California Dreamin’

It is the official start of the holiday season, and also the beginning of Looking Through the Mask, Season Three.  As I did last year, I will do some posts during the offseason, albeit less frequently than my in-season postings.

While only ten weeks old, my offseason has been exceedingly hectic compared to years past.  Who would have thought that my first offseason after finishing my MBA has me busier than ever?  A lot of the young offseason has been occupied by my travels (like we do not have enough during the season).  My most recent travels brought me home to New York for Thanksgiving.  It has been great to be home and see my family; this is the first time I have been home since last December.

The biggest travel was my recent move out to California with my girlfriend, Juliet.  My apartment lease in Tampa was finished at the end of October, and I was making plans to go to early Angels workouts in Tempe that in January.  Since I was heading out west anyway, it made sense for me to move to California and live with Juliet before we head to Arizona in January. 

This cross country task included the arduous task of packing up my apartment into storage that took nearly a week to complete.  Five years in one place causes you to amass many belongings, some things I did not even know I had.  After packing up, our five-day trip across the country included stops in: Mobile, AL, to visit friends Juliet went to school with; Bulverde, TX, to visit my teammate, Clay Fuller; Carlsbad, NM, to visit Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands National Monument; Lordsburg, NM, to spend the night after our long day of being tourists in New Mexico.  And I thought that driving 1,300 miles back and forth between Albany and Tampa was long.

Another offseason trip to Georgia and Alabama was mixed in before the cross-country move.  Juliet, a graduate of The University of Alabama, is a former intern of the Atlanta Thrashers, and knows the Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach.  We traveled up to Atlanta to take in a Thrashers game, before taking the train over to Tuscaloosa so I could attend my first big-time college football game (the University of South Florida cannot hold a candle to the SEC).  Juliet wanted to show me SEC football, and thought that the rival game against the University of Tennessee would be the perfect stage.  A blocked field goal in the closing seconds was one of the many highlights of a great weekend in the South.

While I have done a lot of travelling this offseason, the biggest distance I have travelled has been with myself.  As I progress through my mid-20s, I have had to make some big decisions about moving forward with my life.  While I have done good things in the past, I have made more than my fair share of mistakes.  However, I have learned that hiding from your past does nothing, because it makes you who you are in the present and who you will be in the future. 

These are mistakes that I have come to terms with and have made changes so that I will not make the same errors again.  I have gone through some tough growing pains, but they are things that I had to face in order to move on with my life.  The biggest supporter throughout all of this has been Juliet, and I cannot put into words the thanks, love, and admiration I have for her through everything.

My next travels have me headed back to California, before returning to New York for Christmas.  My travels and baseball preparations and will continue as I ready myself for the 2010 journey through baseball, but more importantly, life.


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