Category Archives: penn state football

I’ve Lost Total Control Of My Life

Have I already written a post titled that? I feel like I have. And if I haven’t, I’ve absolutely thought about it.

It’s because I’m dying.

13 days until this rotation is over. Hopefully (all my fingers crossed) it’s a little easier afterwards. Just a few more classes and a practicum left to complete. 101 days ’til graduation.

Anyway, a few updates:
1) Ben came to see me while he was visiting his grandparents in Florida a few weeks ago and it was awesome and I miss him every day.
2) I survived my first hurricane. Even though it was just a category 1 and hit New Orleans and Mississippi way more than Mobile. My power didn’t even go out.
3) I have a new boyfriend. And he’s awesome. So awesome, in fact, that when I was bummed about not being at Beaver Stadium with my family on Saturday, he made it better. I had class all day (yes, on Saturday… it was a make-up day due to Isaac) so I didn’t even get to watch the game. But when I showed up to his house afterwards, he was wearing a PSU shirt, had DVRed the game, and had a case of Yuengling in his fridge. Even though he’s an Ole Miss fan and we’ve been officially dating less than a month. Seriously, one of the nicest things anyone has ever done in the history of the whole world. This relationship terrifies me but I’m pretty sure it’s worth it.
4) I’m kind of loving SEC football because it’s crazytown and intense. However, I know next to nothing about it. Case in point… three teams I thought were in the SEC that actually aren’t: Baylor, Florida State (I really should have known that), and Oklahoma (don’t ask me why I thought they were). Also, I still don’t care one way or another regarding the Auburn vs. Alabama rivalry.

I’m so damn happy that football is back. The joy of watching someone catch a pass in the end zone is always way more intense during the end of August and beginning of September.

And a few of us got two parking spots for the USA/Nicholls State game this Saturday. First crazy tailgate of the year! Although, since I’m used to Pitt and Penn State games, this is gonna be a bit of a different experience. All you have to do to get parking spots is claim them and pick up the passes. Same for tickets. That’s unreal since I’m used to the competitive unavailability of these things. I mean, South Alabama is still Division I (as of this year, haha) but like half as many kids go here… compared to Pitt, at least (and its 1/3 compared to Penn State). Lord knows I’m gonna be drunk and cheering my face off though, so that part’s the same. I have school spirit in all situations.

Except when Pitt continues to embarrass themselves season after season. I will totally stand by a team to the end if they suck just because they suck (go Buccos). But Pitt sucks because they call terrible plays and throw terrible passes and fumble around like idiots. Consistently. Every season. I refuse to stand by that. If you’re theoretically supposed to be good but still end up sucking, that’s not ok. Get your shit together.

I’m kind of ashamed to have gone there now. Especially amongst all my SEC friends. I think I’m just gonna pretend that I’m not a Pitt grad from now on. If someone’s ever like “Hey Liz, didn’t you go there?” during the humiliating ESPN highlights (which I’m still boycotting, BTW), I’ll just be like “Umm… what?… No…” because that’s totally convincing and not shady so it’s gonna work.

In other semi-related sports news, I’m obviously absolutely happy that the Pirates might be able to slide into the playoffs… even though it’s actually been looking kind of grim as of late. I’d seriously cut off my left hand if it meant that this would come true though. Every time someone posts a status about being at a game or a picture of PNC Park, my heart breaks a little. Up until this summer, I’m pretty sure I’ve gone to at least one game a year since it opened. There are pros and cons to every major life decision.

And I know that on Sunday night when the Steelers play, I’m probably gonna put on my Polamalu jersey and curl up on the couch in the fetal position and be really freaking sad because it’s not the same.

TLDR: Despite not having posted for almost a month, nothing’s really changed.

