Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An Interesting End to the Decade

I'm just gonna go ahead and say it: 2010 was not my favorite year ever. Why? A quick chronological recap...

BCS National Championship Game: It's not that I'm being ungrateful; it just still hurts to look back and watch Colt McCoy take that seemingly innocent hit to his right arm. And his post-game interview is still hard on the burnt orange soul. The entire trip, courtesy of Longhorn Band and the University of Texas, was incredible. I had an excellent time in LA going to new places like Universal Studios, the beach (even though we walked freaking forever to find the right one), and seeing some of the gorgeous homes in Pasadena. But to watch our Horns fight hard the ENTIRE season to get to the Big XII Championship, and see that game literally come down to the last second before a Hunter Lawrence field goal sealed the deal, it's difficult to not see that team play Alabama. Not a fan of the "what if" game...

Car Wreck #1: A 70-year-old woman named Sandra Gentry was "not paying attention" when she ran her red light and t-boned me at Lamar and 183. That was an interesting experience. Not going to go back through that whole thing (though if you'd like to read the story, check back one post), but it has definitely left its impact on me, some lasting longer than others. I am jumpy on the road when people approach my line on a perpendicular street. I check intersections 5 times before I drive through them, making sure cars are not blowing through their red light while I consciously think, "Green. Green. Green. Still green. Aaand still green." My wrist is still not healed... 11 MONTHS LATER. I hit a baseball for the first time since the accident a couple of weeks ago, and the next day I had to wear a brace because it hurt so bad with any extensive movement. And, though not overwhelmingly noticeable, I have permanent scars on my lower lip. This accident totaled my car and left me immobile in a semester where I had intended on finding a job and making some money, and distracted me for the first month while I adjusted to not being able to use my right hand. Oh, we still have not reached a settlement with the insurance company, a lingering source of stress in both mine and my dad's lives.

Spring '10 Academic Semester: HED 329K with Peterson (aka Santa Claus). If you have to take it, I'm sorry and I recommend a laptop or bringing other material to study. He will shove his personal beliefs and political stances down your throat, and will only become irritated at arguments brought up in support of an opposing view. And he bases his entire course on some self-made flow chart that makes zero sense. Horrible horrible class.

LOST finale: The ending of a FANTASTIC series. I loved the finale and thought it was fitting to what the show was really about: The characters. I'm currently watching it from the beginning for a third time, and it is still awesome. I miss ending my Wednesday nights with, "LOST" ... "WTF?!?!" Brilliant show that honestly felt like a 6-year movie in terms of intensity and the complexity and development of the story and the characters in it.

Longhorn Baseball: Great season until it seemed intensity died in the last series against Mizzou before playoffs. Big XII tournament wasn't exactly an impressive showing, and the boys lost in Super Regionals to TCU, falling short of the usually-expected trip to the College World Series in Omaha, and the final year at Rosenblatt Stadium. This one was not as hard to swallow, maybe because TCU simply outplayed the Horns that weekend. But it was still strange to not see our school listed as one of the teams making it to the CWS.

Black-eyed Pea: The pay wasn't great. The hours were awkward. The food portions made me forget to eat anything the first 4 days I worked there. I worked a double-shift on my birthday, and requesting a change in an already-made schedule was apparently a no-no. At least my co-workers were awesome and kept everyone laughing!

Lack of Ranger Games: Because of the previously mentioned job, trips to Arlington were wayyyyy too few and far between. And it was often difficult to even watch them at night for the same reason, which was a huge bummer because of the fantastic season they were having.

MLB All-Star Game: The American League lost to the National League for the first time since 1996. Why did that bother me? The year the Rangers finally not only win the AL West Division and win the ALDS, but the year they defeat the Yankees in the ALCS, win the pennant, and advance to the World Freaking Series, the AL did not get home field advantage. I don't really think it would have made that much of a difference in the ultimate outcome, but that would happen the season in which the Rangers finally would have potentially benefited from an All-Star Game victory. Typical.

Fall '10 Academic Semester: Group projects are the worst thing to assign. Seriously. Of the 5 classes I was taking, 4 of them had at least 4 projects, 3 of them having projects and/or lab reports due every other week. Hey professors: We don't have time to meet outside of class! Gah.

