Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Pre K or Post K ? Let's just move on.

I realize that most people have heard this line before, "it's all over but the crying." You know it and I know it. Since last year around this team our world has changed dramatically for some of us while others have just gone on living as if nothing ever happened. History is what my hometown prides itself on, and now has to learn how to adjust from.

I along with a few thousand others were one of the many displaced members of Gulf Coast due to the hurricane. I don't have to mention what one, you know what one I'm talking about. Let's just say it threw our world into chaos. First, we thought we got sparred the brunt of the storm. Then, we find out the levees have broken. Next it seems that most of my hometowm was under water with thousands needing to be rescued as civil unrest took place. I remember watching this take place so vividly from the bedroom/living room/dining room of our Memphis hotel room. My wife and I starring incessantly as the video images burned our retinas and my cellphone would bring to life the many struggles that faced my city - no communication with the ones I loved. It was difficult. It was a mess. There's not much else to describe that feeling other than hopelessness. There was no telling what we were going to do.

Our hotel room was booked for two nights. I extended it for a couple more before finding out that they were kicking us all out due to a previous booking with American Idol contestants coming into town. Great. So while I try to figure out if my life back home is over, I've got to figure out whether I can stay in the hotel or another one (not going to happen) or pack up and drive somewhere else. Luckily my wife put enough pressure on the hotel and manager to get radio and t.v. crews to hear our story and cancel the American Idol bookings. We were sparred our rooms for another few nights, but at what expense. Do we stay here for another week racking up a huge bill we can't afford or do we try to go back home. Going back home wasn't an option. Our city was closed and under seige not too mention the roads back home were scattered with debris and gas stations were out of gas. So we did what most others would do in this circumstance; we moved on. We drove out to Phoenix after almost a week in the hotel to stay with relatives. In which my brothers, who were just outside of New Orleans, joined us along for the trip. I don't think I was ever so relieved to see my brothers in my entire life then the night they pulled into a hotel parking lot in Amarillo.

My wife and I spent the next two weeks trying to figure out our jobs, house, bills, and lives. It's not an easy task to consider when all you have is gone within a flash of a hurricane squall. After it was all said and done my family was safe, but our lives in New Orleans was over. We ended up being better off than some people who lost loved ones and everything they owned. I can only say that this year has been hard for all those who have managed to live elsewhere or return back home. There is no more blame to go around because there is nothing we can do about what happened? What's next is another chapter in our lives that provides us something better for tomorrow, hope. The one thing that hits me everytime I think of it is the moment when I was driving out of New Orleans with the rain pounding on my windshield and the wind rocking my car back and forth; the rain will come and go,and yet life goes on.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Dog Days of August just got worse

My life would be better served right now if I was gainfully employed, but than again I can say that the Summer of Ryan has been specatular. Which brings me to my most recent state of fanatical behavior. The Red Sox.

Yup. That's my team. Loved me growing up and even more since I visited the ballpark several times a couple years back. This love of the team has grown intense. Almost to the point that it has superseeded my passion for the Saints. That's a tough one to take. But if you look at this way, the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 while the Saints have failed to make it to the playoffs since 2001. Of course my vested interest will always lie with my home team, but forgive as I rant about the team that I so desperately love second.

Now that the season is over like Clay Dirks' musical career combined with Brittney's innocent girl image I have had time to defuse myself after a total and utter collaspe against Satan himself; i.e. The Yankees. It seems to me that the Red Sox have filled their excuse department with overblown statements like: "we can't afford that guy," or "we're committed to the youth movement." It's almost like hearing the federal government blame the Army Corps of Monkeys for building faulty levees after they re-hired them to rebuild those same freakin' levees. Were does the money go? That's what I keep asking myself as I see a national franchise like the Red Sox, who have fans scattered throughout the U.S. like hurricane evacuees. Not too mention they have their own television station (NESN) which brings in millions of revenue, the most expensive tickets in baseball (85-100 bucks for Green Monster tickets), and a billionaire owner who is dedicated towards winning. Obviously not enough... We'll get to that later. So where is the money going not out on the field as the Red Sox have converted towards a youth movement in the middle of a damn pennant race.

This is a team that has 2 starting pitchers under 25 and a bullpen that is scattered with 3 more that are 24 and under. So why is that if the Sox's are so dedicated to these young kids that we have a 43 year old setup man with a rubbermaid arm, a 41 year old left handed fat man that has more downside than bellyside, and a 45 year old knuckle baller who spent the better part of the last five years throwing until his arm fell off. Contradicting? Quite the opposite, the Red Sox have been in the holding pattern for more than two years where they have wasted money and time on washed up pitchers instead of resigning guys who brought us to the promise land. I've given up on this season much to the chagrin of other Red Sox fans who are dillusional at best about making the post-season. My only hope lies in the fact that the Boy Wonder doesn't sit on his hands this off season and spends some of that hard earned money to get some players that can contribute now and not in 3 or 4 years. Let's not waste Manny, Papi, and Schilling on a youth movement when we could be adding another banner out there in right field.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Let's Go all the Way. Let's Go all the Way...I Believe.

