Tuesday, October 12, 2004

TODAY'S PLAYLIST

Bee Gee's  "Nights on Broadway" -- this is my favorite Bee Gees tune despite Saturday Night Fever, although I can do without the bridge. 

Stevie Ray Vaughan   "Tightrope" -- never gets old; didn't discover him until his plane crashed not far from here

Spinners  "It's a Shame" -- a thousand memories with this one

Decided against the new Ray Charles -- not enough funk

Couldn't find my Stevie Wonder

Lauren Hill  "Everything is Everything" -- what a great opening

Edwin Hawkins Singers  "Oh Happy Day"  -- a gospel anthem nobody doesn't like

Jay Zee "Big Pimpin" -- love the big booty beat

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole -- "Sea of Love" and "Over the Rainbow" -- my favorite dead Hawaiian guy on a CD gift from my older daughter who lived there

Eva Cassidy "Fields of Gold" and "Songbird" -- didn't find out about her until after she died [are the good ones all dead?]. More angst than Dianna Krall

Spyro Gyra "Rites of Summer" CD -- soothing Chicago jazz group that shoulda hit the bigtime, but never did

Brothers Johnson  "Strawberry Letter #23" -- quirky, actually stupid, lyrics, but I like the offbeat tune  

Pointer Sisters "Greatest Hits" CD  -- top to bottom my favorite workout CD. 

A music story:

Every year about this time they hold the Advertising World Series in some place warm like LA, Palm Springs, San Diego or Scottsdale.

Forty to fifty men's and women's 12-inch softball teams from Dallas, LA, San Francisco, Detroit and as far away as Atlanta, Boston and New York roll into town to play ball and party for five days. 

For several years I got to pitch and play first base for the Chicago Women's Advertising All-Stars. We were always at a disadvantage against all the 12-inch teams. A lot of them were from warmer climates and played year round. 

Our advertising league only played during the summer. In Chicago that also meant 16-inch softball.  No gloves.

So every year we had only three weeks after tryouts to make the transition. Adjust to new teammates, a bigger field, a smaller ball, wearing gloves, and a pitching mound that was 12 feet farther from the plate. Okay some of us played in 12-inch leagues too, so it wasn't THAT bad.

The night before we had to play the LA women, who were going to kick our windy city butts because they always did, there was a tournament party out at some dude ranch for all the teams.

After a feast of food, there was plenty of beer to lubricate the dancing.  And the DJ was pumping out tunes like a firefighter at a five alarm blaze. 

Never one to miss an opportunity to talk some trash -- in a good way, of course -- I dared to ask Mr. Music Man [he was kind of a diva]  to play my favorite Pointer Sisters tune, "Dare Me."  And dedicate it to the LA women's team from the Chicago women's team.

I wanted to throw down the gauntlet in front of the those smartass surf sisters with their fancy pants uniforms and traveling nutritionist. And show them that the Ad babes from Chi-town would be dishing out something besides pizza. Yeah. [But please don't hurt us.] 

The parties at the Ad World Series have always been outstanding and this one was no exception. Four hundred people were shaking and baking to some excellent tunes as I watched, wondering when Mr. Grandmaster Flash would deign to play my request.  He sure was taking his time. Or ignoring me.  Oh, well, might as well dance.

Finally, when the kegs were dry and you couldn't squeeze another person onto the dance floor under the stars, the DJ paused and announced that the next song would be the last one of the evening.  <<GROAN>>

But it's a special tune, he continued.  Dedicated to the women of Los Angeles by the women of Chicago.  The women on my team had no idea what I had done.  They all looked over at me with quizzical, even worried, expressions on their faces. "What did she do now?"

Everyone was quiet.  Four hundred sweaty, drunk men and women stood waiting for the song to start.  Suddenly a funky Motown riff blasted out of the speakers and lyrics full of more attitude than Charles Barkley shook the dance floor --

I'VE GOT A CHIP ON MY SHOULDER WITH YOUR NAME ON IT --

KNOCK IT OFF

SO DON'T JUST STAND THERE FOOLIN IFYOU DON'T WANT IT --

KNOCK IT OFF

The Chicago women all cheered and laughed so I could tell the dedication was the absolute right thing to do.  We didn't have a chance against the LA women, but if we were going down, we were going down in flames.