Stewart Mandel Vs. The NCAA

ESPN and NCAA are dirty words (actually, acronyms) to me now. Thankfully, Sports Illustrated is at least being reasonable about this by acknowledging the legitimacy of criticisms: NCAA’s Mark Emmert overstepped bounds in hammering Penn State

And so, Emmert made sure his organization responded accordingly — even if that meant revoking the traditional due process afforded every other school that’s ever been punished by the NCAA; invoking a nebulous, generalized bylaw about promoting integrity that could easily apply to hundreds of lawbreaking players, coaches and staffers across the country every year; and creating a precedent for dictatorial-like intervention that must now be considered every time a scandal of any proportion arises in college athletics.

That’s just one part but definitely read the whole thing. I can’t really find a flaw in any of his arguments. And this conclusion is pretty prophetic:

Instead, Penn State will remain at the front of the news for many years to come, not for the criminal acts of a former assistant coach or its leaders’ abhorrent inaction in handling him, but for its football players’ inevitable on-field futility.

But at the end of the day, we (still) are Penn State. And I have to believe that someday, somehow, things are going to be ok again. Even if we lose every game for the rest of my life, I will still love every single second of being a Penn State fan. Because, contrary to popular belief, Penn State football is about way more than wins and reputation.

This Is How You Send Me An OkC Message That I’ll Respond To

Have you read Fahrenheit 451 or 100 Years of Solitude? Sounds like they’d be right up your alley.

I miss Chipotle too.

You should play golf to see a gator – I see one every time I play golf at my local course.

And I remember watching from the stands as Michigan (my alma mater) was four points down to Penn State with one second on the clock and Manningham caught a pass in the end zone. So at least I’m a Big 10(12) fan, right?

I’m one of those callous bitches with a “responds infrequently” warning. But this guy apparently knows exactly what to say. Damn.

Just… well… damn.

I actually hate golf. But still… anyone who appreciates my need to see an alligator up close is a winner.

AND I TOTALLY REMEMBER THAT GAME. Heartbreaking to be on the losing side of it, obviously. But it was so epic (epically shocking and heartbreaking for PSU fans) that I’ve seen it replayed on ESPN Classic.

Basically, I’m gonna just do a quick breakdown of this for cohesiveness purposes…
– 2 of my top 20 books
– Chipotle
– gators
–  a specific college football memory involving Penn State

I don’t even care that this guy is a Michigan fan.

But seriously, fuck those assholes for adding additional seating to give their stadium a higher seating capacity than Beaver stadium.

So maybe I do care a little.

Or a lot.

But, anyway, back to the topic at hand. As Katie once put it:

I’m pretty easy to please as long as you know the right things to say.

Let’s be honest though…
Do I take any guy on OkC seriously? No.
Do I even take any guy in real life seriously? No.
Will I find a stupid reason not to ever be romantically interested in this guy by the third message he sends? Absolutely.

But was the most perfect first message of all time and probably one out of only ten that have ever made me smile? Yes.

Everyone tries too hard. That one was just simple. And dead on.

Various And Sundry

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 😦

When The Constants In Our Life Change, It Tends To Create A Ripple Effect

So, I made it to Mobile and my apartment is almost completely livable. Some stuff in the kitchen still needs put away… oh God, I just said that in Pittsburghese. Redo! Some stuff in my kitchen still needs to be put away and I need to figure out what to put on the bathroom shelves and also put on my brave face and deal with the dead cockroach that’s in the bathroom cabinet so I can clean it and put stuff in there. But other than that, I’m settled. I do need a TV stand and some end tables but all is well in Midtown. It’s been a lot of work to get the apartment into shape. It’s a charming old place with high ceilings and big windows and amazing hardwood floors and tons of space but the bathroom was disgusting and the kitchen needed a top to bottom clean as well. Whoever lived there before me was gross apparently. I also had next to no furniture but Goodwill saved me. I found some amazing cheap stuff in good condition. Consider me a thrift shop pro! Anyway, I’ll post before and after pics and update y’all (see, I’m becoming southern instead of yinzer!) with everything else as soon as I get internet access at home which should be on Saturday.

