Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lost my way...

I almost forgot how to get back to my's been so long. And unfortunately (for me and for my readers), I haven't had a whole lot going on.

I got a nice little boring break from work after bowl season. I'm still picking up some slack at the newspaper, but am waiting for my official start date at a new high school sports website that pays better.

Law school applications have been taking up all my conscious thought. I haven't worked on them as constantly as I make it seem, but they have been festering in the back of my mind for about a month straight. But, as of today, I am an official applicant. My papers are being processed at UCLA and Texas. Tomorrow, Arizona State, Berkeley, and USC will be getting theirs, too. Then, I get some time off before apps. are due at Maryland, Villanova, Boston U., and Colorado.

My constant struggle with these personal statements has been frustrating. When every school asks for me to write a personal statement that explains how my background and experiences will contribute to diversity, and asks for me to write all about the various hardships and adversities I overcame in my life to get me to where I am today, I'm really at a loss for words. I can't think of an upbringing more typical and American than mine. Very little adversity, very little hardships, very little diversity. My one diversity card that would normally work is being part Jewish. Obviously, at law school, being Jewish is hardly diverse. I'm slightly Native American, but not enough to claim/prove it.

So, my life is in their hands now. We'll see where I end up.

As for sports...a quick recap.

I hate the Giants. I especially hate Eli Manning. I hate that Peyton didn't win and his brother is in the Super Bowl. I hate that Brett Favre, with all his age and experience, folded under the pressure (and possibly the weather) and literally threw the game away. I want the Patriots to win by a huge margin.

Virginia Tech basketball is having a good season, considering our team is comprised almost entirely of freshmen. We just gave up a tough one to Duke tonight, but I'm proud of the way we played. We were missing our idiot inside post presence because he elbowed an official last time out in Atlanta.

I was happy to see Nadal go down in the semis in Australia. Rooting for Federer to take another title, but I like Djokovic. Very personable and charismatic. I think Federer is too good to lose. I might even go as far as saying Federer is the most dominant player in any sport at the moment.

That's about it. I don't have much to write about. I felt bad for not posting in weeks.

Leaving for El Paso on Monday for the Texas vs the Nation game (college football senior bowl game). I'll be there with Jay for a week. Hopefully, despite it being a dumpy border town, we'll have a good time.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Moving and shaking in Mobile

Welcome to the original home of Mardi Gras. Mobile, Alabama is where it all started. People describe the Mobile Mardi Gras as a family version of New Orleans. I'd say they have it just about right. I haven't been to Mardi Gras in NOLA, but I think I get the basic premise. Mobile is all the parades, the beads, the drinking, and the fun, with none of the gratuitous nudity and debauchery.

We (us GMAC Bowl officials) were reserved a balcony over the GMAC Bowl Parade on this second night of the three week Mardi Gras celebration. Turned out the balcony was four stories up, and we had more fun (despite the open bar) on the street level. I had a teddy bear and a moon pie (Mobile tradition to throw moon pies at the parades) snatched out of my hand, but I came up with several beads strands and some little novelty footballs. Highlight of the parade was the high school band drumlines. Pretty impressive.

The officials welcomed us in to their daily activities, which was nice. It gave our trip a little structure and a little more social networking. We had dinner at Felix's Seafood (we were told they had the best seafood in the country). I thought the food was average at best. The filet was fatty, and the crab meat on it was not tasty and was full of shell pieces. But the experience was nice.

Spot of Tea is our favorite restaurant. We have had lunch there twice now, and plan on returning tomorrow for a final Spot of Tea experience before we reluctantly depart from Mobile.

The hotel we are currently residing in is the Malaga Inn. On the outside, it looks rustic at best. However, its historic qualities make it an endearing place of residence. The central outdoor courtyard is cozy, with a fountain proclaiming itself the centerpiece of a well designed landscaping job. The rooms are a bit old, but in a nice way. The hotel was originally two townhouses built by brothers "during the war when the south was doing well" according to the pamphlet.

Bowl gifts were decent this time. I got a nice carry-on sized Nike duffel bag, and a souvenir football that will soon be autographed by all the officials. Andrew and I will have to fight over the watch and the noise-reducing headphones.

