Thursday, December 30, 2004
2004: The Year In Review
2004 was a crazy year for me. To recap it totally would be an insane idea that would take up a little bit too much time for me. But I guess I can recap some highs and lows of this year. I guess I can start on a personal level. The year started like it usually does. In my basement on New Year's Day, it was cold outside and I did nothing. I'm not a big fan of going outside and freezing my balls off to celebrate a New Year. Hell, most days my lazy ass doesn't wanna get up and celebrate a new day. Shit, if we celebrate a new year, why not celebrate a new month everymonth. It'll give us all a good excuse to drink. Let's move to February now. February was cool because the Chicago Auto Show gave me a reason to cut school on Valentine's Day. Not only do I hate Valentine's Day for reasons earlier stated in another post, but I love cars. That was my fave day in February. It was me, my brother-in-law and a friend of his. We marveled at the 2005 Corvette, the Maybach. And the grand prize was pimpin the 05 Cadillac Escalade ESV sound system. 8 speaker Bose stereo, top of the line. With 2 10 inch subwoofers in the back...STANDARD! My kinda ride. Then the gang-bangers heard the system and all huddled around the Caddy and that was my cue to exit. February also marked my favorite time of the year, Pitchers and Catchers Report means one thing: HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL. The Cubs signed Greg Maddux, therefore, giving me everything I wanted for Christmas. March was boring, yet still full of hype because Spring Training was in full effect and the Cubs had hit their stride even though Prior was hurt. Woody went 5-0 and was dominating. I thought it was a sign of things to come. April, I spent a lot of time at Wrigley Field. I went to 4 of the first 5 games. I saw Matt Clement dominate in a game shortened by me having to go to work for 49 cent cheeseburger day. The next day, Bleacher Creatures and I assisted in a misplayed ball in left field by the often and easily heckled Raul Mondesi. He left in the 6th inning after he had enough. Then our target was JJ Davis. Zambrano dominated and the Cubs beat the Pirates again. The next day, that Friday, the last day of Spring Break, was possibly the greatest non-playoff game I had ever been to. It was a back and forth day starring a home run derby. It seemed that everyone homered that day, but there were 4 that I will always remember. The Ken Griffey Jr. homerun that looked so sweet but put the Cubs down by two. Cub fans thought it was the end and started making plans for the exit, but as usual, I had faith. HR #2: pinch-hitter Todd Hollandsworth hit a first pitch homer to right to cut the Reds lead to one in the 7th inning. We weren't done yet. Let's move to the bottom of the 9th. I made a bold statement: Back-to-back jacks send us home happy! "Leading off the bottom of the 9th for the Cubs, Right Fielder Sammy Sosa." Sammy Sosa, sitting on 511 homeruns tied the game with a shot to right-center field sending the Cub faithful into a frenzy. WE HAD TIED THE GAME! "Ready for extra innings?" asked my friend next to me as we started to sit. By the time our asses hit the seat, first pitch swinging Moises Alooouuu got a first-ball fastball as the Wrigley crowd jumped as one together celebration. It was the greatest moment in my lifetime as a Cub fan. A miraculous comeback that I was there for. Oh was I proud to be a Cub fan that day! Once again, a sign of things that weren't to come. I spent most of May looking for a prom date. I settled for a co-worker. At the time it wasn't settling, she was cute and a cheerleader. You can't ask for more can you. Yes, but I'm a man of low standards, no I'm not, I lied, but still, I don't ask for much in life. June was a great month. Mark Prior made his long-awaited return. That was cool even though Joe Pollack blew the slave in the end for The Franchise, but it was all good, we finally had our pitching staff together healthy...but not for long. Next day was prom. And prom was good, eating, dancing all night. Then after prom, shit blew up. Plans, shot like they was a Cubs fan decked out in Cubbie-blue on 35th and Shields (Comiskey Park). She ended up not wanting a relationship, or honestly nothing to do with me. Later, I was invited to my cousin's party, then later leaving to drive around the city. Sitting outside of Wrigley Field, my graceland, wondering what went wrong. But that it would be okay, because the Cubs, as usual would save me. Later in June, graduation. Another great day to be me. It was an end to everything that I tried so hard for. Sure, my high school career did not end in any way that it was portrayed in the movies. But I felt that I had left a major impact there and with my friends for the last time along with my family, though I didn't see my mother because she was on the other side of the stadium. I felt genuinely happy. June ended on a high note for me, another trip to my home away from home, LAS VEGAS! It treated me well again, not as well, but good nonetheless. It was hot, I shopped, I ate and I chilled. I did what I always did in Vegas, had fun. And to those who say there's nothing to do in Vegas if you are under 21, you are dumb! July, it was a good month because it led off with my 18th birthday. Freedom, cigarettes and lotto tickets. Also, that means running to the store late at night to get mom her cigarettes and throwing away money on lotto tickets. Then came 4th of July weekend. We threw the first of my two major parties. My parties are so awesome, they hold