Monday, May 14

"when i got the music...

...i got a place to go" -Radio, Rancid

a year ago i was praying on 24.

i've relied on the number 24 before--for the first time as a 9-year-old Yankee faithful who knew ballplayers as heroes, often falling asleep to the lull of John Sterling & Michael Kay's radio broadcast, stretching the bed time boundaries set by my parents.  (this was about as rebellious as I got).

the 1996 Yankees were greater than the sum of their parts, which is why I can still name the roster to this day, but as I sat in the center-field bleachers of new Yankee Stadium today, some of the names were vague.  1996 left an indelible mark as most of the "superstars" were barely in the making, including rookies Derek Jeter, who still had the frame of a 17-year-old, and Andy Pettitte, who still had the face of a 5-year-old.

but one of the most impressive subplots was Tino Martinez's debut Yankee season.  as he proudly donned navy pinstripes and a bold number 24 on his back, much of the Yankee universe collectively thought "what the hell are you doing?"

Martinez was taking over for the legendary Don Mattingly, who wore the number 23, and though Yankee fans love to rally behind their new guys, they have no problem reminding players when they are trying to fill unfillable shoes (as witnessed by my incessant chanting of Scott Brosius' name at Alex Rodriguez to this day).

the numbers game is no joke.  early in Mickey Mantle's career, he was assigned the number 6, and after a nasty slump, he switched to the number 7 as he couldn't stand the pressure of falling in line with Babe Ruth (3), Lou Gehrig (4), and Joe DiMaggio (5). but at least they don't have names on the back of their jerseys to help this cause.

and now, Martinez wasn't only replacing a beloved "Yankee immortal," but he was taking over for a guy whose value outweighed his numbers, one who is remembered for grit and relentless effort more than his statistics, which are still impressive.

in an era where athletes are often quick to blame harsh fans and the microscope of the New York media for their failures, Martinez thrived.  this is because he wasn't trying to "replace" Mattingly, or anyone.  number 24 was never "a number that came after 23."  Martinez was just himself, and his success eventually cemented his own place in Yankee history.  it seems easy enough--but ask Jared Weaver or Randy Johnson how hard it is.

as the number 24 swung around for my birthday last year, i was just trying to be myself, but the problem was i had very little idea what the hell that meant.  the excitement of uncharted twenty-something territory was outweighed by the anxiety of a recent job loss and an underlying suspicion that i was battling an unknown demon.  i had been through far worse, and was plenty thankful for what i did have, but i was hoping that there would soon be a time where happiness would outweigh the work i was doing to be happy.

i'm not one to take things for granted, and certainly not one to look for a way out, but my wishes were starting to outweigh the candles.  24--i needed you.

and oh, has it answered--and always through music.

shortly after my 24th birthday, i went to Bonnaroo music festival, where i realized that my desire to work in the music industry was actually a need, and the job i lost in tech PR, (though a great opportunity) no longer felt like a lost one.  i faced my flaws and fears, including an ADHD diagnosis, which was properly treated with the right support and care.  one of my biggest sources of inspiration, a writing God in my eyes, included me behind the scenes as he recorded his new album.  I began working in music publicity, exercising what feels more like a vocation than a job with an amazing group.  I'm moving on to work as the Director of Publicity with a new family of old friends. 

I tapped into a new inspiration in Toby Morse and the band H2O, who in seeing live inspired me to live a drug free lifestyle, something that I feel was always in me and was revealed rather than a decision I made.  living in the present reality in the biggest gift, and the static of substance is not a needed or wanted noise.  the symbol, "x" is also represented as it's numerical value in the alphabet--number 24. 

this concert also identified PMA, something I always lived by but never truly defined.  it has played an integral role in letting go of my adolescent "but I was supposed to come out of college and get a job so easily" mentality, and shifted it into a "what possibilities can I create for myself?" arena--an invaluable lesson.

there's been stress and struggle; some friendships bloomed, others died, and some have wilted with the hope of revival, but i hold the bad near to my heart because I've never felt more alive.

thank you, 24, for teaching me to be myself. and a little bit like Tino Martinez.

here's to 25

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