So when I last left you readers I was pondering an indoor soccer team to honor my lost family members- and less than a month later I have almost twenty players signed up and two teams under the Panther Elite banner. We also were just featured on the front page of the Sunday Concord Monitor newspaper- so yeah a lot of big things happening this past month.
I am making sandwiches. Chicken, turkey, ham, on a small sub role with cheese. I am my sister making lunches for her kids- my kid’s just happen to be over a baker’s dozen of soccer players who don’t always have enough food at home. So I hit the grocery store on game days, and then to Dick’s to buy three pairs of indoor soccer shoes for the game tonite, and to look for a goalie jersey with the padding for my rec team goalie- the goalie gloves I just bought him are already broken in from all the practice he does at the park by his apartment complex. There is no soccer nets there but he makes do regardless. They didn’t have any youth sizes so I venture to the soccer speciality store next to the rat pizza arcade with the animatic prog rock band and find the perfect jersey; the one with the special padding on the elbow to help cushion his dives on all the goals he will stop.
I am currently better at making sandwiches then winning games. My sandwiches work well together- the cheese spilts in perfect half to evenly cover the sub roll, the meat nestles in between the cheese- as the bread engulfs it all in a warm hug. My team has yet to gel so perfectly. Although we are supremely talented we have yet to come together as a team. We haven’t won any games yet-we are 0-4, but my talent for delicious sandwich making is spreading and apparently getting players wanting to sign up for the team. Also spreading is the fundraising efforts for funding the team. I am overwhelmed, and humbled by the generosity shown so far. We have raised almost $3, 000 dollars so far!
I think one thing I want to highlight is where these kids come from, and the horrors they have endured. After the newspaper story came out my smallest player, who I am pretty sure is so strong he can carry twice his body weight, and can also charm you with a smile even when when he is being mischievously naughty, asked “So, Coach your brother killed your sister.” I told him yes, and he looked at me perplexed, “Why not you too?“ So I told him, “My brother was suicidal, and she went over to help him. But his brain was broken- like he wasn’t himself because he was sick. So he didn’t mean to kill them it just happened. And that’s why he didn’t kill me. He didn’t mean to kill anyone.” “Ohhh…ok.” Fully satisfied with that answer he got into line simply stating, “I am going to get breakfast now Coach.”
The interaction was unique in he didn’t react in the typical American student fashion- the idea of murder of family was not a unique concept to him and he was more curious at the why he did it. He also approached to ask me very straight forward in the same way he would ask what time the game was- or was he starting tonight.
I coach kids from Nepal, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, and beyond. Some have arrived as recently as 2019-others as far back as 2012. The Assistant Manager- my nickname because his brain sees soccer better than his body allows him too right now- lost his brother in a car accident this past summer. Sometimes he speaks as he is still alive- even though he understands he is dead. I get it- sometimes it’s just easier to think of that person as still alive because their presence still burns so hard in your heart. These players come from families with intense trauma. They have witnessed their family killed, raped and kidnapped. So my goal is to make lasting new memories from them. Whether the pure enjoyment they get from blasting and singing along to CJ’s Whoopty and being addicted to blue cheese on the ride home from games, or gorging on the mouth watering chocolate covered pretzels my mother expertly baked for them-
it’s trying to make this team as much as family as possible, and give them the confidence they might be lacking. And while our record and on field teamwork is experiencing some growing pains- we are filling the net with memories that can never be forgotten. Which to get corny for a minute is all that really fucking matters in the end.
On a cool crisp Sunday I sit next to my sister, niece, and nephew’s gravestone as the leaves paint a backdrop trinity of yellow, orange, and green as my dreams hover like lost leaves clutching to a branch now too cold to let it stay.
It’s my sister’s birthday today, and on her birthday I am trying to figure out a way to merge soccer and music to honor her, and to benefit the refugee and at-risk students I coach and work with. I knew being closer to her and the kids would allow me to figure out the best way to forge ahead.
This year Tricia would have turned 48. In the past birthdays, and anniversary’s were always brutal for me. In those days, when depression clung to my neck like two chains of sorrow and sadness, I always dreaded fall coming. In the past it was just the culmination of all my fears, repressed emotions, and the boiling cauldron of hate I kept bubbling in a dungeon locked in my belly over their murders. I ran from fall for over fifteen years, and then fate intervened this year and I became a soccer coach and everything changed.
