I came back to school to start my fourth semester at Ball State. I arrived to find a new roommate, Steve, who turned out to be a jerk who smoked, played Madden whenever I wanted to watch TV, and may or may not have stolen my two most expensive textbooks. I spent the whole month cheering on Carolina, who made it to the NFC title game before being stomped by the Seahawks.
Me and Eric started our sports show on WCRD, which springboarded me into the radio business full-bore. I helped Michelle (who at the time I was still in love with) pick out a birthday gift for her boyfriend, which was pretty depressing. I made a “Valentine’s Day Sucks” picture my Facebook picture for one day. I switched roommates when a guy across the hall – also named Andy – decided he hated his roommate and switched with pot-smoking Steve, who Brooks and I decided was a crack dealer. Turned out, he was possibly even more annoying than Steve was. I put together a complete archive of my Daily News columns, which I still update. I watched ND basketball become the single unluckiest team ever to play sports.
I enjoyed spring break. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the last time I would be spending the night at “the crib”. We went to ESPN Zone in Chicago on a whim to watch Duke-UNC and had a great time. I almost dated Joy, but decided against it at the last minute. I won every March Madness pool I was in thanks to my pick of UCLA to make the finals panning out. ND lost on a last-second wild fadeaway three in the 2nd round of the NIT in what has to be the most fitting ending to any season in sports history.
My roommate decided to have a girl friend of his over every single night for the entire month, which just about drove me out of my mind. Despite the fact that they were sleeping in the same bed every night in that time, they never ended up actually dating. I went to my grandparents’ for Easter. I was really depressed about my life, and about girls, all month. I overslept and missed a softball doubleheader that I was supposed to do for the radio, which probably helped screw me out of some spots I wanted for the next year on WCRD. I woke up next to a girl one morning. (Not even kidding – she stumbled into my room drunk and ended up on my bed because she was looking for her own room and got lost.) The Bulls made the playoffs and I loved every minute of it. Derrek Lee broke his wrist, and I tried and failed to re-evaluate my Cubs fandom. Eric and I won WCRD Sports Show of the Year despite only being on the air for three months.
I finally went home after the worst semester to date of my life. I tried to ask myself if I really wanted romantic love from a girl right now or not. Then just a couple of days later, I had my first kiss. While drunk, at a party, with another drunk girl. The one way I didn’t want it to happen, did. I joined Mark’s church softball league again. I had all kinds of issues with my FAFSA.
Brooks moved back home, hence not staying at the crib anymore. We hardly saw each other at all anyway. Ball State baseball beat Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but lost their next two to get knocked out. Superman came out, and while decent, fell short of expectations. I went to ESPN Zone and a Cubs game just because I could. My dad refused to foot the bill for an extra 50 bucks a month so that me and Nate could live in the apartment by ourselves and avoid getting some stoner in the apartment, which would become hilariously ironic in the next few months. I worked box office at the theater for the first time, but since the box manager doesn’t like me, he used his job to screw me over.
The Bulls signed Ben Wallace while I was at a 4th of July party where the ND offensive coordinator just happened to also be. I started playing Literati with Lafree, and it’d take a while for me to get anywhere in beating him. Brooks continued to leave Xanga comments decrying my girl-centric entries, which was another thing that would become ironic in the later months. I discovered Crunchwrap Supremes from Taco Bell after previously only buying Double Decker Tacos. I bought NCAA Football 2007. I wrote a strangely deep entry. I got a long-overdue raise at work and a glowing evaluation that made me smile for a short time. I got ever more pissed off at work about Adam.
