Friday, January 26, 2007

Lessons - Part One

I have meant to make a 2006 review for quite some time now. I am, regrettably, 25 days late at this point. I hope that it was worth the wait.

I knew that I wanted to make the review, but I wasn't sure what form I wanted it to take. 2006 was a huge year for me, and I really wanted to do it justice. I considered a chronological listing of all the adventure's I'd had, or perhaps an analysis of all the big changes I'd made in my life. I thought about all the accomplishments I'd had, all the things I'd posted, and all the races I'd run.

In the end, I decided to choose the review that would be most helpful to me as a person.

I firmly believe that life is always trying to teach me lessons. Situations and conflicts are being thrown my way every day. The concept is that as I hurdle these problems I become more and more capable of hurdling bigger problems in the future. I develop skills and abilities as a result of my hurdling, and eventually I'll be able to tackle bigger, more important stuff, later on.

It's a learning process, one that I'm involved in every single day. Not a week goes by that doesn't have a valuable lesson in it for me to learn. That is really the jist of life, the whole concept.

Learn from it.

And so friends, I begin my 2006 review. Not an encyclopedia of my greatest ultimate moments, and not a showcase of stellar events or dates. Simply a look back at important realizations that I came to. Some of them are valuable advice I give to myself, and some others are just better ways of looking at things. In any event, these are the important things I've learned.

The review will come in a three post package. Post one will contain the least-influential ones. Post two will be the more important ones, and post three will be the culmination of it all, containing the really really big ones. It's gonna be awesome.

Without further ado -->

Lessons - 2006

Number One: Love-

2004 marked the first year that I had ever held a girls hand. 2005, consequently, marked the first year I ever broke up with a girl. It was interesting, the whole breaking up business. I honestly thought I'd be fine. In the weeks building up to the event, I was much more worried about how she'd take it than how I'd be. I honestly thought I'd be able to walk out of it and be alright.

Hahahah, funny joke. I was an emotional wreck- it was insane. For someone who prided himself on being emotionally stable, this was the last thing I expected. I was mad at myself for not being over her, and mad at myself for not being happy. I'm finally to the point where I can look back on the whole thing and laugh, even though it took me more than a year to finally be healed of it all.

At the first of 2006, I wasn't entirely whole yet, but I was getting close. It was in these early moments of the year that I came up with my theory on love. I know that it's incomplete, but it's a nice little comparison.

Love is like life on steroids. Being in love is just like any other time in your life, except this time it's multiplied by three. If, for the purpose of this example, we were to assign everyone a happiness scale, going from negative ten to positive ten, where zero was neutral. So, for example, eating lunch and being moderately happy would be somewhere around 5. Taking a test and not being prepared makes you sad, so it'd be somewhere around -4. Get the picture?


Throughout the day our happiness levels fluctuate; it's a normal and healthy thing. I'll wake up a two, have a six in seminary, go to eight in junior choir, and drop to negative five by the end of the period. It just happens.

But then you get a girlfriend, and the same day is crazy amazing. You wake up, and what would have been a two is a six. Why? Because there's a girl out there that is in love with you, it's a party. You go to seminary, and what used to be a six is now 18. Wow, life is good. The nine in junior choir is just a party, 27. That's unheard of during normal civilian life.

And then whatever made you hit that negative five suddenly makes you a negative 15. Ouch.

See, that's the kicker. In love, life hits the highest highs and the lowest lows. Everything is multiplied by three. There's amazing times, and there's heart-wrenching go-cry-yourself-to-sleep times. It's a gamble. Sure, you get more rewards out if you win, but you're broke if you lose.

We can compare it to hunting. Civilian, or normal, life is like hunting with a BB gun. You are really only able to take out small birds and squirrels, so you don't eat a feast every meal. You're still getting by though. One day you're out in the forest shooting woodland creatures and you accidentally hit your left foot. It hurts. You raise the gun and shoot a squirrel and eat it.

Now, Life in love is like hunting with a rocket propelled grenade. You can take down a wooly mammoth, you eat like a king all day long. Dinosaurs, Tanks, Nessy- nothing can touch you, you've got highly explosive projectiles at your disposal. One day you're trailing an African elephant, hoping to throw a great feast once you kill it, and you accidentally shoot your left foot. It hurts. You try to raise the fun to shoot the elephant, but the fact that both your legs and one arm just got blown off prevents you. Sitting there in the crater, you can't help but feel a little bit like a thumb. You've got no appendages! You're a quadriplegic! You live in a modified wheel chair for the rest of your life.

So, really. BB gun versus RPG. It's great to eat elephants and all, but what happens when you shoot your foot? I'll tell you what happens.

Wheelchairs happen.