The only reason I’m blogging today is to post this: Losing a lifelong constant: my passion for Penn State football

I feel like finally someone was able to more or less sum up how I feel about the whole ordeal and I kind realize now why I had those feelings. I couldn’t put them into words, but that guy did. I’ve never broken a TV over Penn State football and I can’t remember actually crying after any game but pretty much everything else in that opinion piece describes my state of mind. Although, I kind of think the old feelings of love and pride will return soon enough. It won’t ever be completely the same but almost everything heals with time so I’m slightly more optimistic than I was even a few weeks ago. The passion isn’t gone forever. It’s just a little shaken up.

Hmm, Control.

Hiatus: done.

The Penn State thing just about did me in. I refuse to comment on it in depth at this point but I will say that it honestly does feel like I lost my religion. Nothing is as it was and nothing will ever be the same again. Everything I believed in has been absolutely undermined. I went to the Nebraska game. It was like going to a funeral.

Then that devastation was soon followed by my ex-boyfriend doing absolutely one of the worst things that you can do to a person and rebreaking my heart all over again (as soon as I had solid closure) and without remorse. Needless to say, the combo of those two things made me feel absolutely dead inside for a good 5 weeks and I needed a break from everything. I kind of withdrew from 98% of all types of communication but I’m back now to share some holiday cheer!

You can’t help but feel hopeful during Christmas. Get this album. No more sadness. I dare you to hate Christmas music now, bitches. We all have a light inside of us and there are things, like Sufjan Stevens Christmas songs, that unbury it from whatever wreckage it’s under.

I don’t love Christmas for the presents. I love Christmas for the love. And the lights. And the fireplaces. And the family. And the friends. And the food. And the alcohol. If I never got another gift as long as I lived, those would be enough to keep me happy forever.

It’s also a reflective time. With the end of the year quickly approaching and a big move in 4 days, I can’t help but evaluate the last 12 months and assess the lessons I’ve learned as I pack my life away into bins and boxes.

My general thought right now is that I would benefit from something like this.

Hmm. Control, control. You must learn control.
– Yoda

Relevant (from PostSecret, obv):

I think that right there is more or less is the relationship I do have with some people.  I’m a young Padawan. I appreciate all the Yodas in my life who really need me to get my shit together. I’ve been a disaster lately. Thanks, guys. I love you.

Some activities/habits/interests enhance personal growth and make you a better person. Everything I know about hard work and self-discipline, I learned from growing up as a ballerina. Aside from being incredible exercise, the things you learn because of what it requires spill over into all other aspects of your life.

Running is another one of those activities. And it just taught me one of the most important lessons of my life. I think I had the clarity to acknowledge/analyze about 50 significant life mistakes all in one moment. Patience and self-control are now two characteristics I can say that I’ve partially conquered, I think.

Basically, I was running so much and so hard that I was hardcore overdoing it but I refused to stop because it was the only thing that made me feel better about anything. I went running three times in one day which is an absolutely terrible thing to do. Marco, running expert/coach, told me I was going to hurt myself but I refused to listen because I’m a stubborn asshole. Lo and behold, I hurt myself. It started as a slight strain which I kept pushing and not stretching which eventually built up so much that I could hardly walk because it hurt so bad. Only then did I decide to chill the fuck out. And the injury weirdly became maybe one of the best things to ever happen to me.

An important thing to know about my previous running habits was that I never ever stretched. My inherent impatience means that I like instant gratification and zero to sixty situations. My inherent attitude about life makes me feel like I can do anything and don’t have to listen to anybody. Essentially, I feel invincible/unhurtable most of the time. And honestly, I’ve been running for years and not stretching has never been a problem. However, I’ve never been running this much or this hard or for such long distances.

