One for the road

Friends, this is the column I never wanted to write. After many years, this will be my final byline for the Ballston Journal.

There is much I want to say before signing off. First of all, I hope you have been able to see how much I have enjoyed writing for this newspaper, especially the past few years as a columnist. Somehow I managed to bang out something for this space each week. [Read more…]

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Independence Day in Ballston Spa

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Patriotic song for a patriotic night.

Patriotic song for a patriotic night.

BALLSTON SPA — The Village of Ballston Spa celebrated the Fourth of July by holding an old-fashioned concert in the park featuring the Ballston Spa Community Band.

The concert on July 4th  is part of the Concerts in the Park Series put on every Thursday evening in Wiswall Park during the summer by the Ballston Spa Business & Professional Association. [Read more…]

Changing Times in Saratoga County

Last week, Halfmoon Supervisor and Saratoga County Board of Supervisors member Mindy Wormuth, giving into the inevitable, announced she would not challenge Kevin Tollisen, an attorney and former town justice, in the Republican primary for her seat. Town Republicans had previously endorsed Tollisen for the office, dumping the incumbent in the process. In typical Wormuth style, she blasted the endorsement process, saying, “(i)t was very much of a backroom deal done in a style of deceitful political conduct that I do not approve of.”

Backroom deal? Perhaps. But, to be fair, Wormuth is probably qualified to make such statements, having shown herself to be something of an expert on the matter.  [Read more…]

Letters, We Get Letters

Dear Readers, incredibly, June is here, which means it’s been three months since we took a look at the letters in the ol’ Village Voice Mailbox. So, let’s give it a go!

Q: Dear Sam, Wiswall Park just isn’t the same without the huge tree in the middle, is it?

A: Well, no, it isn’t. But, is it a good thing, or a bad thing? I definitely have some mixed feelings about that grand old tree, which took a fatal tumble last month, the victim of bad weather. As an organizer of many events in Wiswall, I hated it. It got in the way of acts playing in the gazebo and cut down on the number of people who could attend such gatherings. That said, it sure was a highlight every December when Santa lit the tree after the Christmas parade. And, closer to home, for years it was my mother who took care of the flowers around the tree (and yelled at the kids stepping on said flowers during the events.) So, final verdict? We will agree with the questioner, it just isn’t the same.

Q: What’s the deal with Patti Southworth, I thought she was running for County Clerk?

A: She was, dear reader, she was. Southworth, the Town of Ballston supervisor, had previously announced she would not seek reelection so she could seek the county clerk position. Now she says she will look beyond Ballston, beyond Saratoga County, and on to New York State, either towards the state Senate or Assembly. Given the dysfunction that is Ballston politics, the mess which is the NYS Legislature would seem to be a perfect fit. However, I’ll believe it when I see it. She says she has received several calls from people urging her to go this route. Interesting. I do have to say it will be much harder for her to fire bookkeepers at the state level than in Ballston.

Q: Sam, any thoughts of Ingrid Melander’s passing?

A: When I saw Ingrid’s obituary in the newspaper last week, I was shocked, then deeply saddened. What a lovely woman. I had the pleasure to serve with her on the BSBPA board of directors for many years and marveled at her quiet efficiency. In more recent times, she would just seem to even more quietly come up from behind me with her beautiful smile, and chat about things. On a couple of occasions, she complimented me on something I had written. While such compliments are always nice, when it came from someone I respected as much as Ingrid Melander, well, it would give me a feeling of elation unlike few others.

Q: What’s the latest with Maplewood Manor?

A: Saratoga County’s nursing home has been in the news for pretty much the last year, and I am sure they would love to see that change. Doesn’t look like it will happen any time soon, though. The latest revolves around Carlton Decker, the 85-year-old resident who last December somehow ended up outside the building on a frigid night, and wasn’t discovered until morning. Decker died shortly after. Last week it was reported Maplewood, and Saratoga County, will be defendants in a lawsuit pertaining to this incident. Between this, and the potential legal issues they face as a result of another alleged negligence over 83-year-old Janice Woodley’s death (she was allegedly given insulin intended for another resident), the legal fees could add up. Wonder how many taxpayers who want Maplewood to stay county-owned have changed their minds?

