Rain And All, It Feels So Familiar

This is an entry rooted in sappiness, post-nap malaise and rainfall. I am currently in a hotel room in Fairborn, across the street from the campus of Wright State University, locale of the softball series I’ve traveled along with the team to watch from afar in a press box hovering above the field. They split today, finishing up game two right before heavy precipitation could have become a hindrance. 

But here I sit, watching the rain saunter underneath the lone light of patio lamps outside my room, faintly glisten off the business complex road out beyond the hotel fence. Various members (mainly the really vocal ones) of aforementioned softball team drift to and from their rooms that completely surround my own; thin walls featured in this establishment. I’m not holding it against them.  They are college kids, here for each other, with potentially a mere amount of days holding their togetherness intact before scattering for summer break.

While it was technically the fifth, to be fair, it was on this first Saturday in May 2007 that it rained on my graduation. Four years ago. Holy sh*t. 

It’s still one of my favorite days. Somehow, I convinced my entire family to trek down to Oxford (a mere 50-someodd miles from my current locale, the closest I’ve been since leaving back in ’07), a ridiculously rare feat given the hesitancy of my family to do such. My mom spent the previous night in Bloomington, Ind. with my younger sister who had just finished up year two at IU and drove over in the morning. My elder sister and dad drove down from Chicago that morning. 

Not only did my family converge, but the same thing transpired with my pair of roommates; siblings and parents all together. Fortunately we lived in a house on a street named after a tree (looking it up would be cheating), so with the all-day rain, there was enough room. Enough time has passed so I don’t totally recall the potential awkwardness, but I do remember my hair looking really good that day. 

I went to Miami for college to run, that’s no lie. I turned down financial opportunities (including such at my current employer) so as to walk on to the best school academically as well as competitively I could enroll into. My feet had other plans leading into that freshman year and I never competed. All I wanted to do was to don a uniform and represent a team through my abilities, no matter how meager they may have been.  

Its interesting being part of an athletic department and viewing the student athlete experience I really desperately wanted to be emerged in from this administrative position. Some days I’m sympathetic to the players for certain aspects they have to deal with, but others I’m angered by a presence of entitlement from individuals who athletically have little reason to be such. I’ve always viewed competition and representing your university as a privilege, not a right. Not everyone shares that mentality.

Driving (well, being driven in a bus) down I-65 to Indy, cutting over onto 70 East, passing exit 151 that oddly leads 27 from Richmond, Ind. to Oxford on the other side of the border; it was tough. I did that trip so many times, I’d say I could do it with my eyes closed, but that’s not really an idiom to correlate with driving. 

For me, and perhaps this says a good amount about my character, but college still signifies opportunity lost and that’s now pathetically four years ago. I had some fantastic times and I of course wouldn’t change it (well…) but there’s a gap I can’t, and probably won’t fill. I have a hard time letting go of things, this whole running desire included. Hell, maybe I should have devoted my blogging efforts to something new and different (a classmate is crafting a slow cooking blog; that is a grand idea).

But running is a part of me; it seeped into my bones a long time ago (and ironically will probably lead to their further destruction). I just need to get things back on track and feel more in control. That way, perhaps I can start to move past that missing piece and begin crafting a new pillar to rest my laurels on. 

I rarely tell these girls on the team (paraphrasing Dazed & Confused, they stay the same age while I keep feeling older, ugh) to relish this time and enjoy it “while they can”; I don’t think it’s my place, really. 

But the expectations I had of college, pre/ during/post, went unfilled—save that whole graduating with a degree thing. Being back down in southwest Ohio certainly stirred such back up to the surface of my brain.
I’ve wanted to for a few years now, but I’m planning on returning to the alma mater for the first time since packing up that house four years ago and forever leaving Oxford for September’s State To State Half Marathon (hint: it’s an out and back that initially heads west). There’s a football game that weekend. It’ll be fun and scary, seeing things changed and return to pleasant haunts of my past. 

Longer morning run outside on the docket come morning. It’s lush and rolling here. You kind of forget about such undulating running routes being in pancake-flat Chicago for too long.  And the air, it hauntingly smells the same as it did in Oxford: light, airy, calm. It’ll be nice to breathe (or gasp) it all in again, if only for a day.