My Story Sept 11, 2016 10:39:44 GMT -8
Post by Nevadanut on Sept 11, 2016 10:39:44 GMT -8
The night I registered for this site, I did it as a prompt from my best friend, Jessica (Yeseeka ), who is a huge fan of the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers were playing the Brooklyn Nets and were missing four out of five of their big men. LaMarcus Aldridge, Meyers Leonard, Joel Freeland and Thomas Robinson were injured. It was going to be up to Robin Lopez, whom Angi (DiamondThief ) predicted would play over 40 minutes. This was a Friday night and most of the regular group who followed Blazers threads had dates or other commitments. Well, Robin Lopez played only about 20 minutes in the game and the Blazers won by 40 points. Certainly, It was the fact that I had joined the site that night and was commenting in the thread which allowed the Blazers to win.
As Jessi's college roommate, I had heard her listen to Blazers games. I always thought it was great that she had such pride in a team from her home town. She proclaims not to be much of a sports fan, but she has her moments. She and I attended several Cal football games and basketball games. We even checked out some track and field on a couple weekends when trying to find something to do to avoid some boredom.
I've never really had a hobby. I mean, outside of music. There never was anything which really caught my interest. That is, until I registered here.
I can't believe I've been on this site for two-and-a-half years. The work done here by Angi, Kasey, Julie, David and all the others here is outstanding. Everyone here is part-time. Everyone here have jobs and other interests. Myself included. This is a very cozy community.
A while ago, I asked Kassandra (Kasey ) if I could post some things and maybe host a thread. She ecstatically said yes. She loved the idea of involving her sister's best friend in the site. I even learned at that point that Julie (SurferGirl ) became a member of this site in a similar manner. What is it with these girls?!
I've loved bringing the score updates on Portland Steel and Spokane Empire games this summer and I plan to help out quite a bit on college football. The best thing about following one team while you're submitting the score updates in a thread is that you learn a lot about the team and its players. You even learn quite a bit about opponents that a team you cover faces multiple times during a season. That, for me, is what makes following these teams special and exciting.
David has done an incredible job at bringing us the Spokane Empire (and formerly the Shock). His previews, reports and interviews have really opened up the team to us. With the media access the Empire granted us, David brought us the most comprehensive coverage of the Intense Conference Championship game (aside from the organization itself). He brought us interviews with players, coaches and the general manager of the Empire, Ryan Eucker. This site has become friends with a professional football team. To me, that is exciting. I've never been a part of anything like this before.
Last week, I was even able to have a wonderful twitter conversation with my favorite professional athlete, Empire running back Trevor Kennedy. He and the Empire have been gracious to us in their retweets on twitter and availability of information. I feel for Trevor, the IFL rookie of the Year, as he goes through his rehab after breaking his leg late in the season. He is upbeat and positive. I think the thing I most appreciate is that he is spending his off-season in Spokane. I salute loyalty and commitment. I also feel I have a friendship with Trevor who, by the way, credits his mother for being the person he is. She has done an amazing job at raising a courteous and respectful son.
I stated on twitter recently: "I love my life." I think that says it all.
I have not always thought that. I have not always felt that
I've been toying with writing this for quite a while. Angi has tried to prompt me. Kasey has said I should do it. My best friend, Jessi, told me that when I am ready to tell this, I should. My favorite professional football player said I should write this.
I have decided to do so. I will start in the third person.
Heidi was born in a hotel room outside of Sparks, Nevada in September 1993. Her parents were teenagers and both drug addicts. This much she knew even at her young age. Her father passed away of an overdose when she was 2. Her mother was arrested on a third strike when she was 3. The mother has been incarcerated since 1997.
The child, not having any reachable family, became a ward of the state of Nevada. She was placed in an orphanage and shuttled through foster home after foster home. Seventeen foster homes in total. One was for a couple of days and one lasted nearly two years. There was no stability and always a packed bag or two. There were no pictures taped to the wall. There were no pictures at all. All that she had was couple pieces of luggage.
Heidi grew up angry. Very angry. She always questioned to herself why no one wanted her. That question boiled within her. She was sent "home" multiple times from elementary school for fighting. She felt ashamed. She justified it -- and to this day justifies it in a way -- as bullying the bullies. She felt a feeling of despair and had lost hope in anyone accepting her.
She decided that since no one wanted her, she would keep lashing out. She simply didn't care. The one rule seemed to be that she would not hurt those who were being hurt. That made her justify it. The fights were a part of why there were so many moves and the need to live out of those couple pieces of luggage.
She hated her elementary school years. Her outbursts prevented her from having a long-term family situation. She spent the bulk of her elementary years feeling sad, angry and hopeless.
