Month: August, 2011

The Jimmy Fund: Give Them Your Money

My cousin Mandi had never been to Boston before, and it’s likely that she’d never choose to vacation there.

She grew up in Richmond, Virginia, married her high school sweetheart, and was very content there raising her two children. Traveling the world (or even the eastern seaboard) was never a priority for her and she felt comfortable at her home in the country.

So, when I got the call to meet them in Boston two years ago, I was rather surprised. Without hesitation, I rearranged my schedule (with just two days notice) to meet them in Boston for the week.

I wish I could say the trip was a spur of the moment decision for leisure, but it was a trip of last resort. With her cancer progressing, the doctors in Richmond told her there was little they could do for her anymore, but as a mother (1 year old daughter, 4 year old son) that answer wasn’t acceptable to her.

Mandi was a fighter long before she found out she had cancer, and she viewed her illness as just another roadblock she’d have to get around to live the life she’d always dreamed of.  As a woman with faith in God, she knew that she and her children would be taken care of regardless of the outcome, and continued to battle.

When it was suggested that Mandi go to Boston to meet with specialists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, she scheduled the appointment and took the Amtrak from Richmond to Boston with her husband and young children, since she was not allowed to fly.

I had a great time at the New England Aquarium, chasing the penguins with her daughter, Cameron. We went on a duck boat tour, and I kept blowing my duck caller to make her son Eddie laugh, much to the chagrin of others on the boat. I took them on their first cab ride to see Fenway Park, and I’m pretty sure the lobster rolls we ate were their first.

Later in the week, Mandi went to meet with doctors at Dana-Farber.

I wish I had better news about the outcome of the meeting at Dana-Farber, but after a couple of days of testing, the doctors told her there was nothing they could do. The news was defeating, but the experience and care from the doctors and nurses at Dana-Farber was exceptional. They realize the sensitivity of the news they were delivering and treated her with respect and care. For that, I’m grateful.

After more treatment in Richmond and treatments in Philadelphia, my cousin returned home and continued to pray and she continued to live her life the best way she knew how—raising her two young children, teaching them all of the lessons they’d need in the future in a short time.

When she died on March 1st  of this year, I was shocked. She had been doing better in the weeks preceding her death, but I was relieved that her struggle was finally over. I was fortunate this week to make the trip to Richmond to see her husband and children, who are now 3 and 6.

Cee, Cameron, and Mr. Bear

These children are pieces of their mother. They are just as innocent, with the same blue eyes, blonde hair, and giant smiles. They are faithful and polite, and full of life and energy, just as I remember their mother. While they are adjusting to life without her, it’s a shame when any child has to grow up without a parent.

The moral of the story? Cancer sucks.

I’ve lost my grandfather, my aunt, and my cousin to cancer in the last six years. Both of my parents are cancer survivors. I’ve watched friends, family, and coworkers struggle with the illness and it never gets easier…but we can’t give up hope on making a difference in the lives of those who are affected by this illness.

The Jimmy Fund, since its founding in 1948, has supported the fight against cancer in children and adults at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, helping to raise the chances of survival for cancer patients around the world.

The Red Sox partnered with the Jimmy Fund ten years ago and have done a telethon each year to raise money for Dana-Farber, and the stories of the children and adults who have undergone treatment there are extraordinary—and many are thriving because of donations from ordinary people who want to make a difference.

Today’s the last day of the telethon, so if you can find a bit to spare, I would personally appreciate you considering a donation. If you can’t donate now, they accept donations any time. I’ll continue to make a donation every year in honor of my cousin…because even though it was too late for her to receive treatments, I know the dollars that I donate could change the lives of others, and there’s no memorial in Mandi’s honor better than that.

Textual Trysts

Editor’s Note: This one is less about sports and more about life. This post comes from a series of conversations and confusions myself and other single friends have had over the past few years of singledom. There have been countless conversations, bottles of wine, laughter, and sometimes tears with dear friends will discussing the confusing nature of dating. So, while I’m sure there’s plenty of men who can relate to this one…it’s safe to say that this one is for my girls, all of whom I love and value more than anything. 