Now mind you when I first signed up to coach I had no clue what I was doing, getting into, or that it would spark this idea to help these kids. I became a coach because the middle school I work at was in desperate need for coaches so I jumped in. My experience with soccer ended in 6th grade, and It wasn’t a sport I watched or even was any good at playing. I had no connection to it so going into my first practice of tryouts I figured I’d just get my Ted Lasso on, and let the power of positivity propel me. For the record I have never watched that show- and my coaching style definitely runs the gamut of emotions from Bobby Knight to Nick Sabin to Pete Carroll.
As my loyal readers know I learn best from jumping right in- usually failing at first- and then finally excelling. I mean I failed at making Mac n cheese once when I was babysitting for Tricia and making food for my tattletale niece Gillian. She wanted microwaveable macaroni and cheese- which to most people is very easy to whip-up. Yet I was a jabroni and forget to put water in the bowl for the macaroni. Yes, at nineteen years old I screwed up making microwavable mac and cheese, which I think is nearly impossible, and yet I managed to ace that test. So I ended up burning the noodles and making the house smell awful like cabbage water that has been left on the dashboard of a car in the middle of July for weeks. As soon as my sister came home Gillian sauntered right up to her and sold me out, “Uncle Patrick made the house smell.”
When I was real young I was really close to Tricia, but as I got into my teens we would always fight. I knew how to terrorize and push her buttons. I perfected the annoying little brother role so well that one afternoon while watching MTV’s The Grind she got so enraged at me she broke the TV remote controller by chucking it at my head. Luckily, I ducked. But after she had Gillian all that changed and I become the go to baby-sitter, and was no longer the ten year old terror looking to torment my nineteen year old sister. Yet she did get her revenge because this team to most was a terror- on the field and off.
This is how my season started via posts on Facebook:
9/18: I am not saying I am the greatest soccer coach in the world- but my team is undefeated after our first game. After a dominant 2-0 pre-season- including a thrilling 2-1 win over a very physical and aggressive girls B team- we are now poised for a championship run.
9/25: Still undefeated as a coach after 10-0 and 8-1 victories on the pitch. I am not saying I am John Wooden yet…but there are some people saying loudly on the internet I might be the greatest Middle School B Team 2 coach in recent history. I mean I am humble as they come- but the internet doesn’t lie.
Our first game was on the road versus Wyndham Summit. On the bus the kids were blaring and losing their minds to Cocomelon- a YouTube kid’s show where this cartoon Cailui looking like family just redoes nursery rhymes and popular kids songs. When I was in sixth grade I was getting into trouble because my friends put on a mixtape I made during gym class and the lady gym teacher was not as impressed as I was that the Wu Tang Clan was nothing to fuck with. However the power of cartoon positivity did the trick to fire up the squad and we won 7-5.
Tricia also had horrible taste in music. Like, brutally bad. In her car she would play really cheesy Euro techno. The stuff you hear in 90’s aerobic classes-which was fitting since she was a personal trainer and was always in ridiculously good shape. Things that were not in as good shape though were my ears as this dreck pulsated them- however James and Gillian loved it- vibrating and bouncing up and down in their car seats with huge grins plastered on their faces. My sister also loved Barry Manillowe, and even went to see him in concert. Before she passed she was going back to school to get a nursing degree. She had always wanted to be either a nurse, or a school teacher. She really would been great at either since she was such an amazing mom, and person.
Speaking of amazing my team had the leading goal scorer in the league- a charming sixth grader from the Congo with immense talent that should had been on the A team had he tried out. In our first game he scored five of our 7 goals, whiles assisting on the other two. Luckily I worked with him during camp this summer and found out he was a ringer and snatched him up fast. You will learn in coaching that a talented player can make your life a lot easier by covering up any defects your team or you as a coach may have. And believe me I had and still have plenty of defects when it comes to coaching- but I think my ability to connect with players, and my Bill Belichick like love of history and strategy has me ever improving.
