Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Year of the Underdog: Monkeys, Mechanisms, and Music

Sunday afternoon I was going 150 mph around the Speedway at Talladega… and less than twelve hours later I was sitting in traffic, jamming to some music on the 405. While my car may have been at a stop, my mind was still racing. Meetings. Appointments. Deadlines. UGH!!!... I wish I had just five minutes to do absolutely nothing. Nothing at all. But knowing me.. I would just be sitting there.. watching the clock waiting for the five minutes to be up. Yeah, I am that girl.


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.
Until now.

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…

“It’s a great game, sir, and I will continue to play.
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.

“Just a small town girl… livin in a lonely world… took the midnight train going anywhere…”

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.

9 comments:

Miguel said...

Your not Alone,



So you’re alias is also Ms.Truckdriver. I’ve been told that since forever and I need to be quite frank by saying that in our lives it feels the way you exactly put it down on paper, or in this blog. There are some of us who feel that drive and passion at using sports as a direct extension of their heart and soul. I for one can honestly say that when were going after something that we don’t know what the end result is going to be. Getting into the ride is the best therapy for a person. I’m not saying that therapy could be something that is in your future, we deal with stress in different ways and at times for someone in your position we don’t know who is genuine or who is extending their hand out to you whether it’s to really help you or to use you for personal gain(I’m speaking from a business point of view). Pulling the trigger is hard to do when you’re confronted with so many opportunities in regards to your future. Your one of the guys now that you’ve admitted that you jump on the open road to sort things out.



I can feel the passion and desire and inspiration that you seek in that windy road we call life. The only difference between the 2 of us JLS is the fact that my music could be Eric B & Rakim, Aerosmith, Duran Duran, Notorious BIG, Nore, Cam’ron, Ludacris, Rick Astley, Bell Biv Devoe, Reggaeton, some Kenny Rogers, Keith Sweat, the list on the 80gb is endless and it depends on the mood and that mood is usually contingent upon what is going on in our lives. For better or worse this is what controls that playlist at times. I barely listen to live radio because I guess at some point you want to control those words that you’ve known since you were a little kid. Those words that thump or whistle over our speakers and give us some kind of comfort as we ponder and think about life and what’s happening and where we aspire to be in the future.

There is a small portion of the population who live life the way you do and they have been smitten by love and then they have endured some really rough patches that feel like a pothole doing 55 in Mid Town Manhattan or like running over a reflector on I-4 heading towards Tampa at 95 mph in the drop top.



The Rally Monkey is summoning you? It’s funny how I have a damn Angels cap too, but it’s for my childhood idol Reggie Jackson when he left NYC for that 7 figure payday. How can I forget the Boss not signing the man who I grew up with right up the hill on Watson Ave in the Bronx . It seems like a lifetime ago and know I’m in suburbia reading a blog about someone going through the same stuff I went through except I wasn’t in (cough, cough) Maxim or Playboy.



It’s ironic to see that passion and fire burn deep down inside. I love the fact that stadiums talk to you.

They do to me and then you relive those sports moments feeling the energy from games past running through you as you look at that stadium. The thousands of fans who have ventured before you.

Your at a special yet trying time in your life. We all want to make the correct decision right off the bat when we plan where our destiny will take us.

I'm just glad that you allow some of us to respond to your hearfelt emotions and true thoughts on everything that is going in your life.

I'm just glad you graced us with your prescence again. It's a lot to write personally for me because even though were 2 different people many of us have the same passion for sports, life, sometimes love, but most importantly your Dad (Hey the only thing i ever liked about the Canes was Ray Lewis,had both his Nike Jerseys)he could have been a damn piano teacher or classical composer and we wouldn't have this forum in which to communicate.

Like I stated your passion, i just don't want to hear your bouncing to the Left Coast. Many opportunities to be had i just don't want to see you on Xtra dating some C lister ya hear me and the rest of the masses.

Well sister, just remember when i start up my football challenge and you want to catch the experience with me you know who to hit up. I'll be on the lookout for some Cowgirls, so take a second out of your hectic schedule and peep me out. The love for sports, the open road and everything inbetween is felt here. Just remember add Naw Meen into your playlist that will be the Rap hit of the summer of 2007, i don't know if your into metal or not but some Metallica might be in store, after reading the blog on the way home with the top down and thoughts of Sterger rolling to the Left Coast, I had to scroll to Kid Rock.

Well I'm packing up my game and I'm a head out west
Where real women come equipped with scripts and fake breasts.