Q: Sam, doesn’t the first weekend in June mean gargantuan garage sales in the village?

A: It sure does! If you are in the market for VHS versions of bad 1980s movies, mismatched china, or maybe a Spice Girls poster, this is the weekend for you. There will be cars trolling through the village probably as early as 7 a.m. on Saturday, looking for the best deals. Be especially aware of the shoppers with the fanny pack. These people mean business, and they will try to beat you up on the price, and if you by chance get between them and something they want, well, the results won’t be pretty.

To wrap up this letters session, we will address a pressing matter from a reader in Milton:

Q: Dear Sam, what are you doing this weekend?

A: Avoiding fanny pack-wearing garage sale shoppers.

Well that’s it for now. Until next time, keep those cards and letters coming!

To contact Sam email sam@theballstonjournal.com

To comment on this Ballston Journal column please log in and use the comment box below 

A Scouting Change, a Divisive Opinion

Memorial Day weekend is typically not a very newsy time, and as such the newspaper columns which follow are usually of the standard flag waving, parade marching, remember those who have fallen variety. So, on Saturday, I headed to Front Street for the Ballston Spa Memorial Day Parade, looking for something.

But while I was waiting for the parade to step off I checked my phone and saw a Letter to Editor on the Journal’s site which caught my eye.

The letter’s author was John Lombardo, and the subject matter was his, to put it mildly, displeasure with the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to allow openly gay scouts within their ranks. He called it “disgraceful.” The letter was quite passionate in expressing his views, certainly not politically correct (for these times anyways), and as such, sure to generate a bit of controversy.

Mr. Lombardo is a local scouts leader, and I interviewed him last October for a column I was writing on some of the good things our local scouts were doing.

As expected, Lombardo’s letter generated a firestorm of responses on the Journal’s Facebook page.

Many were appalled at what he had to say. Part of his missive mentioned he would reconsider having his family members continue in scouting due to BSA’s decision, fearful of having his own child alone with another gay scout.

The BSA has struggled with this decision for years. And yes, there have been some documented unfortunate incidents, in which young boys have been victims.

I was for many years a scout leader while my son was going through the ranks, and I can tell you, the application vetting process is arduous, as it should be. And strict rules? On one occasion, a neighbor called me and asked if I could drive his son, also a scout, to a scout pack meeting. Not surprisingly, I helped my neighbor and gave his kid a ride. Very surprisingly, I was reprimanded by my Pack leader for breaking the rule of being around a scout without another parent present. An innocent mistake on my part, but the rule is very understandable: they are trying to protect the boys.

And, to that end, openly gay scout leaders are still not allowed. When, and if, that policy ever changes will likely be more gut wrenching and divisive than the change they just made.

Now back to John Lombardo’s letter. Regardless of what I think of his opinion, I absolutely feel he has a right to it. And he has a right to express it in the Op-Ed section of a newspaper.

Several respondents were not happy with the Journal for printing these views. My question is, why? If at the same time a letter arrived from someone praising BSA for their decision, it would have been published as well. (To be fair, at first it looked as though it was our own editorial; even after this was corrected many were still honked off we published the letter.)

No, the reason for the anger was because in this age of totally polarizing views, people not only want their view to “win” (as in the situation with BSA changing their policy), they want everyone else to feel the same way. And if by chance someone does not, well then they are a horrid person. Sort of like having their cake and eating it too.

And guess what? There are plenty of people who feel the same way Lombardo does. And, there always will be. Gay rights have made enormous strides, and it appears there is more to come, probably quite quickly. What is not as quick, however, is for long held views and beliefs for some to change.