Things we also led the league in was getting yelled at by the referees for swearing, players being sent to PPR(where you get sent when you get kicked out of class),being in ISS( internal suspension), and coaches with red cards. Think a sober middle school version of the 1986 NY Mets meets Bad News Bears. I relate well to the kids that get into trouble a lot, and I made that abundantly clear a couple days after the dreaded anniversary of their deaths when I received a red card versus our top rival Shaker in a showdown for first place.
The first time we played Quaker we lost 7-3- it was our first loss and first time we had trailed in any game. My team fell apart as soon as we went down- arguing with the refs and themselves. We stopped hustling to plays and played abysmal team soccer. We had faced adversity and failed our first test, and I was determined that would be the last time this happened.
The rematch for first place was set for October 4th- but this year my brain was not locked into a cycle of despair over that previous horrible day- but rather in a YouTube k-hole of soccer formations and false 9 videos trying to figure out the best line-up and game plan to defeat Quaker.
The God’s of rain pushed the game back to Wednesday, and the rematch was an epic back and forth match. We scored early in the first half- but immediately gave up a goal right back to them as they tied it up one to one. Quaker was able to sneak another goal in late and we ended up losing 2-1.
Reflection made me realize that I was definitely more emotional and hyped up then usual for this game- first I really wanted my players to realize they were the better team and could beat them if they just played together. Also I think it was definitely a release for me embracing my new normal. One of the strangest feelings I think for those that dealt with anything that took away their spark for life, and had them living by a nightlight is how to live life with out the comforter of depression. For those blessed with never dealing with depression, or any debilitating mental health ailment, tragedy, or setback that destroyed your whole world view- this might seem like a very foreign concept. But when happiness has alluded you, either by circumstance, bad brain chemistry, or a combination of both, living a life without it can be terrifying to embrace. So when your biggest pressing worry is a B league middle school soccer game life is going pretty good.
But if you listened to a supposedly “concerned” Quaker parent my red card exit occurred after I had cursed out my players, then the refs- then like I was cosplaying 2Pac exited the field with both middle fingers in the air. I wish I was making this up- but they sent this to my athletic director and principal. Obviously they knew this Quaker mom was full of malarkey-but my AD, who is a really talented and successful coach, needed to bring it to my attention because of perception. Just getting a red card gives me a target on my back. It doesn’t help I am extremely loud, and animated on the sidelines- I pace a couple miles each game- but I never would yell or curse out a kid. I do loudly praise them for their hard work on the field- but I am also not changing my whole style cause some rich asshole doesn’t like me or my team- but I will definitely keep myself more in check from now on because I understand- regardless of reality- I need to be even more careful about my actions because people like that will prey upon it. Also I need to not be so damn stupid next time a situation like this occurs. I got thrown out arguing subbing rules during throw ins. I finally lost it when the ref let their team sub on our thrown in- and then the next play they had a throw in, and I had a sub waiting and I asked, “So can I illegally sub now,” and he goes no- and my last words were, “So I guess we are the only team that has to play by the rules now.”
But the perception of me, and my team that Quaker parent had on me motivated me to realize how I could honor my loved ones by giving kids a chance to play indoor soccer come November and the winter months. A lot of the kids I work with deal with negative perceptions that are not their fault. Having options like this to learn and grow at a sport- while also bonding with and forming life long friendships with teammates is huge in a child’s development, and the perceptions others may have of them. Indoor soccer costs can be exorbitant- so that’s why I am trying to keep costs low for the families- and free for those that can’t afford it.
And that’s where you my loyal readers come in. Do you want to stick it to a bunch of rich private school snobs? Do you want to help refugee and at risk kids? Do you want to be able to find out if we won the championship in the B league, and have exclusive reports on how we are doing during the indoor season? Well I got a deal for you so you can donate to help the cause, and for every dollar donated I will put up more takes from the soccer pitch, new dj mixes, post some betting tips, offer leaf raking services from the kids, and hell if you need a tutor I can do that for your student in need- any hustle needed will be offered to help these players out. The idea is hopefully we can raise enough money to ensure price is not a barrier for any player, and also help make sure their jerseys and equipment costs are covered. Ideally we are looking to raise $2,000, and to use this soccer adventure as a real life example of what a non profit dedicated to my sister would be able to achieve. You can donate at the link below, and believe me any donation I get I am beyond grateful for.
