Bob’s Memories

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Wonderful discovery of the green Band Box fastpitch jacket

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Over the 53 years I’ve been involved with fastpitch softball as a player, writer and photographer, I’ve collected a sizeable number of jackets. These are my favorites. From left, the photographer jacket the ISC issued me in 1996; the St. James, Minn. Band Box jacket I received in 1976 when I pitched for the team; the 1996 ISC commissioner’s jacket, my Yucaipa jacket of 1983, and I’m wearing my NAFA apparel from the 2017 World Series. But the green Band Box jacket is my prized fastpitch possession. Photo By NANETTE OTTO

YUCAIPA, Calif. – My wife has been on a cleaning binge of late. She’s pulling boxes off shelves, inspecting the contents, and more often than not tossing most of the things on the pile designated “yard sale stuff.”

Yesterday, she asked me to haul down from the rafters in the garage a large, heavy, blue toter. I followed her orders without complaint. As long as I’m free of decision making, I’m OK with her mission to unclutter our lives.

So I did as I was ordered and set the toter on the garage floor. I didn’t bother to open it. My job was finished.

Well, later in the day after she had opened the toter, she came back into the house and said:

“Bob, you better come and look at this stuff.”

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All you klutzes, listen to Andy and call a professional

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

My Whirlpool dryer quit heating, so I tore it apart hoping to solve the problem. And Rooney of 60 Minutes would have said, “leave those jobs to the professionals.” Photo By BOB OTTO

YUCAIPA, Calif. – I remember the late Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes once chiding homeowners who foolishly thought they could patch a roof, fix a leaky faucet, or install a new garage door.

“Leave those jobs to the experts,” he advised. “Most of us don’t have the knowhow for that kind of work. It takes a pro.”

Andy’s wisdom was meant for klutzes like me.

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Fallen Marine no match for tough wife

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

‘I couldn’t find the soup strainer so I used one of your socks.’

YUCAIPA, Calif. – Most people think of Marines as being strong and tough. That’s true in combat. But in sickness, I for one surrender like a whimpering coward.

I’m in my sixth day suffering through an ugly bout of a cold, or maybe it’s the flu. Runny, sniffling nose, watery eyes, pounding headache targeted just above my eyes; and let’s just say, I don’t stray too far from the bathroom.

In this sixth day, I’ve blown (literally) through four boxes of tissue. I think I’ve earned a rebate from Kleenex.

This nasty illness has also stricken my wife Nan. She has every symptom I have.

However, there’s a huge difference in how we are handling our shared suffering. My wife battles through the day like a brave Marine in hand-to-hand combat. She refuses to surrender to this most intrusive invader.

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As old as the dinosaurs

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

120115-BobBasketball.45web James Naismith Otto, the inventor of basketball and the sports’ very first stoneage player.

It’s my birthday and I was asked at Starbucks this morning by a young barista who has yet to shave: “Bob, just how old are you!?”

I didn’t want to answer numerically, so I said, “well, let me tell you this way.”

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First Day of Summer And The Kid Is Playing Hoops

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

120115-BobBasketball.45web Senior or masters basketball has become a popular sport for kids at heart, from baby boomers to those well into their 70s and 80s.

YUCAIPA – I remember as a kid rarely touching a basketball in June. Summers on a Minnesota farm were spent baling hay and cultivating about 220 acres of corn and soybeans from sun up to sun down.

For hardworking farm boys, precious free time for sports was spent in a cow pasture, or freshly baled hay field playing baseball or fast-pitch softball.

Basketball? Not even a thought. It’s a winter sport and in June there’s no snow on the ground.

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Immortalizing Kobe’s Greatness

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

YUCAIPA, Calif. – I have never been much of a Kobe Byant fan. Principally because he’s a Laker and I’ve hated the Lakers ever since they snuck out of Minneapolis in 1960 and had all that enviable success in LaLa Land, and all that ballyhooed “Showtime” with Magic and company.

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Putting some bounce in my workout

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

senior.Bball.web Senior basketball (ages 50 to 83) players of the Drayson Center in Loma Linda, Calif. I am first on the left of the bottom row.

YUCAIPA, Calif. – Yesterday I rode the stationary bike for 20 minutes and didn’t enjoy one minute of it. I also lifted weights and that wasn’t much fun either.

I needed to make a change in my stale fitness routine and today I did. I asked myself: “What do I really enjoy doing physically to stay in shape?” The answer came quick – basketball.

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Old backyard friend gets a reprieve

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

060214-Plum_Tree.867lr The old plum tree has lost some limbs and has been decaying, but in its 62 years of living and growing in the Otto’s backyard, it continues to produce delicious Santa Rosa plums year after year. Photo By BOB OTTO

YUCAIPA, Calif. – Our backyard has long been anchored by two old fruit trees, an apple and a plum. In the 35 years we’ve lived in the home, both trees have born lush fruit. Never failing, year after.

Our deed states the home was built in 1952. So I’m guessing the trees were planted about the same time. So bushels and bushels of plums and apples have been picked or fallen from those two trees. Not only feeding my family and friends, but also the flock of wild parrots that seem to know just when the fruit is ripe and ready for gorging.

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Mind and body reach compromise: play at old Bill’s pace

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

senior.Bball.web Bob Otto, front row, far left, and his senior basketball playing buddies find it hard to give up the game even with an assortment of nagging and sometimes serious injuries.

YUCAIPA, Calif – I have two parts to my being that sometimes argue over each other’s judgement – my mind and my body.

I play basketball in a senior pick-up league. We’re all a bunch of old guys with the youngest about 52. And way, way on the other side of the age spectrum is “old Bill” as we call him, at 81. I’m in the middle at 64.

But I seem to be the one getting hurt the most: pulled hamstring, strained calf muscles, two elbow shots to the mouth, a bloodied nose, and a sprained ankle along with a sore back.

But nothing too serious to keep me off the court. That is until July 1st.

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Southern Californians don’t know cold

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

manurespreader

YUCAIPA, CALIF – It’s 34 degrees this morning and Southern Californian’s – accustomed to sunshine and warmth – are bitching about the cold. Many of my fellow Yucaipans are bundled up in stocking caps and scarves, mittens and long underwear.

“Brrrr, it’s freezing!” they exclaim. Little do they know real cold – much less FREEZING temps where the thermometer plunges well below zero. I’m a farm-raised Minnesotan. I can tell you about unbearable winter weather, and so I will.

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