Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Very First Time

You never forget your first time. It's a magical experience that lives with you forever. Yup, I'll never forget my first time. I was three when it happened. I watched baseball for the first time, and it was love at first sight.

Now that I t got that lame intro out of the way...let's continue.

I was born in Brooklyn. For those who haven't visited or seen pictures; buildings are pretty much on top of each other. The garages had about a 2-foot gap between them. Plenty of space for a three 1/2 year old to fit through.

Well one summer afternoon, I decided to venture down this little gap. By the time I reached the back of the yard, I thought i was in an open field. Looking back, it was probably a 4x7 patch of dirt behind our garage. The area had a chain link fence on one side. On the other side of that fence was a local baseball field for high school kids.

I was intrigued by the field and the players on it. After a while one of the players came up to the fence. He was repeatedly throwing a ball into his glove and starring me down. He asked what I was doing? I was taken aback by this question. All I can think of was "WOW!!! One of the big kids is talking to me!!!" He smiled and waited for an answer. I somehow had the nerve to say I wanted to see what they're doing. He laughed and said that practice is ending, so there isn't much to see. But if I come back tomorrow night, I can watch the game from my little area. A giant smile appeared on my face and said ok. Before I ran off he yelled out one last thing. He said, " I'll be playing the position over there. So look out for me."

The next night I made sure I was there. But this time I grabbed a play school fold up chair and my sesame street radio to entertain me. I can really remember one aspect of the game. But it was one hell of a play that I'll die with.

As I'm in my chair a ball was hit towards me. I thought it was going to go over the fence and hit me. But it was going to hit the warning track. All of a sudden, that kid from the day before, made a spectacular sliding catch right in front of me! I thought he was super-man. Since it was the last out, he slowly got up. I was cheering and going nuts. He looked at me, smiled and said, "that's how you play baseball kid, one day this will be you."

He ran off and my mouth was left open in shock. I quickly ran to my dad at the BBQ. Got his attention and demanded, "TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT BASEBALL!"

He took me to see more games at that local field, then we watched lots of ball games on tv, and of course played T-ball in the back. It was love at first sight. Then I found Don Mattingly, the Yankee first baseman. It couldn't get any better.

Baseball has done a lot for me. It's helped me gain lots of friendships, re-connect with my dad, stay active & just have thousands of hours of entertainment.

So as the inaugural opening day begins today. I smile when I see little kids in oversized hats, and think about way back when. It's a magical time that no words can really explain. Well, other than, PLAY BALL!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Seeing True Beauty Without Being Blind

It takes a lot to see the beauty in something.  Sometimes to see real beauty, you need more than you're own two eyes.  You may need time, knowledge, or even experience to see true beauty. 

Today I was pretty lucky.  Due to my experience, and my own two eyes, I saw something rather beautiful.  Perhaps it was more heart warming, but beautiful none the less.

During a very important part of our workday, one of the head people of my team ran out the door.  From what I know, her husband was taken quickly to the emergency room, with no reason as to why.  Understandably, she was shaken from the news, and most of us were left confused since it happened so fast.  Not me though.  I thought it was kind of beautiful. 

But before you consider me an asshole, let me explain myself.  

First off, my co-worker's husband is an awesome guy.  I met him several times and I plan on praying that everything is ok.

Second, I was very close to getting engaged a few years ago.  If things didn't go south, I'd be married for sure by now.  With the way the break-up happened, I'm very reluctant to get into another relationship.  It's weird and I'm still having trouble explaining it.  As much as I'd like to be in a relationship, I just can't pull the trigger and make it happen.  I will say that I miss the good times (not the ex herself though).  

The times I stayed with her when she was sick in bed, when we were there for each other when our grandfathers passed away, and the time she was there when I was rushed to the emergency room.  Were those difficult events...F#€K YEAH!  But, it was really amazing to go through it with someone.

To have someone, an equal, care that much for you, is amazing.  Time could just seemingly stand still if your "other half" was suffering in some way.  Call it magical, call it love, but for me, I'll it one of the most beautiful things on earth.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Today's Observation: Evolution of PROTECTING

Growing up, I had an evolution of "protecting".  It started off simple enough with everyone in the play pen.

I couldn't walk, I wasn't potty trained, and I'm guessing I wasn't potty trained either.  But my mother told me about my favorite blue ball.  If someone even took it away from my play pen, even if I wasn't playing with it, I'd scream like a banshee.  I guess you can say I was very territorial of that ball.  

Next, and I'm sure people can relate to younger brother couldn't touch my toys, and if he ever lost the little weapons to them, he better run fast! From there it went towards comic books.  

