Had To Go See About A Girl

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If the professor calls about that job, just tell him, sorry, I had to go see about a girl. – Will, Good Will Hunting (1997)

(Here’s the second part to my last piece on my car wreck.)

Fast forward to April and I’m a few months into my physical therapy. It’s going well, my mobility is coming back, my pain is diminishing and I’m starting to feel like my old self again. (Or new self?)

Then life happened.

Sadly, Juan Antonio’s friend Brian Rozelle passed away from bile duct cancer. JA did not take it very well.

He expressed his grief in Brian’s story of Selfies and Happyness. If you somehow have not read it yet, trust me, you want to know this story.  

So there we are at AT&T park for Brian’s Celebration of Life and I’m looking at a sea of happy-sad faces. As I’m looking at videos of Brian and talking to many of his vast friends, it hits me, I’VE MET BRIAN BEFORE.

It was a long time ago during a rugby game. Brian and my cousin we’re playing while I was drinking beer and cheering them on.

I heard what his friends and family had to say about the man I only met in person once before. Why couldn’t I connect the dots with his face on countless Cycle for Survival promo events at Equinox?

I felt like a sucker for missing my chance to get to know him better. The more I heard about him, the more I wanted to know. It was easy to see why every person there had tears in their eyes and smiles on their faces.

I picked up a couple of Team #RozelleStrong shirts on the way out. Seeing those bright orange letters made me feel inspired and invigorated. I proudly wear that shirt  when I want to honor Brian’s legacy or to give myself some extra strength.

Smooth pick-up lines

Flash forward a couple of months. A friend from work invited me to a Giants game. Even though I have many Giants shirts and jersey’s, I think the only thing appropriate to wear to AT&T park is my #RozelleStrong shirt.

On extended train rides, I get ancy. This trip to SF was no different. So I walked around the train and after a few minutes of random wandering, guess what?

I saw the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.

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I wish this was more romantic and I could say she was sitting on a moving train and I chased after her with some Dashboard Confessions playing in the background, but the truth is, she was leaning against the restroom door texting on her phone. I didn’t need to use the train restroom, but with beauty like this, you have to say something – say anything gentlemen!

I asked her if she thought her train seat was comfortable (she was leaning against the door) and that the smell by the bathroom wasn’t too bad.

I’m typically waaaaaay more witty than this, but for the first time in forever, she kinda stumped me. Nevertheless, she smiled and asked if I needed to use the the restroom. I had to say yes to not appear like a full-blown stalker. So I go in, stand and count to ten, wash my hands, check my teeth and go back out.

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What an idiot move on my part. She went back to her seat and I had no way of chatting with her again. Why did I think she’d wait outside a bathroom door for me to finish? I’m not Aaron Paul. And why was I too nervous to ask for her phone number?

As I walked back to my seat I knew something special had happened, but wasn’t really sure what. I sat down with my friend feeling like a dumbass all the way to San Francisco. When the train stopped, we all got off to a stampede of orange and black.

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Pulling a Sean Maguire

My friend, who I ‘m eternally grateful to, suggested we stop at Safeway to get a sandwich to bring into the park. As we walked into Safeway, who did I see?

The woman from the train wandering around looking for supplies.

I was not going to punk out again. Not twice in one day and not twice on the same woman! I look down on chest and stare at the upside down words “Team #RozelleStrong.”

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What would Brian do?

I took a deep breath and walked over to ask if she needed help finding anything. I credit Brian’s shirt with giving me that extra nudge of courage.

Actually, I’m lying. I yelled across Safeway saying, “It’s the girls from the train!” Yeah, I probably sounded like a jackass, but I felt like a winner.

I never go grocery shopping (all online ordering for me) and was in a Safeway I’d never been in before, but I played it off like I come here all the time. She was looking for guacamole, so I tracked down a store-clerk with lightning speed and he pointed me in the right direction. I came back to her with three choices. As she’s mulling over the options, I’m practically staring at her wondering if this is a dream.

I asked if she was going to the game, but like a stab in the heart, she tells me she’s going to watch it from a bar across the street. My friend and I had incredible seats – 8th row right behind the dugout – and I would have easily given my left leg to give her my friend’s ticket, but he wouldn’t budge.

If Robin Williams’ Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting taught me anything, it’s YOU GO SEE ABOUT A GIRL.

I calmly said, “I have lots of friends with extra tickets, would you like to go to the game?” I handed her my business card and said, “I’ll see what I can do.”

Yup, Robin Williams would be proud of me. The Bourne Identity too.

My friend and I had done some business with AT&T Park. As a thank you for our last minute technical wizardry, we were granted access to a special tour of the broadcast booth, the archives and the backbones of venue operations. While we were going through all this broadcasting stuff that I normally geek out on, all I could think about was texting my dream woman. I wanted to send her pictures of all this cool stuff and how I wish I could be sharing this experience with her.

