Bobblehead dolls bring life full circle

Published 10:15 am Saturday, July 23, 2022

What were you doing in the summer of 1998?

 

I had just completed my Ole Miss Ph.D., in Counseling the May before, worked on Campus as Assistant Director of the Ole Miss Career Center in Martindale and teacher, then Director of MBA Career Services in the Ole Miss School of Business Administration, teacher, then Psychologist NMRC; son Stephen was a Senior at Vanderbilt majoring in Molecular Biology – came to Ole Miss for his MS in Bio-Chemistry, then PharmD at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and now Associate Scientific Director, US Medical Affairs at AbbVie; son Scott had just graduated from Sikeston, MO high school, freshman at Ole Miss that fall – then Director of Solar Energy, Kansas City, MO, and son Shane, was in Sikeston’s 8th grade; graduated – BA English, University of Missouri Kansas City, MFA Creative Writing West Virginia University, Ph.D., Creative Writing University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 2022, and teacher – so proud of all of us!   

Meanwhile, professional baseball in the summer of 1998 was asleep – then bam! two guys nicknamed “Big Mac,” and “Slammin’ Sammy” woke the sports and world up with an electrifying day-to-day home run slugfest to see who could break Roger Maris’ until then untouchable, single season 61 home runs in 1961.

Every day, as with most other people with blood flowing in their veins, I followed this tit-for-tat to see who would hit it out of the park that day, with #25, Mark McGuire, St. Lous Cardinals, and Chicago Cubs, #21, Sammy Sosa – wow, so fun, so exciting, so energizing to our monotonous lives!

Then that August, Shane won four free tickets to a Cardinals baseball game by either selling Burger King Bucks or by Perfect Attendance (well done now Dr. Shaner!) and on Saturday, August 11, 1998, Stephen, Scott, Shane and I were in St. Louis, Missouri’s Busch Stadium, swell seats down the first base line, to watch Big Mac hit No. 47 out of the park against, Bobby Jones, in a losing effort against the New York Mets 8-3 – but, we were there, in life, in this exciting home run race with my boys – eventually won by Big Mac with a home run on September 8, 1998 against Sosa and the Cubs pitcher Steve Trachsel with #62, and would eventually hit 70 home runs … Sosa would finish with 66…bloody hell, wow!

Keeping all this in the family, ironically, on April 17, 1998, McGuire hit No. 8 against my second cousin, Matt Whiteside with the Texas Rangers and from our hometown Charleston, MO … so surreal … so swell!

That baseball season, I was so into this exciting home run race, I ordered bobble head dolls of McGuire and Sosa from Major League Baseball’s “Bobble Dobbles,” still have them, unopened in the box on top of a bookshelf in my home office, and sort of forgot about them until a month ago, 24 years later, when in Oxford’s Regions Bank working with my friend Jody Fortenberry and he had a bobble head of Ole Miss Football Coach Lane Kiffin on his desk, asked how he got it – friend gave to him, do you want it, I have another – Ole Miss cheer, hell yes damn right – thanks, Jody!

Which got me wondering if there was a bobble heard of my hero, Ole Miss Baseball Coach Mike Bianco.  I searched the web couldn’t find one, then last week, asked Jerry Marquette, dad of Camie Bianco, wife of Coach B who sit behind me at daily Mass, St. John’s Oxford Catholic Church, if he knew where I could get a bobble head of coach and he said, “Let me check, I know a guy…”  Ha!

This Tuesday, July 19, Jerry, Patty, granddaughter Sadie sitting behind me as always, Camie arrived and chatting with her, about fell over as she pulled out a box with Coach B’s bobble head!! I could say wow, but prefer Scottish fiancé’s, bloody hell – thus bringing me full circle from that awesome slugfest in the summer of 1998, heroes St. Louis Cardinals, second favorite team, Cubs – Kiffin’s close, but haven’t met him and is not yet a hero, to hero Ole Miss Coach B, miracle baseball team and College World Series National Champions…whew, give me a minute to get my bloomin’ bobble head around all this…!

Life can be tough, made of what we do for each other day in and day out to lighten our load, and rewarded once in a while by special events, our heroes and friends that energize and keep us going…GO WORLD – GO LIFE – GO Y’ALL – GO REBELS!  And…Thank you, God….

 

Steve is an Oxford resident, worked on Campus, received his Ph.D. in Counseling from Ole Miss, is an LPC, NCC, and can be reached at sstricke@olemiss.edu.