Friday, July 13, 2012

Kickball Revisited

So, a few years ago (specifically, Sept. 24, 2009), I wrote about my kickball team, and how kickball was way more fun than it had any right to be, and how The Hang-overs had struggled and clawed and made the play-offs only to be defeated by the eventual winners, who went undefeated that year.  And I mostly hated them and their strategies and their trying.  Even though one of their players told us that we had played them harder than any team they had played all year, and he loved playing us, I still kind of hated them.
Fast-forward to 2012, and I'm pretty sure we are now that team.  The Hang-overs, much like the Red Sox (although, not the 2012 Red Sox.  More like 2007), have evolved from the lovable underdogs into the team that you expect to win every week.  Well, that's because we have.  And I'm not bragging, but a look at the standings has us winning with scores of 24-3, 24-4, 16-2, and 18-3, and a couple really close ones with the other green team, whom we will probably end up playing in the championship game.  And they probably hate us just like I hated the winners back in 2009.  I think that 2009 team that I hated even wore dark green shirts, which our team now has (in the years since our initial red, we have had yellow and a weird burnt orange-colored shirts.  So, I am totally fine with green.)
Point is, yeah, we're 7-0, and everybody hates us.  Except maybe the orange team, who didn't have enough to field a team last week, so a few of us jumped in, and almost defeated the other green team, who is our nemesis.  So this is what's like to be on that side of things.  This is what it's like to be the unstoppable juggernaut that the rest of the league can't stand.  This is what it's like to be the Yankees.

Hung-over in Burnt Orange

But before you break out the crying towel for because we have lost our lovable loser status, let me say this; the last two years, we have been in the championship game and lost, and last year we lost in extra innings.  And I was on the mound and coughed up the winning run then.  After my big comeback that year, I really thought that it would be fitting for us to win it then.  But alas, we lost.  So, this year, after being so close three years in a row and not winning it all, I really don't care if we do have to stomp all over every other team.  I want to drink out of that fucking cup.
This Sunday is the last regular season game, and the following week is the play-offs.  Alert ESPN.  The Hang-overs are coming.   

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

First Dance

My phone died, so I don't have the original video anymore, but I posted it to facebook in my phone's final moments, so let's hope this works

Awesome day...

Monday, July 09, 2012

The Crew

This past weekend, I attended a big, awesome, fun wedding, joining my friends Bryce and Heather.  This one had been on my radar for awhile, as weddings tend to do, but it was also something noteworthy for me because I remember reading the news of their engagement last Easter while I was in the hospital.  So, being able to attend was a big bonus for me.

Also being a good friend of the whole family, I was asked to help a little with the prep-work (along with a few other close friends, or "The Band," as we soon dubbed ourselves.)  We gladly got to the reception hall/barn early and helped set up various tables, pictures, flowers, water jars, a microphone stand, etc, little odds and ends that add up to a lot of work in the end.  The kicker is that, despite the blistering heat and ticking clock, not one of us complained.  Even me, and I can whine like a little bitch when I want to.

But not when it's worth it.  Not when you're working for a good cause, and for people you care about.  And okay, I get a charge out of it.  It was really fun to help out, and to be part of something.  Part of the crew.  Weddings obviously bring out a lot of different emotions in people, so this is what I got out of it.  And not being married myself, and not being attached at 36 and not knowing if I will ever really be married, I may feel differently than some, but here goes; I was talking to the groom's sister and her husband the day after, and they said that they don't have "great friends like this" where they live.  I told them that a handful of years ago, I didn't even know most of these people but now  they are friends.  We are now members of a crew now.  I have crazy opinions about marriage and what it means, but the wedding itself, I'll admit, I love it, because it is the joining of two people in front of friends and family, so to be one of those friends, in that select group, especially with people that I didn't know not too long ago, means a lot.  it means that you've established lasting friendships over that short amount of time, and what is a marriage if not a lasting friendship?

The Band
There's a line in "Goodfellas" about bring part of a crew, and I can't remember it or find it now, but it ran though my head over the weekend.  When Bryce and Heather made their way to my table to thank me for coming, I turned around and thanked them for having me.  Bryce said, "Why wouldn't we have you?"  I replied, "Because I'm just some weird guy you know."  instead of blowing it off and saying, "Nah, you're not a weird guy," he said, "We're all weird guys."  A whole crew of weird guys (and by "guys," I also mean the girls.  We certainly do not discriminate in this crew.)

That's why I gladly helped with the set-up.  That's why this crew all still ask how I am feeling, and some even visited me in the hospital last year.  We all party together, and drink together.  And this may sound like a stretch, but most of us are on the same kickball team year and year, and this year, we are undefeated, and basically mowing most of the league down.  We are a team.  A band. 

