Several days ago, I came out of retirement and completed yet another successful Craigslist transaction. Yes, five years after my “maiden voyage,” I’m proud to say that I’m still alive (read that line in Eddie Vedder’s voice please).
Theoretically, if everything went according to plan, this really wouldn’t be all that big of a deal. You post about your new/used goods, arrange a simple meeting, and make the exchange. And everything should work in theory.
But it has NEVER. BEEN. THAT. SIMPLE.
Allow me to explain.
While many websites typically offer digital badges, gold stars, and various other miscellaneous incentives for completing transactions, the rewarding part of Craigslist can be explained with one word: ESCAPE.
In other words, somehow you weren’t brutally murdered while hawking your used electronics behind the Taco cart in a CVS parking lot. And for that you should feel proud.
After my latest transaction, I know I’ve still got it; I still feel like some sort of fancy escape artist.
There was, however, a time when my escapes were perhaps narrower than they should’ve been.
Several months ago I chronicled the ups and downs of owning season tickets for my local team, the Charlotte Bobcats. Not surprisingly, that adventure proved to be taxing at times, so I’m thankful I was able to experience the NBA on the road some as well. Additionally, a few years ago I pledged to try and visit a new arena every season, and once again, I was successful in doing so.
While I had already been attending games in Charlotte, the real fun started on a birthday trip to Florida in December. This trip marked the first time I attended two games in two different arenas on back to back nights.
The first night of the trip brought my group of friends to the Amway Center, an arena I’ve become very familiar with. In fact, the memory of two costumed iterations of Stuff (the Magic mascot) skillfully cornering me in the main lobby during the previous year’s playoffs were still etched in my mind. But on this night my allegiances were somewhat neutral, so there was no need for that tomfoolery again.
Seriously, don’t touch me again.
Cheap Philly Phanatic rip-off.
Back to the game. Read the rest of this entry
I think it’s safe to say that everyone reading this blog is probably familiar with the phrase, “I have a song stuck in my head.” While these songs in bondage are occasionally hand-selected, more often than not I find that they’re not of one’s own choosing. But what I’m really starting to discover (thanks in part to Mister M’s Munching Mouth song)… is the enduring latency of some particular tunes.
Case in point:
Earlier this week, as I was exiting my front door, I was compelled to start whistling a little tune – a blatant deviation from my normal workday routine. I went along with it, however, because the moment felt right.
But just like every other precious moment of bliss, this one was short lived, and I eventually recognized the words that normally accompanied the melody emitting from my face-hole.
“Welcome to this place, I’ll show you every-thing…”
CUSS, I’M WHISTLING. AND I’M WHISTLING A CREED SONG. FULL BODY SHIVER.
Earlier this week, one of my good friends informed me that she would be teaching kindergarten for the first time starting this year. This eventually led to a discussion regarding the different methods of teaching younger kids how to read.
So I nonchalantly mentioned the Letter People.
I shrugged the incident off. But I still feel like I owe her some sort of explanation.
With that being said…UVO, take me back to 1993.
Several years ago I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, home of the NBA’s Bobcats. While my favorite team has always been the Indiana Pacers, living in the city quickly proved to be ideal because I could see most teams come through at a great price. After getting settled at the start of 2011, I anticipated catching an occasional game, but the season ended up being shortened by the NBA lockout. Eventually, basketball would commence and the Bobkitties achieved the status of being the worst team in NBA history (percentage-wise) with a record of 7-59. If I had to summarize that season in around 30 seconds it would look something like this:
Now up to this point I had never owned season tickets for pro basketball, and I didn’t see this changing anytime soon. But the Bobcats marketing department took a chance and created a deal that seemed too good to pass up: the “Pick the Pick” promo.
“Come see the Bobcats,” they said.
“It’ll be fun,” they said.
In my most recent posting, I was able share the story of a tumultuous week from June of 1968. During this short timeframe, the citizens of Los Angeles saw their star pitcher, Don Drysdale, break a Major League record for consecutive shutouts. Later in the same day, they shifted their focus to the California Democratic Primary, where Senator Robert F. Kennedy edged out his opponent Eugene McCarthy by a mere 4%. However, shortly after mentioning Drysdale’s record in his victory speech, Kennedy was shot and killed in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel. After this unexpected turn of events, the city would once again turn to Drysdale to help cope with disaster, and he obliged by breaking baseball’s consecutive scoreless innings record several days later.
While the real meat and potatoes of the story had already been told, I was also curious about a story I kept seeing referred to on the Internet regarding Drysdale and a tape of Kennedy’s last speech.
Growing up, I noticed mostly floral arrangements or generic paintings hanging on the walls at my friends’ houses. On the contrary, my family’s living quarters housed a framed newspaper announcing the death of President Kennedy. Looking back, I recognize the decor might have been a bit abnormal, but I honestly never thought anything of it. My mother was eleven years old when the tragedy occurred, and she still recalls the events of November 22, 1963 with an incredible clarity. The day obviously had a significant impact on her even at such a young age.
Only five short years later, my parents’ generation was once again reminded of ’63, as they were forced to endure the gruesome murders of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, only 63 days apart. What this generation did not realize, however, was that America’s favorite pastime could possibly provide some source of present healing for a city and a nation that were very much in shock.
As I write this in 2013, I hope to bring some light to this tumultuous week from June of 1968. You see, 45 years ago this week, Los Angeles was not only subjected to the tragic murder of yet another Kennedy brother, but they were also treated by the majesty of Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale, most assuredly as a sign of hope, a sign of better things to come.
Where do you take a hobo for his first meal out of prison?
My best guess was Denny’s.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
Back in my college days, some friends decided to start an outreach where they handed out food downtown. It sounded like a noble cause so eventually I decided to join them. Quickly I found myself thrust into a role that involved helping to plan some of these outings.
The whole operation seemed simple enough – bag up some PB&J’s, set up a table, and surely the people would come. It was a Kevin Costner philosophy of sorts. But we quickly discovered that PB&J’s just didn’t cut it, and that folding tables make for inconvenient barriers. So we changed our strategy. Over time, these sandwiches evolved into grilled cheese and bacon. And as a side note, I often left with the impression that Natty Ice goes with anything.
Yesterday my boss asked me what all I was going to do on my week off in Florida and I told him I had plans to attend a couple of Spring Training games.
“Is Spring Training kind of like preseason football?”
My initial reaction was to give him some sort of condescending look, as if to say, “How could you even ask such a question?” But instead I regrouped and simply denied the accusation that Spring Training was just preseason baseball. Frustrated, I walked away realizing I didn’t have the time to really attempt to give the explanation I had hoped for.
You see, I think at the root of every conversation we have a deep longing to be understood. The struggle for all of us, and especially those who attempt written or verbal communication, is that a proper understanding typically necessitates some level of experience. Most people have experienced a baseball game in some capacity, and they’ve experienced many of the other components of Spring Training in separate areas of life, but the idea of these components coexisting has never come into the picture. So I’m going to try and link some of these experiences.
I feel like I’m really doing myself a major disservice here if I don’t start writing about basketball more often. And soon. Now there are a number of storylines going on right now that I should discuss (the demise of the Lakers, Paul George slowly becoming a star, the reemergence of the Knicks, etc.), but something happened yesterday that surpasses them all in terms of importance.
The time was 2:38 in the afternoon and I get the dreaded text. “rondo torn acl ouch.”
Honestly, my first thoughts were selfish. Read the rest of this entry