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Wait a minute, sir…you’re 96?

Ever have one of those moments where someone tells you his age and you were off in your head by at least 20 years? That happened to me last night at my son’s baseball game as I was standing at the concession stand with the 4-year-old waiting to get him a ring pop. An older man walks up, makes small talk about the weather, which has dropped about 15 degrees in an hour as winds started whipping out of the northeast, which is bad news at an exposed baseball complex.

I notice he’s wearing a U.S.S. Enterprise (CV-6) hat, and the first thing I think is that he was in Vietnam early on in the war. Then the man buys his popcorn, asks the girl at the counter to make sure he gave enough money because his eyes aren’t working as great as they once did…”now that I’m 96,” he says.

Wait, what did he just say? I had this guy pegged for 76-78. And he wasn’t joking. The wind was howling and he had a baseball game to watch, but now I’m kicking myself for not asking him his years of service. Based on the years of service for the CV-6 — the ship was struck by a kamikaze for the last time on May 14, 1945, killing 13 that day — it’s entirely possible this gentleman has some World War II stories.

As of November 2020, the VA estimated there were fewer than 325,000 of the 16 million American World War II veterans still living. And the National WWII Museum listed 12,175 living WWII vets in Ohio as of last fall, with 296 deaths per day.

Hopefully the weather is better at the next game, and I can apologize for being caught off guard and not asking him more about that U.S.S. Enterprise hat. Maybe he’ll have a story to tell. I’m all ears.

• I forgot to list my email again for the Thursday nighters who want to send in mowing reports. It’s Save it. Sell it. Text me those reports. Do whatever you’d like. I’m loving all the emails telling me about yourselves and what you find interesting out in the real world. Keep them coming. Share those stories.

• 20-25 mph sustained northeast wind off Lake Erie, driving rain, 50 degrees, flood warnings and watches along the shoreline. It’s one ugly morning here in northern Ohio and a rough start to the holiday weekend. Good luck to all the boaters who planned to rip across the waters this weekend. You’re going to need a coat in these parts.

• My son hasn’t had much success at the plate this short baseball season, but I’m incredibly happy with his attitude. When asked if he’s having fun, all I’m hearing is “Oh yeah!” Perfect. That works for me.

• And with that, we head into Memorial Day Weekend. My plan is to drive south — in the rain — later today to see my father for the first time since October and have Marion’s Pizza. Maybe even have a beer or a little Captain.

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Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.


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