A crew.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

If I could Go Back... Retrospective Part II

Doing a little more self-discovery, and I recently found something I had written way back in 1997.  It was a really long-ass story about my relationship at the time, which was tumultuous to say the least.  Writing it as the whole thing was going on colored my opinions in a very odd way, and probably not a good one.  Still, it did help me remember all the little details because, reading it 15 years later, I realized my memory really isn’t very good.  Most definitely the booze is to blame on that one.
First, the background: around 1996, through my friend, Brian, met this girl Audra.  Even though Brian was courting her at the time, I was young and angry and stupid, and I heard she thought I was cute, so I tried to insert myself right in the middle of it.  The second Brian told me they were finished, I got her number and asked her on a date.  We pseudo-dated for a couple months, but perhaps because of the way I had won her, I was always very timid about the whole thing (despite most of my friends rightly telling me to just go for it.)  I never even considered her my girlfriend until she told me that she had cheated on me (with a man that I had always assumed was gay.) How could she cheat on me if we weren’t going out, right?  So, because I was young and angry and stupid, I forgave that one and we got “back together.”   As I recall, she slept with him again, and I started to finally get mad and we broke up but stayed friends, and eventually, we got back together yet again.
Eventually, Brian came back into our lives, and pretty soon, she was sleeping with him.  According to what I had written in my story, after I found out, he and I talked it over and in his mind, we agreed that we would both walk away from Audra and preserve our friendship.  I don’t recall that, but I do recall calling her up soon after and asking what the Hell was going on.  Brian, as the story goes, then got mad at me for lying to him and betraying him, even though he had technically slept with my girlfriend.  Still, I had sort of stolen her away, even though they never really were going out.  It's all very nebulous as far as who was actually dating who.  This was way before the saying “Bros before ho’s” came into being, but I’m pretty sure this event was the reason it did.
Anyway, long story short, she and I dated off and on for about two years, and she cheated on me numerous times, with a gay dude and with one of my best friends.  In October of 1998, I found out that Keri was into me and so I broke it off to explore a more viable option.  It was a break-up that was long overdue, and yet it seemed to come as a huge shock to Audra, despite all the fucking around she had done.  See, I had told her for two years that I would always love her, and I guess she was holding me to that.  I’m not going to say it was pillow talk, because at the time I did think I would always love her, and I thought that love was about forgiveness and loving someone despite of all their faults.  I have since learned that while it is about those things, it’s not about treating the person who loves you like crap.  I’m not even totally blaming her in all this, because in retrospect, she was probably battling undiagnosed depression and was covering it up by getting guys to like her.  She was also bulimic, so you do the math.  Thing is, I did love her, even with all her horrible mistakes, so if she had shown me even the slightest bit of affection in return, I would have stayed.  We had already been through a lifetime of crap in just two years, so all she had to do was play nice, and I would probably be with her right now.  It would be a horrible existence, but I would be there.  But I guess she thought that I would always love her, as I said, so she could be a bitch, or even worse, just phone it in and I would always be there.  Because I was the good guy.
Well, I ain’t that good.  I am the nice guy, sure, but I'm not a sap.  The question is who is to blame? Obviously, she wasn't very faithful, so it's easy to just look at the situation in black-and-white and say she was.  But was she simply reacting to a guy who was rather hopelessly in love with her, and neither of us really knew what to do with that?  To be honest, part of me thinks that her final infidelity really was her final infidelity, and it did occur while I was spending my final semester of under-grad in Los Angeles, and I wasn't even sure I was going to come back, so we had decided that we would just see where we stood after the semester was over.  I honestly think she was actually growing up at that point.
And while it was shitty to sleep with Brian, it was probably equally shitty of me to steal her away from him in the first place (karma and all that), so I don't have a lot of moral high-ground there.  Sleeping with the gay dude, well, okay, that sucked, but back then, it was hard to tell where we stood at any given time because we were breaking up and remaining friends and getting back together for awhile there.  So, it was at least partly my fault for not nailing that down, so to speak, and for being so wishy-washy.
In the end, I guess it doesn't matter who is to blame, but since I'm on this kick of trying to figure this stuff out, it was on my mind.  Clearly, all this messed me up as far as relationships go, because I'm pretty sure that I would never put up with that kind of bullshit again.  But have I gone too far with that line of thinking?  Am I now unwilling to put up with just about anything?  Have these experiences made me unable to compromise on anything?  
All that I can really glean from all of it was that we were not meant for each other, even though at the time I was sure we were.  In the end, as the song goes, she just kind of wasted my precious time.  So, once again, when people ask what I would change if I had a Way-Back Machine, I would leave Audra after the first time she cheated on me, and honestly, I would have to think about if I would even date her at all.  Because when people say things like, "Yeah but all those things made you who you are and brought you to this place," I can't help but wonder if either of those are good things, and a good place.