Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Volleyball, Bowling, Women and Writing

I haven't done one of these "reflection/journal" entries in a while. However, it's a slow day in the sports world, and since I'm not getting paid to write about sports on this blog, I can pretty much write about whatever I want.

Join me as I get you caught up on all things Tony-related:

*Working as a manager of a small-business, I really am on the front-line whenever things like Hurricane Sandy bear down on the Pittsburgh region. Sandy was a super-storm that mainly wreaked havoc in the New York/New Jersey area on Monday and Tuesday, but that didn't mean we didn't have to prepare for some dangerous weather here in Pittsburgh. On Monday, as the preparations were taking place, I was smack-dab in the middle of a storm of panicked customers who bought water, toilet paper and milk. Cliched? Yes, but with the potential of six inches of rain in the forecast, folks certainly had to prepare for the worst. Fortunately, the storm didn't hurt this region like it really could have, and I'm certainly grateful for that. As much as Pittsburghers seem to freak out about the weather, I don't think they truly realize just how lucky we are as a region to not have to deal with very many natural disasters.

*Speaking of bearing down, I wish I would have done a better job of that during my bowling team's last match this past Sunday. We won two of three games to finish out the season, which was nice. However, we missed out on making the playoffs on our team average by a mere four points, and I can't help but feel responsible for that. I entered the night with a 145 average, which is pretty decent for me, but I "crapped the bed," as they say and only averaged a  108 over the course of the three games. Had I even bowled anywhere near my average, my team would have made the playoffs. Oh well.

*Bowling is one of those sports that you pretty much have to practice on a consistent basis in order to, well, stay consistent or hopefully improve. There are so many variables to take into consideration when you bowl, from your ball, the approach, the release and the conditions of the lanes. However, if you can find a way to master your approach and release, you should be able to do well enough even with a house ball. After I started using a heavier ball in February of 2011, I immediately started to bowl much better. I maintained a 150 average for over a year. That might not sound great, but for the first two-plus years that I bowled, I could barely maintain a 130 average. Unfortunately, starting in the spring, my consistency began to wane and I just couldn't find the answers. The struggles continued early on during this past season, but I figured things out early enough and rolled my all-time high of 219. That proved to be a catalyst for me as I stayed pretty consistent for a few weeks after that and raised my season average from 121 all the way up to 147. However, after I bowled a 192 in a game in week six, I lost my touch and never bowled higher than a 154 the rest of the season and my average dropped seven point. Why the struggles? Who knows, but as  I said, there are so many variables involved in rolling a good ball and staying consistent from frame-to-frame, game-to-game, and week-to-week. This must be why they have coaches for actual bowling teams.

*My indoor volleyball season is underway after a one-month delay, and things have gotten off to a weird start. My first week, I was horsing around and was unaware of how close I was to the net. I smacked into that sucker and landed on my back-side. Fortunately, I wasn't hurt, but I sure was embarrassed. Oh well, I grew up idolizing the late John Ritter, and that was an unintentional tribute to him, I suppose. Speaking of physical comics, I don't know how they do it. I had a huge bruise on my right shoulder from my little prat-fall, and now I can certainly understand why some people get hooked on pain-killers. Don't misunderstand, I didn't take any of those, but I can sure see how it would be tempting if you have to intentionally take falls like that night after night.

*Speaking of accidents, last week during my team's match, I went up to the net to punch a ball over, and a player on the other team had it in mind to punch it back my way. He did so, but he wound up hurting himself in the process. I'm not sure if he landed on my foot or was just knocked off balance, but he suffered what looked to be a pretty serious ankle injury and had to be taken to the emergency room. I know it was just an accident, but I still felt bad about it. Nobody should have to suffer a serious injury while playing recreational volleyball.

*I'm really enjoying my time writing for Behind the Steel Curtain. I feel as if I'm getting better every few months or so, and a huge part of me really wants to take this writing thing full-time. I feel no passion as great as the passion I feel for writing (at least in things that don't involve family and friends), and I feel as if I have a real aptitude for writing about most anything, but especially sports. Who knows, maybe it will happen if I keep working at it. Two years ago at this time, even the thought of being one of the main writers for a blog as   well-respected as BTSC was just a pipe-dream.

*Along those lines, a week ago, I was "approached" via email to write an article for some betting site. I was skeptical, but I went ahead and wrote a preview for the Steelers/Redskins game. When I submitted the article, I was led to believe I would be getting paid $40 for the gig. As of right now, it doesn't look like that's going to happen. It's OK. I didn't invest much time in the article, but I've been conned into linking websites to my blog before (that was the main request of the person who emailed me), and next time, I'll know better.

*As most who know me are well-aware of, my three-year relationship ended in April, and it was the kind of thing that I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to get over. In fact, as recently as August, I was still in a bit of a rut about it. But then, just like that, I was OK. I started dating again in the summer, and I haven't really stopped. I forgot how much fun dating can be. I believe I'm having more fun dating women now than I ever had before, and it's probably because I'm not putting as much pressure on myself and just having fun with it. Oh, I certainly want to have a relationship and settle down, but that's the kind of thing that happens when you least expect it. If you're always worried about the destination, you're never going to enjoy the journey. Too many people put too much pressure on themselves when they date. Dating is meant to be fun. Can it be nerve-wracking? You bet it can be, but that's all part of it. Dating is just a means to find out if you're compatible with someone else. You'll never know that unless you try. If you're afraid of rejection and failure, stay home. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

*Speaking of April, I weighed damn-near 200lbs back then. I'm happy to say I weigh under 190 as of my last weigh-in about a week and a half ago. It's not exactly a ton of weight to lose, but I'm not obese, either. I'm not going to pretend that it was my master plan to lose weight at a slower pace, but I believe it will be more beneficial in the end. It's actually quite easy to lose 15 or 20 pounds over the course of a half a year or so. There are 3500 calories in a pound, so if you eat like you normally eat, and just cut out a sandwich or so every day, you'd be amazed at your results over time.

That's all I have for now. I suppose I could write more, but I'm out. Later!

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