Thursday, December 16, 2010

Slow Turning

I am a huge John Hiatt fan.  Have been since "Perfectly Good Guitar" came out years ago, and I have seen him in concert numerous times.  I will again when he is at the Beacon Theater on January 22 on his tour with Lyle Lovett.   Hiatt is a terrific singer/songwriter who I have always thought had the ability to see the little things in life and make great music out of them.  And thus the impetus for this article today.

I know haven't written anything since Sunday.  And there's good reason for that.  I have a full time job overseeing an IT department at an academic institution.   This is the time of year that's most busy for me, thus when I come home, I am very tired.  And since I tend to write my articles late at night or very early in the morning, right now, the creative writing juices in my brain simply don't flow during this time of year.  Tuesday night, when I saw the great comeback by Oakland vs. Tennessee,  I managed to barely stay awake at the end.  Then, with my pillow calling me, I fell asleep right before the next great upset on Tuesday night as Drexel upset Louisville.

Thankfully, in a twisted sort of way, I woke up at 2:15 AM Wednesday morning.   Thanks to ESPNU's repetitive programming (more on that in my next post), I watched the comeback again and then was able to watch the replay of Drexel vs Louisville on the U while IMing with Mr. Defiantly Dutch, Jerry Beach about how Pschalnikov in Russian stands for five fouls (that's for all you VCU fans out there).   Yes, CAAZone, bloggers never sleep.

So, I have material to write about for the next few days, but it's been very hard to come up with something that I consider cohesive or meaningful yet.  If you read my five year anniversary post, I don't like to regurgitate games.  It's trying to paint a picture, similar to what my favorite broadcaster of all time, Vin Scully does or how Beach or Kyle Whelliston write their articles.

Writing this college basketball blog has always been a labor of love.   I don't if I would call it a hobby necessarily, because to me it's more of a passion.   A few years ago, I seriously considered becoming a college basketball writer and a friend suggested a site where I could write about women's basketball and get paid for it.   Thought about it long and hard.

But the last couple of years, I have seen the trials and tribulations of two of my favorite sports writers.  One,Whelliston, whose terrific writing is supported by many loyal donor readers, including myself.   Occasionally, you can read in his stories about the loneliness of being on the road.    I have been always amazed at how he does the long road trips by car.  I have done long road trips for baseball, and I have done some long road trips for basketball (usually my basketball trips are day trips, sans the CAA Tournament).  But the long road trips are generally few and far between and just about always have been with my good friend Tieff.  So rarely do I take a trip alone.

I just read the book of my other favorite sports writer, Jerry Beach.   "Fighting Words" is a terrific baseball book about the inside world of the Boston Red Sox media.   In it, he talks about the long days for writers having to cover the Red Sox and how that encompasses most of the season, including now the offseason.  And the book clearly shows that's how it has to be done, to feed the frenzied hunger for baseball news of  the Red Sox Nation.

There is seemingly is very little time in a sportswriter's world for their family and if so, there are periods of time when they are on the road alone and don't see their families for days, weeks even months seemingly.   And that's the life of a sportswriter or even a SID (Sports Information Director), which I thought about as well.  I know someone very well in basically that position, and he has told me the long hours he works in his position.  It's a really unsung job, because they write the articles for their school's teams all year long, and their articles for the most part are quite good and occasionally quite influential.

A little over five years ago, I made a choice, one that I am so truly happy with.  My wife and I had our first child, Matthew.   A little more than two years later. we had our second child, Jonathan.   You see the choice was that I decided to have a family.   And I want to be around them.  I grew up with a deadbeat dad, who when he was home, didn't have time for us anyway.  I have not seen him since I was 13 years old.   And i have no interest in seeing him ever again.  When my mom passed away last year, I said to my wife "I have no parents left."

So it is important to me that I am there for them, that I provide for them and the joy they bring me is immeasurable.  And it's not as if I don't like my current job.   I love my job, so much so that I have been there for seventeen years, which is a lifetime in the world of technology.   My job is never dull, and I am not behind a desk all day.  I am often at meetings, overseeing projects, planning for the future, working with people and I solve problems.  I like solving problems.

It's funny when people hear that I have been at a position for 17 years, they ask why don't you move up or move somewhere else up the food chain.  Don't get me wrong, if the right position comes along in North Carolina, I won't pass it up because the cost of living on Long Island is astronomical, plus I love it down near Raleigh/Durham.  However, I have seen from friends and certainly in college basketball where people/coaches leave a good thing for another often due to ambition.  And they end up either not liking what they do or in the case of college coaches not being as successful as they thought (and often end up being fired).  I have seen friends change professions or go back to a level they are comfortable with, which i have seen with college coaches as well.

However, if you like where you are, the people there like you, you are constantly learning and improving, and things are generally good,  why not stay?  There's nothing wrong with being successful and being happy where you are for a long time. Hey, it's worked for Stew Morrill.

Thus, the title of this article is from one of my favorite John Hiatt songs, "Slow Turning".  In it, Hiatt sings about coming to the realization of what your life is about, accepting and even enjoying it.  There are no more truer lyrics for me than below.
It's just a slow turning
From the inside out
A slow turning
But you come about, yeah.
Thus, I have come to the realization that my work life for now is in IT, that I have deadlines and commitments and this blog is a part time labor of love.  So even during the college basketball season, you may not see an article on a daily basis.  That's because either something else is taking precedence or something just isn't coming to me that's article worthy yet.

That doesn't mean though you won't see me at a Waffle House in Maryland on the way back from a basketball game at Towson on a Saturday night, or at the Aunt Sarah's in Richmond before the CAA Semifinals, or desperately searching for a parking spot in Riverdale this Saturday night, as I go to Draddy Gym to see Manhattan host Hofstra  (I am certain I will have an article about THAT the next day).

For those of you who don't read this regularly, the main function of this blog is writing about seeing college basketball live.  However, I just don't do it on a full time basis.  That's probably why Mike Litos recently called me "an erstwhile blogger".   And for me, that's been a "Slow Turning".

And for me, that's just fine.

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