Prepare for the onslaught. There’s a lot of stuff in here. I’m considering putting an index at the beginning so you can just skip to what you want haha.
Just to get this out of the way, here’s the Ryan Adams road mix that I promised to post forever ago.
And I think I might do my nursing practicum in the neuro ICU. It just feels like the right decision which is weird because I didn’t think I’d feel so inclined toward something so early. I wanna test reflexes every two hours. I think being an orthopedic surgical nurse would be sweet too though. I love muscles and bones. It seems like everyone else in my program wants to do labor and delivery. I’m personally terrified (probably irrationally) of that clinical rotation. I’m pretty sure I can handle most types of trauma and all the blood and/or exposed insides that comes with it but I know for a fact that I can’t handle a dead baby. It’s too devastatingly sad. They didn’t get a chance to live AT ALL. The second saddest thing in the world is a mom who died giving birth to a baby. And I know that most moms/babies are ok. But everyone sees at least either a dead mom or a dead baby during their OB/L&D rotation and I am definitely not looking forward to it. I’m too emotionally weak. The other thing that’s appealing about the neuro ICU is that it’s quiet and calm but there’s also a lot of pressure because people are only in the ICU if they’re in some kind of critical condition. I need pressure or else my life falls apart.
Homesickness update: still hasn’t stopped. It’s ups and downs. Last night when I was out, I heard Don’t Stop Believing and then Bohemian Rhapsody and I really just wanted to be drunk singing at Bar11 with everyone in Pittsburgh instead of people in Mobile. And I think the reason I’m homesick for the first time ever is because of how things were when I left (with the whole “not really being on good terms with some people because of the Matt aftermath tension” thing) and the subsequent realization that we didn’t really have the long-term friendships that I thought we did. So, it’s not just that I’m sad I’m not in Pittsburgh right now. It’s moreso the fact that when I go back, it’s not going to be the same at all. I’m more sad about the end of an era than I am about being in Alabama because I do actually freaking love it here. Yesterday, I had something that was basically the equivalent of a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon, a crab cake, and a fried green tomato. Previously, I thought that whiskey was the most delicious thing in the world. This grilled cheese crab cake thing was better. Whiskey, you are now #2.
I also realized how much I love being single in my mid-twenties and forced to meet new people and have new experiences as a result of this move. I have a closet full of little black dresses and definitely more heels and pearls than I need and I love living it up right now because I know this moment is fleeting. These are my Audrey Hepburn days or something and I’m going out with as many charming southern men as I can before they’re over. Although, I still feel weird about the guys always opening doors for me and such. I don’t know if that will ever go away. I also kind of feel bad that I have no intentions to be serious with any of them. You’d really have to hardcore sweep me off my feet to get me into a relationship right now. I’m way too broken for that currently.
“Never love a wild thing, Mr. Bell,” Holly advised him. ‘That was Doc’s mistake. He was always lugging home wild things. A hawk with a hurt wing. One time it was a full-grown bobcat with a broken leg. But you can’t give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get. Until they’re strong enough to run into the woods. Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That’s how you’ll end up, Mr. Bell. If you let yourself love a wild thing. You’ll end up looking at the sky.”
– Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote
And JoePa’s first interview is up. And I have that sickness in my stomach again. And my heart hurts a little again. But not as bad as before. I feel like the interview isn’t resolving anything for me. Probably because the whole thing is just irresolvable and I’ll forever have mixed feelings about it.
Football isn’t life. Sports aren’t life. But I’m weirdly starting to realize that they’re probably more important than I want to admit. They’re so socially and culturally critical to me. And also in general, I guess. As a Latin American Studies kid in college, we always talked about the soccer culture and it’s importance in Central and South America. And we know what sports ancient civilizations used to play and how it related to their values, beliefs, etc. It seems neanderthal-ish to think about it like this because I feel like whenever you see or hear a person taking any given sporting event way too seriously, you tend to think they’re some kind of backwards unintelligent person or something. Kind of like how a lot of people think Steelers fans are all primitive working class people (there’s not even anything wrong with being working class) from Western PA.
