Monday, April 14, 2008
I go back
Jack and Diane painted a picture of a life in my dreams,
Suddenly this crazy world made more sense to me. . .
In his song "I Go Back," Country artist Kenny Chesney alluded to the lyrics of John Mellencamp's hit "Jack and Diane." The song sheds light on what its like to grow up and live in a small town in the heartland. In Chesney's song, he reflects on several stages of his life and how every time he hears Mellencamp's song, he "goes back" to that lifestyle of long ago.
Whenever I am homesick or just flat out fed up with the big city that is Houston, TX; I find myself listening to the tunes of the Indiana born and raised Mellencamp. This past weekend I took it a step further when I travelled back to Indiana University for the 58th Running of the Little 500 bicycle race.
Unless you have experience Little 500 for yourself, there is really no way to describe the event and truly do it justice. Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong tried when he said "I've been to Super Bowls, World Series, and the Monaco Grand Prix, but the coolest thing I have seen was the Little 500- every sports fan should see it live."
I went back for a few reasons, but the main reason was because I had unfinished business on the track. I led a team of mostly rookies to a respectable finish of 15th. Three of those riders would return with a freshman that made all of the veterans look like school boys I was told. They needed my help on race day. I also had not seen most of my friends since August before I left for Houston.
My flight Thursday was scheduled to depart at 7:45pm and get me in B-town just the night scene was picking up around 11pm local time, but my flight was delayed three hours because of the nasty weather that had plagued most of the country all day. I didn't arrive in Indy until 1:30am which posed another problem because the car rental places had all closed. A fraternity brother arranged for a pledge to pick me up from the airport, I did not learn this until as I was walking down the tunnel and onto the airplane. When I finally arrived almost everyone was already in bed from a long afternoon and evening of drinking. I was still wired. My friend John and I had a few beers then we called in a night.
The next day I went over to the Sigma Nu-Beta Eta house. Everyone was excited to me my return for the World's Greatest College Weekend. After checking in with the bike team riders, I was off to the women's race pre-party my pledge brother's apartment who have a patio on there rooftop which made for the perfect party venue. For the second straight year, the pair of the men of Sigma Nu had claimed victory in the women's Little 500. Congratulations to the women of Delta Gamma. After the women's race, I had dinner with the Sigma Nu bike team then I was off for more partying in one of the country's most beautiful college towns. I caught up with an old friend that night on Kirkwood Ave, but all the bars we liked we too crowded so we went to a place neither one of us had been as actual students.
Soon enough it was time for the big show- the men's race. The SNU's started of strong and led the race at one point, but soon enough their lack of actual bicycle race experience showed. The cold weather, wind, and snow flurries did not help much either- especially when one of the stronger riders began to cramp. Thank God I had hand warmers. I think the overall fitness of the team could have been better, but as I have learned this past 365 days is that 365 days from now it won't really matter. What is important is that you did do it and did take on the challenge because there are so many IU students who don't.
After the race, I crashed the big IUSF party at Nick's English Hut and that is where I ran into most of my old friends. The IUSF is a big family at IU and I met some great people through my involvement with the race. Going back to IU this weekend was good for me in several way. First, I enjoyed seeing my friends. Second, I realized that my time at IU has passed. For the longest time I felt like I was the only one who graduated and left, and for some reason I thought this weekend would be just like old times. Yes, in some ways it was, but in most ways it wasn't. When you go to your favorite hangouts and don't recognized anyone- it's a sign. I'm thankful for my time at IU but it made me realize that it is indeed time to move on. I just hate the fact that it is so hard for me to get back if I wanted to go to a football or basketball game.
But every time I hear that song (Jack and Diane) ... I go back.