I applaud Lombardo for the courage to express such strong views and sign his name to it. Just as I applaud others to publicize their opposing view.

It also shows how much times have changed. A generation ago the courageous letter would have been in going public with a pro-gay stance. Now, the opposite is true, given the immediate backlash to the type of letter Mr. Lombardo wrote.

Meanwhile, back to the parade. The scouts, as always, were part of it, marching and looking proud in their uniforms. For whatever it’s worth, not a single thing looked different.

To contact Sam email sam@theballstonjournal.com

To comment on this Ballston Journal column please log in and use the comment box below

BSBPA Celebrates 30 Years of Community

On Monday, March 18 the Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association held its Annual Meeting and Community Mixer at the Ballston Spa Elks Club. But this year’s meeting was especially notable for both the changes in the association’s leadership and it’s commemoration of a special landmark: their 30 years of serving the local business community.

The BSBPA was formed in 1983 to promote business in downtown Ballston Spa and serve the interests of the public at large. Over the years the association has grown, and now stands at 274 active members, including 195 businesses, 38 nonprofits and 41 resident members.

One of those resident members is Ellie Dillon, who was a founding member of the board of directors and is finally retiring from the association. Dillon was presented with a certificate of appreciation by the association at Monday night’s gathering, but found herself at a loss for words when accepting it.

“For the first time in 30 years, I’m speechless,” she said, then stepped away from the podium.

Outgoing association president Jim Whittredge was also presented with a certificate of appreciation. Whittredge has been president of the association since 2009, with a brief hiatus in 2011 as Dan DeFabio took over the reins. DeFabio had to step aside shortly after taking over to deal with a family health situation, and Whittredge stepped back in to finish out his term.

BSBPA executive administrative assistant Ellen Mottola, who worked closely with Whittredge during his tenure, presented the outgoing president with his certificate.

Outgoing BSBPA president Jim Whittredge being presented with a certificate of appreciation by Ellen Mottola. Photo courtesy The Chamber of Southern Saratoga County

Outgoing BSBPA president Jim Whittredge being presented with a certificate of appreciation by Ellen Mottola. Photo courtesy The Chamber of Southern Saratoga County

“I’m going to miss my daily lunchtime phone call,” Mottola said. “Every day the phone would ring and I’d answer and the voice on the other end would say ‘hello Ellen, this is James H. Whittredge.'”

Mottola recounted how Whittredge would eat breakfast at a different place each morning. “Jim has always tried to spread the wealth,” she said, before presenting Whittredge with his certificate.

For his part, Whittredge was gracious in accepting the appreciation of the association he has led for most of the past five years.

“The thing I value the most from this are the friendships I’ve developed,” he said.

Whittredge will continue with the organization as a board member and immediate past president, but the main focus of his ongoing community service will shift to the Ballston Spa Lion’s Club.

Mottola was effusive in her praise for Whittredge in an email to the Journal.

“I think the thing about Jim is his real commitment to Ballston Spa, not only through the BSBPA, but also as a longtime member of Union Fire Company and a member of the Ballston Spa Lions Club, where he is also president,” Mottola said in her message. “And he is active in these groups, not just there in name only.”

Whittredge was very much a hands-on president, Mottola said.

“Beyond being just president of the BSBPA board, he’s usually out there on most of the First Fridays, stopping in at the different venues,” she said. “He has helped run the Ice Cream Social and Annual Meetings for the past few years. He and I do the holiday parade together–it’s us at the step off area directing floats and fire trucks and marchers. He parks cars during the Way We Were Car Show every year. He and his family are sponsors for events like the concerts and the car shows. He steps in to do a lot and, as I said, he has earned a bit of a rest.”

Whittredge’s big shoes are being filled by incoming president Sam Capuano*, who is a longtime member of the association and has served as an officer and a board member of the BSBPA, most recently as the organization’s secretary.

