The joy of getting older means many things to me. Lately it has a lot to do with determining the meaning of why people come and go into our lives when they do. As a believer of the old adage that “People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime,” I’m always looking deeper for the meaning of what someone is bringing to my life. The older I get, the more I am realizing how important it is to have good solid people in my life.
To say my group of friends is eclectic is an understatement. I am fortunate to have an amazing group of people in my life, but they all are very different, and I love that about them. Some of my friends, like Kelly and John Paul, have known me since I was a rugrat wearing monogrammed sweaters and eating dirt. Some, like Whitney , Jodi, and Christine, were fortunate to skip those years. Others, like Em and Julie, share a sisterly bond with me due to being a part of the best sorority in the history of life. One started after a near throw down (love you, Lisa). And then there are the ones that began as a result of a sports rivalry…Krista and Erin, sorry, but the Bears are still cooler than the Rebels.
My friend Crystal is another who falls in the sports rivalry category. If you would’ve told me back in 99 that I would still be pals with a South Range Raider, I would’ve probably laughed in your face. Back in high school, sports were my thing. I lived for the competition, and I hated to lose (newsflash: I still hate it). My alma mater, Leetonia High School, was a tiny school in the then Tri County League. We had our rivalries….some of us still refer to the Clippers as Coconuts while some of us don’t even flinch when we, the Bears, get called Meatballs. However, one rivalry always sparked fury in me….the one we got to encounter once a season when we played one of the top schools in the ICL…South Range. They were a much larger school district and played tougher schools, yet when we got together it was always a toss up as to who would win. Somehow, we were evenly matched and our games would be packed.
My senior year the fun really started. Crystal was a freshman at South Range, and she was the person I got to go head to head with during our games. We both were strong/middle hitters and were also both the big men under the hoop. Due to some mutual friends introducing us a few years back, we knew who each other was, which made the match ups even more exciting. Some of my favorite moments in my athletic career came during those match ups…the fans were intense, the games always close, and the smack talking always present ( in a friendly and courteous manner, of course!)
Fortunately, our friendship continued out of the gym and into our adult life. I attribute our friendship to our sarcastic and snarky attitudes. We always have such a blast when we are together (most of that has to do with us being inappropriate and obnoxious), but I know she always has my back, and I always have hers. She also lives in a nearby town, and that makes me extremely happy.
Nowadays, my favorite time during the week is Wednesday night. That’s when Crystal and I play in our fours sand volleyball league. Our team name, The Sandwitches, is beyond fitting for us. Yes, it is fun to be able to drink beer and play volleyball in the sand while cussing like a sailor, but there is a part of it that takes me back to high school and the fun we had. We are both still super competitive and both still sore losers. This may not be the best combo, but oh well. We wouldn’t be the sandwitches if we were all rainbows, kittens, and sunshine all the time…..
There is no doubt that when it comes to the “reason, season, or lifetime” question that Crystal will be around for a lifetime. In fact, I’m confident that our condos will be right next to each other in the afterlife. She just won’t be allowed to play any Selena Gomez music since apparently she likes it now…..
Love my friend, love sand volleyball, and love that the Bears are still better than the Raiders.