A little after the school started when Heidi had just turned 10, she moped home from school to her newest foster home, where she had lived since the previous June. She walked to and from school. It was about 14 blocks. Probably about a mile or so.
She walked past a Christian church one day and stopped. There was some music coming from inside. It was faint, but she stopped and listened. It was beautiful. She was almost perplexed to find joy in something. The next day when she walked past, she stopped again in the same spot. She stood there for 10 minutes at least. A church secretary came to the sidewalk and invited her in. Heidi said "No, I don't think I am allowed." She thought only families dressed in their "Sunday best" went into a church. The next day, the basic identical exchange took place. The following day (the fourth), the church secretary once again came out to invite the girl in to listen to the music.
Against what she thought she was allowed to do -- her own perception at the time -- she went into the church and listened to them practice. She went in the next day, the next and so forth. Heidi became a mainstay and loved it. She also began attending Sunday morning sermons. Her life and outlook were beginning to change.
Heidi stopped being angry all of the time. She became, for all intents and purposes, content. She never thought she could feel that way. However, she had to still accept the fact she was an orphan without a permanent home.
She spent a year, almost every day, listening to a violinist named Tiffany and learned to love the instrument. Thanks to the girl to which she was listening, she was invited to learn to play the violin. There is a commitment that musicians need to make in order to become successful. She was nervous about whether her foster parents would let her. She was willing to make that commitment. That same secretary who found her outside the church accompanied her home to ask them. There was no hesitation. They actually seemed to liked the idea. With that, the girl not only learned to play the violin, but excelled in it. She took great pride in that. The girl who thought she would never be good at anything, was becoming good at something. She played in that church's youth band, borrowing an instrument to play each time.
The congregation was encouraging. The members provided huge support. It was Christmas 2005 when she received her first true Christmas present ever. It was a new violin. Her very own. She did not have to borrow an instrument any longer. Thanks to the congregation and the generosity of the church members, she was given the best gift she could have imagined. She had her own instrument. Already having learned how to play, Heidi owned her own violin could play at home. She would find out years later that the money for the instrument had come from the proceeds of a bake sale.
The following September would come with a daunting change. Junior high school. Heidi was nervous about school, and even more nervous about auditioning for the school's band. Nerves did not stop her and not only did she audition, she earned a spot in the violin group. While still working with Tiffany, her violin mentor, she also played for two years in the band for her school.
Two years later, it was time for high school. It was much of the same routine, but there was now a glitch. Her new foster home was in Reno, next to Sparks, but further away from her church. As inconsistent as her living situation was, she had found consistency in her routine when it came to her faith and commitment to her church. She started high school and took a city bus across town on afternoons. She auditioned for the high school's orchestra, now with over three years of playing the violin under her belt. The audition was successful and she would go on to play in the orchestra all four years. Fortunately, despite living in five different homes around the Sparks-Reno area, she was allowed to attend the same high school all four years.
Through all this, something was changing. The anger was gone and in its place was an emerging self-confidence. She also began to see the lighter side of serious issues. She had friends, but not close friendships. She routinely found the fun side of things. She learned to laugh at even the smallest, goofiest things.
Following her junior year of high school, a pastor at her church approached her after service on Sunday. He asked if she had thought of college. The girl had, but she had no idea how to approach applying for acceptance, scholarships and financial aid. The pastor's wife was an accountant and volunteered to help with the respective applications. Heidi researched the schools in which she was interested and narrowed the list to six. Her high school grades were good and she had her orchestra commitment as a major extracurricular. She was accepted at five of the six colleges, including one in her home town. However, there was another where she had dreamed of going.
"She was going to college! This was something she had
thought was an impossibility a decade earlier."
thought was an impossibility a decade earlier."
Financial aid, along with a grant, ensured that college would be paid for. In November of her senior year, she received a letter that she felt was a life changer. The music department her preferred school had offered her a partial scholarship should she be able to win an audition to the school's orchestra. With that, and with new confidence and determination, the girl made her college commitment to Cal.
That, of course, would mean that she would be alone, far away from everything she had ever known which was substantial. Over the course of her life to that point, she had laid the groundwork. It was time for a complete fresh start. Nerves were non-existent. What she had was an overabundance of excitement. As part of her financial aid, she would be paid for 16 hours a week for doing work study. This meant she would have a few dollars in her pocket for groceries, sodas and even pizza.
Something donned on her as she was being dropped off at school for her freshman year. Her violin mentor had that duty. She was going to college! This was something she had thought was an impossibility a decade earlier. It also astounded her that she was starting college at an older age than either of her parents were when she was born.