no comparison to college parties, only because they are two different beasts. College parties are all about trying to get some and getting so messed up that anything you do can be excused by the fact that you were so messed up. My parties are major get togethers where you get that messed up, but ur chillin out, listening to music, shooting pool throwin darts. After the parting was over The Cubs swept the Sox on July 4th in an atmosphere that rivaled one like the 03 playoffs. The Cubs won on a walk-off bases loaded walk. Only the White Sox would give that one up. Overall, we beat the Sox in their World Series, we were the Official City Champions winning 4 of 6 games. Next stop, the real World Series (I hoped). August was pretty good too. It was the Cubs best month. We got Nomar! NOMAR FUCKIN GARCIAPARRA! Wow, we had an offensive shortstop that doesn't bobble routine groundballs in game 6 of the NLCS. That move punched our ticket to the World Series, right? Well, then came preparation to go to college. This included my last days at work, which I miss the money, not the hassle. I got my stuff together to prepare. This was the biggest thing of my life so far, I couldn't afford to mess it up. I was really looking forward to it too. Life on my own terms. No one telling me what to do, school all day and party all night, sounded like heaven. But before I left, there was one more party. This one seemed like it lasted all weekend. That's cuz it involved plenty of drunks, lots heavy drinking, a glimpse to the future and DRAMA. Ya gotta love drama between guys that have been tight for four years. Why is it whenever guys have beef, there's usually a girl involved. Women bring out the worst in us, what can I say. But the party was memorable, harolded as one of the best. That was it for Chicago, Carbondale was next up. Then came September. College life, I moved to SIU-Carbondale and quickly gained the name "The Guy With The Cubs Hat." That was me, the most outspoken and biggest Cubs fan not only in that city, in the state but in the World! Later that month, my happiness over this season came to a sudden end thanks to the following players on the opposition: Victor Diaz who hit a game tying 3 run homer with 2 outs down 3 against LaTroy Hawkins. Craig Brazell, who hit the game winning homer against loudmouth Kent Mercker. Then the Cincinnati Reds, after being dominated by Carlos Zambrano, took 3 out of four beating Glendon Rusch 2-1 in extra innings, pounding Greg Maddux and Aaron Harang, Aaron Fucking Harang out dueled Mark Prior...PRIOR??? 16 strikeouts in 9 innings of one run ball wasn't enough to beat Aaron F'n Harang. I guess not. Then the Braves beat us 2 out of 3 making certain people in my life very happy: Certain Braves Fans attending SIU and Cooking School In Chicago, Certain White Sox fans who had already choked their season up after we swept them. And Cards fans that I met in Carbondale. That was the low point of the year for me, even lower than the after prom lack of activity. But September wasn't all about my Cubs based depression. I started drinkin again, and that was a joyous time. I made a lot of friends that way. And that's what college is all about, acquaintances. Not getting so drunk to a point where you don't wake up for days. Or getting laid so many times you end up on the Maury show being tested on "I'm Here for the 10th time, and I still don't know who my baby's daddy is." It's about acquaintances, and school, but mostly acquaintances. Needless to say, I'm enjoying. October was cool cuz the Bo Sox beat the curse that I don't consider a curse coming back from an 0-3 deficit to beat the Yankees. I was torn, proud of the Bo Sox for beating history, but my New York roots pulled me and kept me grounded. Them New York roots are strong ya know. Other October highlights: oh yeah Halloween. Dudes on my floor dressed in drag. And to spare you extreme details, they looked like the following: Dennis Rodman, the Black George Michael, One of the Williams Sisters and one looked like a pig with makeup in a pink wife beater and a pink hat. Note: These guys weren't even drunk yet. November, good, because of Thanksgiving, and a week off from school. It also meant free alcohol to bring back with me to college. It was a great week. November reunited me with my three favorite F-words: Family, Friends and Food. I enjoyed it and realized how much I missed the city. Traffic jams longer than a few minutes. Pollution, people yelling at each other, cabbies being assholes. Oh it was good to be home. December: FINALS! 3 grueling, extreme, tenuous, stressful weeks of finishing strong, dealing with roommate troubles and trying to get through my 1st semester of college. Drama surrounded me with my own confidence issues, lady issues that I had down in college and back home, roommate problems plauged me all semester, but it was over. Ever notice you have your most problems during the most difficult times. But now it is finally over, really, for this semester it is. Finally, I've learned a lot. This year has honestly added 10 years to my age, it has made me age quicker than I should. Being a Cub fan already ages you, but this stress topped that. Now, I look to next year for inspiration. Will I find my happy spot again, as I did in 2003? Will I finally kick that habbit that plagues me at certain times and in certain situations? Will I finally step up to the plate and hit the walk-off home run on my first try? Will that ever elusive dream girl give me another chance or will I not find her again? Only time will tell. Stay tuned until next year.