Friday, May 20, 2011

I Pledge Allegiance...

This was written in January while the Packers routed my Falcons in the NFC Divisional Championship Game.


It's a pretty astounding concept. To feel so connected to a group of individuals that we will most likely never know, never meet or never be able to share an experience with, save those few days every year in which we scream and cheer and cry and celebrate with the teams of our choice.

Why do we do it? Why do we agonize for those 3 or so hours every weekend? What is it that sparks something inside of us to have such joy when the team we supports pulls out a victory or to cause us to plunge into a borderline depression when our team fails to put up more points than their opponents? How is it that there is not one, not two, but if I had to guess, upwards of 20 TV channels in any market devoted solely to sports programming? What, deep down inside of us, causes such pain or anguish or exuberance or joy because an assembled group of professional athletes performed their job of playing a game?

To be honest, I'm not sure. You could ask me who my favorite team is for any given sport and I would most likely be able to instantly give you an answer. Favorite baseball team? The Atlanta Braves. English Premiership? Yeah, I'm not from England, but absolutely it's Everton (despite a pretty poor showing this year so far). Do I have a favorite sports player of all time? Absolutely. Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez. Or Karl "The Mailman" Malone. Or Calvin "Megatron" Johnson. There are stories behind my "allegiances" to each of these players or teams, but none of which could be taken seriously as legitimate reasoning for breaking down in tears after Reggie Ball THROWING THE BALL AWAY on fourth down or running around like a madman after a pinch-hit, walk-off grand slam by Brooks Conrad in a mid-season game against the Reds.

Sitting here, watching the Atlanta Falcons, a team that boasted the number one seed in the NFC Playoffs and the target of my admirations over the last 5 months, fail to show up in their loss against the Green Bay Packers (I'm assuming they lost, I turned the game off after the Packers ran off their 6th straight touchdown drive), it kind of hit me.

I could feel the frustration building with every pass that Aaron Rodgers clinically found a pair of friendly Packer hands. I could actually feel the changes in my personality, in my mood, and in my entire sense on my night. And then I thought, "Why am I getting so angry about this game? I'm not playing in it. I can't do anything about it."

But then I realize what it is about sports that make all of the die-hard fanatics drop thousands and thousands of dollars on tickets and foam fingers and $15 hot dogs. I realize what it is that drive us into silence and exasperation when watching a 45 year old man try and kick a ball between two giant yellow posts. What it is that grabs hold of us to grab hold of a complete stranger in the joyous embrace of a victory. What it is that causes us to hate, with an absoulte passion, a person wearing the colors of our rivals. What it is that connects us to grown men playing a game that we, due to whatever reason, stopped playing years ago.

Our memories, our childhoods, our relationships are usually all tied, in some way, shape, or form, to sports. I know that without my ever-impressive baseball history, my relationship with both my father and brother would not have been the same. The fact that I represented the Georgia Institute of Technology during my 5 or so years attending the University of Georgia not only made me an outcast during Saturdays in Athens, but also allowed me to view the absolute level of ridiculousness that some people will go to in order to make a person not only know how much their team in inferior, but also make their target feel awful about it.

Do I know where I was when President Obama was sworn in? Nope. But ask me where I was when Otis Nixon made "The Catch" against the Pirates, robbing Andy van Slyke of a go-ahead home run in 1992. Yeah, I was 5. And I was at my grandmother's house in Toccoa, Georgia. And I went nuts.

And had the Falcons pulled off the comeback tonight, I'd have gone nuts tonight too.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Peace Be the Journey

I've been informed by a few people (sometimes repeatedly) that I should start writing a blog. I was never quite sure why anyone else would care enough about my life experiences and stories to take time out of their own day to read about mine. But now, due much in part to Dakota actually asking me to contribute to something that clearly means so much to him and numerous other people, I've decided to take the plunge and join the ranks of the faceless merchants of free stories and life lessons: the bloggers.

As my inaugural entry, I was required to develop a title for my contribution. I thought that, considering the blog's title, it would only be fitting to settle upon a line from , as well as the meaning behind the title of, my favorite movie, Cool Runnings. Cool Runnings is, has, and will most likey always be my "go-to" feel-good movie. There's just something about that ragtag group of Jamaicans that makes any worries I've accumlated throughout the day just seem to vanish. Plus, the soundtrack is solid, which is just an added bonus.

Being that our blog is based upon sharing inspiring anecdotes that we have seen and lived, I feel like these four words have done a lot to inspire me as I've lived my life. Having just left home for what is really the first time, and moved to Orlando to start my career, those four words selected to represent my ideas and my life in internet form are ringing even truer. You have to enjoy the simple things in life, treasure your family and loved ones, an as my boy Yau-Man from Survivor:Fiji pointed out, "Love many, trust few, and do harm to none". Peace Be The Journey. During this past holiday season, I realized that if you can live your life along these guidelines, you'll appreciate everything that makes life the greatest gift you can receive.

So, until next time,

Peace Be the Journey.