Number Two: The only way to win involves spirit and legs

On February 10th, 2006, we didn't have a real frisbee club at Taylorsville. None of us had ever heard of the biscuit, and Brad Shelton wasn't even close to Bultimate. As far as I knew, I was pretty much the only sophomore that was in to Ultimate. I had tried to get my friends to play in ninth grade, but that didn't really work.

I had been playing around with the idea of bringing my boys to Frisbee Friday for a while, but scheduling never seemed to work out. That night was the first night that I ever really took my boys.

I remember it clearly. I can still feel the hard, frozen ground. I can still see the ice forming on the grass, the coefficient of friction plummeting as the night drew cold.

Only five sophies showed up, only five old folks too. This was back in the day when Brad Withers was in charge. He is still my greatest Ultimate inspiration. I can only dream of pulling off some of the stunts he performed.

It ended up that whatever team had Withers on it blew the other team out. We played three games like this, always joking about playing sophies versus old men. We knew that it'd be a blow out, but after so many blow outs, we were ready for a fourth.

Me, Levi, Kyle, Jason, and Glen all came over for a little team huddle before the kick off. We knew we were going to lose. It was inevitable, these guys were just too good. In the chilly moonlight, we promised that we wouldn't go down without a fight. We vowed to sweat and try harder than they were willing to. We were not going to be shut out, we were going to make them see.

And so we did. We couldn't throw as straight or as far back then, and our catching could have used some serious work. Our game plan was simple. Run fast, pass a lot. Quick, chaotic cuts. Never give up.

We scored. Four times.

It was that night that I truly began to believe in the power of spirit-legs. I was so moved by our victory that I wrote one of the most poetic and moving posts of my life. I suggest reading it.

February 10th, 2006. Game On

The concept is simple. He who is willing to run harder than the other will win. Now, this has its limitations, but there is much to be said about spirit-legs. We couldn't possibly beat the old men, but we had a much better shot at it if we ran than if we tried to out-skill them.

This is the philosophy I have tried to take with basketball. I am not Jamarcus- I cannot dunk. I am a 150 lb whiteboy; basketball is not my strong point.

And yet, I play. My only chance of winning is spirit-legs, and you better believe these little legs are pumping. I'm simply going to try harder than the next guy. That's what victory comes down to. I want to leave my whole soul out there on the court. The day that I can finally achieve that, then will I win at basketball.

The only way to win involves spirit and legs.

What'd I learn? I learned that I've got to run like crazy.

Number Three: Eat your Vegetables.

Last year, through some thinking, I came to the conclusion that nobody has ever really been me. People tell me all the time to eat my vegetables, but does anyone really know that vegetables are good for me? I mean, maybe they're good for Glen, but I've never had the opportunity to eat a vegetable on Friday, January 26th and feel good on Saturday, January 27th.

Nobody has ever gone to school as Kyle except for Kyle. Nobody has ever taken the exact same basketball shots as I have.

None of us have woken up on Monday the 29th yet. It's going to be a completely new experience. You and I are walking through paths that have never ever been trod before. We are an entirely new and fresh generation.

I'm new to this whole bit. This whole, life, thing. I don't know what Monday will bring. When it comes, I'm going to do my best to roll with it. Chances are I'll make mistakes.

The same goes for you. One day a girl will tell me she likes me. I've never been there before, so I'm gonna have absolutely no idea how to react to that. Kyle's got no idea either. Austin will probably pee his pants.

So, ladies, forgive us for being stupid sometimes. We're new to this. We're new to math, we're new to malthusian population crises, and by golly, we're new to Monday. We're all treading new ground here. None of my teachers at school have ever gone through one of my days doing exactly what I do.

So really, it's alright to have no idea. Because we're new. Scientific evidence is great and all, but those guys in lab coats aren't me. They don't know that eating broccoli is good for me. They know that, statistically, it's supposed to have health benefits. But nobody has ever run through 72 years of my life with me eating broccoli, and then the same exact 72 years of my life without me eating broccoli, to see what the differences are. Completely new territory here folks.

What did I learn from this? I learned that all of us are going to make mistakes in life, but that's part of the deal. We're all insecure sometimes, we're all awkward and learning. I also learned that nobody can truly tell me what to do in a given situation. Maybe they've done something similar before, but they've never had to make the decision that I, the real me, am going to have to make.

So hey, let's cut each other a little slack. We're new here.


Bam, I think that's all we've got for now. Expect some more of this coming later. Honestly, these ones aren't all that good. I'm really only excited to write about three ideas I've had all year. I think it's a good idea to revisit the stuff I learned, but this stuff hasn't had a big impact on me. It's all about the big three. So, expect those soon, they're gonna be good. Hope you enjoyed.


Nick said...

/bows down.

Good work, it truly was inspiring. I need to run faster.

Yay for free weight room membership.

Courtney said...

that was cool thatcher. i like it.

Kortney said...

I liked it too! Good Job!