Monday, May 6, 2013

Hey! You! Look at me!

A motto that I have tried to live by recently is “if you are not being rejected, you are not trying hard enough” (this is paraphrased from a bunch of other quotes). This is applicable in a lot of ways. Two personal ways are described below. Just FYI, it starts out a little “emo”, but gets better.

When I moved out of California, I left behind my friends, my training group, a steady job, effectively everything that I had built over the past 7 years to be closer to home and my family. I was getting comfortable in Williamsburg, but I had a feeling that it wasn’t the place to be at that moment. I was 25, living in a town full of married couples with kids, college kids, and old people. I was stuck at an awkward age in a place that I did not yet belong (or no longer belonged, depending on which direction you looked). I didn’t belong anymore with the college kids, and I didn’t have kids yet, and I certainly don’t have my AARP card yet.
Look at how happy these old people are. It's probably because they have their AARP discount cards. A typical resident of Williamsburg, VA.

I randomly looked for a job at my old high school, and behold-there was one. Not only was there a position for a science teacher, but also a position as a water polo coach. This was my dream. To go back to California, teach science and coach water polo. I put everything into the application and interview. The high school where I went is a great school, and I knew that it would be a stretch for a new teacher to get the job. I contacted the assistant principal, who was the athletic director when I was a student, that I was applying. I sent her my application and letters of recommendation, just to make sure that someone past human resources got to see my application. A risky move, but I wanted to make sure I got past the initial cut off. I called human resources to ask questions. HEY YOU! LOOK AT ME. I needed to stand out among other applicants who would have more years of experience to draw upon.
I can teach! I can coach! Please hire me!

I was interviewed by a group of teachers and administrators, most of whom knew me. I did my best, answered the questions, and waited for their response. A few days later, the principal called and told me I got the job. Insert very loud EXCLAMATION HERE. I would be moving to California, where everything is sunny and beautiful and perfect.

The caption for this image is "excited white male in business suit celebrates". The internet has way too much stuff. But this is pretty much how I felt.

With the exception of my desk and my bed, I was able to fit everything I physically owned into my Jeep.  Friends, training partners, relationships didn't fit. I drove across the country, and moved home with my parents. I intended on living at home for a month or two, and then move out as soon as I found a spot that I could afford.

One last stop in Williamsburg at Sno-2-Go with my fully loaded Jeep. This car has gone across the country four times. It is awesome.

That one or two months dragged on to three, and then four. The first months were tough. What happened to everything being sunny and beautiful and perfect? The only people I knew in the bay were people from high school, some of whom I hung out with then, but had lost contact with since. I didn’t have their numbers to call, and the typical Friday/Saturday night was spent at home watching Star Trek with my parents and sister.  Exciting stuff. I also had no one to train with, so my workouts became infrequent, and worthless.
Was this in my future? Star trek plus crappy workouts...It seemed inevitable.

I finally got a chance to move out, and I jumped on it. I had struggled to find a place while coaching water polo because of the lack of time, and I ended up using Craigslist to find a roommate-who ended up being someone I already knew but didn’t know was looking for a roommate.

I joined a master’s swim team, and decided that it was on me to find workouts and friends. At the master’s team, a woman hopped in my lane, and she was loud, fast, and she had mentioned running. Boom. Stalked her on facebook, and I had a running partner. That running partner led me to a triathlon coach. Workouts became effective. One problem solved.

I started to contact old high school friends who had initially contacted me when they heard I was back in town. Friends from high school that were older than me. Socializing with my roommate and some of his friends. Occasionally, I got shot down, or didn’t hear back. Such is life. Some called me back. But I went from having nights of sitting on the rollers in my parents’ basement and Star Trek to actually hanging out with friends. Life was returning to normal.
One of my friends works for 21st Amendment Brewery. The Hell or High Watermelon Wheat, Back in Black IPA and the Bitter American are all solid choices. And a good friend to have.

The lesson? I need to make the effort. Just because I was back in town, it didn’t mean that people that I associated with in high school were going to call me. I had to go out to find them. Friends were not going to show up.

Part 2
I have just started to try and pick up sponsorships/join a team for triathlon. Whether or not I actually deserve it yet is a whole other question (probably not, but still worth a try). So far I have only contacted a few potential sponsors/teams, and so far it has gone like this:

Me: I have these race results from this season: 4 races-two podium finishes, all races top ten in age group. Is this good enough?

Them: Congrats. Get faster. Our guys are faster.

As with any form of ranking, there is an endless ladder, and the ladder only gets steeper. One of the teams that I contacted, Every Man Jack(EMJ), is very fast.

Every Man Jack sells male grooming products, and also sponsors a fast triathlon team. The former, is something that I should probably use more frequently, the latter, something that will help me get faster. A match made in heaven? We'll see.

I knew that it would be a stretch to get on their team. The athletes on EMJ beat me pretty soundly at Escape From Alcatraz . After exchanging some emails, they said that I could join the team at cost, and do some workouts with them. I think that I am going to take them up on the offer-an opportunity to workout with some quick athletes. It will require greater commitment from me to the sport to be a part of any team-traveling to workouts, being more disciplined through the workouts, making races. There won’t be an opportunity to hide. Am I ready to make this commitment? Can I with other time constraints-teaching and coaching? We’ll see.

This goes against my usual way of approaching things. I usually try and let things come to me, and let my actions speak for themselves. But I realized that there are millions of people in the Bay Area. To get noticed, I had to go out and have people look at me. Put the effort to call and organize. If I get shot down by the teams or the people I call to hang out, then it doesn’t change my current situation. I will still be without a team, or sitting on my couch. So get your ass off the couch and do something about it Savage. Don’t wait.

1 comment:

  1. haha, I love this post. can't even begin to imagine being interviewed by people like Melnik and Cowherd.

    keep it up, real life sounds awesome so far!