This is another post with no Illini information. So don't click unless you want to read "Part II" of the last post.
First off, I want to thank everyone for the comments yesterday. They meant a lot. I get that I'm very hard to understand, so to see that some of you truly understand me means a lot. I appreciate your patience as I work through things that 99% of the population is able to avoid.
And I'm sorry that's coming as a bulk thank you. I responded to a few of the comments, but whenever I do that, I feel like I should have responded to every single comment. There were a lot, though (I still have four texts, five emails, and two DM's marked as unread so I don't forget to go through them today) and so a bulk thank-you for the rest will have to do.
If you're wondering, yes, it was cathartic to write that post. My stomach was in knots for a week and I needed to vomit some words. Now that they're out, I do feel better. Someone get me a 7-Up.
I also had conversations with people who know me. Talked to my wife about it. Texted with a few friends. Called my mom (it was her birthday) and we ended up chatting about it for a while. She was probably the most helpful. Especially one exchange:
"You know me, mom. I've always been like this. I don't know why stuff like this offends me so deeply. Why should someone doing something like that can shut me down? I wish I wasn't so..."
"I was going to say weak, but yeah, you're right."
That's really the entire thing here. I'm Teddy Ruxpin with a sports blog. I've been Tender Guy my entire life, and Tender Guy just isn't built for things like this. He's built for, I don't know, giggling like the Pillsbury Dough Boy when you poke his stomach.
I mean, think about it. Think about all the frustrations I've voiced since I made the move to doing this full time. I stopped going to media availability because reporters won't take turns. I stopped writing certain articles because other reporters steal from those posts and those are my toys. I don't want to sit in the pressbox anymore I want to sit with my friends. I may have just turned 50, but I'm basically a tween. A tender little kid who just isn't ready for the real world.
(Of course, being Tender Guy has its advantages. I'm a pretty great husband and father, I think. And a fantastic grandfather. I might not be able to tolerate a media scrum but you better believe I'll learn every one of my grandkids' favorite songs on the piano.)
Anyway, my point is that I read all of your comments, talked to my wife, mother, and several friends, and got my mind right. Times like this it's really helpful to get back to the core of who I am. As one comment suggested yesterday, I need to hit a bunch of 7-irons. Forget the driver yips, just go groove some 7-irons at the range.
So I've decided to make a few rehab starts down in the minors. If there's one single thing I know how to do, it's write offseason Illini football content. I need to block out everything else - especially my Illini basketball nerves - and just groove some fastballs to AA outfielders. I seem to be in a constant state of trying to get my groove back, but maybe this time I can find something on the bus trip from Birmingham to Chattanooga.
Tyler is going to cover the Northwestern game tomorrow night so I'll be able to ignore that. I have the funeral to attend on Saturday and then I'll get on the road and cover the Ohio State game Sunday. I actually have another memorial service to attend on the 4th so Tyler is going to cover the Purdue game that weekend. After that, I'll see where my writing brain is at.
For now, I'm just gonna focus on the offseason football series. Sit down at my desk, put on some Mahler (gonna start with Mahler 2), and try to find my breaking stuff. If I can't, well, I'll just groove meaningless fastballs until I find it.
Y'all might want to wear ankle and elbow guards just in case.