Auditions were held early on in the school year. She was named a finalist for the violin group after her first audition. Then, a week later, she was informed that she had made it. Not only would she be a member of the orchestra, she would be awarded with a partial scholarship. This would decrease her college loan for the year by over 60 percent. A burden had been lifted as she had already been worried about how she would pay for school. Her freshman roommate was nice, but there was never a close friendship. It was more like they were co-workers who happened to live in the same dorm room. The girl decided that, in addition to music, she would make English her minor.
A little over two weeks into orchestra rehearsals, The conductor was joking about a movie during a break. Everyone was laughing when he made one more comment with an inquisitive look. Everything became quiet for a moment. The silence was broken by a "dun dun dunnnn" coming from a freshman pianist on the other side of the orchestra. Without even thinking, Heidi did something which would turn out to change her life forever. She repeated the "dun dun dunnnn" on her violin. The pianist broke into laughter and so did Heidi.
As she left the building, she caught up with the pianist.
"That was hilarious!" she said as the other girl laughed. "By the way, I'm Heidi from Nevada."
The pianist responded. "Hi Heidi. I'm Jessica from Oregon."
They talked for a short while before deciding to grab a soda. They would go on to talk every day and become best friends. They then would go on to become dorm mates for the following three years. Jessica had a brother and sister-in-law in nearby San Francisco, and her older sister was attending Stanford, about an hour drive away from Berkeley. There would often be get-togethers at her brother's house with all of them, as well as Jessica's sister's best friend at Stanford, Julie. The two girls share a goofy sense of humor and commitment to doing what it right.
College breezed by. The summer between their junior and senior years, Jessica invited Heidi to stay with her family in Portland. She also spent Christmases there, at Jessica's insistence, during their junior and senior years. Heidi also worked in a pizza restaurant a few nights a week during her last two years in college.
Soon enough, college graduation came upon them. Heidi had her major in music (on full scholarship her final three years) and minor in English. She assumed she would move back to the Sparks area and try to earn a teaching certificate to teach music, English or both. Her best friend had another idea. Jessica's family had already decided to invite Heidi to live with them. Not only that, but she would have a job at the family business and there would be one more surprise; her graduation present from her best friend.
Suddenly, Heidi had a future, a home and that gift from her best friend and her family. She had something she didn't know if she would ever have, a car.
She thinks back every day to the little girl she was; her background, per parents and her life. The recollection is of amazement, commitment and determination. She feels strong at how far she has come.
I am thankful every day for my life. The chance to go to college and start my life completely new has been such an amazing series of events. I feel as if there is nothing I cannot do. I've gone from a feeling of despair and anger, to hope, confidence and optimism. Being free of that anger and hopelessness has been vital to surviving and thriving. I have had a lot of help along the way. I have nothing but graciousness to those at my church back in Sparks, my teachers and professors, and to Jessi and her family. To them, I have an abundance of love and respect.
"I've gone from a feeling of despair and anger, to hope, confidence and optimism."
Still though, my mind wanders back to the past and how things might have turned out. Regarding my birth mother, while I believe in the concept of forgiveness, I don't think I have the strength to muster that for someone who risked the consequences knowing that she had a young, wide-eyed little girl at home. From all accounts I've gathered, she was selfish like that. I also think about what could have been with my father. I've been informed by those who knew him that he was kind and gentle, albeit impressionable and wishing to be a part of the group. I wonder how I would have turned out with a father like that. I wonder if quite often, in fact. Truthfully, I probably have an over-romanticized regard in that area.
While in college with Jessi, we each worked on our own writing of music (some for class and some on our own). Occasionally, we would collaborate in our little dorm room. Some, when we were mostly goofing off, sounded horribly. Others, when we respectively centralized our efforts, it was beautiful. in late 2013 and early 2014, I began writing in earnest about those things deep down in my heart and soul. Many of these I submitted as projects of my coursework with the end result of earning my major in music. A handful, save for Jessi, no one has ever heard before.
Toward the beginning of 2014, I began writing a two-part series for performance on my violin. Part One is a beginning and wonderment. Part Two is the conclusion and realization of reality. I have titled them Father I and Father II. Jessi did me the great honor by providing the piano accompaniment for both. Via my account on Spreaker, each can be heard by clicking the links below:
This is who I have become. I'm not perfect. I'll never will be nor would I want to be. It's not necessarily fun to make mistakes, but I love making them. It allows me to learn and get better. I will always try to be better today than I was yesterday, and better tomorrow than I was today.
Being able to contribute on this site and show this side of my personality is important to me. I've learned so much about sports from people on this site and those we cover on this site. It has been a tremendous rush.
I feel blessed to have friends in several walks of life, and things which interest me in a constructive, amazing and humorous sort of way. I can't tell you all enough how happy I am to be here.
This is the debut of According to Heidi on SCtoC. She is an Assistant Coach on this site and a recent college graduate with a B.A. in Music and a Minor in English. She now lives and works in Portland, Oregon.
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