I Needed Help and I’m glad I Finally asked

Mental Health is a hot topic these days. Personally, I thought the term was stupid. Until I needed to come to terms with my own.

I was always the fat kid. It was fine for awhile though. In elementary school, you don’t really realize it. Or at least it doesn’t matter too much. I didn’t really become conscious of it till middle school. That’s when I realized elastic waistbands on my jeans weren’t cool and girls weren’t into the fat kid with acne and glasses. Still I dealt with it. School was easy for me so I got by and yeah I had a few fights but nothing major. Mostly though, I always had one outlet that I could poor myself into and that was sports and particularly football. I was good. Football was something where being big helped and I didn’t need to say or talk to people much. I loved it. I spent high school not getting drunk or going to parties but getting up at 6 AM on a Saturday in the off-season to get a workout in. Football was my form of an escape that I didn’t realize I was using.

All I wanted to do was play professional football but at a certain point I realized 6 foot nothing offensive lineman don’t make the NFL. However, I could play in college. So I ended up at John Carroll and for the first year and half things were going ok. I was still fat and maybe a little less awkward but football was going well. Then the injuries hit. I always played through pain, hell in high school my forehead bled every day. Red droplets trickled down my face as I had my head wrapped like Rambo. I was a badass (I was not a badass) I thought, I can play through anything. However, sophomore year of college I needed knee surgery, junior year I pulled both hamstrings and twisted both ankles. Then finally, when I thought I had a shot at meaningful playing time I got a concussion and broken nose in spring practice prior to my senior year. I blacked out during an Econ test that spring. The only thing I remember is writing my name on it and turning it in. The rest is gone. No recollection of it. That’s scary. Not knowing where time went is a feeling you do not want to have.

But like most things, I didn’t talk about it. I pushed through and got ready for the next year. However, the first day of fall practice I needed knee surgery again. When I came back a few weeks later I couldn’t move like I use to. My strength and power were gone too. I sucked. Now my identity was gone. I checked out mentally. I let myself go, my grades suffered. But I kept this to myself. Emotions? Feelings? Struggles? No I don’t know talk about those things. I can push through. My biggest regret from that is checking out on my teammates and coaches. I am truly sorry for disappearing.

I didn’t realize it at the time but I was depressed. I went into a 8 month long depression. I stopped working out and let my body fat soar to dangerous levels. My anxiety didn’t help as I worried about getting a job. See, I never realized I was an anxious person but if you know me you know I bite my finger nails to the point they will bleed. The problem is I think through every scenario before doing something. Every negative possibility runs through my head. This was great in football because I knew what could go wrong before it happened so I knew how to avoid it when I played but in life it causes me to worry about everything. I would never have admitted to being anxious because I thought that was a weakness.

Life improved after graduation. I realized that day that my gown was tight and I needed to get back in the gym. This was the start of a 4 year process of ups and downs that led me to more then cut my body fat in half and lose over 80 lbs. Still, I didn’t know how to talk about my feelings as my confidence did grow. It’s not something I did, talk about feelings. I bottle that up. Like Adam Sandler in Anger Management this builds to the point where I explode. I unleash a yell and an episode that is unfair to everyone around me. But this has always how I have been. I didn’t think there was anything really wrong with it or that could be done. Again, feelings weren’t talked about in my mind. Get through it on your own. Which is now one of my biggest regrets in life. I dated a girl for almost 5 and a half years and never really told her what I was going through. She was there for me throughout my injuries and when I was my lowest. We had issues that I didn’t address with her and I bottled them up. But like my anger, these issues eventually became too much and it was too far gone down the road. The relationship ended because of me. I hurt the most important person in my life at the time because I couldn’t come to terms with my own thoughts and feelings. I fucked up a really good thing because my failure to communicate and admit I had problems. That was a mistake on my part. A mistake I have to live with.

But that brings us to what was the best decision of my life. To ask for help. I made the call one morning to a therapist and scheduled an appointment. I asked for someone to talk to and they listened. They helped me recognize things I knew but refused to acknowledge. It became ok for me to ask for help. And that’s why I am writing this. It’s ok to ask for help. I was the most anti-therapy person for quite some time. I never though it was for me. I thought it was for the weak and I prided myself on my mental strength. Yet, it was exactly what I needed. It wasn’t weak to ask for help. Asking for help and admitting you have issues is where true strength comes from. So don’t bottle it up, don’t tough it out. Instead, make that call because I sure as hell wish I had sooner. It’s a good life out there, we all just need someone to talk to about it sometimes when we hit those bumps in the road. I’m glad I asked for that assistance. I needed it. Just wish I knew that sooner.

