Monday, September 19, 2011

What is and what could have been...

First off,
I like where I'm at,
I love who I'm with,
I love my life, it freaking rocks.

I had a thought the other night whilst watching the first game of the NFL season.

I still feel like a little kid... (this is obvious to all who know me...I'm almost 30 and I go to the Comic Book Store weekly to Geek out). So it's weird when I'm watching the NFL and it says, "he's an NFL veteran, he's 30 and has been in the league 8 years..." I'll be 30 in December.

So let's turn the clock back to the early 90's... I believe it was 5th grade when the original x-men animated series started airing on Fox. I was already a huge Star Wars fan and loved sci fi stuffs. Let's say I never got into that stuff and I spent every waking moment in the gym. I was 6'3 and 156 lbs when I graduated. What if I'd put on a ton of muscle and was 195?

What if I'd played football all through Jr. High and made it onto the high school team?

What if I'd been really good? I seem to do ok at the Turkey Bowl every year so maybe I have skills?

What if a college had picked me up? What if I'd actually played college ball? 6'3 195lbs is a pretty good size for a quarterback. What if I'd played for some Jr. College and then transferred to BYU or U of U or Utah State?

What if I was good enough and got picked up in some late round draft pick?

What if the starting QB was awful, the 2nd string got hurt, and they had to throw me into the game?

What if I'd replaced Drew Brees in San Diego instead of Phillip Rivers? We're the same age right?

What if I was currently a starting quarterback in the NFL? Could I have done it? I mean there's got to be a chance that somewhere along these "what if" questions there is a scenario where I'm making millions of dollars and throwing touchdown passes like a champ right?

What if I was a top tier fantasy draft pick?

What if ESPN loved me and Jim Rome booked me often?

What if...

What if I hate lifting weights, was too skinny to play ball, and was more interested in photography and reading. What if I went to school and found that I loved teaching English at my alma matter high school for slightly less than millions a year. What if the only person who wants me on their fantasy team is my wife cause she loves me? What if I "watch the Superbowl from my house on a Sunday, go to school the next mornin drive off in a Hyundai?"

I can barely afford to buy tyco with my money...
Still too skinny to buy lipo with my money...

Monday, September 12, 2011

My thoughts on 9/11

I promised my good friend Dave that I'd blog about what went down that day since we were together when the $#it hit the fan. 9/11 is always in the back of the minds of those who witnessed it, and once a year the History channel and others show us documentary after documentary with that footage that stirs up the feelings I had that day. Not sadness, not remorse,....but anger.

I was ticked off.

I was serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Columbus, Ohio on September the 11th. I was "stationed" in the suburb of Gahanna, Ohio. There were four of us in the apartment. Elder Bradford, and I were one set of missionaries. Elder Hall and Elder Bunting were the others. On that particular morning we got up, read scriptures, ate, and decided that Elder Hall and Bradford would go help with some service at a member of our congregation's house, meanwhile Dave Bunting and I would go knock on doors. Dave recounted to me that he remembers that morning being very quiet...which wasn't the usual case seeing as how we lived 2 blocks from the airport. Nothing was taking off....

Hall and Bradford took the car and we set out on foot. Before we started knocking doors, we stopped at the bank on the corner so Dave could make a deposit or something. We walked in the door and saw about a dozen or so stunned people gathered around a little tv that had been set up on a folding card table. I asked what happened, and a gentleman said, "awww they're crashing planes into the Trade Centers." I didn't know who "they were" and I had assumed they meant small planes (like everyone else did I'm pretty sure) . Just then a woman next to me broke out into hysterics screaming, "my sister is New York City Oh my God! My Sister!" While someone helped comfort her I recall the news reporter saying, "we can see building one and there is a lot of smoke. Reports of building two falling are unconfirmed but...."and then Tower 1 fell... "Ladies and gentleman the other tower is not standing, they are both any given time there are 20,000+ people working in those buildings...." At this point Dave and I left. It was only two blocks to our apartment, but I stopped at a radio shack on the way back and bought a small black and white tv. Missionaries don't watch t.v. or listen to the radio while in the service, however one of the last things the newsman had said was something about a grounded flight at the Columbus airport (2 blocks away) that might have a bomb on it. Plus Bradford was from DC so we figured we needed to know what was up.

When we got back and got the tv working, Bradford and Hall came in. We had learned about the Pentagon moments before.

Strange thing about that day was the "WHAT!?" moments that kept coming up. First a plane hit and there was fire and people were concerned. When the 2nd plane hit..."WHAT?!" that's when we knew it was terrorists. When the tower fell...."WHAT!?" we thought it was just a fire. When the news broke of the Pentagon..."WHAT!?" struck again.

Bradford was crying because he knew people who worked at the Pentagon. I remember him saying, "pack your bags guys, we're going to war...."

I remember that the news showed a lot of images that day that for years have not been shown. Most notably...the people jumping. I'll never forget that sight.

That afternoon we went to the mall to try and escape the emotions we were feeling. The WHOLE mall was closed.

A mission buddy of mine later recounted his experience that day. He was standing in a Walmart, watching the screens, and noticed a few people dressed in their traditional Muslim clothing. He said that the women were pointing at the screen, laughing, and giving each other high fives.

It's a good thing that I wasn't at that Walmart....that's all I'm going to say there.

Some people were scared...
Some were confused...(Heck I'd never really heard much about this Bin Laden fellow)
Some were personally affected...

I was just plain ticked off. I'll never forget that feeling, because every time I see a video of those planes hitting or people falling...those feelings of anger come back.

I take comfort in knowing that Bin Laden spent the 10th anniversary as a bullet riddled corpse that has probably become fish excrement at this point.

When the planes hit, and the fires started, the people ran out...
The fireman and first responders ran in...
That's heroism at its finest.
I'm proud to be an American- JR