Maybe we do take football too seriously there though. I guess I’ve always heard that football in Pittsburgh is bigger than football in most places, but I haven’t lived in enough places to know for sure. This article was probably the most recent thing I read that mentioned the Pittsburgh/football connection. And the Pittsburgh Dad Steelers episode was pretty much dead on which is why it’s hilarious (although, all Pittsburgh Dad episodes would be better without the laugh track). I mean, pretty solid proof of the fact that Pittsburghers love football more than air is probably the entire pick-up sports season of 2008-2009. No matter what we started playing, we always ended up playing football… to the point that we just started playing football every week and didn’t try to pretend like we were going to play anything else. And at first, I was kinda bummed. To me, it was like “Damn yinzers and their football. Why can’t we keep playing capture the flag?” The only thing I love more than pick-up football in the mud is capture the flag. If it was a professional sport, I’d be an all-star. It should be a professional sport. One of my life goals is probably to make it a professional sport. I don’t know how watchable it is though. I guess it’s not really anything that spectators could get into. Shannon and I would find a way to make it entertaining though. We rocked that shit. By the time this happens, I’ll probably be too old to play in the NCTFL but I can be the commissioner. After a summer of being a camp counselor, I have the expertise. The only foreseeable negative about professional CTF is the fact that training would probably entirely consist of running suicides. What other kind of training do you do need? CTF requires sprinting, slowing down or stopping briefly to pick up the flag, then sprinting again. Sometimes you have to push people if you play unethically. I guess there’s also some agility and quick momentum shifts to avoid or catch people but suicides pretty much cover that too. Maybe you’re thinking, “Psh, what’s wrong with suicides?” Are you SERIOUS? Everything about them is terrible. That’s why they’re called suicides. I will admit that they help you reach nirvana though. Like in that moment where you really think you’re going to collapse instead of being able to touch the line and start running again, you somehow pull it off then enter into an out of body experience where all life’s answers are revealed to you. It’s probably because you’re experiencing pre-death events.
Anyway, if I was commissioner, Pittsburgh would obviously have one of the first CTF teams and it’d be an easy transition for fans because I’d name them the Pittsburgh Stealers (best name for a CTF team ever, right?) even though that might cause some confusion. But everyone could wear their regular Steelers gear and just put an A over the second E at CTF games. People wear their Steelers gear to Pirates games already anyway. And Pens stuff too. It’s the only thing that makes them feel better at the end of the game when the Pirates have lost again, I guess. Although, for awhile last season, you saw less and less Steelers/Pens stuff and more Pirates shirts/jerseys because people were getting excited about baseball again. People actually started going to games too. They didn’t even have $1 hot dog night anymore and PNC Park was still selling out. That obviously didn’t last forever though. The final game I went to was the August 5th one where they lost to the Padres by like 10 runs. During the 6th inning, we made the wave go around 20-ish times (the record for a professional sports game, probably) and people were cheering for it every time it was headed to their section. Yeah, people were cheering for the wave and not the team. And then at the end, people started chanting stuff about the Steelers. And in that moment, I realized we were back to Pirates games the way they’d always been my whole life and everyone had given up again. A CTF team in Pittsburgh would give people another thing to be joyful about and would lessen the baseball pain. In Pittsburgh, maybe we’re too serious about sports in general.
I see it more as dedication/love though. If it’s critical to our social/cultural experience and relationships with people (more on that later), then it makes sense that we’re serious about it. We should be serious about it because relationships are important. Two Steelers fans e-mailed me with criticism about the Jesus and the Steelers post. And despite the criticism, it made me smile because I love that people love the Steelers. I’m shocked that anyone ever reads this stuff though. The first person pointed out that the whole Ben rape case thing is water under the bridge at this point. And I most certainly agree. Most of that post was totally ridiculous/unserious. I mean, I kind of wrote a fake Bible verse. That’s straight up heresy. The second person said that I shouldn’t hate on Sepulveda for always being hurt. And first of all, I didn’t really hate. Maybe I sounded bitter but it wasn’t real hate. I’m just bummed because he’s the most badass punter in the NFL so it sucks that he can’t play… ever. In the 5 seasons he’s been a Steeler, he’s been hurt 3 times. I guess my opinion is that we should just get a new starting punter which sucks because, as I said, he’s awesome. Remember the fake punt pass versus the Titans? Badass. And when I was looking for a something on YouTube to prove the normal Christianity thing, I found a clip that was basically him signing autographs and the guy who’s taking the video says to his kid, “It’s Sepulveda, the punter. Look at the guns on the punter,” which is hilarious (I actually laughed out loud) and it also proves that I’m not the only one who thinks that Sepulveda is the most badass punter in the NFL. And that means that the Steelers are the best team in the NFL because even our punter is a superhero. Maybe I’m just a biased Steelers fan. I don’t actually know anything about punting. I’m pretty sure all Steelers fans think they’re experts about everything. Watch that Pittsburgh Dad episode again and think about any conversation you’ve ever had at work or a bar you’ll realize that it’s the truth. We care. A lot.