Many of people have deeply rooted faith in some religious higher power. Some may even have it in an all knowing deity that represents all that is good on this Earth. Well as for me I won't be getting into my religious beliefs on this post, but I will share something that I do have faith in...New Orleans Saints.

Yup, like a confused puppy dog searching for a new owner at the pound I look around so hopelessly at the beginning of every season for something to good to happen for my team (Playoffs? SuperBowl?). With the causitory signing of Drew Brees in the off-season and the cataclasmic drafting of R-E-G-G-I-E Bush there has been a new allure to my team. One of that brings optimism, but can also bring futility within a moment's notice. You see I am lifer. No there is no other term for a guy like me. I'll spend my entire life rooting for this team. When I die they will place on my headstone: "Here lies sainthero...Beloved Father, Husband, Brother, Son, Friend, and Lifer. His life was one that always had the promise of brighter days if only he hadn't grown up a Saints fan."

I'm not trying to be harsh. It's just the facts. I can't stop loving this team, no matter how bad they play. That's what kills me more than anything else. The emotional prison that this team has over me has embedded itself into the nuances of my everyday life. Yeah, I love my Red Sox. I love Notre Dame football. I even love my New Orleans Hornets, from a distance. But nothing surplants my devotion to the Saints. This hold over me is inexplicable. The need to have my team win is similar to that of Cole Trickle and his need for rubbing. Sorry for that, just got finished watching Talladega Nights. The best possible explanation I have for my undetermined faith is what I tell my wife everytime I get upset after a lost.

"I have invested too much time, energy, and emotion into this team to cast them freely into the wind. It's like that woman on COPS who keeps going back to the bad guy and refuses to press charges because she loves him. O.K. bad analogy. It's like wanting the ultimate Christmas present every year only you end up with a pair of tube socks and paper weights."

Alright, I can't explain it. Like faith in some many ways, it's hard to flesh out to those who don't understand your devotion. I'm just a lifer.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Weekend's Over? No Way.

Today just seemed so bleak since the weekend is over. It's seem to go by in a flash like Reggie Bush high-stepping his way into the endzone. Notice the football reference. I can't wait any longer, please let's start the season now. Since it's summertime the wife usually has me all weekend due to the lack of sports invading our house this time of year. Soon enough that will change.

This past weekend we took the dog down to the Town lake for a walk around the park and to frolic in the Barton Creek Springs. It's Saturday morning and unlike most metropolitan cities the park is alive with the sounds of beating footprints into the ground by hundreds of runners/walkers. I've never lived in a city like this. Most Saturday mornings in other cities are like a nuclear holocaust happened the night before, with a few cars and people on the streets checking out who is still alive after last night. Not here. People go to the town lake as early as 6am. THIS IS SATURDAY MORNING, I must remind you. The wife and I have found it a great occasion to get down to the lake early to beat the heat and traffic. Early for us is 7am. It gets packed down their on the weekends with family picnics, softball games, soccer tournaments, and the occasional festival.

I would say that the thing I love most is running around the lake with nature comforting my every step with quietness and calamity. But not this weekend. There are ladies jogging four across taking up the entire jogging path. Dads pushing their suped-up strollers with 12" rims at break neck speed. Plus the occasional walkers with the wireless headphones talking to God only knows at this time in the morning. Maybe someone walking 10 feet ahead of them. Dogs chasing dogs. Dogs chasing their owners. Then there are the runners/joggers. It's quite comical sometimes to just watch people go by. Laugh at their running styles or their outfits.

Most of all we go to get some excercise, relax our minds away from everything else that goes on in our daily lives, and most of all let the dog play in the water. I really thought that our dog, Hero, would never swim because he has such a disaffection for baths. So the first time we went to the Barton Creek Springs, which stays 65 degrees year round (one of the highlights of Austin), I felt Hero wouldn't budge himself out into the creek. Maybe if he saw another dog he would take off. Nope. He stood at the very edge of the creek with an expression on his face like a kid who is afraid of the water. Being a man of intrigue I decided to take this to the next level by walking to the other side of the creek and call out Hero's name. When I did this he looked over at me in utter amazement as to think how the heck did you get over there. It took a few seconds before he bounded like a puppy into the creek and swam frerociously towards me. Upon reaching my side he looked as bewildered as me. How did I just do that? He must have thought to himself over and over again. Then without thinking he went swimming right back across to my wife. I've never felt more proud of Hero. All in all he taught me something new to. This is what makes your weekend so great having moments like this to carry them over throughout the rest week.