Commentary: More Random Thoughts

By Louis A. Zona

I’m not someone who enjoys working out or even being in a gym. Maybe it’s because my high school years included terrible gym classes that killed any sense of fun I once had for physical activities.

 The days I had gym were torture for me. Don’t get me wrong, All kids in school should have physical activities as part of their curricula. But those days should be a break from the pressures of school instead of adding to them.

I particularly remember that in my high school gym classes were guys who could never climb a rope if their lives depended on it. I was one of them. Push-ups? You’ve got to be kidding. And you should have seen me wrestle the toughest dude on the school’s wrestling team, Artie. But hey, I held him off for a solid six (count ’em) seconds!

At least I did not have to attend the public middle school that required nude swimming. But my poor brother, Jerry, did. I remember that he dreaded swim day and I certainly would have as well. But why in the world would swimming class require nudity? It does give one pause.

I hope that practice is long gone. But come to think of it, I can’t remember a single day in gym class that I enjoyed, although I love sports, particularly baseball and college football. Gym class should be fun and I envy anyone who had a good experience climbing a rope or being pinned by Artie.

What follows are more of my random thoughts.

What happened to tomatoes this year? I don’t know of anyone who was pleased with the taste of the tomatoes they grew in their gardens this year. I’m probably a tomato snob but homegrown tomatoes that taste good are worth waiting for all summer.

I guess I’m back to hydroponic tomatoes from Giant Eagle whose only purpose is to add a little red color to your sandwich or dinner salad.

I do remember my father’s tomatoes that were so good that we’d eat them right off the vine like apples from a tree.

I remember a news story from a while back that condemned the eating of tomatoes. I guess that it must have been a communist plot.

Just imagine, a world without tomatoes! What would we do without pizza or marinara sauce? Whoever the commies were that stirred up that tomato controversy should be required to live off fried green tomatoes for the rest of their lives.

Full disclosure: I never ate fried green tomatoes, but I did see the movie.

I’ve been watching a lot of Major League Baseball but I’m not sure that I like the new rules put into place because of the virus.

Did you know, for example, that baseball is no longer a game with no clock? Well, that’s partially true since if the game ends in a tie, the team at bat can place a runner at second base and the first team to score wins.

I guess I do like the limits placed on the number of times a manager, or even the catcher, can go out to talk to the pitcher.

I remember that we once had the famous relief pitcher Kent Tekulve speak at The Butler. He told us of a World Series game when none of his pitches seemed to be working. First baseman Willie Stargell called time and walked over to Tekulve and said, “Teke, you have a runner on first base. You have a runner on second base. And you have a runner on third base. Why don’t you go over to play first base and I’ll pitch?”

Tekulve said if you watch the tape of the ’79 World Series, you’d see him bursting into laughter after that mound visit by Stargell.

I used to be against the whole idea of a designated hitter and was sorry to see the American League adopt it. But after seeing the National League adopt it too during the abbreviated virus period, I think I like it.

More offense is good although there are still many fans who like the old pitcher duels that end in 1-0 scores.

Here’s another random thought: I’m teaching my university art history class virtually. This virtual stuff does indeed protect students and teachers. But boy do I miss standing in front of the class and delivering an old fashioned lecture! On the other hand, this virus is a mean you know what!

Moving on, have those of you who have reached a certain age noticed that the popular songs we grew up listening to are relegated to background music on television commercials?

In a similar vein, I heard a radio personality actually say while I was shaving this morning that he did not like Elvis Presley. Not like Elvis Presley? How could anyone not like The King?

The reality is that his voice was incredible and were it not for Elvis, so much of rock ’n’ roll would not exist. He inspired everyone from the Beatles and The Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan and The Everly Brothers to most country musicians.

I actually got to see Elvis in concert through the generosity of an old friend. As I recall, people stood on the backs of their chairs for the entire two-hour concert, making it uncomfortable and adding to the difficulties endured with half the people singing along. Don’t you hate that?

Anyone who visits Las Vegas is entering Elvis Land. It’s hard not to bump into an Elvis impersonator as you walk through the malls and casinos. At one of the casino malls was an Elvis look-alike wearing the costume based upon what Elvis wore in his famous “Viva Las Vegas” appearance. I walked up to him and told him that I didn’t remember Elvis being that tall. He replied, “That’s right – I’m the king-sized King!”

Back when Elvis was with us you could say that every woman loved Elvis and every man wanted to be like Elvis.

One last thought: Don’t eat tomatoes with your Elvis suit on.