I think one of the biggest torments of severe depression- or any bout with any debilitating mental health issue- is the absolute solitude nature of its torture. The anger, sadness, and frustration intensifies inside you without anywhere to go becoming a venomous arrow paralyzing you to the world outside of your own thoughts. You become a volcano whose eruption only blows up itself- it’s lava pouring back inside the earth leaving the ground trembling with flaming fears. Such intense self-reflection leads to at times periods where our lenses to life are skewed to reality. Self-absorption becomes our sin because connection to others seems so far away- a distant land too many miles to seek out alone. When you are in the midst of a depressive bout the ability to actively connect with others is a foreign language. Spoken words are never understood anyway when you yourself have lost your voice. So you turn even more inwards losing your connection to the outside world.
For me that loss can plummet to even greater depths where death seems like the best option available. When life is strangling you slowly then suicide seems the comforting solution over that ever present drudgery; that is a life that seems to be rather a slow death suffocating all glimpses of hope, love, and life out of it-dooming you to a life lived cursed as a hollow tomb- a Monet to the outside world- but strictly walking dead inside. It’s not that suicide is ever truly appealing- it’s thought of peace it brings that becomes so alluring.
Thinking back to the past seems more like a vivid nightmare than real life-years either seem closer to the past, or, further from the future then they actually are. A kaleidoscope calendar fills out the remnants of my memories of these fractured times.
Back in those dark days gratitude lists got me by. I learned that when your brain is fighting itself you have to become like the dirtiest player in the game, Ric Flair, and use any tactic at hand to win. The brain can’t think of two things at once- so no matter how bad your depression, sadness, anger, fear, or any of the smorgasbord of emotions that are occurring at the time are- you can always mindfully take a moment to barrage it with some goodwill. Because at the times when you are feeling that low it’s those bright moments you can always cling to as you struggle to climb forward. So use gratitude like Omar used his shotgun and leave your brain shook shouting, “Gratitude Coming” across all hemispheres.
Using gratitude is one of the simplest tools you have at your disposal in battling these ailments. Whether it’s starting each day by listing five things on paper, keeping a gratitude journal, or just focusing on a tiny comfort in life like fresh socks and underwear will guarantee your first thoughts each waking morning will be full of positivity, hope, and thankfulness. With practice those peaceful moments can expand to peaceful mornings, afternoons, and beyond. Remember the practice of gratitude is just like lifting weights- the more you work at it the stronger you become. And with that strength comes a better connection to oneself and the world around it. Gratitude started me on my journey to wellness, and you best believe it is indeed part of my “code to living” till this day.
One thing I have learned is closure never comes just because you want it- It only comes like a fog covered peak after miles and miles of a laborious trek. Birthdays are a great time to reflect- I turned 39 the other day and was grateful for how much closure I was recently granted. Closure has come for me many times these past two years- first from myself, from the murders, and lastly the former lovers hearts I gripped way too tight- using them as a substitute for alcohol when life was too frightening to deal with shieldless. My actions when the alcohol returned forever ruined those relationships- leaving me with handfuls of frays of ember burning my skin while I clung to the glimpse of peace they once offered was a truly hard drug to give up. My intoxicated actions forever haunt me- and hopefully this SOS will greet them with peace. It’s the least I hope for those hearts I treated with such previously cruelty in the end. It was never my intention- but that’s the problem in intention- or your reasoning, or any bullshit excuse- it never changes how these actions affected others. I am learning from my failures- the process is ever going- so I am honoring those loves from the past by knowing I will be treating the loves of my future with all the wisdom and care I wished I could have experienced with and giving to them. It’s not enough I know- but it’s the only way I know on how to forge ahead.
My current penance has been reflection- taking a year to remove myself from any romantic relationships with any female- be it mental or physical. I really had to learn who I was on my own-without the alcoholic buffer- to realize what I truly offer a future partner- or even what I am looking for or need in one myself. I am writer- a romantic in love with the chaos of beauty- the passion of instant intense connection- usually formed in unique situations that burn so hot in the beginning that no matter what it’s doomed to an ember ending- smoke signals of cruelty. A love only wonderful in prose- but a disaster in reality. Itself an addiction from reality sealed with a kiss. When two tragedies collide it’s not a recipe for romance- but always disaster. A happy ending is never in a tragedy’s future- no matter how much you will it.
