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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Moments That Defined a Decade: 2003, 2004, 2005

Bowling 161
Date: March 3, 2003
Backstory of The Moment: In 2002-2003, I was bowling in two leagues during the week. One was the Saturday morning youth league, which I was since the seventh grade. The other was the St. Ann's league on Mondays, which was my first (and only) year. I was bowling fairly well at the time averaging in the high 90s.
The Moment: I bowled a 93 and a 98 in my first two strings. On my third I bowled my personal high single of 161. Yes, 161. My previous high single was 136. I ended up bowling a 352, which is also my personal high triple.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: It's hard for me to really choose between this moment and winning the travel league as my best in bowling. Though I can confidently say that this is my best individual moment. I've never bowled another game as good as this. Even though, I should say I never bowled another string like that. I always think what if I bowled even better in the first two strings. Still, that 161 is amazing. It was actually the fourth high single in the league that year.

Bowling this great game and impressing a lot of the guys there was probably the reason I won rookie of the year. It's one of the few times I've been legitimately shocked in my life when I won that award.

Looking back on that string, I still have no idea how I bowled such a great game. I was rolling an amazing ball and hitting the head pin every time. I knocked down seven or eight pins and gave myself plenty of mark opportunities. I was literally in a zone and I can't explain it even six years later.

That is one of my only regrets abut moving to California. I wish they had candlepin bowling. Thinking about these bowling moments made me remember that I was a really good bowler and I could have probably been much better. I wasn't even in my prime when I was doing my best bowling in 2002 and 2003. Unfortunately, it is one of the "what if's" in my life.

High School Graduation
Date: June 15, 2003
Backstory of The Moment: I was in the Peabody school system my entire life. Finally, I would get my chance to graduate and start the next chapter of my life.
The Moment: After 13 years (12 grades plus kindergarten), I walked across the stage and received my high school diploma.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: High school was okay for me, but graduating was a great feeling. It's the end of an era, which is both good and bad. After seeing the same kids for so many years, it's kind of a weird feeling. Everyone is going in different directions.

Being one of the two class presidents, I got to lead the class out to graduation and was one of the last people to graduate (Jenna graduated last since her last name came after mine). It's crazy to think that I haven't seen probably 97% of the kids I graduated with since that day. I missed the 5 year reunion and we'll see what happens in 2013. Part of me doesn't really care. I've moved on and I rarely talk to anyone I graduated with still.

Red Sox Lose Game 7 and the AL Pennant
Date: October 16, 2003
Backstory of The Moment: The Red Sox probably had their best team since 1986. They had a great lineup and pitching staff. They were in an intense seven game series with the hated New York Yankees. In the 8th inning, they were up 5-2 with Pedro Martinez on the mound. They were only five outs from the AL Pennant.
The Moment: Grady Little made the infamous decision to leave Pedro on the mound after Martinez threw over 100 pitches. He paid for it. The Yankees tied the game at 5. In the 11th inning, Aaron Boone hit one deep to left off Tim Wakefield. The Sox blow it and it's 85 years and counting.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: It's funny looking at this moment maybe more than any other for the fact that this moment doesn't bother me at all anymore. It still sucks they lost and Nomar never won the Series with the Sox, but a year later the Sox got the ultimate revenge on the Yanks. It was frustrating when it happened. I was watching the game in my dorm at Fitchburg State when Boone hit the homerun. People were pissed and of course a riot started at every college campus in New England.

Was it the right call? It's really a lose lose for Grady as if he took out Pedro and the bullpen blew it, then everyone today would be saying, "Why did Grady take Pedro out?" I wasn't as hard on Grady at the time and I'm still not hard on him today. I'm more mad at the offense when they had chances to score in extra innings and didn't. I know they left a guy on third in either the 10th or the 11th. Regardless, this was a great series and really set the tone for the ALCS the following year.

Appointed to the Cable Commission
Date: December 9, 2003
Backstory of The Moment: I was going to school at Fitchburg State College and trying to transfer to Chapman in California. Mayor Bonfanti was a friend of the family and needed someone to fill the vacant seat on the cable commission.
The Moment: This was a surprising moment for me as I never anticipated getting a call from my Dad saying the Mayor wanted to know if I would sit on the board. I was 18 1/2 years old at the time. I decided to accept the offer figuring that I could resign if I got into college at Chapman.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: It was actually a big deal when I got nominated for the seat. I was called the youngest public official in the history of Peabody by the Peabody Weekly newspaper. I also got another newspaper article in the Salem News. It was a big deal and I'm glad I got to do this. I only served until August 2004, but I learned a lot and it made me very mature. During my time on the board I actually was part of negotiations between the city and Comcast for a new cable contract. At times I felt way over my head, but I tried my best to understand the situation. When I left the negotiations were still going on.

