Wednesday, August 20, 2008
So, I promised that I wouldn't really try to process all of this madness until I got an extended break, but something happened today that really made me reflect. Well, I may be getting too generic. A lot of small things have happened lately that correlated into some fresh perspective. Let me explain..
We had a much-needed, much-deserved day off in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, today. I took it as an opportunity to rest myself not only physically, but mentally. The strain of trying to put everything I have into this tour, on top of the scheduling conflicts that inevitably arise from doing a record while on the road, and not to mention the crazy press commitments, have left me, and all the idols, with an almost humorous non-distinct stare as we enter the home stretch of this tour. So, today I did little but stay in bed and walk around. I went with MJ and Chik to go see "Tropic Thunder". I give it 4/5 stars. Tom Cruise was the only part I didn't like about it. Don't know why...
After the movie, we went and grabbed dinner, and then split up upon returning to the hotel. I went out to the beach, and plopped down on a chair to watch the waves and the lightning in the distance. (Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Massive Nuisance Fay) All at once, it hit me full on what has happened to me this last year. I thought about Omaha, and my brother, Andrew, and the Green Mile, and the top 12 red carpet event, and the hotel, and the finale, and this tour. It really became apparent to me at that moment that the tour will be done in about a month, and we'll all, hopefully, go on to amazing careers and lives away from this "Idol Machine" and apart from one another. After a year with these guys, that thought looms ominous and scary.
I bring all this up to make this point: There were times from the beginning of college to the time that I made the show where I truly was unsure of what I was supposed to be doing. I've been a professional musician of some degree since I was 15, but could I ever really "make it"? This last year has allotted me a new inner peace, and I'm more thankful for that than anything else. It's nice to have the title of American Idol, and the privilege of making a major-label record, but more than all of those things, I want to say thank you for the support you guys have shown, but more importantly the understanding you guys have shown to my limitations as I try to meander through this very new lifestyle of actually being acknowledged for doing something I love. I'm giving everything I can to make sure that you guys feel as appreciated as you've made me feel over the last year. Here's to many more.
I'm glad he takes time out to write these entries to share with the fans. I really liked reading his pre-Idol blog entries; he's articulate, he punctuates, spells and capitalises properly, and I've always felt like he has interesting things to tell the world.
This latest blog entry is no exception. It's incredibly telling that he used the word "privilege" in regards to him putting out an album on a major record label. Despite struggling for a few years to make it as a musician, he doesn't feel entitled to anything. I find that kind of humility, lack of bitterness, lack of any sense of entitlement, so elusive sometimes, especially when it comes to my own personal life. More importantly, it's a huge relief to know that he, like everyone else, had doubts about the direction in which his life was heading, and despite that, he knew what he loved and he went after it.
You know, I admired David Cook for a lot of reasons: his musicality, his intelligence, the lyrics he wrote; but the one thing about him that truly touched me where it matters is how he had the courage to pursue his dreams. Increasingly I'm beginning to understand how important that is, to do what you want to do and not what you think you should do or what you're expected to do. We don't get a do-over button and when time is done messing with you, it's all over. The end.
Pretty humbling, isn't it?
On another note, I MUST write about the Greece/Argentina basketball match. It was so utterly heartbreaking, precisely because I was on Team Greece.
The entire match was so closely and tightly-fought that it was literally anyone's game throughout the whole thing. Greece started the first half leading Argentina by a few points, their biggest lead being five; then the second half started and Greece started committing about ten million turnovers, errors which turned out to be costly - and that's putting it mildly. Argentina then scored their biggest lead and the biggest lead by either team in the match, a whopping seven points (okay, it's not exactly whopping in the context of USA v Rest of the World matches, but for the Greece/Argentina match, it was A LOT). At that point I thought, Greece is fucked. There is no hope.
But I was so, so wrong. Greece fought damn hard for their right to lead again and a couple of three-pointers later, they tied the game! And so the rest of the match went: Argentina widened the gap by two points, Greece brought it back to a tie...until Ginobili, whom I usually liked but definitely not last night, scored a lay-up for Argentina with about FIFTY SECONDS TO GO, thereby bringing Argentina up to a FIVE-POINT LEAD.
Oh my freaking god I almost died I swear. Greece needed a couple of three's to win, and so when the ball was in play again they made a three-pointer, bringing the score to 78-80. Ginobili attempted a three and missed, Greece grabbed the rebound, and the clock was down to like, NINE SECONDS. They ran to the other side of the court and attempted a three-pointer with about FIVE SECONDS left in the game...AND MISSED. Argentina grabbed the rebound as if their lives depended on it (their lives did) and held on to it all the way until the buzzer sounded, signalling the end of the game.
Argentina 80, Greece 78.
TWO. FUCKING. POINTS. Tell me how I was supposed to not feel sad? If I were actually Greek, I'd be devastated.
But you know, simultaneously I'd feel damn proud of my team (that is, if I were Greek) for playing such a good game and putting up such a tough fight against Argentina, who won a gold medal in Athens. My brother thought it was a foregone conclusion that Argentina was gonna win, but the quality of basketball that Greece played ensured that it wasn't going to be an easy victory for Argentina. In fact, at so many points in the game Greece had a really chance of winning.
They came so close. It was all the turnovers in the second half that did them in. During the first half, the rate of turnovers was something like Argentina 9 and Greece 1. The two teams were pretty evenly-matched, but Argentina had Manu Ginobili. He scored three consecutive three-pointers in the first quarter that pretty much ensured that Greece wasn't going to lead by more than five, if they were going to lead at all. This other guy from Argentina, Delfino I think (I'm convinced he's gay; his eyebrows are fucking SCULPTED), also scored a lot of three-pointers and he was startlingly accurate from the corners.
At one point an Argentinian committed a foul against Greece's #14 who is built like the Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal but bigger, and much like O'Neal, he completely sucked at free throws. He bombed BOTH free throws which I'm sure will be haunting him for quite some time. Some Greek guy also apparently missed a dunk (MISSED A DUNK) which I missed 'cause I was busy watching the two guys that fell down at mid-court.
It pains me to think of what could have been. Greece was the only basketball team that I actually supported and now they're out of the competition. The teams/athletes I support in competitive sports NEVER win anything. It's utterly tragic.
Well, if anything, that match was the most exciting basketball match I've watched in the Olympics so far, and I think it will remain the most exciting. USA faces Argentina next which means Argentina will have to settle for a bronze (if they manage to defeat Australia. I'm predicting that Lithuania will beat Australia in the semi's and face USA in the finals), and the gold medal match is almost guaranteed to be, once again, unevenly-matched. I was monitoring the results of the USA/Australia match in class last night and the firs quarter actually ended in 25-24 to the USA. I got so excited that I spent the rest of the class glued to the live result page on the official website, but the third quarter saw the USA leading by more than twenty, as usual, so I didn't give a shit anymore.
I was half-hoping that Australia would pull a major - SHOCKING - upset and beat the USA, but alas, that was not to be. All hopes now lie with Argentina but I'm telling you now that it's not going to happen. Ginobili is amazing, but he's one Ginobili against the entire United States basketball team that consists of so many star and quality players that it won't even matter if Lebron James and Kobe Bryant both didn't play. Seriously. Having the two of them ensures the US of a twenty-point difference victory, but without them they still will obliterate the competition.
Bleah, how totally unexciting. I'm still going to watch the last few matches anyway.
Okay time for lunch!