Before my regular readers go thinking I have become a complete headcase and have fallen off the face of the planet only to resurface in a Hollywood Country Club.. ::cough:: I mean, rehab with a shaved head… I assure you this will not be like the previous blogs. Sure, occasional introspection is good for the soul every now and then, but if you are constantly analyzing your life you’ll forget why you’re on this planet in the first place… to just “live.” We all have our own ideas of what true “living” is... but for me... it’s going back to the basics that make this girl who she is.
(Cue the KT Tunstall music “Suddenly I See,” as pretty much every television show with a female protagonist uses this as her “moment of enlightenment song,” when she realizes her life is fixin’ to turn around..)
This past week was a real refresher, as for the first time in months I had some actual downtime to just take care of “me.” Sure, there was the usual work stuff to be done.. But who says you can’t mix a little business with pleasure???
I spent much of Wednesday, moseying around the city that has practically become my second home… The Big Apple. New York is a Mecca of craziness that I can relate to my life in so many ways. You never know what you will be doing, where you will be going, but you will always be heading somewhere, and even when you feel alone, you never truly are. It’s a real fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants city, and that’s what I love about it. I still have a schoolgirl crush for the West Coast, and my Southern-hospitality shows through my wannabe New Yorker facade-- as I am the only one constantly stopping to apologize to the guy that just tried to lay me out like the employee in the “Office Linebacker commercial” – but I guess that’s just the small town girl in me.
Music has always been my passion, and when New York does music, they do it big… a la’ Broadway. I’m not exactly a musical theatre dork, but there is just something about a great show that I can really appreciate. Especially if it makes me laugh. My friend Gavin is currently up in NYC working with a theatre company and even cutting his Broadway teeth working with the cast of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. So, of course we took in his show, and another personal fave of mine: Spamalot. Anyone who is well-versed in their Monty Python will absolutely love Spamalot. It has some of the best movie quotes ever known to mankind, and of course the World’s largest coconut orchestra. J (Regardless of whether an African or European swallow brought them there, or how they carried it. You can do the math.) I also took time to meet up with my friend Eric Gillin, who has recently been formulating all kinds of cool online content for Esquire. (Be sure and check it out.. because he might be the only person cooler than me when it comes to his no-beans-about-it personality.)
I also hosted a SI March Madness party Thursday night at this super cool joint called Slate. I got a chance to catch up with my buddy Will Carroll (of Baseball Prospectus & ESPN). We exchanged stories of our latest crazy endeavors in the sports world, and he offered me some pretty sound advice on some of my own drama. Who would’ve thought I would ever have to ask someone else for advice??.. I guess even the wisest of people needs a little help from their friends every once and a while. Among all the party attendees, one of the most entertaining was the one that didn’t speak at all: Rutgers Mascot, the Scarlet Knight. What can I say, I am a sucker for a Knight in shining armor—since a lot of the ones I have found have actually been idiots dressed in aluminum foil. Or maybe he was just one of the few guys I have met that didn’t bother throwing out lame pick-up lines (per the mascots “no-speaking” rule). Regardless, he and some of his buddies were an absolute blast to converse with on all things sports, but particularly the Rutgers-Louisville game I witnessed last November. It seemed I had at least won over a little piece of the Scarlet Nation, or was cool enough to be invited back for a game anyway. Maybe WVU.. who knows?..
This time, per Gavin’s urging, I utilized New York’s system of public transportation: The Subway. At first I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of riding on trains in dark tunnels (Eurotrip ring a bell??), but it couldn’t be any worse than some of my cab experiences. It took a little getting used to the swaying, and the ear popping when you’re going under water, but it wasn’t that scary. Plus every once in a while you get the pleasure of being serenaded by some of New York’s up and coming entertainers. Or even better, get to sit in on a political rally en route to your destination. It’s evident that the freedom of speech and expression is alive and well in NYC, and one ride on the subway is all it takes to appreciate the uniqueness of the big city experience.