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A Bit too Early Tribe Playoff Roster Prediction.

IMG_4402Pending the biggest collapse ever, the Tribe is in the playoffs. So why not get a jump start on predicting their playoff roster?

First, I am going to assume Andrew Miller, Trevor Bauer, and Josh Donaldson will be back from injury. The playoff roster is 25 guys. In 2016 in the World Series, he carried 12 guys and in 2017 in he brought 11 pitchers along to face the Yankees. In 2013, Tito carried 11 pitchers into a wild card game. A 1 game playoff  and Tito still felt he needed 11 pitchers. Safe to say the breakdown will be 11 pitchers and 14 batters.

Here are the easy ones.

Pitchers:

  1. Kluber
  2. Carrasco
  3. Bauer
  4. Clevinger
  5. Hand
  6. Cimber
  7. Allen
  8. Miller
  9. Perez

Position Players:

  1. Gomes
  2. Alonso
  3. Ramirez
  4. Lindor
  5. Donaldson
  6. Perez
  7. Kipnis
  8. Brantley
  9. Cabrera
  10. Allen
  11. Edwin

That leaves two and three spots respectively. For pitchers, it comes down to the following guys.

  1. Shane Bieber
  2. Adam Plutko
  3. Neil Ramirez
  4. Josh Tomlin
  5. Dan Otero
  6. Tyler Olson

For the hitters you have:

  1. Rajai Davis
  2. Brandon Guyer
  3. Erik Gonzalez
  4. Yandy Diaz

Tito is loyal as they come but there is just no way Josh Tomlin makes this roster. Tyler Olson is out too. Bieber is in. He has earned this spot. That give the final spot to either Neil Ramirez, Dan Otero or Adam Plutko. Neil Ramirez has been trash of late. Dan Otero has been pretty shitty all year. Adam Plutko makes most sense but Tito is loyal (see above). Dan Otero makes this roster.

Now for them hitters. One of Guyer and Rajai makes this roster at the very least. I’ll get back to that. Yandy is hitting too well to keep off of here. He is in. 2 spots left. I think Erik Gonzalez is needed too. So we have one spot left. I can’t really believe Guyer or Rajai will be left off but spots are limited. Rajai is great for speed and defense. Guyer hits lefties and plays ok defense. This is difficult to do but I think Guyer makes it for his ability to hit lefties and Rajai is left off. Tough call and could be either but that’s how I see it falling. Personally, I’d rather Tito go with 10 pitchers, leave Otero off and bring Rajai around. We need his 2016 Magic.

Projected Playoff Roster

  1. Kluber
  2. Carrasco
  3. Bauer
  4. Clevinger
  5. Hand
  6. Cimber
  7. Allen
  8. Miller
  9. Perez
  10. Gomes
  11. Alonso
  12. Ramirez
  13. Lindor
  14. Donaldson
  15. Perez
  16. Kipnis
  17. Brantley
  18. Cabrera
  19. Allen
  20. Edwin
  21. Shane Bieber
  22. Dan Otero
  23. Brandon Guyer
  24. Erik Gonzalez
  25. Yandy Diaz

Vermont and the Search for the Holy Grail

I know I should have written this sooner. Whatever, I have a life (I don’t have a life, I am just lazy). So here is my recap of the beer I drank in Vermont.

How could I not talk about Heady Topper. The Holy Grail (one of them at least) for beer nerds. It was good but that beer was destined to not live up to the hype same as In’N’Out doesn’t live up to the hype. Yeah California, your burger is not that good. You talk about something so much that you think it’s literally birthed from God’s nuts and then it cannot possibly meet that expectation. Nothing against the Alchemist. Their Stowe location was great and I still bought $100 worth of beer. It’s just not the Jesus juice it was talked up to be.

Now, the beer & cider in Vermont is good. Lots to choose from for such a small state. Stowe Cider has some awesome selections and interesting takes on Cider. Same with Woodchuck Cider. The Raspberry Hard Cider was my favorite of the ciders. So drinkable.