“This association has a long history of giving to the businesses and residents of the community,” Capuano said in a statement to the Journal. “As a long time board member it gives me great satisfaction as to our role in the resurgence of the 12020 in recent times. And, looking forward I am humbled to be following in the footsteps of some great past BSBPA presidents, and excited at the challenges ahead.”

One of those challenges is continuing to grow the membership, but there are some healthy signs for the association. This year, there will be 23 members of the board, making it close to full for the first time in years.

The incoming officers are Sam Capuano, President (Sunmark Federal Credit Union); Wayne McCormick, 1st Vice President (Earth Care Plus); Roseanne Antolick, 2nd Vice President (Adirondack Trust Company); Cyndi Pastore, Secretary (Resident), and Donna Avery, Treasurer (Ballston Spa National Bank).

The new board will include Eileen Albright (T-Shirt Graphics), Jodi Almela-Monaco (Resident), Dan Barner (Prolific Marketing), Cliff Baum (Coffee Planet), Jere Blackwelder (Resident), Bill Breheny (Allstate Financial Services), Michelle Burlingame (Burlingame Orthodontics), Jim Dalpe (WAM Commercial Associates), Kelly Delaney-Elliott (Elliott Property Services), Melanie Dillman (Resident), Stephen Farnham (Resident), Dominic Garrant (Edward Jones Investments), Tina Mangino-Coffey (Mangino Chevrolet Buick GMC), Eric Seplowitz (Captured Light Photography), Steve Springer (Springer Holdings, LLC), Bernadette Van Deinse (Resident), Deanna Veet (Resident) and Whittredge (Ballston Spa Lions Club).

Barner, Blackwelder, Burlingame, Dillman, Farnham and Garrant are all new board members.

The association is planning to host 30 events this year to commemorate their anniversary, 23 of which have already been scheduled. Other initiatives include a Member Benefit Card, Map Guides for locals, tourists and transplants (around 200 of which are shipped to Charleston, S.C. for distribution to Navy personnel who are being transferred to the area), and the ongoing Gift Certificate Program and Billboard campaign.

Last year, over 90 merchants and business participated in the Gift Certificate Program for a total of $14,476 in sales and $11,615 in redemptions.

For information on the BSBPA, monthly newsletters and a schedule of events, visit them online at www.ballston.org.

*Disclosure: Sam Capuano is Senior Columnist for The Ballston Journal.

To contact the reporter and editor on this story email kevin@theballstonjournal.com

Gun control overload?

BY SAM CAPUANO
sam@theballstonjournal.com

Gun control stories, while never too far from the news cycle, have been seemingly everywhere since the tragedy in Connecticut a couple months ago. I have jotted down a few words on the topic myself in this space; it has become the trendy thing to do.

Over the past few weeks, Governor Andrew Cuomo and President Barack Obama have seized the moment to push for more gun control. They are both smart politicians, riding high in popularity polls, and they are making their core constituency happy with such pushes.

And, meanwhile, last Saturday a huge gathering in our nation’s capital marched for gun control.

Closer to home, and in direct response to the fact the Newtown shootings were at a school, there was a forum at Ballston Spa High School last week to discuss the subject of guns and how we can keep our schools safer. Now, this is something we can sink our teeth into.

First and foremost, kudos to the BSCSD for having such a discussion, which is largely free of the politics exhibited by the governor and the president. The school safety issue is one in which any parent with school aged kids, such as your columnist, is particularly interested. There are several things we are concerned with during the day; whether or not our kids will be part of a tragedy at school should not be one of them. But the reality is, given the events of the past few years, the concern has to be there.

Can every school be safer? Absolutely. We can make any situation safer. The fact is, our schools are much safer now than when I was a student. But what is the correct and/or proper amount to spend for this safety?

