Suffering Seasons

The Cubs had a disappointing 2010 season and so did I. It has nothing to do with being a Cubs fan. It just so happens that we both had a similarly crappy year.

Like the Cubs going into Spring Training, I came into 30 so full of hope and ambition and promise. This was supposed to be my year, THE year, and I was going to make my waves and get things done and 30 was going to be a success. And like the Cubs getting hammered in their Opening Day game in Atlanta, it was very quickly apparent that was not going to be the case for me or them.

Very early on this year I realized that one of my worst fears had come true and that I had gained back most, if not all, of the weight I’d spent four years losing. I took a moment to berate myself and then I got myself a new exercise schedule, getting back into the moving groove that I had gotten out of the year before. It worked before; I was confident it would work again. Only it didn’t. Like Derrick Lee and Aramis Ramirez hitting 3rd and 4th in the line-up, my go to guys just weren’t producing. It wasn’t until August until I started seeing a change in my body and very tentitively thought that maybe I might have lost a few pounds, but because it took this long to lose so little, I’m not really encouraged about the long-term. I’d really rather not spend the next few years losing only ten pounds in 12 months. I need better production than that and it bugs me that I’m not getting it from my established methods.

The Cubs went into the season with four rookies, three of them in the bullpen and one of them on the bench. And they just kept adding them as the year dragged on.  I started off with a few rookies of my own; new short stories that I would send out. Success for all of us was pretty limited. “Land of the Voting Dead” was my Starlin Castro (it was the only story I sold); “Such a Pretty Face” is my Justin Berg (it had a little bit of success placing in a contest, but continues to struggle in getting properly published). But, I know that like rookies, you just keep sending them out there because they will benefit from the experience.  Meanwhile, I agonize for them and over them.

In July, Carlos Zambrano had a meltdown and ended up on the restricted list. My laptop beat him to the punch by a couple of weeks and my Internet beat him a few days. While Zambrano was off getting anger management therapy, I spent a month negotiating Christmas/birthday presents to get a new laptop, waiting on a hand-me-down desktop from my mother, and trying to wrangle an Internet service. After two false starts and nearly three weeks, we got it all straightened out. Unfortunately, as a result, I missed a couple of submission deadlines. The lack of computer also through a serious wrench in my writing mojo (though I did get caught up on my reading) that took me two months to reestablish. Zambrano made a much better comeback than I did.

Missing out on the deadlines hurt the worst because it meant I was missing out on potentially making some money. Like the Cubs with their expensive contracts, I got myself into my own monetary mess but not having a regular income since February of ’08. I know and accept that and I’m trying to work with what I have. The Cubs shed salary by trading Derrick Lee, Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot, and Ted Lilly (of all of these trades, losing Lilly broke my heart the most, even if we did get Blake DeWitt out of it). I ended up selling my action figures to make a buck, but still ended up borrowing money off of my dad more times than I’d like to make ends meet.

Without a doubt, the year has been rough and disappointing, but there were some bright spots. Where the Cubs had some promising rookies like Castro, Tyler Colvin, Andrew Cashner, Casey Coleman, and James Russell, surprisingly good returns from Carlos Silva and Marlon Byrd, and a strong finish to the season under Mike Quade, I got to meet up with family that I haven’t seen for a long time, spend lots of time with my young nieces, and cash in an early Christmas present from my mom: a trip to Wrigley to see the Cubs play.

Naturally, they lost 1-0 to the Giants.

But, that’s okay. It just further adds to my argument of how sympatico I was with my team. We suffered in different ways, but we suffered together. The 2010 Cubs will always have a special place in my heart because of that. Because of them, I didn’t have to suffer alone.

I appreciate that.

NaNoWriMo Update:

Total Word Count: 22,063

Chapter 1 Word Count: 2,239
Chapter 2 Word Count: 2,084
Chapter 3 Word Count: 2,163
Chapter 4 Word Count: 2,108
Chapter 5 Word Count: 2,100
Chapter 6 Word Count: 2,083
Chapter 7 Word Count: 2,032
Chapter 8 Word Count: 2,041
Chapter 9 Word Count: 2,342
Chapter 10 Word Count: 2,870

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