced that those singles will all be packaged with five new songs on an album out later this summer. It’s their first album in five years, and is the first with their full original lineup since 2008. Like the Spoon track, this is exactly what you would expect from THS.

“Footloose” – Live From Daryl’s House.
I’ve watched a few episodes of Live From Daryl’s House over the years. It is Daryl Hall’s web series where he brings in artists he likes, they talk, and play each other’s music. I randomly stumbled across this video earlier this week. I’m not sure how anyone can watch and not smile as they do. Kenny Loggins looks pretty good for being in his 70s.

Always the Student

I am a world famous procrastinator. I’ve been putting shit off my entire life. Sometimes, even when I’m all fired up about something, I’ll put off an important step in enjoying that thing because, well, that’s just what I do.

I remind you of that because today, after something like 11 months of thinking about it, I finally took my first golf lesson. In my defense I’ve had a coach picked out for awhile and he’s been unavailable for three weeks because of family and travel plans. Still, you’d think I would have figured this out in the winter so I could, you know, actually be playing golf by now.

Anyways, I got hooked up with a local D1 college coach who just happens to be the grandfather of one of L’s best friends. I had been looking online for someone close to me and relatively inexpensive when I remembered his name. I checked with L’s friend’s mom – who is one of my kickball coaches – and she told me her father-in-law loved to teach and passed me his contact info. We emailed a few times, he shared his very reasonable rates, and then I waited for his family vacation and his team’s trip to Scotland to pass before we could get together.

We were scheduled for 60-75 minutes but ended up working for nearly two hours. My game was just that bad! No, really, he is a talker and shared a story or two between almost every shot I hit. There were a few moments when I was anxious to step in and hit another ball but he would launch into another story. I realized after the session was over that he’s not just chatty, he’s also working on slowing me down so I’m not just pounding ball after ball mindlessly.

My first shot was perfect…for showing him my flaws. I took about a six inch divot behind the ball and skulled a 7 iron about 45 yards. Next shot was ok, third shot was really solid. “Oh, you can break 90 easy with that swing,” he said. Then he proceeded to start tinkering with things.

Fortunately I had read a lot about lessons over the past few months and knew that as soon as he started messing with my swing, it would pretty much go to shit for awhile. Sure enough, I bet over half of my shots were god-awful. Another quarter were piss-poor. Normally when I’m on the range, once I get in a rhythm I can actually look halfway decent. Between me thinking about what he was telling me and all the changes he made to my swing making it feel awkward, I was hitting more shitty balls than usual.

But in the last 15-20 minutes things locked in a little. The swing still did not feel right, but I started making better contact with more predictable results. I have never, ever been able to hit a driver consistently. Not with the old persimmon club I first played with, not with the cheap metal woods I had later, not with the bargain-bin, used Taylor Made club I bought last fall. I’m not going to say I hit the driver great today. But I also was not hitting the 40-yard slice I normally hit. A few would have been perfect shots if I had been traveling with him on the links courses last week; long, low shots that would roll for days on the Scottish turf.

So what did he do to me? We worked on weight transfer, which I know is my biggest issue. He, and others, have told me I have a decent swing. I just tend to not transfer my weight properly and that’s why I hit all kinds of fat or topped balls. He worked on getting me to understand the proper path that the club should take. A few words on tempo. He adjusted my grip so it was a little stronger. Moved the ball a little in my stance (he’s an advocate of the ball always being in roughly the same spot rather than moving it based on club selection.) Had me relax my right arm some at address, dip my right shoulder, and rotate both shoulders away from the open stance I didn’t realize I was taking.

It took us nearly two hours to get through a large bucket of balls. I would have liked to hit a few more, but with us running so long, his cost was well over half what a couple other pros I considered charged, so I’m not going to complain.

Now in addition to working on the changes he suggested, I need to get my ass on a real course. He suggested a course that I’ve got to hit balls at quite a bit as a good, affordable, fairly open course to play in the evening. He is in the process of moving closer to that course so our next session may be playing there together.

As I said, I had read up on lessons and what to expect, especially for someone of my skill level. Based on that, I definitely think this was a productive session that will help me get better. Still, there’s that little part of me that wanted to be hitting everything straight and long after just one lesson. Not sure I’ll ever get to that point, but I hope there was at least some minor improvement today.

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