My life has been in the fast lane for the past two years, and once I put my foot on the gas… I have yet to let up. My mom likes to say I run myself into the ground. I just say I am accustomed to the college lifestyle. I don’t mind the late nights. The hours I used to spend helping college kids get their Dr. in U.N.K… I now spend writing articles, blogs, watching late night sports recap shows, and sorting out my calendar. As for my social life, it’s been pretty nonexistent as of late, but I really haven’t minded since it’s allowed me to focus on my career, and what’s important to me. I've had two “boyfriends” in the past four years, and they all ran a distant second to a late night sports show and a warm bath. I might possibly be the oldest twenty-three year old in the world. But, until now, I thought I was happy.
When life gets beyond frustrating, sometimes it’s best for me… to just go for a drive… and clear my thoughts. Sometimes there’s a destination, sometimes there isn’t. Regardless, it’s just me.. the car.. the open road… and of course the soundtrack of my life. On this particular drive down the PCH, the road you see in pretty much any performance car commercial of all time, my mood was all over the page and so was my song selection: Some ZZ TOP, a little U2, hell… maybe some Keith Urban. I’ve been spending a lot of time out on the West Coast, trying to figure out where the road of life will take me, and who will be in the seat beside me. Now, after months of soul searching, I am beginning to think the answer … is no one.
At this point is when I crank up the volume. Ah.. Mr. Tom Petty, the only good thing to come out of Gainesville. And given the situation… how appropriate.
“She’s a good girl.. loves her mama… loves Jesus… and America too…”
I’m very selective about the people that I allow into my life. I’m not trying to be a @#$!%... It’s just my way of safeguarding myself while I sort out the real friends from the make believes. Very few people surprise me… but this one… caught me completely off guard. What’s a girl to do when she finds the people she’s allowed into her life are something other than they had pretended to be and let her down?... Maybe Chris Rock had it right all along. Maybe when you meet someone for the first time, you are really only “meeting their representative.” You meet who they want you to meet, the person they present to the rest of the world to hide who they truly are. Pretty soon, you get wrapped up in their lives, their situations, only to find out.. it was all a lie. A sham. And when you ask them why they involved you in their mess in the first place… they say because “they wanted to see if they could ever have an honest chance.” An honest chance?... But when do I get mine?...
After a long list of roads, whose names I can’t remember—nor do I have to thanks to the wonder that is the lady in the GPS box… my drive that day led me to Anaheim. Particularly, the “Stadium of Angels.” If the game of baseball was a religion, this would be its church. And like anyone searching for answers, this seemed like the only place to come.
Clear the Mechanism, Jenn.
I’ve taken chances on my career, on people, and most importantly on love, because while my last name may spell regrets backwards, it’s the last thing in life I would ever want to have in my final days. Most people that have experienced a loss like mine, would have given up. They’d say… “This game of love… it stinks.”
But.. not this girl. She’d say…
If for nothing else… but the love of the game.”
After all, you can’t win if you don’t play.
WHAT IF everyone took a chance on their dreams?... At least they could say they did it, and not have to look back years from now.. and just say… WHAT IF? Besides, having dreams is what makes life tolerable. Some people are born great. Others achieve it. Me? I’m not trying to make history here. I just want to matter. I want to be inspired. Sometimes life has a way of making dreams a feasible, yet distant reality… Chances that come around only once in a lifetime. Twice if you’re lucky. Three times… well… it’s either a charm, or you strike out. Life is all about transition. You can sit there and wonder “what if,” or take a chance, step up to the plate, and find a new adventure. So what if you strike out your first at bat?.. You’ll get another chance at the plate. My life has been anything but ordinary. Then again, I think I would be bored if it wasn’t. Things in life tend to happen for a reason… and most of the time the reasons are things we simple human beings just can’t understand. If things are meant to be, then they will be. Sure, there are times when I just want to give up… but since when am I the quitting kind?.. Never. There’s a rally on the horizon… and this underdog isn’t going home without a fight.
Looking up at the scoreboard, and then to the sky.. I was hoping the last of the LA smog would burn off and give me just a few more moments in the sun before dusk. Still, even through the haze, a ballpark is one of the most beautiful sights the eyes can see. This one however, has special meaning… this one… speaks to me.
:::Flashback::: The date is June 6, 2000. Bottom of the Ninth. The Angels were down by two runs… to the San Francisco Giants. The people operating the video boards that particular day, took a clip of a monkey jumping around from the movie Ace Ventura, and superimposed the words "RALLY MONKEY!" on the screen. Needless to say, the Halos rallied and went on to win the game.
The Rally Monkey proved her worth once again during the 2002 World Series. How appropriate that their opponents be none other than… The Giants. The Angels were trailing… after the Giants put up five runs in the top of the seventh inning, making the score 5-0. Just then, House of Pain’s Jump Around blares throughout the stadium, and there on the big screen appears the monkey. It’s Rally Time!!!... The team scored six runs in the seventh and eighth innings, winning the sixth game.
The following evening… with a 4-1 victory, they went on to win their first World Championship.
There’s something about Anaheim. Something about the Angels... that gives me faith. You've got to believe. You have to look inside yourself. Because when you believe, miraculous things can happen.
Walking through the corridors of Big Ed, I passed a large trophy case, and inside… The World Series Trophy. The Purest form of validation there is. Sure, it must feel great to prove to everyone else, that you’ve made it… but it must be even more rewarding.. to prove to yourself, that even when you’re down in the count.. anything is possible. As I drove back to LAX, I rolled the windows down, turned the volume up, and smiled. If this isn’t a sign for me… I dunno what is. I pulled my hair back into a ponytail, pulled down my ball cap… and just listened.
Maybe.. Sometimes, you just have to trust that everything will be all right, even when no one can tell you it will. Maybe that’s why I keep on driving, and listening to my music. It comforts me more than a hug from a friend or late night discussion on the phone. After all, where words fail, music speaks.