This unfortunately seems to be the theme of the end of my week: crashing and burning.  From the minor and relatively insignificant to the more prominent:

  • The Cubs.  Major league history is replete with examples of teams winning the World Series and then really struggling the following season.  The Cubs won 103 regular season games in 2016 and won their first World Series in 108 years.  There was bound to be some hangover from celebration, some fatigue from pitching, hitting and fielding from early March through November 2nd–playing an extra month of baseball, and some degree of coming back to earth after a record-setting season for the starting pitchers.  However, just because this seems to be the norm does not mean it’s easy to cope with.  The Cubs have spent the past week grounding out, striking out, leaving runners in scoring position (when they can get on base), and demonstrating a real need to improve the starting rotation.  Now–despite all this, the Cubs have won four games, and won a tough series with Philadelphia–taking three of four games. Unfortunately, they also had a starting pitcher (Brett Anderson) pitch two total innings, giving up 12 earned runs, and burned their bullpen to the point where they decided earlier today to, at least temporarily, go to a NINE-man bullpen.  Yes–nine relievers, five starters, and only 11 position players (eight starters and a bench of THREE, including the backup catcher).  (Good thing overall, since Anderson left after two-thirds of an inning and the Cubs have needed the bullpen for eight plus innings today.)  Are the Cubs done?  No.  Not close.  But it still stings to look up and see them likely at 16-14 after tonight’s loss to the Yankees (trailing 11-6 into the top of the ninth inning with backup catcher Miguel Montero on to pitch for the Cubs), and tied with–of all teams–the Reds for first place in the very mediocre NL Central (where no team is more than 3.5 games out of first going into tonight’s action).  Still…I care about my Cubbies.  I got spoiled last season, and I like to see them win.
  • Hockey.  No, this isn’t about any particular NHL or AHL team’s fate in the post-season so far.  This is about the simple things…20170506_120746 This weekend is the State Roller Hockey Finals.  While I was not as foolish as last season–I did not volunteer or agree to work the entire 56-game slate of games for the weekend, I did agree to work 25 games, spread out over the three days.  Overall, this has been a weekend relatively free of emotional turmoil, but not without some minor frustration–or without some pangs of loss.  I walked into the building this morning to see this trophy sitting on the tournament table: the trophy that bears Micah’s name, given to the top performing goalie during Finals in each division.  Uploading this image, I realized that the tears in my eyes may have led to difficulty getting the name plate of the trophy in focus.  The most emotional moment of the day: being approached by the winner of the 16/18u division trophy, a young man that knew and played against Micah over his last couple seasons, who thanked me for everything that I have done, and told me he was proud to have won “Micah’s award.”  Funny story about this kid.  In the summer of 2013, Micah was asked to play on Team Arizona for the State Wars Midwest Wars inline hockey tournament in Chicago.  Micah and his teammates did pretty well, making it into the playoff rounds.  Micah competed in the skills competition that weekend, and wound up winning the goaltending title.  The runner-up to Micah was a younger, blonde-haired kid representing Team Ohio.  Yes–the runner-up, who also did a fantastic job in the skills competition was the same young man that today told me he was proud to have won Micah’s goalie award.  It’s funny how things work out…
  • Work.  It was a long week.  I attended a conference on Thursday and Friday, but found myself distracted and tired for much of it.  Too many moments of all too quiet contemplation in my office.  Looking forward to a day off this week for my trip to Denver to see one of my best friends and hang out for a day at Coors Field and watch the Cubs take on the Rockies.  When I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about my next day off while sitting at my desk…I just don’t see that as a good sign.
  • The Audition.  Over.  Done.  I will not be portraying any character in the local production of Joseph.  I wish I could say, “Hey, I expected this.  No big deal.”  I can’t.  Did I expect to jump back onto the scene and swipe a role without effort?  Not at all.  However, it still stings to not even get a shot at callbacks.  All the thought, planning, and hope led to a 90 second audition (if it was that long), and that was it.  What went wrong?  I can’t read music.  I can’t play piano or keyboard (which kind of goes hand-in-hand with not being able to read music).  I apparently either did not ask the right people or at the right volume to get help with rehearsing for the audition.  Maybe, you know, being able to carry a tune in high school and at the odd religious program doesn’t equate to being able to sing well enough to garner a callback for a community theatre musical.  Am I giving up?  No, but I am going to need to work on a few things before trying again: memorizing a couple contemporary monologues to audition for non-musical shows, learning how to read music and at least how to identify and play simple chords on a piano, and probably losing some weight and getting in better shape, so that directors and others won’t decide against me due to my shape or fitness.  I guess I have until early Spring 2018 to work this out.

Crashing and burning.  Having your week wrap up on a low note.  Needing a pick-me-up, but at the same time not feeling like you really want to seek it out.

Not to say there weren’t highlights this week.  Spending some quality time with my wife and daughter.  Catching a couple cool movies at my favorite theater–sneak preview of RISK, a new documentary on Julian Assange of WikiLeaks fame, and the first opening night show of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (incredibly funny, a rare sequel that is just as good as it’s predecessor).  If you live in an area that has an Alamo Drafthouse theater, I highly recommend you check it out.  There’s so much more going on there than the latest releases and eating popcorn.  Kudos to Lauren, the creative director for the Alamo Chandler/Phoenix location, for turning movie nights into actual social events.  Looking forward to my next night there–next weekend.  Cereal Party for Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 on Saturday morning and special Mother’s Day screening of The Sound of Music on Sunday afternoon!

It was also nice seeing some dear friends last night and this afternoon at the rink, and getting to show off the new house and have early dinner with the Sanchez family today.  The little things that keep you going…

Back to the rink I go…four games tonight, sleeping in tomorrow, and then wrapping up the weekend scorekeeping the championship games tomorrow afternoon.  A couple sleeps, as one friend calls them, and then off to Denver to hang with Pete!