Basic running policy is that you do an easy warm up like walking or slow jogging to get your muscles ready then you stretch for 5-10 minutes. I skipped all of that. I’d walk down the front steps of my porch or get out of my car if I was running a trail or different city loop then take off like itwas nobody’s business because I loved that feeling of just being able to go and how instantly everything felt better. Being impatient means that I hate waiting and also hate the slow/steady work that goes into things.

So the whole no stretching thing probably started the injury then my refusal
to quit or acknowledge pain made it worse and everything came crashing down when it hurt too much to walk and I realized I’d ruined myself. I pushed it too hard on Saturday night of Halloween weekend and woke up pretty sore then decided it was a good idea to go running that Sunday. Worst decision ever. By Monday, I was nearly immobile and realized I wouldn’t be able to run for many
many days. Basically, because of my own stupidity and refusal to quit, I wrecked my ability to do the only thing that was making me happy.

Reasons why this actually ended up being ok:
1) I realized that I can be happy and deal with my anger/hostility issues without running. Plus, they’ve subsided anyway. I think that’s emotional progress. Real people feel sadness. Monsters feel anger.
2) I had one of the biggest paradigm shifts of my life. My attitude about everything was so wrong and destructive. I’m now face to face with this and I feel like I’ve finally cracked the code as to why everything was broken in every way. Perhaps you kind of have to destroy yourself in certain ways before you can get anywhere. Especially when you’ve wrecked everything else first. Sometimes things are just unsalvageable.

When there’s nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.
– Stars, Your Ex Lover is Dead

Obviously, there were little glimmers of constructive and positive thoughts/emotions in there. But overall, somewhere along the road, I turned into this dark and broken person and I was too blind to understand where it was coming from or why it was there.

Then sometime in November, I went on a rehab run that changed everything. My attitude had ruined my body and that ruined my habit so then I had to acknowledge the whole thing and start over  which was kind of the most liberating thing I’ve ever felt because now I understand the consequences and appreciate the fact that a little patience and calm go a long way. I don’t really wanna make a “slow and steady wins the race” analogy here because it’s a slightly imperfect analogy but I do kind of feel like the tortoise instead of the hare now. Had I been patient and not crazy, I wouldn’t have missed 10ish days of running. If I had stretched, I wouldn’t have pulled anything. If I had taken it easy when I pulled something, I would have been out for one or two days instead of 10. I would have been able to walk without pain. I wouldn’t have to rebuild so slowly and carefully.

Now that I’ve made the mistakes and started over, I’m a better runner with a healthier attitude about it and life. I took a step back to heal and recover slowly instead of pushing it because I was destroying myself. I think that kind of applies to everything I’ve done in the last year. A lot of self-destruction and impatience and refusal to appropriately deal with things. Some of that has been stress related and the basic fact that sometimes you just need to get shit done. I was on hyperdrive all summer while working full-time and taking 2 semesters of A&P in 12 weeks. You can’t do that unless you force yourself to shut down and enter sheer survival mode. Then I guess there was the breakup stuff right after that and then the breakup aftermath stuff and I never really came down from all of it until the beginning of this month when I had closure (then of course he fucked me up again but it’s cool because I’ll soon be an untouchable 800 miles away). Anyway, I guess I’ve just realized that you can’t just always push through things. We’re not physical, mental, or emotional superheroes.

I’m not unbreakable. That was a really difficult thing for me to acknowledge because in my head, I’m fierce and I can do anything and there are no limits. Physically, mentally, or emotionally. I thought I could run forever and learn anything and not have to feel heartbreak feelings and just move on instead. But I kind of feel happier now that I’m forced to recognize that I’m human just like everyone else. I feel more connected and less dead. We’re all in this together.

And running isn’t some kind of sick vice to me now. That sounds kind of crazy. Like how can exercise be bad for you? It was. Trust me. Now, running is what it used to be to me… my love and my passion and what I do when I’m happy instead of too pissed off to live.

