For the longest time growing up, I could not understand sports for one simple reason
I did not understand why those rivalries existed.
The University of Arizona and Arizona State for instance.
Sure, I attended ASU, and I was even involved in intramural sports competitions between the house I was involved in, the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and other houses.
While I vaguely understood why the Pikes hated the pretty boy Sigma Nus who attracted mainly guys who came from wealthy backgrounds, the rivalry between the Pikes and the Sigma Phi Epsilon – or SigEps as we called them – particularly at intramural time – was the main attraction – as they housed the largest ratio of highly athletic guys.
The Pikes took it all home the year I was involved in.
They had most years according to the trophy on their walls.
And while ASU had a losing streak against UOfA and lost the year I attended (1993) 34-20, for me it was all no big deal. It was just a game.
Growing up, my father – David Gregory loved his games.
But playing with him was decidedly unfun because invariably, he’d get angry as all hell when he would lose, and when he would win, he would made sure everyone was well aware of his delight in his victory and superiority.
That was my father, who I learned to love in my own way, but for certain things – especially when it came to games, I learned to only invest enough of myself emotionally to enjoy the friendly competition, and walk away when it got to the point of being unfun.
That word – unfun – is copyrighted by me by the way.
No matter. I have seen throughout my life healthy and unhealthy competition happen everywhere – between colleges, people, countries, you name it. Rivalries which seemed to exist in some cases based solely on location and proximity, and nothing more.
Rivalries which would turn into bloody battles.
Over something as simple as a sport like European soccer.
And then one day I realized something.
Evolution had permeated the collective mind of society as a process.
And society was acting in accordance with evolution.
You know – one thing that makes me sad was my own actions.
For years. I’d competed with my own father for income level.
When I surpassed him it was anti cathartic.
And I’d realized I wanted both my parents to have a good life. And income wasn’t making a difference.
It was about then, I began trying to make my father proud of me.
He’d achieved some college education. But I know if it wasn’t for us kids, who changed his life by our presence, he’d have achieved an education he wanted and probably so much more.
So when I pursued a Bachelor’s Degree. A part of me was doing it for my father.
My way of saying “Dad, While we have our differences that make us both unique, I love you and respect you, and you are in huge part my motivation for pursuing and finishing my bachelor’s degree. A big part of my completing that degree was ion the sincere hopes of making you proud of me. “
It was the first time I’d done something for me and for someone else.
And in a competitive world.
It was my sincere hopes that the Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree would find myself with a higher income and living a truly jet setting life of luxury after struggling most of my life to live a life free of financial burden in a leadership role in a company or organization I was truly passionate about.
Things didn’t quite turn out that way.
And as I go to sleep, alone, in my tent as a homeless man every night talking to the stars and my only company is the black cat that by comes for tuna leftovers.
I reflect on my life thinking.
“I know what I’ve done in my life was the best I could do with what I knew at the time. So why do things have to persist like this?”
I just don’t understand.
Sure, I have regrets.
For instance – in 1996 I bought a Corvette – which was my baby – but with how much insurance was – $600 a month, I was afraid of letting anyone drive as they were explicitly not insured by the policy.
So when my father asked for the keys – he wanted to drive it around.
“You don’t trust me,” he said.
He was hurt.
This is among the reasons I am teaching myself how to go back in time.
I would let my father drive my Corvette when I bought it.
Not think twice about the insurance thing.
But I can’t time travel.
And while I know that making little adjustments like this are chief among the things I’d do as a gift to myself and those around me. That’s yet to come in a world that’s not ready to grant me this ‘superpower’.
But Dad, I just want you to know how important you are and have been to me throughout my life.
Mom Too, but this one’s about you, dad.
Thank you for the games. The Competition. The motorbikes. The house.
And the lifestyle that taught me to believe in more.
But most of all – thank you for the constant mystery you always presented to me in trying to figure out what the hell to buy you for Christmas and your birthday.
You’ll forever be a mystery to me, and I’ve come to be fine with that.
Love, your son.
Brian aka Q