So now I trek tenderly ahead. Avoiding the fire and easing into the ocean of connectivity. Treading softly for the future hearts I may encounter.
It’s just over 365 days since my last sip of the devil’s elixir. That’s one year alcohol free-it’s got me feeling like I am CM Punk. It’s funny it probably took me about eight years just for this one year to happen. The amount of time I spent in the ring boxing with the legends of depression, ptsd, anxiety, and booze earned me a PHD in getting my ass whipped. In those early fights I hadn’t learned yet not to lead with my chin-or leave my body exposed for those breath crunching kidney shots that will have you pissing a red amber color witnessed only by fisherman on nights when the sea turn angry. Over the years those rounds left me bruised, beating, and frozen with scars of failure. I couldn’t properly fight back because I had grown accustomed to the misery- that misery seemed the lesser of the two evils- the latter being honestly and truly exploring my emotions to find the root cause of my pain, and engaging in a plan of action to overcome it. I began to be more comfortable living in the misery of the terror- than in the thought of embracing the horror of what was to come. Some rounds I become so intoxicated with hate and anger I would just take an old school beating like Rocky Balboa-just to feel the pain. Other times I would come out swinging- knocking down some of these foes- but always eventually forgetting my way- and getting knocked out once again. Eventually I learned to slip a punch or two, and jab when needed. I learned I could take a punch, and punch right back- till eventually I learned my own unique fighting style and began knocking out these demons one by one.
My loyal readers will know that this blog started out as an outlet to try to find some clarity- well let’s be fucking honest- it was so I wouldn’t kill myself. I was at a point where my head was slowly convincing me that death was a good idea- and I knew if I wrote about it honestly it would be out there- a reality because it was typed. I couldn’t pretend everything was all right if the internet already knew the truth. So began my long complicated journey for mental health clarity, and I knew the only way to get there was to eliminate alcohol. It was the one x-factor that clouded all judgement- and conveniently also been my most effective and best developed coping mechanism since graduating college. Alcohol by the end only brought out the ugly in me. All my self hatred came out through vicious words and thoughtless actions. I still feel the sting of this in wondering if some friendships just became lost due to time and miles away- or did my years living in between blackouts destroy it. Those things still haunt me. Choosing alcohol over love that still haunts me. But alcohol, itself, that shit doesn’t haunt me anymore.
For I learned it never really held any power over me- rather I allowed it to be all powerful over me because it seemed the most endurable terror at the time. Luckily I found you don’t have to endure terror if you are willing to grind for mental peace instead. So grind I did, and one year later I am booze free. And now mostly demon free. Still a work in progress- but now a much less haunted one.
And thanks for all those that been reading from the start- I promise I will post more from now on.
I was lost in thought the other day- half way between meditating and thinking of new ideas- when I had this moment where I realized my life was no longer consumed by my previous PTSD/Depression. No longer did my identity revolve around the murders, or the harmful ways I attempted to address that pain. For the longest time I didn’t even realize I was living this way. PTSD and the depression that sprung forth stripped away so many things I loved. I even stopped enjoying djing for awhile. My heart wasn’t into it, and the fact that not having that love didn’t even feel off to me- looking back at those times I didn’t fathom why I no longer cared that something I loved so much I could brush aside so easily. Or why I would get soul crushing anxiety anytime I would have to play out in public. Thats the real crime of depression is it robs you from experiencing the things you love to the point you can’t even remember why they gave you joy in the first place. It was so bad that I didn’t even make a dj mix for over five years. Music become a chore- something to be endured not enjoyed. So in the past year being able to experience the joy of djing brought me all the way back to my teenage years in my basement mixing records. Having that passion rekindled in me has been beyond a blessing, and a blessing I will soon be able to share with you with a new mix in the coming weeks.