Cubs Trip III – the only thing that happened all summer that I actually liked – commenced. We learned about the phenomenon of “Bibling” people, illegally drove on the shoulder of the road during a traffic jam for a couple of miles, met Mullet Man, argued with a fellow Cubs fan on the merits of Glendon Rusch (you can guess which side we were on), went on a two-night excursion to get ‘chicks’ without any success, accidentally stumbled into Chicago’s “Queer Alley”, tried to talk our way into a porn shop despite none of us being 21 yet, watched a group of people play softball including a giant first baseman girl that we dubbed “Truck”, and made truckers honk on the way home. I finally got a cell phone from Verizon. I joined the Ball State Sports Hour of Power, another radio show. I also got the high school football color man job, which while not useful to getting a future job, was the most fun thing I’ve done yet in broadcasting. I also managed to piss off a fellow WCRD member, which is always a brilliant career move. I got a big financial aid refund to help me pay for things in the fall semester. I had my first live, in-person fantasy football draft and saw a drunk guy make all kinds of hilarious racist comments. I went to Ohio to celebrate my great-grandmother’s 90th birthday with family. I found out that I can’t get tired of little kids, no matter how annoying or crazy they act. I pumped myself up for the most important ND football season since I began seriously following them. I realized that I’m constantly the third/fourth/fifth wheel in a group.
I got progressively more excited about ND, until they crashed and burned against Michigan. I liked a certain girl for a short time. I made a catastrophically bad pick of Carolina over KC in the Super Bowl. I pondered why college students can’t get excited about anything, but went nuts about the Facebook News Feed (which I happen to like). I kicked ass on the CSL anchor tryouts but didn’t get a slot anyway, prompting me to re-evaluate, again, what I want to do with my life. I got more into Ball State sports than I ever have before. The Panthers got off to a crappy start. The bike my dad brought down for me to use to get to late-night and Sunday WCRD events broke on its 2nd use, nearly pushing me over the edge. The WCRD tension between employees and management resulted in a weird meeting where we were asked to voice any concerns we had. I went nuts after the most impossible comeback in ND history against MSU. Ellen (yep, her, not me) came up with the idea to hang out once a week, which gave me a bright beacon of happiness to look forward to no matter how crappy the rest of my week was going.
I wondered why I don’t know the magic words to comfort my friends when they’re having a crummy time. My friend Shawna told me she was “boggled” that I’d never had a girlfriend (join the club). I took a picture of myself hugging Ellen that still brings a grin to my face if I need one. I compiled the complete list of all the ND football games I’ve attended live in my life. My friend Kavya died of a heart condition, and once again I found myself mourning the loss of a fellow Spell Bowl player. I celebrated my leaving the teens, and in the process realized I was over Michelle. Unfortunately, I also realized that I’m falling for another girl I’ll never have. I went and had Jimmy John’s with Cassie, and realized that we should’ve been hanging out much more than we have been over the last year or so.
I watched the most uproariously amazing movie ever (Borat). I went to lunch with Michelle and really missed her afterwards. I went to the 2nd-most amazing athletic event I’ve ever witnessed, as my little Ball State Cardinals nearly shocked the college football universe by almost bringing down mighty Michigan. I realized I “just want more”. My Xanga postings nearly dried up completely as Myspace took up more and more of my blogging. I celebrated Thanksgiving in Kentucky, then went to Tennessee to watch my cousin play for Stanford against the Lady Vols. In the process I saw Candace Parker dunk. I went on a date and had a pretty darn good time, but so far nothing has come of it.
I was nearly destroyed by an assload of projects at the end of the semester. I found out my roommate’s going back to the dorms next year, but the added notice he gave me enabled me to make other plans that will be a pretty decent substitute. I got my 2nd kiss, from another drunk girl at another party, and vowed that this will never happen again, because I’m losing any excuse to call myself a nice guy when I go and do shit like that. I thought about the girl I want more and more and am honestly worried about myself over it. I went to another road Ball State event, this time seeing Butler destroy us with my incredible best friend Ellen. I pondered the possibility that I am way too girlish. I survived finals week. I made a schedule that will just about kill me on Mondays and, especially, Wednesdays.
It’s not over yet, but 2006 pretty well sucked for the most part.