It’s no surprise that technology has changed dating.

In many cases, we flirt and meet via the Internet. There are dating sites and accidental dating sites—like Twitter.

It’s also no surprise that the evolution serves as a reminder that no matter how much I think I’ve figured out the dating , there’s always another curveball that makes it much more confusing.

I wouldn’t say I’m a connoisseur of dating, but I will say that since I have been single for the past three years, I’ve done my fair share. My fair share includes a couple of 3 month relationships, and a calamity of awkward first dates and second dates, in which the worries are the same as they always were.

Is it okay to split the check? Will he walk me to the train? Is he going to show up at all?

But those worries predate the addition of technology. I’m sure there are cave drawings that depict a girl staring longingly out the window (or cave hole) waiting for her man to arrive from the drags.

But in the technology age, dating is a lot different. The best I can figure is that I’ve settled and fallen victim to the worst kind of relationship: the Textual Relationship.

I am partially to blame for these Textual trysts. I spend more time than I’d like to admit using social media, the Internet, and clutching my iPhone as though I will stop breathing if it’s not in my possession. I often find myself flipping from screen-to-screen on my phone just waiting for something to happen.

I can’t stand the idea of an email coming in that I don’t check. If I don’t respond to a text message within five minutes, it’s likely my text partners will send out a search party for my whereabouts. I went one day without updating my Twitter account and was greeted the next day with a barrage of messages demanding to know why I was absent without explanation.

And I’m assuming the Textual relationship stems from this—two people’s desires to have someone else thinking about them, contacting them, and relating to them continually. But, the unfortunate side effect of the textual relationship is that it seems to end there.

I’m not monogamous in my Textual relationships. I’d say at this moment, I have three solid textual relationships, which span several different mediums—text messages, emails, and social media. And the fact of the matter is that I really have no idea where any of them are going.

To illustrate the point, my longest textual tryst has been going on for over a year.

We attended a few baseball games together and honestly, I adore his company. He’s cerebral, yet relatable. He’s funny, yet sensible. He’s taller than me, which is always refreshing.

Our textual relationship blossomed during football season. Even though we supported different teams, we would armchair quarterback all day Sunday. Our texts were much more insightful than any Al Michaels/Cris Collinsworth banter, and things would occasionally become flirtatious.

In these relationships I find myself answering texts in lightning speed, and in high frequency. After all, how does a text conversation end? People don’t often say goodbye, so it’s an endless dialogue that can go on forever…or until someone falls asleep. But it starts back up the next day. Through conference calls, on train rides, on trips, and during games. And there’s a desire to keep it going, not just for conversation sake, but because there’s potential for more…or is there?

When I finally saw him again, months into our Textual relationship, he finally kissed me. Which, I took as a good sign that perhaps we’d return to real-live dating, instead of live-texting a game to each other, considering we live just a couple miles apart.

As much as I appreciated the picking on Tom Brady, and the genuinely concerned text messages I received when Austin Collie was injured, it just isn’t the same. I’d rather hold his hand than clutch my iPhone… but maybe I’m just old-fashioned.

The Internet makes it difficult to determine motives. It begs the question that many of us have asked: Is he texting because he likes me and enjoys my company, or is he texting because he has a desire to talk to someone, anyone, because he is bored?

Girls seem to reach the same conclusions on this. He could be any of the following:

A)   He just wants to be friends (how can we just be bros with those beautiful eyes?)

B)   Incredibly bored (he would text is grandmother if she could figure out how to use her Jitterbug)

C)   A sadist who enjoys the idea of confusing intentions (malice is ugly)

D)   Absolutely clueless (he’s clueless, perhaps even content, in a fake internet relationship)

E)   Feeling a need for affection/closeness not found elsewhere (guys don’t get lonely, do they?)

And this pattern continues to happen.

 And the more women I’ve talked with admit that they’ve all had these textual trysts that blur the lines of reality and dating… and there’s one common theme: we’re all confused.

Conventional wisdom might suggest that he’s just not that into us and if he were he would just ask us out. But in a world where he knows I’m available 24/7 through a variety of mediums, what’s the rush?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27 other followers