But before that glorious day my hours passed in a fog of frozen hell. I had no idea all those years later that the despair I fled in the wake of the deaths would eventually wreak so much havoc in my subconscious, and subtlety weave it’s way into my whole view of the world. It was as if I was wearing those Roddy Roddy Piper glasses in They Live- but instead of seeing aliens my eyes were clouded lenses of tragedy and fear.
Thinking back the dogma of AA prayed upon and played into those fears for many years. I was indoctrinated that I drank- not because I hadn’t properly dealt with some serious emotional pain I was suppressing- because all my pain was just resentments that the fourth step would cure with the turnarounds. For those not aware there are 12 steps in AA. The first three are basically saying you are powerless to alcohol and only god(higher power- something greater than yourself can save you from your drinking.) Alcohol is this big boogeyman in AA always in the parking lot doing push ups, and other body focused isometric exercises. Alcoholics do some terrible shit while drinking so AA professes that deep down all alcoholics are selfish and resentful at their core, and thus it’s not really your fault since you just never were were not giving a proper design for living(aka Big Book and 12 steps)before to deal with these bedevilments. So the fourth step is where you first write out all your resentments to the world- so anyone, or anything you felt has wronged you during your entire life. This is also the step where you have to to do a turnaround on said resentment- which is where you show the role you played in the resentment. For example the resentment of my brother murdering my sister, niece, and nephew was my fault because my reaction to the trauma was to drink to avoid it. Never mind the batshit logic of having to explain where your at fault for a murder is fucking nuts. Even worst AA loved when I said that. Real taking of accountability the old timers would snarl- but if you look at this beyond the surface why the fuck I am exploring such a deep and nuanced subject based on anecdotal science from a hundred years ago with a sponsor(for god bless their souls and my past ones were the best people!) whose only qualification for exploring this process with you is they themselves completed the steps. These are not licensed counselors you deal with- just normal people. So imagine the type of harm that can happen from these types of exercises even if the outright intention is not malicious. After completing the steps, sponsoring others (three of which who were in their early twenties who passed on), going to multiple meetings daily, and running a sober house I still wanted to drink. No matter how much I prayed I was still miserable. So I would drink again and then have to go back to AA and grab a newcomers white chip and start all over. And have to lie when I shared that I didn’t trust god with all my heart enough as the reason for my drinking again- not the mental anguish and toil going on from unstable brain chemistry mixed with unresolved emotional trauma. Nope just not being 100 with GOD. Or I drank because I didn’t pray hard enough, or I just didn’t want it enough- because AA is not for people who need it, it’s for people who want it. Looking back the whole process makes me want to puke.
In AA everything centers around alcohol- and the program becomes all consuming in your life where meetings serve as your new addiction. I know today I can not drink- I ruined that ability in the midst of trying to avoid my emotions. I abused this liquid escape to a point my body can no longer consume without being a total asshole that you don’t want around, who will sabotage anything good in his life. I am at peace with not drinking- plus drinking makes me fat. At my peak depression about five years ago I weighed 280 pounds-this morning I weighed in at 221(more nutrition posts to come I am into overnight oats now) But just losing the weight didn’t make me happy either. Long story short what made me happy was a long and arduous journey of self-discovery full of too many failures to count. Being able to write while feeling joy is something I feared I would never be able to experience. If I followed AA’s path I would still be stuck in that purgatory pain fog which was a living death. But as a part of my journey I am thankful for the lessons I learned along the way in AA, and the amazing people who came into my life because of it. I am not here to destroy AA- because for those it works for it is a beautiful thing. But for the others struggling today to I want them to realize there are different paths to happiness, and to keep searching to you find the right one.
As the days slowly but surely get longer, and the faint whisper of spring can be heard through vibrations of sawed off icicles. It signals one thing is soon to be coming to an end: that’s right the quarantine cuffing season is all most over, and love will soon be in the air again.
In honor of this I decided to reflect back on love. And I realized I used to write about a love so raw- so primal- so full of throat punches you could feel it pierce through your molars. A love that burned through emotions, bridges, and tsunamis of hearts. A passion that was a strike from a drone: an explosion you never see coming till your guts are caressing the canvas floor. For a fire so intense was always made to self-combust, and blow the fuck up it always did.
