Archive for September, 2014

Earlier this summer my family was fortunate enough to be able to spend a weekend away in Hocking Hills, Ohio with our extended family–a total of 11 people sharing a cabin for a couple of nights, cooking for each other and participating in various activities throughout our stay in the area.

One of those activities was zip lining at a place that offered a zip course for kids…and considering my daughter and niece, both 5 at the time, were generally too young and small for “adult” zip courses, this seemed like a good fit.  I’ve zipped a handful of times before and had a blast, but had my doubts about whether or not my daughter would actually enjoy it, or if she’d chicken out.  The cards were stacked against her–as the zip trolley is a single-attach course, and doesn’t require a guide or any real supervision as you work your way through from platform to platform.  Much to my surprise, though, she went through the course like a pro and had a visibly great time doing it.  In fact, the next day when the adults went to a different zip course, my daughter bravely participated on all the zips she could (there were two that were too big for her), and she loved every minute of it.

Emotions are a bit of a weird thing.  For instance, Zoe, while going through the first course (and even the second one) was very hesitant to take the first step off the platforms, understandably so.  She is very much like her mother in that she tends to get into her own head, and make things a bigger deal than they really need to be.  So, for her, 30 feet in the air, the first step off the platform is a very emotional experience.  All of the anxiousness aside, there was a moment where you knew that she’d be ok, because she knew she’d be ok.  At that moment, the only thing she had to focus on was the “fun” part of it, and all the worrying and panicking subsided.  For me, getting to witness that filled me with happiness–seeing her having fun, doing something different, branching out and taking chances–it was a very emotional experience for me as well.  I was taking a video of her zipping and my eyes welled up with tears because I was so excited for her.

A handful of years ago–and if I’m being honest, it feels like much longer–I was actively involved as an alumnus at my high school with the marching band, and attended every football game, practice and competition.  One year in particular was extremely memorable, because it was the first year the band had qualified for OMEA State Finals…a goal the director had been working the band toward since before I started there in 9th grade.

I remember that night pretty vividly, and more specifically, the moments just before and leading up to the announcement of the bands that had qualified for state finals.  For lack of a better phrase–we all lost our shit when we heard our school’s name.  The thing we had been working for all season, and some of us for multiple seasons, had finally happened.  Every person in that group: the students, the staff, the parents–we all were united in an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment, and the thing that I would experience again years later with my daughter on her first zip line course–I was experiencing that night.  To this day, when I see videos of marching bands performing particularly well, I am often moved to tears.  Not because the music is sad or the drill is terrible, but because my emotional investment in marching band is a large one, and I think back to those years with great fondness.

Today I went to the Browns game with a handful of family members; it was the home opener versus the Saints and we pulled off a pretty emotional win.  Emotional for a couple of reasons–for starters, the last 10 years haven’t been so great in Cleveland sports, and more specifically, Cleveland football.  This is our first home-opener-win since 2004, so it is kind of a big deal.  It was also emotional in the sense that it came down to the last 6 seconds of the game, with a game-winning field goal to take us to a 26-24 lead.  But a lot of it is personal, too–the last 4 years I have become more “into” football, and have started to become a serious Browns fan.  I’ve been to a lot of games over the last two years, and win or lose, I will have a great time at each one.  It is an environment that I’ve really grown to love, and a part of me that I am really excited about.  It is a big part of who I am.

So, in those closing minutes, when I could almost see the game-winning drive coming together (but before it actually happened), I got emotional.  My eyes welled up with tears in much the same way they did when I saw my daughter having fun–because I was having fun, and because I was finally starting to get really excited about the future of a football team that I’ve grown to love.

It’s funny, though, because in years past, if you were watching the Browns and felt the need to cry, it was likely for an entirely different reason.  In any case, I don’t necessarily think we are destined for playoff greatness in 2014, but I’m sure the ride this year will be fun, and emotional.

Go Browns!