You can never have any regrets because it's in your name and you got the girls and once you did that you'll never look back.

That was the fork in the road, boucing to Tally was another fork.

Then guess what? The guessing game with the next fork will keep you up at night.

You'll find what's best for you, and if you ever need advice from one blogger to another.

It's crazy a few people attack you and you end up meeting up with one.

It's positive vibes for positive people.

GOOD LUCK MAMA
Miguel "OfftheMeter" Rodriguez
www.theultimatehoopschallenge.com

Gildorg said...

"We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter's evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true." - Woodrow Wilson

You gotta love the 80s music for moods... I am sorry that it is so difficult to maintain a personal life while building a career such as yours. I have never truly understood the reasons behind people being phony. I suppose almost every man you encounter must try to present himself in a way that he thinks would impress you. I cannot imagine how old that must get; or how tiring it must be to sort though the entire BS…

That being said, I would be lying if I was to say that I was unhappy to hear that you are spending time on the West Coast. Having missed you once already on your Oregon trip, I shall not repeat the error given another opportunity.

A friend of mine recommended a song to me when I was going through a blue mood. I don't know if it would apply to your situation or not, but you might want to give it a listen... (No teasing about white jump-suits either!!!)

Elvis Presley - Pieces of My Life

It is okay to be alone, but don't fall into the trap of being lonely for the sake of it...

Good Luck and God Bless.

Eb said...

Jennifer,

I enjoyed reading your most recent entry on your blog.

Hectic, Stress, Worry....It's all part of the ride. Just remember to breath. Take a moment for yourself if you need it, otherwise it is not worth it.

On a side note: You seem to have excellent choice in music. Congratulations, most people don't.

“Just a small town girl… livin in a lonely world… took the midnight train going anywhere…”

Journey - Must be a requirement for all Women in their early 20's, my friend Janelle quotes it all the time.

Best,

Go Buckeyes!

Eb

roothog229 said...

Jenn,

This note tells me exactly what I knew from so many blog posts before, and I think (hope) I told you this in Wichita. The Chris Rock part was right, and when you're on road trips and what not, people see Jenn the Cowgirl, the model, the party queen of Florida, etc. and don't see the real Jennifer Sterger, the girl that you were before, now, and always will be. Those who don't see the latter are the ones who miss out. Obviously, you know this, being as selective as you are, and fierce loyalty is hard to come by these days, so no one could consider you a $%@&# for that.

There is no doubt...none, that you will find all in life that you want. After all, if I can see just a little beneath the surface and come away more impressed, certainly anyone else can do the same. I just figure that, since you're far from the average norm, it just takes longer to get things just right.

I'm glad to hear you take drives...mostly b/c I do the same. Shoot, I ended up 2 states away on one drive. It's def. a relaxing thing to do. Keep on driving, and just keep living life. You're worth the time!

Take care,
JN

Dorian said...

Jen,
I'm just going to thow this out: The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz. This book absolutely changed my perspective on relationships. Has 5 stars on Amazon, so it's got to be good, right? Your entry was beautifully written.
-D

sandlaw said...

I thought that was you on the 405 !
I was in the silver Denali with the Spear sticker listening to Delbert McClinton, shooting the "is that her?" smile . . .

Next year I intend to make the Animals pre game BBQ - last time I saw you was in Indian Village pre BC game you were busy . .
we were playing in one of the funky garages

Re: your Blog: Before my Mom passed she imparted: "Enthusiasm equals aliveness" It demands a youthful spirit." she quoted Thoreau: "None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm."
Keep yours, it is infectious, it has a positive effect.
Go Noles
Camm in MB

CD said...

Hey, Jenn,

Glad you had a good time in Alabama, my home state. Speaking of 'Bama, we got a good coach, if you haven't heard. And we're going to play your beloved 'Noles on Sept. 29. I think the game's in Jacksonville.

Speaking of going on drives, why don't you take a drive to J'ville and meet me at the game? You root for the 'Noles and I'll root for the rising Tide. We'll see who's the better team. I'll be sitting with the Bowdens, a gracious and warm family.

Be good.

thä Dýna§ý said...

hey gurl ur moms a milf
;)

Mrbaseball84 said...

This has to be my favorite blog of yours Jenn, not only because its full of analogies about my Angels so its easy to relate to, but it is relevant even today. "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." Such a powerful statement that I couldn't agree more with. I know you are a Rays fan through and through but you would make a good Angels fan, and look good in that Angels hat... ;) keep fighting. God Bless you Jenn.