That type of love is not sustainable- that type of love is more of a high than a partnership. For along time I couldn’t tell the difference. I was so full of hate, rage, sadness, and anger that my vision was clouded to only see love in those same violent colors. Searching for a love so pure and intense it could replace the root of bitterness that had intertwined with my soul, and had me rushing down the raging rapids of sorrow. I was too selfish and guarded to be saved- instead I was an emotional terrorist blowing up any empathy around me.
That passion- that naivety- that listening to the lizard part of my brain forgoing all reason – well yeah I sometimes miss it-but not really. I am at that growth part in life where you are at a such a good place you know that the only person dating you right now should be you. I am currently wooing myself with 1985 wrestling dates. Future suitors take notes.
I still seek a pure love- but I am not seeking it out to save me from my own self-destruction, or as a distraction from life itself. In fact I am not really seeking it out all. I figure when fate wants it I will find that dope female of my future. Until then I always have these words I write, the love you, my beautiful readers, give me, and the pure joy of pro rasslin’ at my side.
I love my readers like corny ass Chance the Rapper loves his wife, and because of this I’m always looking for new material to write about to entertain you. You know keep our relationship spicy- the old slip a finger in the butt just to let them know you still care time in a relationship (this is probably why I am single- actually this is not even close to the reason why I am single so let’s move on shall we). So for the past week I decided to get my legal sport bet on. Mind you I am not a gambler- and before last week I had never made a sports bet other than a friendly wager among chums. Hell, I had only been to a casino once and only played slots there that reminded me of Joshi Wrestling
But this past Sunday a Holy Ghost vision of a Buccaneers victory struck me- the image appeared in neon lights in the clouds as a vision of none other than one of the shining trinities that is guiding me to greatness in 2021- yes the one and very drunk and focused Tom Brady- appeared before me.
Of course I had to bet on Brady- and of course that dude came through and I won my first bet. I also had my first taste of losing as my prop bet that Brady would gallop for more than .5 yards failed to occur. This betting win and lost would be the pinnacle of a well thought out bet, and what I dubbed a doing dumb shit bet. My initial bet was the Tampa win, and Leonard Fournette to rush for the over of 47 yards. Why I made this pick was based on logic and knowledge of said sport and players. If Tampa was going to win they needed to be able to run to get the play action pass going, and Fournette was going to be that dude to get those yards. Unfortunately fan duel went down for a bit so that bet didn’t go through, and then I decided I wanted to go for the sexier bet of Brady getting rushing yards- because we all know there is nothing more breathtaking than a good ol’ lead-foot Brady scramble.
Of course I lost that one, but at the end of the night I came out up $41.20- almost doubling my investment. And I was content with that pay out- until they pulled me back in with a free bet for the earlier technical difficulties I experienced. Now feeling pretty good after my win I decided why not get my uncut gems on and do a parlay: which is a wager where you bet multiple games to win, and only cash out if all of your picks are right.
After spending an hour going through Reddit, and various sites and Twitter feeds I came up with a perfect parlay.
It was not perfect.
Eric Gordon screwed me.
But I did learn from that loss and I got the bug to participate in the other contest to win a 7 dollar free bet when you purchase three 8 dollar over under bets. I went 2-3 on my over under and was now up just under 50 dollars with a free 7 bet. In the next couple of days I was up to almost 90 dollars when the gambling gods showed their face- like a gruesome fun house mirror mash-up of the Michael Jordan crying meme and Charles Barkley’s normal everyday mug- and I started doing a lot of small but doing dumb shit bets. Mind you at this time I was technically losing fictional money (and yes all the non broke-boys out there are judging me over this 90 dollars- but I work at a public school and I don’t have that Showtime money yet) but being able to cash out at $100 is a lot better than $25.
So back I went to the betting gods on that day after love- Valentine’s Day. A week of gambling was a lot like love itself with all those highs and lows. And just like love I decided to go all in at the end and make a wild go for broke two last bets. You know get a get a real good climax to this tale about the agony of winning and losing. And since I didn’t find love on Valentine’s Day why not go for the next best thing in life: winning money.
Plus I wanted to make up for all those doing dumb now picks like a 7 team parlay with college basketball and hockey lines.
