Monday, September 6, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Happy Labor Day! I'm excited because for the past four years at Notre Dame, Labor Day meant you'd go to class and complain about how Labor Day wasn't recognized. So I decided I'd spend at least part of my day off to catch up on my blog!

I apologize for taking so long in between posts, and I will try to keep everyone updated more often. So much has happened!

First and foremost, how about that Irish victory on Saturday?? I was so excited for that game that I barely slept the night before. I was like a kid on Christmas Eve. In case you were wondering about the title of this post - I was referring to the start of college football. I was very pleased with the win. I thought ND looked well coached and much more fundamentally sound. There are a few things that definitely need some work, but for the first game with a new coach, new offense, new defense and a new quarterback, I was very happy. Gary Gray and Darrin Walls looked especially good, and I can't wait to see more of Cierre Wood. Yes, we had some errors and let Purdue back into the game, but what happened afterwards gives me the most hope that we have a different, and improved, team. After the setback we didn't fold, our defense held, and we tacked on the field goal that put us up two scores. I feel like a Charlie Weis team would've needed a last second TD to win this game or would've lost because he would've went for it on 4th down instead of kicking some of our field goals. Our defense had some holes but it didn't melt down in the 4th quarter. We could run the ball when we needed to. All positive signs. It's not like Purdue was a cupcake either. Their DE Ryan Kerrigan will play in the NFL and they beat Ohio State last year. I'm guessing they will win 7 or 8 games this season. Needless to say, I am anxiously awaiting next Saturday when we take on Michigan - the team I despise more than any other. I want payback for the game I witnessed last year in the middle of the Michigan Alumni section at the Big House. I was so upset after that game I didn't speak for at least two hours. I still want payback for the beating we took my freshman year in '06 when we were ranked #2 and feeling like we were on top of the world. I want payback for the 38-0 thrashing we took in '07 - one of the hardest games I've ever had to watch. The only victory over the school from the state up north that I saw was in '08 when we decisively trounced them in the pouring rain. It was a thing of beauty. Anyway, the Michigan game is always huge for me and I can't wait for Saturday!!!

I do have to admit, though, it was tough to watch a home game on TV. I really missed being on campus for gameday. Being woken up by the band marching across campus playing the fight song, putting on my #3 jersey while watching College Gameday, meeting up with my friends and heading out to the tailgating lots swarming with blue and gold, meeting family and friends who came in for the game, making our way into the stadium and witnessing one of my favorite things in the world - those gleaming gold helmets running out of the tunnel to the Victory March. Screaming myself hoarse, going up for push ups, talking non-stop at half time about what our offense needs to exploit or how our defense needs to adjust, listening to Officer McCarthy's 4th quarter pun, seeing a thrilling ending to the game (happened a lot last year) and jumping around like mad / standing silent in disbelief depending on the outcome. Whatever happened though, it always finished the same way - arm in arm with my best friends singing the Alma Mater. That, and a candlelight dinner at SDH. Savannah is great, but there won't be one Saturday this fall I won't wish I was somewhere else.

While the start of College Football has dominated my last few days, I have actually been doing other things! Work has been going great. On Friday, I spent a long time talking with the Director of the SOURCE program, Hunter. Hunter is now one of my favorite people in Savannah. He told me all about the history of the Georgia Infirmary and how the biggest theme is doing the right thing, no matter the public opinion. I saw a lot of similarities between the Infirmary's history and the story of Catherine McAuley (founder of the Sisters of Mercy) in Dublin. The Infirmary was started by a wealthy white man who saw a great need for care for blacks in Savannah. It started when a man was brought to court for beating his slave mercilessly, but the case was thrown out because it was thought that the plight of a black man didn't matter. The wealthy man left his entire estate to create the Georgia Infirmary and his descendants have a hand in it to this day. They built in town, much to the dismay of the local upper class, who fought strongly against it. They didn't want blacks coming into town for medical treatment. Time after time, the Infirmary came up against some form of adversity, either from public opinion or the government, and each time they took the right path, not the easiest.  Because of the evolution of health care and civil rights, the Georgia Infirmary's mission was no longer necessary and changed directions. They started a Day Center for stroke victims which evolved over time into the SOURCE program which advocates for and meets the needs of those with disabilities who wish to remain independent. Hearing all of this from Hunter, who spoke so passionately, and relating it to the foundation of the Sisters of Mercy made me feel very comfortable about being in the right place with the right people. Hunter and I talked about some of my concerns, that I was afraid that I was just sitting around and talking with people and not doing anything constructive for them, that I was still working on even establishing goals for people. I guess that I wasn't doing enough. He told me a story which ended with the line, it's not about doing but about being. Just being with these people and authentically caring is what many of them need the most. He told me that it is very tempting to turn me into another case manager while I'm here. SOURCE is under-resourced and under-staffed, but he sees a lot of value in my position as someone who has the time to just be with these people. The people I see have been nominated for the program by their case managers as people who would benefit most from having another person around who isn't being paid to see them. Hunter made it clear he doesn't want me to be a case manager, but to just be present to these people and the rest will follow. I can't explain how much that conversation put me at ease in a number of ways. I was comforted to know that my worries about "not really having done anything" were unfounded. I was comforted to know that a man like Hunter is in charge. I was comforted to know my position has value, and that he was already hearing really good things about me.

Apart from work, I've been able to spend quite a bit of time with my buddy Patrick from Notre Dame who is teaching here in Savannah. We, along with some of our housemates, went to a Savannah Sand Gnats single A baseball game Friday night. We got free tickets and got to see the Gnats pull out a victory in the 12th inning! The highlight however had to be when Pat and I were picked to have a giant-glove boxing match on the field between innings

So I think I'm going to go enjoy the rest of my day off, we're going over to the house of someone who Carla works with for dinner and then out on her boat this evening!

I miss you all and hope everything is going well with you!

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