Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Striking A Pose

Yesterday, I made a day trip to my company's offices in San Diego.  I flew down in the early morning before returning yesterday evening.

The purpose of the trip was TO GET MY PHOTOS TAKEN!  To clarify,  my team's Vice-President has asked me (along with several other members of our team) to participate in a marketing campaign to promote and showcase our team.

I landed in San Diego at around 9 AM and arrived at the office around 10 AM.  I said hi to a few folks, did a little work, got some make up on (I'm NOT KIDDING) and went through my first photo shoot at 11 AM or so.  I didn't really know what to expect but it was actually quite fun.  I was a little tired / jet lagged but somehow managed to keep a smile throughout.  

The entire team did a group photo shoot at around 12 PM.  Afterward, we all grabbed some lunch before getting back to the office.  I did a little bit of work before going through my last photo shoot around 2:30 PM.   I hung around the office for a while before departing for the airport at 4:15 PM.  I got on my flight at 6:45 PM and arrived back home around 8:15 PM.

It was great to see the professional photographer work.  I like doing some photography but have never done this portrait type work.  I can see it's a lot of work involving a lot of technical (camera, lighting) and personal skills (keeping the subject / model involved).

From my perspective, I felt extremely comfortable IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA as the subject.   If you're doing candid photos, it's easier to relax.  You don't feel pressure to look a certain way.  In a professional environment, I see why it can be tough to look and act a certain way.

I'll give the photographer credit for guiding me along and I just acted as natural as I could.  In fact, the photographer and his assistant told me that I was the easier guy to work with.  They thought I was just a natural in front on a camera.   I thought they may have been exaggerating a bit but one of the salesperson from the San Diego office repeated that statement to me again today.

It was a fun experience even though flying a plane twice in a day isn't ideal.  I even joked to the photographer that I might have to look into being a model as a back up career.  :)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Athlete Of The Year: Then And Now

If someone were to ask you, what does the words "Athlete Of The Year" mean to you, what would you say?   I am sure that MOST people would imagine that an athlete of the year would be a star athlete of some kind:  Michael Jordan, Dwayne Wade, or someone along those lines.

If I were asked, I would have probably thought the same thing.  Yet, 20+ years ago, I was awarded the "Athlete Of The Year" award by my high school.  It was a great way to cap my athletic career and senior year in high school.  

For quite a time after receiving the award, I remember telling a friend that I didn't feel like I deserved the award.  After all, from the standpoint of athletic accomplishments, I was not a stand out athlete in either of the sports I participated in.  It took my friend sometime to convince me that I was deserving of the award.  After all, there were some reason it was given to me.

Recently, with the 20th Anniversary of my high school graduation passing, I thought about the Athlete Of The Year award and what it meant to me.   I am quite proud of the award as it not only represented my time athletically in high school but also the great senior year I had.  I became friends with someone I would grow close to and I had a great academic year as well.

Additionally, I decided to look up what criteria is used to determine an "Athlete Of The Year".  Interestingly, unlike Most Valuable Player awards, athletic accomplishments isn't necessarily a requirement.  Some of the criteria included leadership, commitment to the team and academic performance.

Looking back, I see WHY I was given the award:

I was captain for one my teams and a three year vet on my other team.

I showed complete dedication to both my teams and provided a good example.  This is just not me bragging as both my teams gave me the "Coaches Award" during my senior year.

I was NOT a good student throughout my high school career and yet I had a 3.2 or above GPA throughout my senior year.

I was a volunteer basketball coach for my old grammar school.

It's funny how someone's perspective changes over the years.  I don't talk much about an award I got 20 years ago.  However, besides my high school and college diplomas, I put my Athlete Of The Year award as one of the items I am most proud of.

I also see a trend in all of my awards.  Besides my Most Improved Player award, all my other awards involved me being a good example to others (Two Coaches Awards, Four Most Inspirational Player awards).   I definitely try (and don't always succeed) in being a good example to people young and old.

It is good that I have been recognized for it, though I have never asked for it.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Things Happen For A Reason

A few days ago, I decided to look through an old photo album.  The album contained photos of old get togethers with friends dating back around five to seven years ago.   The get togethers included a couple of weddings, a white water rafting trip and visits to Yosemite / Las Vegas.