The National Rifle Association has suggested guns in the hands of school officials would help solve the problem. At the risk of offending my friends on the right, let me say: no thanks. I do not want my kids to pass security checkpoints every day on their way to classes. And, if such guns would be in place, it would be a matter of when, not if, one of them wounds someone in the school.

In my day job, as an auditor, I have to assess internal controls at a financial institution and then make recommendations for improvement. Every one of those recommendations comes with some sort of a cost. This is not to say one should put a price tag on human safety. My co-workers daily realize they could be subject to an armed robbery. But most branches, especially in these parts, do not have armed guards. What we do is preach awareness and safety. And presentations from local police as to what we all can do to be safe are part of the picture, too.

At the high school forum, Shenendehowa’s respected superintendent Oliver Robinson said he was not in favor of school officials packing heat, and he suggested it might create too much of a sense of isolation. He said teaching our kids greater awareness would help. Indeed it would.

I don’t want to see our schools become fortresses. When I have to visit my kids’ schools during the day, there is a process involved. This includes being buzzed in, signing in, wearing a visitor’s badge, etc. It is a pain, which is exactly how it should be.

Last month, when I went to give my son some money as he was sitting in the student section in the bleachers at a high school basketball game, I was told by the faculty dude that adults were not allowed in that section. This is a nice rule, and not just because I didn’t have to give the boy any money.

Are these precautions going to stop some whack job, armed to the teeth, from coming into the school guns a-blazin’? No, it will not. Friends, I can’t think of anything that will. But, these are smart, prudent steps. And our kids are better off for it.

Unless our schools start to resemble the TSA line at airports, we will never have 100 percent safety. Do we want to subject our kids to this kind of regimen every day? I think not. And I am a firm believer that when and if we resort to this style of quasi-martial law, the bad guys win. We lose. And I hate losing. Especially to the bad guys.

A Ballston Spa Breakfast

BY SAM CAPUANO
sam@theballstonjournal.com

Last week, Vicki and I met my parents for a Sunday morning all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet at the Ballston Spa Elks Club. I’m always a little leery about buffets, as some people tend to get, shall we say, carried away. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case this time, and no one treated the buffet as a trough. It was a fine time, and I managed to catch up with some locals I hadn’t seen in awhile.

Which is why I like eating breakfast in public. In many instances, such as the aforementioned buffet at the Elks, it is a chance to chat with friends in the community who may be out after church, or maybe just wanting to take get away for a bit. And no matter what, it’s not possible to cook a breakfast at home as good as the one you can get out in public.

Alas, the Elks only have their buffet once a month. Fortunately, there are several breakfast options for those wishing to eat the most important meal of the day on a more consistent basis without leaving the confines of the village.

A long time favorite is Coffee Planet, which just celebrated its tenth year in business. In those years, it has expanded its space, briefly offered some trendy beers, and now even has an ice cream station. But, throughout all of this, it’s still the place to go for morning discussion. Stop in there any morning and you can always see some sort of business meeting going on among those who are sitting, while others dash in and grab a cup to go. (If they’re smart, they’ll order the tasty egg and cheese on a bagel, too.) The Planet is at the figurative, and literal, center of the business district.

Another great option for the morning meal opened last year on Front Street. The Iron Roost offers a somewhat different approach than the Planet. First of all, everything is served on a waffle. Which is a beautiful thing. The location is prime, too. Grabbing a late morning Saturday breakfast in the summer while watching and listening to the music at the Wiswall Park Farmers Market across the street is a fine way to spend some time.

Both the Planet and the Roost have also become the trendy places in town to bring your laptop and get some work done (and maybe even write a newspaper column) while enjoying your breakfast and having a coffee or three.

One place which has been serving it up for longer than those two places combined is the White House. There are daily breakfast specials which, alas, I can not take advantage of because of my schedule. But I do love going there on Sundays. People are crammed in there, but somehow it doesn’t seem too crowded. People eating there are comfortable about their food, and about being in a familiar place. If you want to have a great breakfast in one of Ballston Spa’s most historic buildings, then this is the place for you.

