Saturday, December 22, 2012

What Christmas Means To Me....At The Moment

The past few years, I've had a few friends note to me that they feel "blah" around Christmas time.  As someone who has gone through it lately, I can understand why.  Christmas is commercialized and the media bombardment makes it feel like "everyone is happy" around this time.  

The reality is that not everyone is thrilled around Christmas.  Christmas is about commercialism, gift buying and families.  However, for those of us (including me) who aren't married, gift buying isn't done as much.  Much of my adult friends have agreed that we don't need to buy presents for each other anymore.  If we do buy anything, it should be for the kids.  My opinion is that many parents (and their families) buy enough presents for the kids.  I have chosen to take a hands off approach to buying presents for the kids.  Of course, that means, I'm not out as much buying things.  That can make someone feel like "something is wrong".

On the other hand, I'm blogging to put a positive spin on things.  This year, I actually had to shop a bit more than I did in the past.  I had a few gift exchanges to go to and actually trying to buy something for parents and my cousin's kids.   But that itself doesn't make me happy.

I realized that just because it's Christmas doesn't mean anything has changed.  I can still do my usual things and be content with it.  For example, in the course of 8 hours, I officiated a few basketball games, went to a lunch party and played some basketball.

One thing I realize is that ANY holiday is a time to renew friendships.  The lunch party and playing basketball was less about the activity and more about just seeing some of my friends.

The same is for my family.  One of my cousins and I talked last year.  Our family is just not big on everyone getting together.  Last year, my cousin decided to invite my family over to dinner on Christmas.  We went over in the evening and just hung out for a few hours.  We are doing this again in a few days as well.

For anyone who feels like Christmas is blah, it's fine.  I understand why.  But there are others who may feel the same way.  However, there is no need to dwell on it.   Just take a deep breath and remember how blessed you are with everything you have.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Friendship Quote And Thought

“Some come and leave, fulfilling a single purpose; others, for a time or a season to teach us by sharing their experiences; and last, a select few who participate forever with relationships that endure through eternity.”

Around the time of my senior year in high school, I made the acquaintance of an unlikely person in one of my classes.   This particular person, by all accounts, was one of the (if not THE) smartest person in our small 625+ student high school.  On the other hand, you had me.  I actually was a pretty good student during my senior year  (above 3.20 GPA throughout) and even becoming the student of the month at one point.  Yet, I saw myself as more of a jock.  After all, I did garner four athletic awards through my high school career. 

This acquaintance would be my "best friend" for many years.  I would call this friend to talk about anything and everything.  Even I had some local friends I hung out with as well, I always returned to my "best friend" from high school even though the friend resided in Massachusetts.  

This all changed about eight years or so ago.  I felt my needs weren't being met and a rift developed.  Without getting into the gory details, the long standing friendship broke.  I was pretty bitter and upset over it.  

However, as the years have gone on, I have realized the split was probably the best for both my friend and I.  My friend had done a lot for me and it was our time to move on to bigger and better things.  I was a little too young to realize it. 

But now that it's a few years later, I fully realize the split was good for me as well.  Instead of focusing on someone thousands of miles away, I have cultivated many local friends, many of whom I have known for years. 

I've got a few friends I can talk to regularly and things are much better  While I would like to say my current friends will be my friends in the years to come, I fully understand that changes will come.   In fact, a funny story I want to share. 

One of my old friends from college recently had a baby.  We used to talk semi-regularly but with the baby, things have been difficult.  Then all of a sudden, an old online friend from years back popped back into my life.  We talked last weekend for a little while.  

To me, I realized that friendships can last a long time but you'll have to ride through different things throughout the years.  Sometimes when a person steps away, another person will step right in.  

It took me years to realize this but it has made me understand that there is always people there for you.  You just have to be open to them.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sending Out Positive Vibes

It is definitely a bit of a dark day today.  Without writing a multi-page blog, I want to encourage people to love everyone that is around them.  It could be family, friends, co-workers or just a stranger.  In a moment of crisis, what people need is to know that people out there are supporting them.

I normally would blog and analyze today's happenings.  I don't feel it is the right time or place.   I feel that by loving my friends and others, it will be more beneficial than purely blogging.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Just Another Game

My Monday Night Basketball League concluded it's season with a consolation game and then my team followed up by playing in the league championship game.  Unfortunately, we played a pretty good team and ultimately lost 76-64.  My team came out a little flat to start and fell behind right away.  We spent the rest of the game trying to catch up.

On a personal basis, I played some limited minutes and didn't score in the championship game.  I did the best I could in the few minutes I had on the court.  On a team with a lot of perimeter players,  my offensive skills didn't fit into the team that well this season.    I'm also not a great rebounder or defender but helped out where I could.  I think one little thing people don't notice is that I am a help defender.   I felt I could have helped out a little more as our team played man to man the entire evening.

Regardless, one thing I noticed about my team was they may have been tense.   The starters came out a bit flat and didn't have as much energy as they normally did.   That led to a bit of frustration as we fell behind and struggled to come back.

I say that because I have been there before.   In years past when I played in championship games, I remember thinking about the game constantly, worrying about how I would do and generally just fretting about how "important" this game was.   That led to a lot of struggles and my play in championship games has been spotty.

However, part of the struggles is that I'm not a "star player".  My game depends on teamwork and when some players feel the pressure they put it on themselves to win the game.   I've noticed that either I don't play much in championship games or I don't get as much opportunity to participate on offense.

The one exception was during the Summer of 2011.  We had a solid and balanced team and everyone touched the ball.  We won a hard fought 73-72 game in overtime.  I scored 24 points but we had three other guys (19 points, 15 points and 10 points) in double figures.  I just happened to have a good game in the championship but I was also the one who only scored 2 points in the playoff game the week before.

I remember the Summer 2011 championship game very clearly.  I showed up to the gym early to warm up a bit.  I remember being focused but very relaxed.  A teammate joked that I might get the ball early as I "had been here before".   While I just laughed, it turned out to be true.  I scored 9 of my teams 18 points in the first quarter.

I understand everyone wants to win and get the title of "champion".  I'm fortunate to have six of these "championships".  However,  my experience from the 2011 championship is that you need to let your game come to you.  When you are relaxed, you will definitely play better.

So I'm sure my teammates are disappointed with the loss but they are still young.  They will definitely get the opportunity to play in championship games again.  I hope they will take the experience and learn from it when the next opportunity comes along.

As for me, I get the rare opportunity for a quick turnaround.  I'll be playing on Thursday in another league championship game.   My Thursday team is definitely the underdog and we will have to play well to win.  Unlike my Monday team, my Thursday team doesn't really have a superstar scorer. We all have to pitch in to do well.  Our Thursday team came out hot last week and I am confident we can do the same this week as well!