Car Wreck #2: While on the way to study one night after LHB, I was at the front end of a 4-car accident on the Drag. No one was seriously injured and luckily my car was only rear-ended, but the frustration came in the emotional havoc of being in another accident only 9 months after the first one, taking steps back after significant progress was made in trusting people on the road, and the hassle of dealing with insurance companies and car repairs (which I am finally getting around to over the break).

Longhorn Football: The sloppy game against Rice was only the beginning, and those bad habits of a young, inexperienced team persisted throughout the season. And what was worse than that, our fans were HORRIBLE about continuing to support the team. Yes, it was rough at times to sit through some of those games, but it's your team. It was embarrassing as a UT student to see entire sections practically emptied before halftime, if they ever filled in at all. Either love your team and be there for them or don't; can't have it both ways. The end result of such a season? No bowl game. NO BOWL GAME. Not that we deserved to go to one or anything. It's weird to be watching all these other teams get ready for theirs, and there have been no emails sent out by LHB telling me what night we'll rehearse in Austin and at what awful early hour our flight will leave the next morning. This is the longest amount of time I have spent in Denton since I moved the majority of my stuff into my apartment last summer. And it's not that being home is bad, it's just a different type of break that is the result of a different type of Longhorn Football season.

And to prove this is not supposed to be a debbie downer type of note, a few things I absolutely LOVED about 2010:

My new '07 Nissan Sentra: Though I wouldn't say the big January accident was "worth it" for the new car, it is a very positive thing that has emerged from a bad situation.

Despite the chaos of the spring semester...: I still pulled of A's and B's. Not bad/Close enough!

Inception: I feel like my life is better having seen that film.

2010 Ranger Baseball: Goodbye Hicks; Helloooo Greenberg-Ryan! Cannot be more excited about that ownership change and the future of the club as a result of it. Getting Cliff Lee in July. Clinching the AL West in Oakland the same day the Longhorn football team lost to UCLA. Lee in the ALDS. A-Rod's face and Eric Nadel's call at the end of the ALCS. And finally, playing as one of two teams left standing in Major League Baseball. How cool was that for our Texas Rangers? Not to mention the experience of actually attending a World Series game! That was so incredible. Fellow Ranger fans: That was fun, wasn't it? New fans: Welcome aboard! Still non-fans: I'd apologize for the excessive freakouts throughout the semester and at LHB rehearsals during games, but that would mean I'd be apologizing for caring, and I can't do that ;)

Troy Kimmel in GRG 301K: He made me laugh this fall at least twice every TTH sometime between 11 and 12:15. Little things in life, yes?

University of Texas Class Ring: Growing up isn't bad at all; I just wish it would have given me some warning before it went to work!

Family: We have issues. Surprise, right? But if we, with God's help, can get through all of the issues at hand, we will be able to look back on this knowing that it only strengthened the love that I know we still have for each other.

FRIENDS: Grew closer with some friends this past semester, and made some fantastic memories with those people and even a few new friends. Y'all know who you are, and I love each and every one of you :)

Do a couple of those goods outweigh some of the bads? Perhaps. But as I look back on the year as a whole, I find myself more frustrated and worn out than I have in any years past. Maybe that is a part of becoming an adult. Maybe it's because a traumatic car accident 22 days into the new year is just not a good way to start things off. But I'd argue that the past 12 months were something less than spectacular for me personally, and I think that acknowledging that it was a tough year helps in preparation for a new one. A new year that, for all intents and purposes, will be my last as a student attending classes (since next spring will only be an internship). A new year that will see my baby brother graduate high school and my older sister get married. And a new year that will usher us into a new decade and me to the age of 21, so that I may buy my own alcoholic drinks and rent my own cars, if need be.

So here is to an awkward cap on the "Aughts," as they are apparently called. Hey 2011, I don't know if you knew this yet, but you are gonna be awesome. And no, you do not have a choice in the matter :)

Everybody falls sometimes, Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache, You think it’s more than you can take
But you're stronger, stronger than you know
Don’t you give up now, The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds, To find the silver lining

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end, Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered, Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

"What Faith Can Do" --Kutless

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