Love. Of. My. Life.

Yes, I’ve said it before, but it’s totally worth saying it again. For the first line of this song alone….

I’m in love with David Ruffin.

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Dodger Intuition?

It’s been a weird year of “feelings”, predictions, signs…I don’t know exactly what you would call it.

It started in spring training, watching Kershaw pitch. Just a feeling that we were in for something exciting this year. A feeling with a disclaimer that he would need to learn to deal with his nerves. That held true for the entire season.

Then, two weekends before the end of the season, I said, wouldn’t it be funny if the Dodgers waited to clinch the division until they came home. “Funny” was not taken lightly. Even funnier (read: odd-er) was Friday of that final homestand, and I sent an email that said:

Truthfully, I’d honestly prefer it tomorrow¬†when Kershaw is pitching ūüėČ

And it happened. Odd. Odd. Odd.

Then there’s the Little One who turned to me during the first game of the NLCS, and said, “Manny’s going to hit a homerun just to spite you.”

And again, it happened.

Then there was Jimmy Rollins last night. He was interviewed prior to the game and my tweet:

Jimmy Rollins is making me queasy. #Dodgers #Phillies
4:52 PM Oct 19th from TweetDeck

I sat on the floor while the Phillies had two on and turned my head up to the TV just in time to hear that Rollins was headed to the plate. My heart sank. Just another of those moments.

I don’t know what it’s been or what it means. I don’t purport to be psychic. I just think baseball is such an intensely funny game that who knows how or why things happen.

Which brings me to my last example.  My email from yesterday morning before the loss:

For some reason though, and perhaps this is semi-wishful thinking, I have the sinking feeling this is going to 7.

Here’s hoping this is a trend that can keep up for just a couple more days.

Back into the Classroom

When I started this blog, I wrote out my bio (which now needs to be changed) and I said that I missed teaching.

I am very happy to say that I am 7 weeks into my newest job teaching English. Not only am I teaching high school English, but I have fulfilled one of the goals on my life’s to-do list (the one I created at 17): to teach American Literature. Perhaps that makes me a nerd, but I’m a giddy nerd.

Writing is my absolute first love. When I interviewed, my now-boss asked what I would say to students who told me that they hated writing. I answered quite simply, “Writing saved my life.”

I don’t know if that’s what got me the job, or if that had any lasting effect, but I meant it wholeheartedly. Writing has never saved me from the imminent peril of having my physical life stripped from me. It’s saved my soul. Repeatedly.¬† When I disappear, it’s what I do. When I’m hurt, it’s what I do. When I don’t understand what’s going on in my life, I write. And I write and I write. Somewhere in that writing, things become clearer and they start to make sense. I save my writing and I re-read in the attempt to not have to re-learn life lessons.

There’s something about being able to share that every day that has been wonderfully fulfilling. I don’t dread my mornings. It’s somehow easy again to wake up at 5:37 (mind tricks I play on myself if you’re wondering about the 37). I love crafting the lessons and answering the questions. I love interacting with the students.

This is not to say that it hasn’t been without its struggles. I entered into a job where I was warned that I should expect 30-40% of homework assignments to be turned in. My students don’t read at grade level, and their writing suffers because of it.

I get gems of questions like the one today: “What’s the past tense of ‘this’? My blank stare must have been startling, and I calmly explained that “this” is not a verb.

All in all, it feels wonderful to be back in a classroom. Even on days when I’m too tired to run or would rather be home watching baseball. There’s a special delight in the ability to share my greatest passion with young people.

1 Month + 17 Days

It’s been that long since I “turned off” off this blog.

I needed a little space. Some privacy for my thoughts. Some breathing room for my goals. I need a fresh start in a lot of ways. I started an alternate blog http://asoultwist.wordpress.com that I didn’t update quite as frequently. Why?

Because it wasn’t The Watchtower.

“A Soul Twist” is one of my favorite songs ever. I love it because it doesn’t say anything so I am always free to interpret it for myself. It’s always exactly what I’m feeling.

But “Watchtower,” it is my first love. It says who I am. It shows what I mean. It tells how I dream.

I’ve cleaned up a lot. I’ve thrown things away. I’ve cut people out. I’m healthier. I’m stronger. I have time to write. I’ve started teaching again. I’m in love with my students. I’m in love with writing.

And I’m thoroughly engrossed by October baseball. I am so unbelievably in love with baseball right now. And it’s funny because I reopen this blog on the night of the my biggest heartbreak of the 2009 season. The Dodgers lost in the bottom of the 9th to the Phillies, setting them behind in the NLCS 1 game to 3.

I’m not going to lie. I cried. I couldn’t help it.

This started so long ago in spring training. Actually, it started in January when we decided to make the trip out to Phoenix. It was furthered when I declared my unwavering support for Clayton Kershaw a couple weeks before we set out because I thought he’d need it (and in the past week, boy did he). It’s been months and months of games. Forty-one times I walked into Dodger Stadium this year and watched a¬† ball game. I was able to do that with the people I love the most. I discovered that I can walk to the Stadium from my house. I spent beautiful summer afternoons staring at the wonderfully manicured grass. I watched my team play an amazing first half. I was in the stadium when they clinched the division.

All of that, and the true reason that I’m so enthralled by the game right now is because for the first time in 12 years, it’s meant exactly what it meant to me as a teenager. It’s reminded me that I have these amazing, amazing best friends. My brothers and I have shared an incredible season. We’ve shared the beginning of this postseason through games and emails and text messages. We’ve shared it through phone calls and memories and lucky socks.

And every single time we talk about the game or a game in our past, I can’t help but feel so deeply blessed to have brothers who share this with me, who have made me the fan that I am.

So, on this night of my tears and my cursing at the television, I reopen “Watchtower.”

“No reason to get excited….”