Thing I Need To Tell You About, Vol. 4

Holy unexpected-blog-hiatus! I’ve been having a fun summer, so no complaints here! The early part of the summer was spent hosting friends at my apartment (one of my favorite things to do — I love planning weekend itineraries) and I recently got back from a trip home. I have missed this space though, and some of blog friends have been killing it lately. So what better way to get back into the swing of things than a quick hello?

Home Run Derby vibes. #AllRise #asg2017

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I went home!

I spent a very wonderful, not-nearly-long-enough four days back in South Florida. My dad and I went to the Home Run Derby, and while it was a little anticlimactic at the end, it was still a great experience to check off my sports bucket list. Other activities included: eating lots of Cuban food, browsing the MLB All-Star exhibition, free slurpees, browsing Publix, winning second place at a trivia night and an afternoon in Wynwood. (Speaking of Wynwood, I ended up at Federal Donuts, their first location outside of Philly, instead of Coyo Tacos and am I too Philly now?)

West Philly walks.

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I’ve had lots of great girl talk lately.

I really value my friendships. Once we’re friends, you are basically stuck with me for life. I especially enjoy catching up with my friends in smaller groups of two or three: over brunch, happy hour, shopping or even just neighborhood walks or long drives in my car. (Some of the places I’ve hit up? Adobe, La Calaca Feliz, Philly Style Bagels [yes, really], and True Food Kitchen.)  I’m really grateful I’ve gotten a lot of hearts-to-heart in this summer. I have the best friends.

I’ve been driving a lot.

I’ve written a little bit about my driving before. It took me nine years to get my license, but I was still very apprehensive about driving as a whole. Unlike a lot of people I grew up with, I mostly learned how to drive in the city. My biggest challenge? Highways (and merging and parallel parking). This summer though, I’ve road tripped to Gettysburg (post coming soon!) and Ocean City, New Jersey. I am going to attempt to drive to Long Island next month. This is a big deal for me, and I am really proud of myself.

So that’s that for now! Even though I haven’t been blogging on here, I’ve still been working on content, so I hope to have some fun stuff up soon.

~ Sarah

On Heroes

I don’t write about sports nearly as much as I used to when I started blogging here (over 6 years ago!), but the truth is, I have a whole section of my closet devoted to sports jerseys. Soccer jerseys, football jerseys, baseball jerseys — even a hockey jersey sneaked in there! Sports has been one of my “things” since I can remember. I couldn’t even pinpoint why — it’s part of who I am, and part of my family. I love sports because of my competitive nature, my love of tradition and history, my hometown, my loyalty. I love the stories and its heroes.

Sometimes, we lose our heroes. That part hurts.

We lose our heroes in different ways. Sometimes it’s a breakup, a mutual one at that. One you know is the best decision for everyone’s future — the franchise and the star athlete. That hardly makes it any easier. I was 12 when the Miami Heat drafted Dwyane Wade, nearly 26 when he left for his own hometown team. 13 years, 3 championships. It was magic, and I thought it was going to last forever. It’s so rare and so special to see you favorite player spend their entire career with your team, and I thought it was in the cards for us. Regardless, Miami will welcome Wade because he represented the city with fire.

Sometimes we lose our heroes, and it’s a damn tragedy. That’s what Miami is going through last week after we lost Jose Fernandez, a “100 mph human.” His story is now legend, an origin story fit for a superhero. Here was a young man who found freedom through the sea — but the sea took that freedom away. After three unsuccessful attempts to flee Cuba, he was jailed — as just a teenager. On his fourth, and ultimately successful, trip to the U.S., he saved his own mother from drowning. Once he became a starting pitcher for the Miami Marlins, his grandmother — still on the island — would climb her roof to catch a radio signal of his games.

At this point, much has been written about Jose — his journey, and what he meant to the Cuban community. As for me? I just had fun watching him play for my hometown team. I saw Jose pitch in Philadelphia last summer, and I watched him warmup in the bullpen. He ended up tossing me his baseball, and I was practically giddy.

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After countless baseball games, I had never caught a foul ball or home run ball, so this was a cool moment. When I went to another Marlins-Phillies game this summer, the starting pitcher did not throw anyone a baseball. It made me appreciate Jose even more. He had a big heart, played baseball with the joy of a Little Leaguer, and shared that energy. That’s awesome, and so rare these days. I definitely regret not getting my baseball signed that summer night.

I’ll treasure that brief moment I had with a superstar. I felt like a little kid again! The reality is, though, I’m growing up — it’s only a matter of time before my favorite athletes will be younger than me. And part of growing up is also letting go of your heroes. People move on and you realize that even the brightest stars are human and flawed. That doesn’t mean you can’t cry about it. There is crying in baseball, and that’s okay.

What I’m trying to say is, thanks, Jose for being a hero to kids everywhere, and being the reason we love sports.

Orlando

Well, we made it to Friday after a hell of a week. Every time I have started writing this post in my head, I have emotionally exhausted myself and tried to put the thoughts aside. I’m an emotional, sensitive person, but I try to keep this space positive. However, it is ultimately my space, and since I process things best by writing, I’m going to write what I want when I want. Just like I did after Aurora. And Virginia. And now Orlando.

This isn’t about me, but I don’t think it’s out of the ordinary to relate to some tragedies more than others. Newtown. Boston. Charleston. San Bernardino. These all hurt, but some hit closer to home for some people than others. That’s Orlando for me. I grew up three hours away and have many happy memories there. It’s a city of joy and escape for millions. And now all I can think of is the terror.

And the victims. The names, the faces, so many sound and look familiar because they were part of one of my communities, the greater Latinx community. This was a hate crime on multiple levels. But what all the victims had in common — Latinx, black or white, LGBTQIA or ally — is that they had gone out for a night of dancing and fun and the freedom to be themselves. How could there be so much anger and hate over love?

That is something I don’t understand, and I don’t want to understand.

Here is what I understand: I am heartbroken. I am tired. I am angry.

I am heartbroken for what the victims, the survivors and their loved ones have lost. Their lives will never be the same. I am heartbroken that a place of safety and acceptance was exploited.

I am tired of seeing these stories in the news, only for them to fade the headlines within days. I am tired of people staying silent.

I am angry with politicians who send their “thoughts and prayers” instead of springing into action. I am angry with politicians who actively work to limit the rights of LGBTQ people, as well as other minorities. I am angry that people continue to perpetuate hate, instead of fighting for love and equality.

Enough has been enough has been enough.

I hope that there will finally be some action, instead of empty words. I am tired of waiting. I hope other people out there are also tired of waiting. I’m passionate, but I don’t want to tell you what to think. That’s not my place. But if you’re also passionate about these issues, do your research. Get involved. If we and our elected officials don’t do anything about this, it sends the message that we’re ultimately okay with this. And guess what? I’m not. I am tired of this. This is not what I want my country to look like. But I truly think it’s the realist in me that believes love always overcomes hate.

Arya was featured in the Philly PAWS 2016 Calendar for June, Pride Month.
Arya was featured in the Philly PAWS 2016 Calendar for June, Pride Month.

~ Sarah