See I don’t know shit about college basketball and hockey other than at surface level. So I can’t decipher the bullshit from the statistics that work with these sports when I am doing research on the games.
So post Valentine’s Day I was locked in. I did my research and found two perfect games to parlay. I would grab the money line (that’s for the Warriors to win straight up with no point spread) on Golden State versus the Cavs. My logic behind this pick came from the fact the Warriors had just dropped a home game to Durant and the Nets this past Saturday, and would be ramped up to play. They were also playing the Cavs at home, who would be without Andre Drummond who they just announced they were sitting till they can find a trade partner. You couldn’t really find any formulation out there that would show any momentum for the game going the Cavs way. And true to form the Warriors came out and crushed them. I doubled this game up by taking the plus 5 points for the Bulls against the Pacers. The Bulls would go to win outright in over time cementing my 97 dollar win. My other bet was a five dollar Julius Randle to score over 21 points – and dude goes off for 49 putting the exclamation point on my night of gambling dominance. I ended the night up to $106 proving that I am a lot luckier at gambling than I am with love.
In the end I hope you enjoyed this little tale of my gambling week, and how I turned 25 smackers into a hundred dollars of straight moolah. If y’all want to see me get my bet on in the future just let me know in the comments, or send me a message and I will do another one for March Madness.
My loyal readers I know I been absent. In the past five months you might have feared I ventured back to my demons; but alas worry not- because since August 10 my days have been full of progress, acceptance, a complete overhaul and cut back on meds, some weed smoking, no fucking alcohol, and actual happiness. I was finally able to visit my sister’s grave on the anniversary this past October for the first time since the funeral in 2004.
And for once my soul feels uncluttered of the albatross of anger and depression that had imprisioned my ability to truly perceive life for what it truly could be. When you are under the intoxication that is depression your world view becomes severely skewed. Now I feel so disconnected from those past years- as if those last 12 years of memories were of some doppelgänger- my own Twin Peaks Bob- as they are only remembered as securely as an etch-a-sketch drawing.
Luckily, like Cormega before me, I was built for this.
Yesterday was James Baldwin’s birthday- an author whose words always leave me in awe. So today I reflected on one of his quotes, “To accept one’s past—one’s history—is not the same thing as drowning in it; it is learning how to use it. An invented past can never be used; it cracks and crumbles under the pressures of life like clay in a season of drought.”
So in the past few weeks I have been really diligently trying to be mindful so I don’t return to my past harmful ways of thought. It means having to be truly insightful, and honest of my past behaviors- especially the selfish ones that came from fear. It meant embracing the fact I hadn’t truly been pushing myself for being stagnant is oh so comfortable. It’s realizing I feared failure more than I desired success. It meant looking in the mirror and deciding I was not going to let my old ways of thought bury my future happiness . And it meant learning past failures are key for they unlock the skills for future joy. And most importantly it meant sacrificing immediate happiness and comfort to experience the discomfort of growth. Which I exemplified by not pursuing a relationship with a truly beautiful girl because you realize lust is not a foundation you build relationships on. That looking outside for validation only ruins yourself and the other soul’s ability for connection, and ultimate growth. That two boats letting in water don’t fix each other’s holes- and in the end it just leads to two people drowning even quicker. Each an anchor preventing one another from reaching the shore ahead.
So Instead of drowning in past failures I am actively learning from them. Some days I still want to drink, and instead of simply running with the thought and mindlessly allowing for it to occur; I now challenge it. Realizing that maybe that thought is occurring from a lack of connection with others; my own loneliness gutting through my belly causing such feelings of emptiness. Maybe it’s the routine of the past, and a desire for a return to turbulence out of the current tranquil waters I swim in now. Maybe it’s just my brain firing on old pathways I haven’t successfully rewired yet. Either way the only thing I know for certain is today those pathways have a big ass detour sign in front of them blocking those shortcuts of sabotage.
For I agree with Baldwin that our past always shapes us, but it never defines us. With our first morning breath we choose which path we will follow today. Our footing as solid, or perilous as we wish for rock solid foundations are only built with time and effort. Each day I am putting in the effort to reshape my future. Each night knowing my past has helped guide the way to this current future. And each day struggling towards a better tomorrow.