I made the decision that she had to join me at the game. I paid no attention to the fact that she had two girlfriends with her and that I’d have to buy them tickets too. I’d do anything to ensure I saw her again right now. I couldn’t wait. I considered it a calculated risk worth the investment.

As it was game time, all of my friends with tickets had either already sold them or were out of town, so I did what any self-respecting man would do. I left our sweet club seats, went outside and tracked down the nearest ticket scalper.

I was straight up: “I’m desperate to buy three LEGITIMATE tickets.” Lucky for me, I scored three tickets.

I called her with the good news. She wanted to know how much the tickets were. I did what any classy man would do and lied. “Oh, I got lucky, they were only $25 each.” (They were considerably way more than that – shhhhhh.) She was so surprised and thrilled, she hopped into an Uber. “ETA 10 minutes!”

10 “girl minutes” of course; in reality it, was 20 minutes or so, but I needed every second to calm my butterflies.

In those 20 minutes, my heart beat as though it never had before. I felt so….alive…so genuinely happy. I stood there in a daze daydreaming of the train ride and Safeway encounters over and over again. All the girls jumped out of the car with zeal. I took them for a quick drink across from  AT&T Park and I still couldn’t stop myself from staring at her. That second beer either made it easy to hide or easy to see my staring.

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Fortunately,  I didn’t creep anyone out.

Next thing I know, we’re all walking into the ballpark, getting our bobbleheads at the front gate and when my dream girl said, “I’m waiting slow poke – hurry up…come on, to the garlic fries stand we go!”, I knew the next stage of my life had officially begun.

I’m one lucky sonuvabitch.

Flash forward to the seventh inning: I fell for my Dream Girl then and there. We fit so well together. Our chemistry was insane. It was all so effortless. It was like she was my other half. I was so fascinated to learn everything about her. I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun at a sporting event, especially with watching so little of the actual game.

By pure dumb luck, her parents happened to be at the game. Most guys would freak out at that thought. Not me, she suggested we swing their way to say hello. I must have been on my game, because they invited us to dinner, followed by all-night dancing and brunch the next day.

Note to guys: if her parents like you, your life just got way easier. So, do her parents like you, yes or no?

Defing Men’s Health logic

Honestly, I don’t know where I’d be without her. When I have a problem or a success, she’s the first person I call. She’s the first thing that comes to mind when I wake up and the last thing I think of when I go to bed. She supports me through thick and thin. God, I feel so blessed.

While I was just starting to get back into shape and not nearly where I wanted to be physically, I landed my dream girl. That defied Men’s Health and People magazine logic. I credit my mental strength and stubbornness.

For long time, all those photoshopped images were always in the back of my mind. They’re why I hated taking off my shirt in public, why I hated wearing tight fit clothing at the gym and why I hated myself every time I caved to a slice of pizza on a non-cheat day. I don’t know how many times I kicked myself, but it was enough to bring me down on too many occasions.

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None of those fake pictures mattered anymore. And Dream Girl didn’t even care about photoshopped images, or filtered Instagram images for that matter. She cared about who I was in the real world. She saw through all my “fluffiness” and fell for me – who I am in on the inside.

Juan Antonio once told me, “Women don’t care about looks as much as they care about how you make them feel. Looks are fleeting but emotions stay with you. ”

That little hoe, he’s right. I didn’t need chiseled abs or huge arms to get the right girl. I hope more guys can one day say that too. And if you’re lucky, she won’t even mind the fact that you snore.

I’m back to working out. I’m working hard to get back into the activities I love. Lucky for me, Dream Girl is joining me on more and more adventures. Maybe I’ll be able to get her surfing or snowboarding soon?

If the last six months have taught me anything, it’s these three things:

1) No matter what curve ball life throws (because it will), just be like Buster Posey and aim to hit a grand slam. Don’t be afraid to swing for the fences. Go for it. Don’t let fear hold you back from what you want. With the right mental strength, anything can be accomplished. And don’t be afraid to be yourself. As Juan Antonio says on the daily, just “Keep Going.”  

2) Your health is the most important gift you’ve been given. But it’s also the one gift you can give yourself. If your health is in order, everything else will fall into place. But if it’s not, things can get ugly pretty fast.

3) The world can be a beautiful place. Smile and appreciate the sun shining on you. Make time for what you deem important and for those you love. Love is timeless, health is forever. And without health happiness and love, we have nothing.

Forgive me my friends, I’ll be tied up doing couple things for the foreseeable future. #SorryNotSorry 😉

“If you dream it you can do it” – Walt Disney

Neil Thomas
COO / “The Connector”

 

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