I had gone to Las Vegas (late 2004 or 2005, not sure these days) and met up with an old high school friend.  The friend had moved to the East Coast for college.  After she had graduated, she remained in the East Coast.  Despite the time differences, we had remained in touch via letter / phone immediately after high school (remember this was the early 1990's).  As I went to a four-year university in 1995, things transitioned to more electronic communications (email, instant messages) all the way through until the 2000's.

For this particular trip, my friend was traveling to Las Vegas for work.  Since I was close by, I decided to take some time off to see her as I had not seen her in quite some time.  However, I had actually forgotten about this particular trip to Las Vegas.  There is a very good reason for this.  Sometime between 2003 and 2005, our friendship hit a rough patch.  We had patched things up a bit but the Las Vegas trip would end up being the LAST TIME I would hang out with my high school friend.

In looking at the the photos now,   I realized the trip to Las Vegas actually symbolized the ending of our friendship.   Planning the trip had been difficult though once we got to Las Vegas, things went ok with one exception.  My friend had been tied up all day with some personal business.  We had planned to go to some places but did not leave our rooms until around 3 PM.  I was pretty pissed about it though later I would put things aside.

Though my friend and I left Las Vegas on decent terms,  we have not reconnected since.  I can't remember what happened but I do remember getting angry about something a few weeks after the trip.    I tried calling and emailing but my friend never responded.  I remained pretty angry about this for a while.

However, in recent years, I realized that losing my friend was a necessary step for me.  My old high school friend had been great for me for many years.  But all things change and I had to accept it.  In fact, without this happening, I wouldn't have some of the friends that I have now.

I am also fortunate to have a "new friend" that I can talk to quite regularly.  This "new friend" is everything I had wished my old high school friend had been at the end:  Responsive and generally available.

All things happen for a reason.  It just took me a few years to realize!

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Saturday Hoops

As most people know, I'm a basketball junkie.  Not only do I watch my share of basketball (high school and NBA), I also play, coach and officiate.

A few years ago (can't remember exactly when), I was talking to an old college friend of mine.   She knew I liked basketball and mentioned that her current boyfriend (now husband) frequently played basketball with his friends on Saturdays. At the time I talked to my friend, the only basketball I played was through my various leagues.  I did not play a lot of pickup basketball.  

In fact, most of my time Saturdays at the time (especially during the winter / spring months) was spent officiating basketball.  But during the summer and fall, I did not officiate as frequently.   I got some info from my friend / her boyfriend and I began to join in with the group on Saturday to play basketball.  

Initially, my appearances were sporadic.    At the time, playing on Saturdays weren't a high priority.  Officiating basketball was something I wanted to do.  If I had to choose between officiating and playing, I went with officiating.  Also, since I didn't know the people that well, I didn't always show up even when I was free. 

As time went on, things began to change.  I realized that my officiating on Saturday had become a bit of a routine.  Officiating is a nice way to exercise and earn some money.  But it is still WORK.  The other part was that I was realizing that I enjoyed PLAYING basketball more than officiating.  

I decided to try and balance BOTH officiating and basketball.  I would only work games at a certain time so I could make time to play with the Saturday group.   I went through this for several years.  But it was getting hard on my legs.  I'd officiate several AM games and then try to play basketball for several more hours after that. 

In recent years, my priorities have shifted away from officiating and toward just playing basketball on Saturday.  I've gotten to know quite a few of the guys I play with on Saturday and enjoy hanging out with them every week.   Whenever possible, I make time to play with the Saturday group.  I don't officiate on Saturdays as much as I did before.  But sometimes I do work some games to change up the routine and also to help out in emergencies. 

I also have to give props to all the guys that I play with on Saturday.   A good number of the guys went to high school together and have been playing together for years.  Throw me and some other guys and we have a rotating core of 12 to 14 guys that play on Saturdays.  We usually have somewhere between 6 to 8 guys each week with some days getting a lot more.  The good thing is all of us are around the same age and around the same skill level.  Always great to get in some competitive games and get some exercise.  

Lastly, I'd note that this group of guys are very dedicated.  Out of the 52 Saturdays in a year, I'd estimate that the group gets together to play 80% to 85% of the time.   I appreciate the time I get to play with these guys.  It's definitely something I look forward to every weekend and I think its the same for some of the other guys as well.