Springsteen on Broadway

I think that the music of your childhood stays with you.  My mom was a big Springsteen fan and that left a mark on her kids.

The liner notes from Tunnel of Love are the first thing I remember being able to read on my own.  In the days of VCRs, we later had the Video Anthology 1978-1988 on VHS- it was a collection of Springsteen songs, like an album, but with the music videos.  I thought the music video to Tunnel of Love was weird and I didn’t understand it.

The soundtrack of my life includes many Springsteen songs.

I can’t listen to “Lonesome Day” without thinking about my first real boyfriend and the long slow goodbye that our long distance relationship became when I graduated from college and moved away.  I can’t hear “Mary Queen of Arkansas” without thinking about the contemplative drives I took after we broke up.  The line, “How can you hold me so damn tight, but love me so damn loose?” brought everything about that relationship into focus and gave me the closure I was ready for and needed.

I associate long trips in the car with Born to Run.  If I am in a car for longer than about 2 hours, Born to Run is happening.

When I hear Glory Days, I think about being an athlete- and convincing myself that the best way to ward off feeling like my best days were behind me was to not stop playing:

Now I think I’m going down to the well tonight
And I’m going to drink till I get my fill
And I hope when I get old I don’t sit around thinking about it
But I probably will
Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture
A little of the glory of, well time slips away
And leaves you with nothing mister but
Boring stories of glory days

When Springsteen announced that he was going to be doing a show on Broadway, my sister and I both entered into the lottery to get tickets.  She ended up getting two tickets in the lottery and so the game was afoot, because, as you can see, there are three Bishop girls.

I rolled the dice- flights to NYC are dirt cheap from Chicago.  So, I figured, worst case scenario, if I couldn’t secure a ticket, NBD- I could still see my mom and sis and have a good time in the Big Apple.  Plus, I might get a chance at crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on foot, which would help me check an item off my list.

Long story short- I didn’t get a ticket to Springsteen- because I aren’t always lucky and because I am not insane (read: willing to spend more than $200 on a concert ticket.  Its about priorities).  Which is okay.  My sister and I had the genius plan to split the show in half and- no.  That didn’t work either.  It’s frowned upon to do that.  Plus it would have been really disruptive for the show.  So, my mom and sister went, which was cool.

I got to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on foot.  Not going to lie, this is one of those things that you do in spite of tourists.  I recognize the irony of my saying that, given that I was a tourist at this point in time.  But I try *really* hard not to act like a tourist, so I feel like that gives me all the reason I need to be hella smug.

We did get to check out the New York Public Library, which has been an illusive goal for the last 15 years of my life, every time I have been to NYC.  By now, you should know how I feel about libraries (LOVE THEM) – so it was super fun.  Probably also a lot better without tourists there.  I can’t imagine being a normal person trying to go about my day getting shit done and having to contend with all these tourists.

My mom was on the hunt for bougie wool and leather, for various crafting projects.  My sister, who is the smartest of us Bishop kids, got us a hotel room in the garment district.  Guess what was *literally* two blocks from our hotel?  Mood Fabrics.  We went in and my mom bought a shit ton of wool and we actually talked to Mood’s wool guy.  Who is actually in the book about Mood.  No Tim Gunn sightings, but we did see swatch, which is cool.

In all, it was a super chill time.  We had a pretty good experience in NYC.  My mom got to see the Boss 40 years after seeing him on tour in Michigan.  My sister got to see Springsteen for the first time.  So that was nice.

Item Complete: #22 Organize and Play in a North High Alumni Game

In 8th grade I got into the IB program at Ft. Myers High School.

At the time, it was the possibility of getting two years of college done as a HS student that appealed to me.   I wasn’t terribly concerned about being ABLE to do the work. I guess I figured that if I wasn’t able to do the work, I wouldn’t have been admitted to the IB program.

At that point most of the kids I attended elementary and middle school with ended up at either North Fort Myers High or Fort Myers High.  Because we were a soccer family and my little brother had plans to go to North, we followed their soccer seasons. It was easy, because we knew all the players and families; they drove trucks and hunted on the weekends.  It was closer to our house than Fort Myers was.  Despite the Ft.  Myers soccer program being decent at this time, I couldn’t have told you more than two guys on the boys team. But I could tell you just about every guy that wore a North jersey between 1994-1997.

