Monday, September 19, 2011

The All-Sports Weekend (or Six Flags Over Pittsburgh)

The logos for the six Super Bowls the Steelers have won flutter above Heinz Field on a beautiful fall day
My work-life balance had tipped the scale to all work, no real life over the last few weeks.  This is not, I should point out, because my employers were pressuring me to work harder - even though I am a long way from the worker I once was in terms of sheer hours - but because there are certain deadlines and expectations to meet, and, frankly, because I work a little scared all the time.  In a down economy, the major breadwinner has that extra little worry nipping at their heels:  finding another job isn't a given.   And, as I've oft lamented, in my case:  literally finding another job might prove to be a real challenge for me unless it is in one of about four places in the city I can now find easily through mass repetition.   But, if you go at that pace for too long you end up not doing anyone a favor, including the people you work for, because workers are like any other kind of machinery, they need to re-charge occasionally to operate at maximum efficiency.  So, I had carved out this weekend for a long time as the "re-charge" weekend.  I had envisioned it as a lazy, sit around the house, read a book and watch some football kind of an affair, but it evolved into something quite different.

For one thing, did you know that professional hockey training camp is generally NOT open to the public?  Did you ever even think about it?  No, neither had I really.  But, as it turns out, it's not.  Now, what you may know is that arguably the best hockey player on the planet, Sidney Crosby, plays for Pittsburgh and was recently cleared for non-contact workouts after months off the ice recovering from a concussion.  So, when the Penguins opened the first two practices to the public, it seemed like an event I couldn't miss.  Greg patiently packed up a book and a crossword puzzle and accompanied me to Consol Energy Center at 8:45 on a beautiful Saturday morning and sat there with me and a few thousand others in the cold arena as groups of skaters - recognizable veterans mixed in with newly drafted unknowns - took to the ice to chase pucks around until at last the final group came out, and there he was:  skating out to thunderous applause and a standing ovation, Sidney Crosby.  So, I watched him skate around for about an hour, amusing myself with the wailing, screaming teenage girls who were trying to catch his attention and his single-minded resolve not to look at them or acknowledge them in anyway until finally I was satiated and told Greg we could go if he was ready.  I've never seen him move that fast.  He was more than ready.  We walked back out into the sunshine of a gorgeous fall day over four hours later, me thinking I had just had the most amazing experience, Greg surely thinking that's four hours he'd never get back.

But, the best was yet to come.  Also courtesy of the husband, who came home Thursday morning to tell me he had heard on the radio that visiting west coast teams that cannot sell all the allotted tickets the Steelers send them, will release them back and they are then made available to us at face value.  The Steelers home opener was against the Seahawks.  It doesn't get any more west coast than that.  I popped online and, lo and behold, he was right!  The seats weren't very good, but whatever:  they were in the stadium - binoculars and a jumbotron will take care of the rest.  So, Marissa and I pulled out of the house at 10:00 yesterday morning for a 1:00 kick-off and made it home at about 6:45 last night (and, yes, I did get lost coming home).  But, we had stored up in our collective experience a home shut-out on a simply beautiful fall day.  She'll have to tell you what it was like from her own viewpoint, but, for me, sitting there in those crappy seats high above the enclosed end zone, it was a little like heaven.  This is where I live now, I thought to myself at one point, I am one of those people I've spent years watching on TV.  When the announcer talks about places to go for Steeler merchandise, I know where he's referring to.  It was a bit surreal actually.  To be truly one of the home crowd.

Now on Monday morning, fifteen minutes away from logging back into the work week, I am processing what had to be close to an ideal weekend and a few thoughts come to mind:  we work to live.  When we tip that scale and live to work some things happen, and not that many of them are good.  For one thing, my brain was fried.  I was becoming tired and resentful, and I could tell my attention to the little details was slipping.  I feel more up to the task this morning, ready to get back at it and a bit more rested.  But, I also thought about people who maybe throw themselves into their work to avoid their grief.  I have signed up recently to volunteer to be like a peer counselor for others who have lost loved ones to ED.  And it occurred to me that I might very well come across someone who uses workaholism to escape from the pain of losing someone they love.  What would I say to that person?  That's complicated because on the one hand, each of us in our family have done what we had to do to get through the day in the last two plus years.  If it helps, then why knock it?  But, on the other hand, I think about all the moments like the ones I had this weekend and realize that you don't get those locked in an office 20 hours a day.  There's more to this, and I'm not done processing it all, but it's time to log back in and let the scale tip back to the work side of the equation...

1 comment:

  1. geez mom, doing a little product placement? it's cool, that actually is the kind of deodorant I wear haha