The Redskins, in what I considered an attempt to redeem the sport of football, laid an egg against the Seahawks. I was depressed after my Hokies blew an opportunity to prove their worth, and thought maybe the Redskins could salvage some of my faith in the sport. But, once again, it wasn't meant to be. I wish I could have grown up in an area where my team has been and always will be good. At least with the Redskins I wasn't expecting the Super Bowl.

The GMAC Bowl is tomorrow, then I head home early the following morning (the 7th) for the first time since late December. The New Years Resolutions begin promptly upon my return.

First order of business is to reintegrate myself in to a satisfactory social life. Gym time and a healthy diet are also on the to do list.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Warm for the holidays...except not

Miami was supposed to be my quick summer getaway in the winter time. Sunny and warm on South Beach. But instead, we brought with us the windy chill of Blacksburg. Coldest night in Miami in 5 years last night. It didn't stop us from enjoying ourselves though.

I met up with several other Hokies (and randomly ran in to a couple I didn't expect to see). Also hung out with an old Seminole fan from back in my Melting Pot hosting days.

After set up at the stadium took three times as long as expected, Justin and I headed back to our resort and got cleaned up. This Doral Golf Resort and Spa is absolutely ridiculous. I can't count the number of heated pools, hot tubs, waterfalls, palm trees, man-made beaches, or anything else I can list to describe paradise. Indescribable. I took a bunch of pictures last night, hopefully they turn out. I haven't taken any in the daylight, and, unfortunately, may not. So we'll cross our fingers and assume the night shots look good.

So...nothing really to do today. I got another bowl gift watch (all I seem to get, which isn't bad, but a sweatshirt or something would be nice).

Heading to the stadium around 4ish. For the time being, I'm just relaxing and thinking about the Hokies bringing home an Orange Bowl championship.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Here's to a good next year

I'm writing this while I should be sleeping. It is 1:30 in the morning (central time, where I am in the Music City), and I have a 7:40am flight. But I'm just not that tired. I figured I could do a recap of 2007, with all of its ups and downs (lots of downs are sticking out).

In no particular order, here are my most distinct memories of the past year. Might want to grab a tissue.

I gained and lost a puppy. I was lucky enough to have her in my life for 3 good months before she was hit by a car. Right around the same time, I lost a grandmother, and then shortly after, my alma mater was traumatized by a massacre that will forever be remembered as one of the worst mass shootings in US history. I lost peers, and my friends lost friends and loved ones, but I didn't know anyone personally. I almost regret that I didn't, because I wish I could have shared some of the burden that some of my closest friends and brothers had to endure. My Redskins family lost Sean Taylor, whom I compare to Lawrence Taylor as a player who would have changed the game forever.

On the other end of the spectrum, I was witness to some happy things as well. I made some great friends, people that I will (hopefully) forever keep close to me. I grew closer to others whom I already knew. One of my resolutions from last year was to open up a little and let people get closer to me, which I think I started to do a little bit.

I got to see Virginia Tech's basketball team win a game in the NCAA tournament. I got to see the Hokies football team earn their 3rd ever BCS bid. I got myself out of the miserable rut that was a part time restaurant job and decided to make something of myself. I'll be in law school in less than a year, and hopefully from there will go on to be a successful member of a sports firm.

I grew closer to my siblings (including my sister-in-law), and it became official that I will soon have a brother-in-law as well. We were never distant, but now I feel closer than ever to all of them. I think it comes at the perfect time, since I may be living 3000 miles away soon, and will need to keep friends and family closer than ever.

As usual, I have learned a lot about myself and about other people. This is a practice I began in college. I consider myself a people watcher and a pretty good judge of character. Each experience I have, I store in the back of my mind as a lesson about the quality of people. I am less judgmental and more observational than I used to be (which was one of my resolutions from last year).

Thanks to this blog, I have finally started to write again. My brother and I have discussed collaborating on a short novel in the near future, and I am very excited to get started on it.

As I sit here in my hotel room alone in Nashville reflecting on the past year, I realize there are countless things I would like to have done differently. But there is no sense in looking back and regretting my mistakes. I can only hope to do it better in 2008.

I rang in the new year with complete strangers who welcomed me in to their circle for the evening. I'm not sure I would have shown the same kindness to a random person in a bar a year ago.

So I can safely say my new year started on a very high note. I have begun 2008 seeing the best in people. My new resolution is to return the favor to as many people as I can throughout the coming year.

So, happy new year, and here's to a great 2008.