why do I still feel bad

Live in the now.  Seize the day.  I’m not here to talk about the past.  Insert your own thought here on moving on, not worrying about mistakes made and so on.  I’m guessing that there are few people, if pressed, who would not admit to doing something at some point in their past that they still feel bad about.  Something about my nature makes me hang onto things and still feel bad about them years later.  I’m sure most have been long forgotten by parties involved.  One of those episodes comes to mind at this time every year since it’s state championship time for high school basketball. 

High school was, well, high school for me.  I grew, was awkward, got in trouble on rare occasions as far as you know, and started to become the person I am now.  I loved sports, it just took me a while to get decent at them.  It certainly helped that our school was small.  If I grew up in the Rochester area, I would have resolved to join the band by 5th grade.  My first love was baseball.  However, this is upstate New York and baseball season starts roughly in April if you can chip the ice off the mound.  Our high school at that point sucked at football, was average in baseball at best and yet somehow seemed to send a basketball team through to the states every third year.  At least they did while I was there.  Freshman year, I made the JV squad barely.  I hadn’t grown to my height yet, was skinny and needed to work on my skills, but like I said, the school was small.  I rode the pine that year as our team ripped through our conference schedule nearly unbeaten (I’m not going to look up the actual record).  My playing time was limited to the final parts of games when we were up by 20 and I could do little to know damage.  The following year, I made the JV squadagain and continued to play sparingly.  So when junior year rolled around, I decided I would spend the winter lifting weights with the football players and offered to be the AV guy for the basketball team.  This meant that yes, I was the guy withthe video camera who taped all the games, home and away.  It wasn’t a bad little job, not that I got paid.  I got to go to all the games, home and away and taped boththe JV and Varsity.  Did I get some crap for being the AV guy?  Sure I did.  The kicker was, if I had tried out for the team, I probably would have still been sitting on the bench.  After all, I didn’t grow until that year and was in dire need of more strength if I was going to be able to do anything on the court. 

The whole purpose of taping the games was for the coach and players to analyze their performance.  We weren’t really that sophisticated where we had scouts that went to other games and taped teams before we played them.  The coaches in the league knew the other teams and we played each twice before sectionals so at least the second time around there weren’t usually any surprises.  There were also some parents who requested copies of the game tapes so they could enjoy watching their son play over and over again or prepare some sort of college recruiting tape to send out as a promotion.  Games were Tuesday and Friday nights and on Mondays and Wednesdays around lunch time you could find any number of players in the library watching game tape.

Here is a little more background on me.  I am very passionate about sports.  I hate losing, I don’t like watching the team I’m rooting for lose (you can imagine how being a Pirates fan can make this a bit of a challenge).  I was putting a towel rack up in our house when the Patriots beat the Steelers in the playoffs on their way to one of the Super Bowls they won.  That rack never did get installed correctly.  At some point, I decided I could not watch some games directly.  Electing instead to watch them from the other room and just pop in to check on the status.  Is this lame?  Sure.  Does it protect my heart, anger and those around me?  Absolutely.  Am I exaggerating a bit?  Of course, but you still need to know that when I threw one pitch in high school and lost a game, I nearly broke my hand on a concrete post.  My pitching hand, again, not the brightest move.  Enough background?  You’re right.

As the season wore on, our team just kept winning.  Subsequently, games got better, with higher attendance and at some point I started talking during the taping of the games.  Now, it’s not like I had a head set and tried to do play by play or anything like that.  I would just make comments or shout; basically be a fan while holding the camera.  The camera’s microphone captured the crowd noise, and my voice until after a while, I recall one father commenting that my parents probably would not be happy with watching a particular tape (meaning I said a bad word, not danced in front of it or anything like that).  Our team made it through sectionals, regionals and went to states in Glens Falls, NY.  I went on every trip, taped every game, but when it was time for Glens Falls, I was off the roster.  Of course, that meant now I could be loud in the stands and cheer and complain and all that stuff and I think I shocked my parents.  Not that I was using bad words, just was emotional about the game.  We lost in the semifinals that year and that was that.

It hit me probably midway through college.  I’m not sure what I was doing, perhaps having one of those rooftop talks we used to have at my fraternity when we were taking a break from studying (yes, we did that there).  We were talking about things we regretted and I started talking about video taping and talking.  I realized at some point that I probably either caused some of my highschool classmate’s fathers to hate me, or just mute the tape.  For all I know, some are still watching these tapes although I would hope by now they would have switched them over to DVD.  Really, if they did that, they could re-edit the sound and perhaps do their own voice over.  Or perhaps no one even watches these tapes anymore or really cares about it.  So, why do I still feel bad?  Why do I use the word “perhaps” so much?  I think I’m going to leave this one behind on the feel bad list.  For those of you in the classes of 1990 and 1991 who played on that team, my sincere apologies for ruining your highschool hoops memories.  My hope is that all of you have moved on and created more memories that took the place of my shouts from beside the camera.  I will now remove this particular segment from my feel bad list and continue on looking ever forward.  Except for that one pitch.  What made my catcher suddenly think I could throw a curve ball that would actually break?


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