I went to several other breweries as well. Ottercreek, Trapp Family, Idletyme, Vermont Brewery, Zero Gravity, Foam, and Lost Nation. Plus, I grabbed other local beers while eating out throughout the week. I drank a lot for 7 days. 2000 vertical climbs though justify this consumption. Each of these places had some great beers. I think though Zero Gravity and Lost Nation were my favorite of these bunch. The Wind (Sour) at Lost Nation was a great beer. Highly recommend that one.

Overall, it was a great trip and I drank some really good beer. Thanks VT. Cheers!IMG_4595

Escape to the Mountains

Life gets really busy sometimes. It gets cluttered and confusing. We get pulled in a million directions. Some we want to do, some we have to do and some we feel we should. Sometimes we just need a break. Vermont to me is a great place to get away. Particularly, the mountains in Vermont. I spent the last week in Stowe, VT doing not much else but hiking, drinking beer and sitting in the hot tub. While I did have some great beer, even tried out the famous Heady Topper from the Alchemist (I’ll detail all the beer in another post), the mountains are my favorite part of being up there.

In the mountains, cell phones barely work, if at all. Modern civilization is not around you. It’s quiet. The only thing to listen to is your own mind. I hiked on average about 22,000 steps and over 150 flights of stairs per day. Don’t worry I drank and ate all those calories burned. It can be quite a climb sometimes. The views are worth it though.

View from the Summit of Mount Hunger

I hiked Mountains like Mount Hunger, saw three different waterfalls, and countless other trails such as the Stowe Pinnacle. Each view more gorgeous than the last.

Reaching your destination after a grueling climb, dripping in sweat is a self accomplishment you can take satisfaction in. From up there, you realize how small you are but how much you can accomplish. Getting away sometimes is exactly what you need to think clearly, to understand your next step. Or just realize you want to chase waterfalls.

Bingham Falls

Ann Arbor

This one pains me to write. I hate the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor to me is representative of that. Ann Arbor is the city of Arrogant Assholes. Their Walmart Wolverine fan base is insufferable. I have a strong rule when rooting for college sports teams at a school you didn’t attend, if you ACT score was not within 2 points of the school average you can’t cheer for them. It’s my rule and you must obey. Yet, spending all day Saturday in Ann Arbor was a good time. There, I said it. I had a good time in that city. Like a drug addict admitting their short comings, that was good to get off my chest.

During our day visit to Ann Arbor, we tried three different breweries, Arbor Brewing, Jolly Pumpkin and Grizzly Peak. Each had some good beers and good food. We went heavy on the carbs going with soft pretzels, truffle fries and mac & cheese at each respectively. I like to justify this as carb loading. Regardless, the food was good. Arbor Brewing was probably my favorite of the three with the large selection of beer variety. The Pollination Sensation Honey Lavender Ale was the best one of the day. Top notch beer. Though, if sours are your thing then head to the Jolly Pumpkin. They specialize in sours and have quite a large number of them. The state of Michigan continues to be near the top in beer quality and Ann Arbor did not disappoint despite their reputation as Arrogant Assholes. I may even go back.

It’s the God Damn White Sox

How do you lose to the damn White Sox? Who still suicide squeezes? Two in a row. Jesus Christ. This will easily be the most frustrating season as an Indians fan. It makes me want to drink bleach at times.

Let’s be honest. This division is the Indians. No one is going to win it other than them. But losing back to back games to the White Sox is worse than Rickey Davis trying to get a triple double on his own basket. Oh well, we will complain about these issues till playoff time…When’s Miller come back?

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Peak Preak: A Preakness Story

Can the written word do justice for what was 10 hours of wall to wall bros, beers and mud? That is up for debate, but oh what a day.

A horse race is always a great day to throw on obnoxious clothes like your name is Wilson Wellington Williams the Fourth ready for another day at the Country Club (Side note, we really did meet a guy who referred to himself as “The Fourth”, dude was blacked out by noon and a douche since birth). The Preakness is no exception with this. From there, the day is filled with booze, music and of course the race.

I can’t begin to explain how we took over the Mug and Vine Club part of the infield. We had a group of 20 plus shouting random phrases, pounding Barefoot mini wine bottles in hopes to fill up the whole table, and forcing each other to chug pink moscato. We ran that place up until the largest man at the table puked for the second time of the day all before 1. Unfortunately, the big man could not rally from this one. RIP to those tables. Despite the loss of those tables, we charged on. There were more Black Eyed Susans to drink.