But seriously, you should have seen the Alabama fans leading up to the game on Monday and then afterwards. They’re at least equal with us. Apparently, they Roll Tide, Roll during Sweet Home Alabama. I was at the bar last night when I found this out (because they were all doing it) and immediately I wanted to be an Alabama fan so I could be a part of that. And I think that was the first twinge of “sports are important” because I started to think about it’s cultural significance and unification factor. I got kinda homesick again because it’s exactly like when Sweet Caroline comes on in a Pittsburgh bar and everyone yells “Let’s Go Pitt” and “Go Pitt” and such at the appropriate times. In those moments, no matter who you are or where you’re from or why you love Pitt, you’re all in that boat together. It’s kind of a spiritual experience. Like that same feeling people get from religion.
It’s the same way at actual games. It’s better at games, actually. Because not only are you all there in that one place together, but you all feel the same things. You all feel the disbelief when your QB throws an interception and you also all feel the tension when you need a TD to win and there’s like 20 seconds left. And then the explosive joy when they get that TD and you’re hugging the stranger next to you. Football (and sports in general) just brings people together. The best moments of my life were those in the Oakland Zoo during tight games when Pitt pulled it off. There really aren’t words to adequately describe that sheer happiness or universality you feel with everyone else that’s there with you. And college basketball is my #1 favorite sport to watch so of course it always felt super epic.
It’s heartbreaking when it’s bad though. One night, after one of Pitt’s more devastating March Madness losses, crazy things happened. People got drunk. Real drunk. It was serious drinking. NO ONE remembered what happened the next day… other than the fact that we lost, obviously. Someone (NOT ME, for the record) got pregnant. Yeah, that drunk. Sad drunk. I never want to be that kind of drunk again. Your team consistently way underperforming during the tournament is not something that you ever get used to so I’ll probably be that kind of sad drunk again at some point. I also remember when Pitt was playing Cincinnati for the Big East football championship and they blew a HUGE lead. They were up by like more than 3 touchdowns. Here I am FREEZING MY ASS OFF with everyone else (because it was the first day it snowed that year and we were underprepared) and then they go and lose like that. Thanks, Pitt football. You suck. All the time. But at least we were all cold and sad together.
Sports are one of the few lifetime constants. It doesn’t matter which sport(s) you love or what your favorite team is. A lot of times, your fandom is given to you the day you’re born and you carry it with you until you die and it’s passed down over generations and generations of people. My grandfather has Alzheimer’s pretty badly and he’s really out of it a lot of times and often agitated by the fact that he can’t remember anything or live the way he used to, but when you turn on a PSU or Steelers football game, it’s like nothing is different.
My mom and dad used to sing a lullaby version of Fight On, State to us when they rocked us to sleep. I’m pretty sure both my siblings and I took my parents’ original Terrible Towel to school for show and tell at least a few times each which irritated all the Bills fans we grew up with. I also remember taking the Jaromir Jagr peanut butter. A few summers ago, Matt took me on a romantic afternoon/evening date that started with a picnic and ended with Steelers training camp. And even though I hate him now, it was one of the best days of my life. My mom talks about how she was pregnant with me during the 1987 Fiesta Bowl when Penn State won the national championship and jokingly says that she was probably depriving me of oxygen because she kept holding her breath. Sports are linked to stories and memories and landmarks in time.
Here’s proof that this stuff is indoctrinated at birth. I was born a Penn State fan and I will die that way too. Have you hugged your Nittany Lion today?
And the other thing that made Penn State football so special and damn important as a social/cultural/life influence was the fact that it was all about integrity and that’s probably why the whole scandal thing rocked my world because the integrity thing is now partially undermined. A huge amount of my values and work ethic were influenced by JoePa (the man is/was a legend) and the Penn State football program and now it kind of feels like all of that is forever tainted.
I’m keeping some of it though. Example:
Believe deep down in your heart that you’re destined to do great things.
– Joe Paterno
All his words that I lived by are a little bit tainted now. Things are a lot different in the aftermath. And it’s going to be weird to be a Penn State fan without JoePa as the coach but it’s still Penn State football and I will love it just as much as I always have.
I’m really optimistic about Coach O’Brien preserving the positive aspects of the JoePa legacy.
WE ARE PENN STATE.
We will forever be Penn State.
I think I’m finally out of things to say. But I’ll leave yinz with my favorite quote from the interview/article…
My thing was play as hard as you can, don’t be stupid, pay attention to details, and have enough guts in the clutch that you’re not afraid to make a play.
That’s some damn good advice for life in general and applies to basically every life scenario. Don’t be stupid. Pay attention to details. And have enough guts in the clutch that you’re not afraid to make a play.
Football isn’t exactly life… but they sure do have a lot of things in common.
And even though I’m 1,000 miles away from everyone, our teams make me feel close to them. Which is why I took the Steelers loss so badly this year, probably. At this point, as long as both the Ravens and the Pats lose, I’m happy. Also, someone fix the Pens. And Sidney Crosby 😦