I couldn't open the latest issue of Spider-Man fast enough.  I had to witness the web slingers adventures first hand.  However, when I finished reading them, they went into their protective sleeve.  Never taken out again in risk of lowering to issues condition.  Not much later, the interest was also in baseball cards.  

I went from my Topps check-list to inevtory religiously.  My collection had to be in mint condition and my trades had to be in my collections best interest.  Then, my protecting took a big step.

In a loving way, I gave my brother a hard time growing up.  I kept him in check and roughed him up when he needed a reality check.  But if someone tried roughing him up, that's a big no no.  I was (and still am) the only one who can do that.  No one else.  So physically, I made sure no one tried doing a thing.  I'm also the first to admit that I'm not that close to him now.  But hopefuly thatll be another.  

Surprisingly, the evolution took a difficult step.

For a guy, I have a lot of female friends.  One had a great quote by saying, "You're like a gay best friend...except you're straight".  My guy friends still can't understand it.

Besides the actual great female's benefiting for a guy to have female friends.  Think about it.  Women and relationships can be hard to understand sometimes for guys.  So if you need advice or an opinion, they're the best too turn to! Okay...I sidetracked a little there.

Anyways, I developed great female friendships.  All of a sudden, these friends became little sisters.  And if you thought I was protective of my lil' can imagine how I am to my sisters.

Every boyfriend had to be approved through me.  Best example to give...imagine bringing a potential date out...and suddenly the person is going through a job interview.  I'm also very big in first impressions.  So I'd let them know how important this was.  And why shouldn't I!  Big bros don't let their sisters get heart broken or taken advantage of in some way by some d-bag.  If I felt like I can do something, well DAMMIT, I'm going to do it!

Today, a friend told me about her horrible weekend.  Her sister has had a rough stretch lately.  Her boyfriend broke up with her and she's miserable at her job.  To deal with it, she tried to O.D. on sleeping pills.  She's ok now, but my friend is understandably shakin' by it, and is worried about the future.

My friend is a very persistent, and good hearted person.  So I have a good feeling about her sister's future.  It's easy for me to say that.  Especially through my friends Hellish two days, but in my heart, I can tell she'll make it through.  Her sister just needs to surround herself with people that love her and want to protect her best interest. 

And that's the key point here...

I don't know if it's human nature, but I feel like we always NEED to protect someone or something.  I say this, knowing, this need will have to intensify.  When I have kids, I know, I'll do everything in my power to protect them.  Also, I know they have to go through pain in life, and that my friends, will be difficult.

It may help us feel complete, perhaps it's part of love or perhaps it's part of our sub-conscience.  Either way.  I know that not having anything to protect, makes for an empty life, and not having anything to protect, is the scariest thing of all.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Times Really Are A Changin'

Ever have one of those 'O Shit' moments?  You know the kind.  Moments that either turn a light on above your head (a la Looney Tunes characters when they have a good idea) or ideas that just bring you down to reality.  I've pretty much had an 'O shit' moment since last weekend.  But I need to back up a little to put the story in context.  Here is the cliff-note version.

I've had the feeling for a while that life has been kind of stuck in second gear.  Don't get me wrong.  Things are much better than they were two or three years ago.  I'm a very happy go lucky/joking around  type of guy.  Except for MLB games and a little road rage, you never really see me get mad.  This just may be my own neuroses, but I can never stop thinking about the next step to better myself.

Not really sure when this "Second Gear Problem" .  But it's been for a good while.  Slowly I wasn't worrying about health, relationships and I've been a pissy version of myself.  Then last weekend pretty much punched me in the face.

Here is what happened in order.
Friday: Buddy of mine got married
Saturday:  Two different sets of friends got engaged
Saturday: My long time friend had a beautiful baby girl
Sunday: I found out a casual friend passed away

When I found out about the unexpected passing, it was like a sledge hammer to the head.  I started thinking about all the events that happened in that 3-day span.  It was like the circle of life (as cheesy as that sounds--BUT IT'S TRUE).

Seeing so many great things happening to friends, truly shows, how life is worth living.  When such great things happen to good people, they make you feel good.

Sadly, I only wish I reached out to this casual friend more often.  People said so many great things about him at the wake.  I truly missed out.  It also showed me how I need to network more often with people.  Need to seize the moments as they happen.  In this case, fuck tomorrow, just worry about today.  Because I'll never know how great of a friend I may have just lost.

I started to remember something that occurred to me a long time ago.  If you have health, family that loves you and friends that have you're're the richest person in the world.  Anything after that is just the rich getting richer.