Monday, March 12, 2007

John Schlosser

I found out last night that my high school baseball coach died in a car crash. It's been 21 years since I left northern Michigan and it's been that long since I've seen him and many of my Glen Lake teammates and classmates. I do have memories of him though.

I remember his baseball signs always corresponded with a body or uniform part with the same letter as the baseball play. Hand on stomach was steal. Bill of the cap was bunt. Hand on chest was take a pitch or, as he put it, "Tit for take."

I remember he drove a red Mustang hatchback with a very stressed drivers seat. He was such a big guy that whenever he let me drive his car I felt like I was wearing a pair of shoes that was too big for me.

I remember calling Dennis Fleis a "fucking asshole" in class and Schloss overheard me (probably because we were sitting right in front of his desk). Schlosser looked up and said, "Hey, don't say that in class. I mean, he may be one, most probably is one. Just don't say it in class."

I remember an interception I made at the goal line once of a long hail mary pass. I was told when Schlosser saw the catch he said, "That's those good first baseman hands."

I remember hitting in the batting cage on the first day of baseball practice my junior year. Dennis and I had been lifting weights all winter and I was just ripping the ball. Schlosser looked up and said, "Holy shit! Is that Eddie McDonald?"

I remember when you said something funny he agreed with he would smile and give you several quick nods.

I remember during my sophomore year he would ask me how my arm felt after throwing off one of the plywood mounds in the gym and I would say, "it's a little stiff" and he would laugh his ass off and I had no reason why.

I remember he gave me that goddamn nickname that followed me all through high school. A nickname that people I considered friends didn't use except to piss me off or to let me know I was being stupid. Or as Dennis would say, "Ed, don't be Head."

I remember standing on the football field next to him after a JV game. He saw Leroy Rosinski walking on the cinder track surface with a new girlfriend. Schlosser yelled across the field, "Another one?!" Leroy yelled back, "You be quiet!"

I remember trying his Redman chaw and he tried to give me more than I felt comfortable trying and I said, "You just want to see me get sick." He gave me a one of those smiles with the quick nodding motions.

I remember sitting in the dugout during a baseball game once and pollen was thick in the air and he said, "You guys smell that? It smells like pussy."

I remember how he didn't censor himself too much on the baseball field.

I remember how he took a lot of pride of what we called Glen Lake Stadium. 325 down the lines "just like Tiger Stadium" he would say. We had one of the best fields in the region.

I remember at the baseball banquet after my senior year he said that I was what every baseball team needed, "a left handed junkball pitcher."

I remember the time he used the last scene from "Missouri Breaks" to illustrate to Dennis just how pissed the football coach was when he found out it was Dennis' car that tore up the football field.

I remember he spent a week once making a tape of songs that he planned on playing on a jambox from our dugout for the benefit of umpires that made bad calls. One of the songs was "Down on me" by Janis Joplin. That project never really got off the ground.

I remember he loved to create new nicknames for Chip. One day in the same class I swore at Dennis he looked at Chip and started laughing. Chip started squirming and demanded Schlosser tell him what was so funny and Schloss said, "French Onion Dip" and he laughed some more while Chip steamed.

I remember whenever Greg would hurt himself on the ballfield Schlosser would ask him if he "pulled a fat."

I remember he had the vision and the guts to use Jim Peplinski and his split-finger fastball in big games.

I remember he could tell a hell of a story. His story about Greg trying to catch for Jim Abbott during practice for an allstar game as one of his funniest.

I remember him getting irritated one day while I was enthusiastically discussing the Beatles and he told that as you got older life was more than "Yellow Submarines."

I remember him allowimg me to be an assitant coach for the JV baseball team my senior year. A couple of guys called me "Coach Ed" and that felt really good.

I remember his ushering Alan Popa out of the high school library. He was very angry and Alan said, "Dude, relax." Schloss gave him a little push out the door and said, "My name's not 'Dude.'"

Mostly, I remember him for being an adult that spoke and treated teens as equals and he made me laugh. Man, could he make me laugh.


Derrty! said...

Ur piece made me laugh. It was nice.

Kevin said...

Yeah Ed, you wrote a fine memorial to Schlosh- The guy had space shuttle jokes the day after it blew up.