If I didn't get into Chapman, I probably would have stayed on the board and eventual ran for office in the city. Like candlepin bowling, it's another "what if" situation. I had to leave for California, so I don't have any regrets. Still, it's fun to think how much different my life could have been and how I actually could have accomplished a lot if I stayed in Peabody. Politics could have very well been an option.

Patriots Win Super Bowl XXXVIII
Date: February 1, 2004
Backstory of The Moment: The Pats won Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002. The following season, they barely missed the playoffs at 9-7. They actually opened the 2003 season with a 31-0 loss at Buffalo and started the year 2-2. They wouldn't lose again for the rest of the season. They would meet the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl.
The Moment: The game started off slow in the first half. In the second half it was a different story. The score was tied 29-29 and Adam Vinatieri did it again hitting a field goal with seconds remaining. The Patriots won their second title in three years with a 32-29 win.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: This was a weird game as it was a defensive one for the first half and a offensive one for the second. It was intense too and just as good as the Super Bowl a couple years before. I know some people think this game is better. I'll just say it was one of the many great Super Bowls this decade has seen.

Brady really came into his own this game and I think proved he was a hall of famer when he led his team down for another game winning drive in the biggest game of the year. Like XXXVI, I was nervous and I didn't know if they were going to do it. They got a little luck when the Panthers' John Kasay kicked the kickoff out of bounds. Brady still put the drive together so well and Vinatieri did it again. The Pats didn't become a dynasty after this one, but definitely proved they were for real and became the team to beat in the NFL. No longer were they the underdogs.

This was actually also my final Boston sports championship that I saw in Massachusetts. I watched this one in my dorm at Fitchburg. I guess that adds some more sentimental value to it.

Leave for California
Date: August 17, 2004
Backstory of The Moment: I spent the first 19 years of my life in Massachusetts. I got accepted into Chapman University in February 2004. I would leave in August for my first semester at the film school.
The Moment: After months of preparation and endless goodbyes, I headed off to Orange County, CA to go to film school. It was the first time in my life that I got a one way ticket.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: This is arguably the defining moment of my life. There's Mike Cersosimo before August 17, 2004 and after August 17, 2004. I figure the next big defining moment will happen when I get married. It was tough leaving even though I really wanted to go to Chapman. I was leaving my family behind. I was leaving everything I knew behind. In the beginning it was just me.

Luckily, I did make some good friends after a few months. Some of them I'm still very close to today. That did make it easier, but it was still tough in the beginning. I cried a little on the plane that day. I knew life would never be the same. I was right. I still only come back to Massachusetts know twice a year. The duration of the trips vary, but I definitely spend a majority of my time out west. That probably won't change. I've learned to adapt though and I make the best out of the situation. I have no regrets even if it's hard sometimes. If life is about making bold moves, then I want to make as many as possible.

Red Sox Come Back from 0-3 and Win the AL Pennant
Date: October 17, 2004
Backstory of The Moment: The Red Sox lost the 2003 AL Pennant to the Yanks. They faced them in a rematch in 2004. The Sox quickly fell into a 0-3 hole, losing game three 19-8. The Red Sox then proceeded to win game four and five in dramatic fashion. Game six is the legendary bloody sock game. Then, there was game seven.
The Moment: The Red Sox shock the baseball world and come back from 0-3 and win the next four games. It is also not just against any team. It's against the Yankees. The aura of the Yankees owning the Sox is over and the Red Sox or the Idiots go to their first World Series since 1986.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: I can still remember watching game four in my dorm and lying on the bed thinking it's over in the 9th. I never thought they were going to come back from 0-3 and win four straight. If I only gambled some money on them to come back. I could be rich right now. It's really the crowning achievement in Boston sports this decade and maybe ever. It also almost made the World Series anti-climatic. All 25 guys are this team captured the hearts of New England and helped erase any pain from the previous season. While I am a believer that heartbreaking losses are more like scars, these Sox gave us one up on the Yanks any day of the week for the foreseeable future. The Yanks choked so bad in this series. It's really a much bigger choke than the Pats a few years later as the Yankees had four chances to win one game. Two of them were in extra innings. It's still amazing to think and something special any Sox fan who lived through it will never forget.