If I am honest, I wasn’t *really* able to do the work the IB program required. I scraped along for three years, miserable. I was in a class with doctors and lawyers kids, but I was woefully under-prepared in math and science.  Unlike a lot of those kids, I worked a lot. My mom helped a friend deliver newspapers on a commercial route overnight on Saturday Night/Sunday morning. In the winter of my sophomore year that friend spent a couple of months in the hospital. My mom picked up his daily route and my sister, brother, and I helped.  This consisted of leaving our house at 2am with books and lunches in tow, to run papers and then head to school.   The route ended with a stop at a gas station to brush teeth, change clothes, and wash newsprint from our hands.  During those months, several days a week, I showed up at school on only 3-4 hours of sleep.

In the end, I wasn’t smart enough to be in the IB program. I might have been able to outwork my deficiencies, but I just didn’t devote myself to schoolwork like I really needed to, as a consequence my GPA (of a 3.0) landed me in the bottom half of my IB class at Ft. Myers.

As a sophomore, I had started playing soccer and did well, given my lack of experience. My sophomore and junior years were filled with training and I found my way into a lot of training sessions, because no one wants to play goalkeeper. Eventually, the idea of playing college soccer started to become a possibility, which encouraged me to double my efforts. Despite this, I couldn’t make the Varsity squad at Ft. Myers. Undeterred, I continued training like a maniac and eventually ended up at state ODP tryouts. There I learned that to be considered a college prospect, I needed to be on a Varsity team.

Within a week of ODP tryouts, we’d decided to transfer to North. Later that year as a junior, I sat for IB exams whose outcomes I knew didn’t matter. It was liberating.

The following fall, I enrolled at North. Despite knowing all the guys on the soccer team, and many others, I felt pretty alone. It’s hard to transfer your senior year. Cliques and groups had been formed 2-3 years before and I wasn’t the kind of person who’d rule any school.  I didn’t have the confidence to walk into a packed cafeteria and sit down  for lunch with kids I’d known all my life.

But soccer was different.

I was welcomed.

I didn’t feel like people were thinking in their heads that they were better than me.  On that team, I played an important role.  I was mature and steadfast.  I have since coached high school girls and this is what I have come to know:  all it takes is one person, playing one position. On some teams, it might be a “big gun” striker, on others, it might be an enterprising midfielder. You can build a team around one player.  On that team, I think it was me playing in goal.  By being a calming presence in goal, the rest of the team was given the time and space they needed to mature into decent soccer players.

That year, the North girls were just as good as the North boys.  We ended up winning the district championship game and a winter tournament.  Even better, we hung with some crosstown rivals and I posted double digit shutouts.  The best part was that I found a team I really liked.  I felt like I belonged.  I grew up in the country doing chores and fishing.  These kids grew up in the country doing chores and fishing.

Several years ago, several North High Alumni began commiserating on Facebook about how we ought to  revive the old Alumni game.  Back in the day, the game used to be a big deal during winter break.  This was so “back in the day” that the current team would played against a team made up of alumni.  Seriously.  This is akin to thinking about how cars haven’t always had seatbelts and pondering how more people didn’t end up hurt in the aftermath of the Alumni game. In any case, some alumni on Facebook got an Alumni game organized for January 14th.

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It was really fun.  I played well.  Actually, I was brilliant.  Full stop.  No need to qualify that statement.  Only one person got hurt and no one fought with anyone else.

I traveled from Chicago to SW Florida for the game.  Only one other person (a girl from my team) traveled from out of state.  The guy that did the in-town arranging has mostly stayed put (outside of a brief forray to college in the late 90s).  He’s stayed in contact with a lot of people who he has known all of his life.  Which is strange to think about.

A lot of us have kids now.  Other than being parents, I have so very little in common with these people now.  But it didn’t feel that way.  The overarching feeling I had socializing with these people was that we were old friends catching up.

The more disorienting thing to consider is time though.  Several of us have our 20 year high school reunions coming up next year.  In one sense, it feels like it was such a long time ago when we were teenage gladiators, willing to fight for the jersey on our backs.  But in another sense, its hard to believe that that was almost 20 years ago.  I try to remember what my mom and her friends were like at this age, but I am having the hardest time.  You could  make the argument that 20 years out from high school now is different than 20 years out from high school then, which is probably valid.  Regardless, it’s weird to say.

Like, when did I get old enough to talk about anything that happened 20 years ago?  When did that happen?