Some like their breakfast served up with no frills, just tasty and hearty. If so, head just up the street from White House and stop in at Tresa’s Cafe. On their Facebook page, they’ve boasted of “The best breakfast in Ballston Spa.” Well, I will leave that designation up to my readers, but, Tresa’s is certainly in the conversation when it comes to that argument.

As someone who has to get to the day job in Latham early every day, I don’t always have the luxury Monday through Friday to stop into most of these places, as I typically blow through town before they open. Which makes the Russell’s Deli 5 a.m. opening time so nice. As anyone who has ever stopped into Russell’s can attest, it is impossible to leave there hungry. This would include consumption of “Russell’s Special,” egg on a roll with cheese and all kinds of meat. The deli also has some great sports pictures up on the wall, rivaling those of some sports bars.

Plenty of great choices to be sure, but wait, there’s more. This one is so new, I haven’t had a chance to try it yet: Good Morning, on Doubleday Avenue, which opened this month. The early buzz is good, so there is yet another option for us.

People can say what they want about us, but, we do know how to eat, don’t we?

It's just a fantasy

BY SAM CAPUANO
sam@theballstonjournal.com

Recently, on a rainy night, 10 secretive individuals armed with brief cases silently filed into the D-Line Pub and made their way into the back room. A long table had been set up for the occasion. They acknowledged each other with head nods, and perhaps a handshake, as they sat down and removed their research papers.

The purpose of this gathering? Was it a board of directors meeting? Nope? Mafia leaders trying to settle a feud? Negative. These fine folks (which included your columnist) were setting up shop for a fantasy football draft.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a group of (soon to be former) friends gather to select National Football League players in the skill positions (quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, etc), along with a kicker and a team defense. Each person picks a team of 14 players, from which seven are chosen each week, as you are matched up against another team from your league.

When it comes time for the game, there is a points’ system for each player, which factors in statistics like rushing yards, passing yards and touchdowns. The player with the most points wins.

For years, I had scoffed at such fantasy leagues. To me, the game had always been the thing. That is, winning and losing teams. Who cares what the individuals did? When I played ball, we were always told by our coaches that football is not an individual sport. Such naïve thinking.

Since I had never been involved in a fantasy league, I was the perfect choice for my league commissioner to ask to fill a vacancy. I was a great pigeon for the other nine, all experienced participants. Because, if I haven’t mentioned it before, some leagues, mine included, require an entrance fee, and it’s not pocket change. So, as much as I’d like to think I was asked to join the league because of me being a great friend, let’s not kid ourselves. I offered them the perfect characteristic for a new player: someone who was willing to pay the entrance fee, but one who had absolutely zero chance of winning.

There are an estimated 36 million fantasy football players in North America, and the key word for all of them is research. Prior to my draft, I had scanned the fantasy rankings on the websites of ESPN, CBS Sports and Yahoo. I then scratched out a few helpful suggestions prior to the picks. I felt confident until I saw the well-organized system of my opponents. One even had a color coded chart. Uh oh.

After the draft order was carefully and scientifically selected (we picked numbers out of a dirty Yankees cap) we were seated in our draft order. And then we were off and running. The one nice thing about having low expectations is I wasn’t getting too worked up about it. The only real emotion I showed was when someone knocked over my beer. But, there were actually stressful moments on the part of some of those around the table. That’s when I realized this is big-time stuff.

Then come the games each week. I selected my week one starters. Now, while I am an NFL fan, I usually don’t get too into it until the weather turns cold. As opening day was gorgeous outside, I chose instead to hop in my kayak and go for a paddle on Saratoga Lake. Then it happened. When I was finishing up around 4 p.m., I grabbed my smart phone and checked the scores. Actually, I didn’t give a rip about the scores. Instead, I checked the performances of those I had selected, which was followed by some cursing. And then came some of the same stress and heartburn I saw my opponents exhibit the night of the draft. Hoo boy, this could get addictive quite quickly I realized during the late games that day when I checked my guys. Who, needless to say, did not perform up to my expectations. Yet, they still got paid to play while I was left to wonder how I could have better spent my entrance fee.