Red Sox Win the World Series
Date: October 27, 2004
Backstory of The Moment: The Red Sox won the AL Pennant 10 days earlier. They face the NL Champs, St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.
The Moment: The Red Sox never trail in the series and sweep the Cards to win their first World Series in 86 years.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: Like 9/11, I sometimes forget what life was like before the Sox won the Series. Like I also wrote a little earlier, this series was anti-climatic. Most people silently thought the Sox weren't going to blow it after coming back from a 0-3 deficit. They were too hot and it was true. They never trailed. Historically, this was one of the worst World Series ever. It was so one-sided that if the Red Sox weren't in it, then the ratings probably would have been horrible. I actually didn't even watch the first couple games because I had class and whatnot. I did catch game four in my dorm and I yelled, "We fucking did it" when they got the final out. Then, I played Queen's We are the Champions on continuous repeat on my iTunes. It was a sweet day in Boston and one most of us won't forget. My only regret what that I was 3000 miles away. After they won, I just went outside and smoked a cigar. Victory was sweet.

Patriots Win Super Bowl XXXIX
Date: February 6, 2005
Backstory of The Moment: The Patriots went 14-2 for the second straight year. They entered the playoffs trying to become the first team since the Broncos (97-98) to win back to back Super Bowls and the first since the Cowboys (92, 93, 95) to win three in four years. They would face the Philadelphia Eagles
The Moment: This game was easily the least dramatic of all the Super Bowls the Pats were in this decade. It was still close, but the Pats managed to take a 24-14 lead before winning 24-21.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: At the time I never would have guessed this would be the last of the decade for the Pats. They were so invincible at the time. Still, it was a hell of an accomplishment and really made Pats fans spoiled. Even Boston fans were spoiled at the time. The city won three championships in almost a year (two Super Bowls and one World Series).

It's funny to think that this was the least dramatic of all the Super Bowls for the Pats as this was still a very good game. I believe the Eagles had the ball trailing 24-21, but McNabb got picked off by Rodney Harrison to seal the game. It's fun looking back on these Patriot teams as their three titles in four years was truly a modern day dynasty and will probably not happen again anytime soon.

WrestleMania 21
Date: April 3, 2005
Backstory of The Moment: I'm a big wrestling fan. I went to WrestleMania XIV in 1998 and decided to go to the granddaddy of them all for the second time.
The Moment: WrestleMania went Hollywood and it was a ppv headlined by some great matches including the classic HBK vs. Kurt Angle.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: It's hard for me to pick which WM was better. This one or XIV. I will say that the HBK vs. Angle match is the best match I've ever seen live. It was so intense and I literally had no idea who was going to win. HBK (my favorite wrestler) sadly tapped out.

Going to WM is just fun. I'm actually going to WM XXVI this March in Glendale, AZ, so I'm sure that even will make this list in 10 years. For now though, WM 21 was just a great event and it's really something every wrestling fan should experience at least once.

What Happens in Mexico, Stays in Mexico
Date: April 17, 2005
Backstory of The Moment: Devi, Dres, Julian, and I were bored on a Saturday night. We made a decision to go to Tijuana.
The Moment: While this moment started on Saturday 4/16, we made it to Mexico on 4/17. We stayed there all night and arrived back in Orange County early in the morning.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: This is what I wrote a few years ago about this night, "If there is one moment that I honestly consider this is what college is all about, then this would be it." It was really a crazy night and I actually never went back to Tijuana. I have said this many times and I'll say it again, I don't need to. Between walking the creepy streets to going into the creepy bars, it's something you don't want to experience numerous times. I drank a lot that night, but surprisingly didn't get sick. I did a flaming shot that night even. Then, there was asking Dres to point me straight.

Julian and I actually drank so much that we passed out in the back of his CRX, which is an extremely small car. We woke up in a parked car since Devi and Dres left us there. We only woke up since I farted and it smelled so bad. Hey, I drank a lot and I blame the flaming shot. This night is full of a lot of fun memories and I know Dres, Julian, and I still reminisce about them every now and then.

McCartney II
Date: November 11, 2005
Backstory of The Moment: I saw McCartney in 2002 with my Dad. This tour was to support Paul's new album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. I was living in CA at the time and went to see Paul for the second time.
The Moment: Paul put on another incredible show. My seats were better than the last time, but this still ranks as my least memorable Paul McCartney concert.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: I saw this concert at the Pond in Anaheim. I just think I forget about this since it lacked an amazing experience or cool venue. It was just another concert, but featured a Beatle. I also saw this show alone, so I think that also attributed to it.

Still, Paul played all the hits and it's still the fourth best concert I've ever seen. Chaos and Creation was also a much better album than Driving Rain and I think it was his best work since probably Flaming Pie. All my concerts with Paul I hold close to my heart and they are moments I will never forget as a Beatles fan.

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