Yeah, it lived up to the hype.
This weekend in Baton Rouge was electric. The show was crazy; the crowd was off the charts. If you want the full experience, I recommend you go back and watch. While I wasn't part of the show itself, I decided to come just to be a part of something special. And I always worry there’s a level of narcissistic hubris that comes with these blogs that I write, but I enjoy giving my perspective because two years ago, I was taking out the trash a Speedway on a cold autumn Saturday. This weekend, I was in the heart of SEC country. This is my perspective:
It’s all about checking off the boxes, man. Every step, every trip, and every memory is a blessing. And before I get into the personal stuff, I need to say that I’m continually blown away by the work that people put in at this company. I almost feel inadequate when I see just how hard it is to put those shows together. And man, what a fantastic showing and what an excellent location. I’m hoping that Fred’s becomes a national chain because I desperately could use one in Michigan. I’m sure it was never in doubt, but the fans in Baton Rouge showed up, and even though I didn’t have shit to do with it, I’m still continually blown away by the support people show Barstool. Ann Arbor better get lit next week because they have much to live up to.
There’s only one thing I don’t love about working at Barstool, and it’s that most of my best friends live in other states. The isolation can wear on you. Sometimes the best part of my day is when I check my phone and see that I have a text or a call from one of the people I work with. So when the opportunity arises, whether in New York, Omaha, Chicago, Baton Rouge, or elsewhere where I can go and see the people I wish I could see every day, that’s my happy place. And look, I could live to be 100 million years old and will probably never be able to recapture the magic that Mintzy and I stumbled into in Omaha last summer. While I could tell my dude was disappointed by yesterday’s result, it doesn’t change the experience. You show up for your friends. Because there was no reason for me to be in Baton Rouge this weekend. I wasn’t needed. I’m from Big Ten country. And while the idea of visiting what many consider to be the most significant home-field advantage in college football was amazing, I would never have done it if I was alone because I’m alone way too often nowadays.
Sometimes I feel like I’m underdeveloped as a person. I spent most of my formative years rummaging through baseball reference pages. My most considerable homework was finding out what I would talk about in my next therapist appointment. Then I found myself here at Barstool. As much as people have tried to help me in my life, I never really learned how to be social. And many days, I’m still learning. Can I be awkward as shit? Yeah, of course. My brand is awkward. I never meant for that to be a thing, but I’ve developed enough self-awareness to acknowledge that. I’ve written about this many times, including my autism blog, but 99% of the time, I’m wound as tight as a drum. You’re reading a blog by a person who, when he was 14 years old, had a panic attack on a road trip while playing that stupid alphabet game (I still can’t believe I couldn’t find a single license plate with the letter Z on it.) This is the same guy whose biggest fear right is having to play another in-studio match for “The Dozen.” Goddamn, those things a terrifying. I’ve never really claimed to anything but a dork. But hey, maybe dorks can be cool.
I understand I tend to be redundant. But to be completely honest with you, and maybe I shouldn’t admit to this, the current state of Detroit sports is so miserable that I have a hard time even blogging about it. Maybe that’s me not doing my job right, but it’s just so tiring. I’m tired of having to answer the same questions that I don’t know the answers to. So when it comes to this gig, I’ll always be emotional about it. I’ll always want to be more. I’ve had best friends in my life who decided I wasn’t necessary to them anymore. Even when my life was changing for the best, I never heard a fucking thing from them. Sports are amazing and fun and awesome, but even at a sports media company, the best moments have nothing to do with the games themselves. It’s those little moments no one else cherished but me. I used to cry in large crowds; now I attend sporting events with a hundred thousand people. I used to hate being touched, and now I love getting hugs. I used to be unable to share my emotions, but now I wear them on my sleeve. Telling Mintzy it wouldn’t be the same without him at Barstool, lighting up a dart with Rudy (even if I looked like a dweeb while doing it), or being able to tell Megan in person how much I appreciate her kindness, those are my moments. To many, they may be insignificant, but to me, it means I’m getting closer to happiness, and that’s all I want.
I still want to do more. I’m still desperately trying to carve my own path here. There’s been a lot of frustration, but for one beautiful weekend in Louisiana, I realized once again that I’m at where I want to be, not just with my coworkers, but with my friends.