But, it was only week one. Now I’m afraid there will be no more Sunday kayaking trips or hikes. I will now be one of those sitting in the places that have the NFL Sunday Ticket such as the D-Line or BrickYard Tavern, so I can watch every game, every week and follow my charges. Not quite like the fantasies I had when I was growing up.

The race is on

BY SAM CAPUANO
sam@theballstonjournal.com

In 1987 I competed in my second and final 5k ever. Until last week, that is, when I somehow was entered in the SaratogaPalio 5k.

I was only running in it because my 14-year-old son, who was also running, wanted me to join him, and wouldn’t shut up until I did. Those of you with 14-year-olds know a parent will do almost anything to get a kid to shut up, even something as drastic as running a race.

“You’ve run 5k’s before, why can’t you now,” he kept asking. My response: “Because the last time I did one I was young and stupid, and, of those two, I am now only the latter.”

He continued. “I want to break the 20 minute mark. What’s your goal in the race, Dad?” Goal? I just want to ride home in my Chevy, and not the ambulance parked nearby.

Prior to the race, the emcee played AC/DC’s “Back In Black”, which I thought would be an appropriate wardrobe color for those attending my funeral, which most certainly would be taking place shortly after the race.

Now for the actual run. I only considered doing this race because of the fact downtown Saratoga Springs is relatively flat. I have covered Brookside Museum’s Jailhouse Rock 5k for years for the Journal, and have often exhausted myself just walking up the prodigious incline of Fairground Avenue, just so I can get to the race start for a photo. Nothing like that in my race, fortunately.

We took off at 8 a.m. sharp, all 1400 of us, from upper Broadway, and headed south. We certainly surprised a few folks who seemingly had not yet made their way home from their Saturday night. We went to North Broadway, and headed left onto Lincoln Avenue. All along the route there are lots of volunteers with orange flags, looking just like road construction workers, albeit with a lot more teeth.

Now, I would never knock volunteers, but each one of them is as bubbly as a beauty pageant contestant, and they all yell, “You can do it! Keep it up!” After countless times hearing this, especially as I grew wearier, I really just wanted to yell something like, “Kiss my meatloaf!”

It seemed like an eternity for me to reach the one-mile marker. Incidentally, I find it amusing they call the race a “5k” yet always have the markers in miles, namely because no one knows exactly what the hell a “k” is.

Of course we runners need some liquid replenishment during the race. If you ever want some amusement, watch runners, especially dopes like me, try to drink from a cup while running. We either miss our mouth, or worse, consume too much in stride and start to choke on it. The preferred method seems to be to just pour it on top of one’s head, similar to a baptism, and then just try to suck the water in as it streams down the face.

Anyways, from Lincoln Avenue we veered near the Saratoga Race Course. Alas the thoroughbreds have headed downstate for the season, so I couldn’t grab one to help me finish. We then ran towards, then through, Congress Park. As we headed in the homestretch, on High Rock Avenue, I heard the two people behind me say, “Hey, we can still beat the 25 minute mark!” Hmmm.

Now, I have no one to talk to because my son, who, you remember, needed someone to run with him, had long since dusted me. By this time, I imagine he already had a Gatorade in one hand and a bagel in the other. So I am on my own, and give it a bit of a kick to the finish. It wasn’t easy, though, because it meant for the first time in my life I passed The Ice House without stopping in for a beer. However, it was worth it, as I did indeed beat the 25 minute mark. Certainly better than I had expected.

However, there was a caveat with my better-than-imagined finish. My time surprised my kid as well. And now he wants me to run at least one 5k a month. Sorry, dude, once every 25 years is just about my speed.