Thanks to the Internet, I could conjure up a lot of memories of 1981 when I turned 14. Raiders of the Lost Ark was a top movie, Ronald Reagan was elected President, Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married, and the Oakland Raiders were the first wild-card team to ever win a Super Bowl.
I was wrapping up 8th grade and heading to high school. Not a big change since at that point, Elementary through High School was all on one campus. I don’t remember this, but my Mom has told the story hundreds of times that I was 5 foot tall and not even 100 lbs heading into my first year of high school. So, shorter than Carter will be heading into 6th grade – crazy! By this time I was focused on cross country and basketball. My 8th grade basketball coach convinced me to become the high school baseball manager, and he had an insight that my computer skills would provide him a unique perspective, and we did some cool things way before the times. I remember tracking stats like batting average against left handed vs. right handed batters, and batting average with runners in scoring position.
An event happened in my 8th grade year that forever changed my life. My little rural high school won a state grant for 20 Apple IIE computers, and I quickly became hooked as I saw computers as a way to more quickly solve problems. I became an expert at a program called VisiCalc which was a precursor Microsoft Excel. While I never had a computer at home, much less a MacBook, or an iPad, this interest in technology eventually propelled me to major in Computer Science in college.
I was a sports nut at that point, and I watched / listened on the radio to all things Purdue (mainly Football and Basketball) as well as all things Cincinnati (Bengals and Reds). Yes, Carter the Colts had not yet moved to Indy…
I remember almost all the days in the summer, my Mom expected us to be out of the house after breakfast til it started to get dark with the exception of coming back home for a quick lunch of either bologna or P&B sandwiches. So what did we do: We’d fish in the pond, we’d hike around in the woods by the house, we’d jump on our bikes and go 3-4 mile to nearby towns, we played A LOT of sports (Basketball and Volleyball mainly). I was blessed to live in a rural area with 6-8 other kids about my age – a mix of boys and girls that all liked sports so we had plenty of fun.
I remember I also became more interested in reading during this period especially reading magazines like Reader’s Digest and Sport Illustrated, and I checked out almost all the books that were biographical sports books from the school library.
Two other constants in the Oesterling family were church and Sunday school every week which provided an excellent foundation for my spiritual journey, and every summer we’d take a camping vacation with my Dad’s sister’s family. We’d almost always get the same camping spot on the lake, and I remember my Cousin David and I would fish morning, noon, and night. And guess what, we’d eat fish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I clearly didn’t realize it at the time, but I was blessed to have 5 siblings, a lot of friends that were neighbors, and a lot of cousins.