BABY MAKE YOUR MOVE  STEP ACROSS THE LINE 

TOUCH ME ONE MORE TIME -- COME ON DARE ME

Everybody started singing along with the lyrics. Loudly, defiantly. Chicago women were singing them at each other. I was looking around for LA women, but didn't see any. Probably just as well.

WANNA TAKE YOU ON --  I KNOW I JUST CAN'T LOSE

LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE LOOKING FOR TROUBLE  

AND I'D SAY YOU FOUND IT

YOU'LL HAVE TO COME RIGHT THROUGH ME

THERE'S NO WAY AROUND IT -- YOU FOUND IT

I HOPE THAT LEAN HUNGRY LOOK MEANS WHAT IT'S SAYIN'

CAUSE I'M JUST SITTING ON READY -- READY AND WAITING

BABY MAKE YOUR MOVE -- STEP ACROSS THE LINE 

TOUCH ME ONE MORE TIME -- COME ON DARE ME

WANNA TAKE YOU ON -- I KNOW I CAN'T LOSE

IF YOU JUST DARE ME, ETC.

I had to hand it to the DJ -- he had great timing. For awhile we felt like the impossible might be possible. Maybe Chicago could do something magic in the morning.

LA beat us so bad it wasn't funny. But we still managed to finish in the middle of the pack like the rest of the Chicago teams.

EPILOGUE:

The next year I was female co-captain of Chicago's co-rec team, made up of men and women from our all-star teams. Unlike the other co-rec teams in the tournament, none of us had ever played together before. Chicago didn't offer co-rec play in the advertising leagues. As usual, none of the Chicago teams was expected to win any of the championships -- men's, women's, or co-rec.

In fact, before our first game [with no practice], we had to introduce ourselves to each other on the field. Hi, Tim, Sue. Hi, Ann, Bill. We were the underwhelming underdogs. 

I played first base and the 24-year old guy at shortstop was a little leary of throwing to me. He was tossing lollipops until I went up to him and said it was okay, I wouldn't break.  Then the cruise missiles started.

After every game I soaked my hand until the throbbing stopped. I padded my mitt with a washcloth, wore a batting glove inside it, put my forefinger on the outside, tried to catch high in the web, and still got stingers. I loved it.

The last game was against New York. Seventh inning, we were tied. Chicago had last bats.  The other captain of our team put in a pinch hitter which I wasn't too happy about, because that meant adjustments on the field if we went extra innings. 

No problem. He hit a home run.  Not easy to do in softball without a fence.

We won the co-rec championship -- the first time a Chicago team had won a championship at the tournament.

That was a very noisy plane ride home. The flight attendants did not appreciate having one hundred ball players snapping their seat belts and removing their seats to demonstrate how they could be used as flotation devices.

And they say it's only a game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 comments:

kissofvanity said...

Ahhhhhhh yes......The Brothers Johnson.  Wow, i'm flashing back!!

"Strawberry Letter #23" was one of the tunes in "Jackie Brown", released a few years back.  It was great to hear it again.  I always found in interesting that in the song they say "strawberry letter 22", but never the actual title!

BTW, when the song came out on '45, it was strawberry scented!  Ahhh.....adolescence.

Ana  ((0.~))
http://journals.aol.com/kissofvanity/LifeintheblueVictorianhouse/

judithheartsong said...

You go Girl!!!!!!!! :):) I loved the story :):) judi

cneinhorn said...

Great story!  
I really like Spyro Gyra, I've heard them alot over the years on contemporary Jazz stations (out of NY), and even have a CD, I'll have to look for it, now I'm in the mood to hear them again!  Bee Gees, always loved them too.  Such a unique sound.  
~JerseyGirl

madmanadhd said...

Wonderful story. Love the baseball part, reminds me of the few games I actually played on a city league. What a an excellent playlist, such variety. My son was into Jay Zee and his "Big Pimpin" song for awhile. Eva Cassidy, what a find - beautiful voice. Gotta love Spyro Gyra. Toodles.