Did I tell you about the mud? My dry cleaner has her work cut out for her. Girls, check the weather before wearing heels. Eating it face first in the mud is a good laugh for the rest of us, but you will quickly regret it. My shoes didn’t survive the weekend and I am hoping my red pants do. Then there was music. Who knew these fine gentleman named Post Malone and 21 Savage were good? Rap music and horse racing are a shit show match made in heaven.

Then there are the races. The thing about the infield is, you can’t see the race. You see 2-3 seconds as the horses flash by. Yeah, betting on things you have no knowledge of is a rush, but in fact I think most people just wanted the horses to finish so they could drunkenly call a surging Uber ride home. The Preakness was everything I hoped it would be and more. That place is THE PLAY.  However, it is Monday so back to the Rat Race.

Is Naquin for Real?

Tyler Naquin is off to a pretty good start for a guy that for all intensive purposes lost his MLB job a year ago and struggled to get it back. And if it was not for an injury to Lonnie Chisenhall, he would not have received this opportunity. Naquin is taking advantage of it though. As of 5/7/18, Naquin is batting .319 and playing pretty good defense. Right field seems to be a good spot for him. His on base is solid as well though his slugging percentage could improve.

If Naquin is just a line drive singles hitter who plays solid defense, I can live with that.  The thing that concerns me though is his batting average on balls in play. He is hitting over 400 on balls in play. That is not sustainable. Naquin is due to come down to earth. I think we will see him settle in to being a .270 hitter. That though is pretty good coming from him. I think Naquin understands himself now. Naquin can be a solid piece for the Indians the remainder of the year and for the next few seasons to come. Another example of the Indians developing talent.

Fix the Pen

It’s become pretty clear the Indians bullpen is in shambles right now. Between the injuries and the home runs, the Tribe pen needs some work. However, I don’t think it is far off. Some guys are just in the wrong role.

Cody Allen will be fine. I’m not worried there. Andrew Miller will come back from injury. The top two guys will still be shutdown pitchers this year. After that, is where it gets interesting.

They need a third guy. Nick Goody can be a good 4th. Dan Otero needs to be your 5th guy. Tyler Olson should only face left handed batters. I think McAllister’s time in Cleveland will be ending soon. Tomlin will stay in the rotation. I do not see that changing. The remaining guys of Ogando, Marshall, and newcomer Oliver Drake will have to battle it out. The real help though I believe does come from outside the organization. A guy I think they could target is Raisel Iglesias. He is 28, under contract for two years after this season and is only 28. I think the struggling Reds would be willing to trade him. The Indians farm system is not loaded with Talent but I think the Indians could make something work without mortgaging the house. Hopefully they figure something out soon. 

First Four, Dayton, and a Gas Leak

There are certain sporting events that every guy should go to. Things that don’t require being a fan of either team to enjoy. The NCAA First Four in Dayton is one.

My buddy and I drove down for Day two of the First Four and took in the city of Dayton. We managed to stuff our faces in food ranging from poutine to pizza. We visited five breweries. Lock 27, Dayton Beer Company, Warped Wing, Carillon and Toxic City are all doing really good things with beer. Dayton Beer Company had a great stout. I really enjoyed Lock 27 as the best of the bunch though. Really nice location next to the Dayton minor league baseball team. I imagine that makes for a great summer night.

Then, there is the First Four. We saw two games with the second one being a great one. Syracuse vs Arizona State came down to the end. The crowd was dyed orange as this was clearly a Cuse home game. Really not a bad seat in that arena. I can see why they play those games there in this small midwestern city. Just pure hoops fans in Dayton as we saw people wearing shirts ranging from Ohio State to South Dakota State. First Four does not disappoint.

Now, I have to say I’ve never had and issue with AirBnB and credit to the company and our hosts for refunding our money. See we couldn’t stay in the house because not only was the furnace broken, which they told us as we arrived but we walked into the place and it clearly smelled of a gas leak. If you lit up a cig, I’d imagine that placing blowing up like a fireworks display. So after a day of drinking and right as the hangover hit due to no alcohol in the First Four, we drove home at midnight. Three hours back to Cleveland made for a late night but it was a hell of a day. Dayton didn’t disappoint.