The rest of the weekend, I spent in Tallahassee, getting back to my roots. There’s nothing better than spring time in Tally: baseball, spring football practice, and of course… early morning runs at Doak Campbell.
For those of you who have been living under a rock, FSU baseball has been doing pretty darn good this season.. They’re GOOD.. They might be the best. Ok, I won’t get ahead of myself. Regardless, the bats have sure been swinging this year. Granted, it’s only been a few weeks in actual ACC play, but already, the Noles are showing they are leaps and bounds ahead of where they were this time last year. Tony Thomas is straight up dominating at the plate, pitching is pretty solid, Buster Posey is leading the team in a grand fashion… and well… overall, they are simply kicking some serious “A.”
This weekend was the big Animals Boston Tea-quila party (formerly known as the Miami Tequila Party). If you ask me, the Boston title was far wittier than the previous, but I am not one to buck tradition. Still, tons showed up to enjoy great food, drinks, and of course who could forget… Tequila Wiffleball???,.. Make-shift styrofoam plate bases, plastic bats and balls.. and people so uncoordinated, most of us looked like we were six years old at our first t ball game. Who’s on first?.. Second??.. or Third?.. I don’t think any of us really knew.
I had an awesome time getting to catch up with old friends in T-town, but mainly just enjoying an afternoon with the Animals. If you don’t know about the Animals, then you aren’t a true fan of FSU baseball. The Animals have been around for a while now, I think almost thirty years. They’re a huge support group of Florida State Baseball and are some of the best hecklers in the game, but in a clean and classy manner. Their cheers are extremely original, as they can write a parody of any schools fight song-- that rivals pretty much everything Weird Al has ever accomplished. They always attempt to show sportsmanship, and routinely congratulate opposing players and teams when a good play is made (though not too much of course). There is the exception of the few drunks in the outfield on occasion, who take great pleasure in telling centerfielders everything they didn’t want to know about their mothers, but … at least they are witty about it. It was nice being able to spend time with them in their designated Section B as the Seminoles routed BC 10-3 Saturday night.
The highlight of my week however wasn’t what you would expect it to be. It wasn’t the parties, or the bustling city, or even baseball. It was an early morning run on the steps of my alma mater Doak Campbell. Few places have the ability to completely remove a person from the outside world and take them to a different place the way Doak does for me. Running bleachers is hardly what most would consider a good time, but for me it helps me find my “center.” No matter how crazy or hectic my life gets, I can always find a sanctuary on its steps. The run itself is pretty grueling, as Doak is all one level, from Row one all the way to the top. Eighty-four steps later though, you can’t help but throw your fists in the air with accomplishment, ala Sylvester Stallone from Rocky. On that particular Sunday morning, Doak was strangely serene, yet I could still manage to hear the crowd cheering. I could hear the whistles, I could hear the band, and I could hear… the Warchant. I was home.
Sometimes when the going gets tough, even the tough can’t get going. Life throws you hanging curves all time-- the choice to swing is yours and yours alone. Sure, you could sit back and hope the “blue” gives you a break or you can take a chance, choke up on the bat, and swing sway. Go ahead, knock the cover off the ball! My batting average has been a little sub par as of late, but it’s still early in the game, and I’m lookin’ for a rally. Everyone makes mistakes, and swings at a bad pitch every now and then. Maybe that’s why they say we’re given two lives: “the life we learn with, and the one we live with after that.” But, if you never swing, how will you ever know?
In the end, it all comes down to character. You have to allow yourself to persevere, learn, and live. Let yourself be great… Because when you believe in yourself, anything is possible. So suit up kids, and shake your hats.. it’s time for the biggest rally you’ve ever witnessed.
“And then when I walked down the street people would've looked and they would've said there goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in this game.”
(For more info on the Animals be sure to check out Warchant.com and SectionB.com!!!)