Thursday, August 04, 2005

Here's a picture of me crying



This picture appeared in my 11th-grade yearbook, and it was where I always signed friends' copies. This was taken on the sidelines during a playoff game when our football team was losing 49-0...at halftime. How good was the opposing team? They had 120 players, for one thing. Also, their two main offensive stars later went on to college glory and, in at least one case, the NFL. Our team had two current NFL players and a guy who has appeared on The Drew Carey Show. Bastards. But I digress. We lost 49-6, after the other team put in their ninth-string players and (I suspect) some of the coaches' smaller pets.

Though half of our team was crying on the sidelines, the photographer singled me out because I was special. I've always been what you call an emotional person. Not in the drama-queen, stupid-shit sense, but in the things-that-really-matter-to-me sort of way. At 16, high-school football meant everything to me. I worked for the team for two years before playing on it my senior year, and it took up as much time as school did (Indeed, the head coach would tell years later that I often did more than he did). So when I cried, others cried with me. Teenage intensity, you know. There's nothing like it.

Why do I bring this up, nine years later? Because I can still vividly remember that particular night: how I felt, the general vibe among the team, the hostility of Baton Rouge, etc. It took a lot to make me this openly emotional in front of thousands of people. What amazes me now is that I was able to muster so much emotion then, considering all that's happened in the ensuing nine years:

--At least 17 people I knew and loved dying, including most of my role models;
--The Neocon Revolution and its contempt for due process;
--9/11 and the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq;
--Losing a high-school classmate in Iraq and having numerous friends and relatives abroad;
--The ongoing job hunt that has left my friends and I groping at virtually nothing (and often at odds with our families);
--Being disillusioned in general with the supposed "American Dream."

I miss crying over high-school football.

9 comments:

Mikel said...

Hang in there, you have what it takes so take it further!

Flamingo Jones said...

Things WILL turn around eventually. And then this rough patch you're going through will be nothing more than an intersting chapter in your autobiography. I will demand a signed copy.

Nick said...

The last time I cried was at the Sunbelt Cross Country Champs. It was my last semester in college, last conference championship race, I was in great shape, a really good shot at all-conference (top 10). Instead I choked, ran by far my worst race of the season (3 minutes slower for 5 miles), and cost the team a top 3 finish. So, to get rid of my sorrows, right after the plane ride back home, I went to my best friend's house, got wasted, went to a bar (Marley's), drank some more, and actually met my fiance for the very first time. It's a miracle she even talks to me after that night. Oh well, shit happens for a reason.

PusBoy said...

God, what a puss.

Okay, I'm just kidding.

Things are things. If my nonprofit gets another grant in September or October, I'll hire you. How much do you need?

Life has a way of crushing the emotions right out of you. I often feel the same way. But, since I had kids, things have started coming back.

Chin up, old bean.

Ian McGibboney said...

Thanks, everybody. I appreciate it.

PusBoy, what do you do?

PusBoy said...

I run a civil rights agency that investigates complaints of discrimination. We used to do a national legal journal, too, but in the current Administration, many civil rights program funds are being cut. (Surprise!)

We've gone from a staff of 6 to 2 since Bush came in, but I'll be able to hire one more person (maybe 2) if our new grant application is approved.

Joe said...

After losing a close playoff game (a future NFL'er, Karl Dunbar, beat the crap out of me and we lost 13-7) my senior year of high school, I found myself alone in my parents car with a PSG hottie (who had so much class anxiety that she would only date guys who went to my pathetic little private Catholic school.Her dad was the minister at first Baptist, but I digress). She was trying to comfort me and be supportive, but to tell the truth, part of me was relieved that my football career, begun 8 years earlier, was finally over. She asked me if I wanted to cry and I said no. I could tell she was a little disappointed that I wasn't more hangdog about it. If I remember my 17 year old self accurately, I was probably mad at myself for missing the opportunity to get a little sympathy nookie.

Super Tom said...

haha, wuss.

Ian McGibboney said...

I cry for you, Tom.