I still have a lot to learn about control and discipline and patience and stability but the mistakes help me become better. All my pseudo-Yodas and life experience have played a significant role in my 2011 growth as a person. We all grow a little or a lot each year.

Just like I had to start slowly and stretch infinitely and relearn everything I knew about running, it was a good and necessary thing and now I’m 110% better off than I was before. Had I not destroyed myself, I wouldn’t have acquired this important and life-altering perspective. Destroying yourself sucks, but it happens and if you can rise out of the ashes, then it becomes one of the most positive things you can experience.

I destroyed a lot of myself in a ton of ways in a million aspects of my life this year. I’m finally beginning to start over and take it slow and get my shit together and be patient with myself and others and look at the long-term things instead of just the immediate ones.

The old Liz was impulsive and cracked under pressure and the reality of life. The new Liz is learning control and to chill out and do things the right way.

Luke conquers that shit becomes one of the greatest Jedi heroes of all time. I’m optimistic that I can achieve equally great things with time and practice.

Also, endorphins are damn addicting.

The Purity Of The Road

Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!
– Albert Einstein

Or in this case, the beautiful land of central Pennsylvania.

Penn State football is always a family affair. It’s nice to know that reliably, no matter what game you go to, there will be an assortment of relatives there.

The most perfect thing you can experience is life when you’re sitting in a fold-up chair outside Beaver Stadium on a gorgeous sunny warm October day with a Yuengling in one hand and a slice of your mom’s famous tailgating sandwich in the other, surrounded by your immediate family along with cousins, aunts, and uncles.

I cannot emphasize this enough: a simple life is the best life.

Money and power are so overrated. All I want for the rest of my existence is to be able to drive over Pennsylvania mountains and end up at Beaver Stadium to watch Penn State win a football game.

If we were Catholic and if JoePa was mortal, he would probably be adopted as our family’s new patron saint once he died.

Usually I only get to go to one game per year. Two if I’m outrageously lucky. This year, however, I got to go to three. And now I’m hooked. As with all addictions, the more you do it, the more you need it.

As I’ve probably said before, the drive from Pittsburgh to State College is both spectacular and soothing. I get all happy and dreamy.

If this was Imaginationland where everything was possible, I’d have financial backers who would pay me to travel across the USA and write a New York Times bestseller called “The Definitive Guide to Alt-Country and the Road.” I would go to amazing shows, interact with the very essence of America, and also impart my roadtrip wisdom to eager young wanderers.

For example, how to make a 2.5 hour trip when you’re so hungover you want to die.
1) Portable carby/greasy breakfast in little bites over a long period of time
2) Ginger ale
3) Windows down for fresh air
4) Big sunglasses to block the light
5) Coffee for stamina (because passing out does not have the same restorative benefits as sleep) when you’re finally starting to feel recovered
6) Subtle but good music like Ghost

I always say I’m not going to go out the night before a game because it’s critically important that I’m in tip-top shape to get the most enjoyment out of it. That never happens. Saturday morning was rough. But I left at 10 and was back to 100% by 1 when I finally got to the tailgate spot. The walk down College Ave was magically medicinal. Nothing better than being surrounded by a zillion people who love the same thing you do. And the first Yuengling I had upon arrival was magic. Sweet, delicious Yuengling.

Anyway, because I’ve been outrageously productive lately (being single actually is awesome), I think I’m going to start an alt-country blog. Being that I just now realized that basically half of everything (musically speaking) I love falls into the alt-country genre, it’s going to be a little rocky at first. More of a beta project. Very exploratory. I mean, I’ve loved these bands/artists forever, but I’m a novice in terms of how far-reaching the genre really is and what it has to offer. I don’t even know how it started or why it started or who was the first person to coin the term.

Maybe someday I can actually be enough of an expert to write the definitive guide. Gotta win the lotto first. The gas money has to come from somewhere.

Mary went to Park City this weekend. I want to go to Park City someday too.

Steelers won. Thank God.