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Why Am I Here? **Unfunny Alert**

This post started with small expectations, but turned into a mini reflection on aspects of my life and how they follow up to where I am right now. Before this blog, I had not written in years...I don't recall ever having a journal. So I've suddenly found myself wanting to get things off my chest...funny/sad, good/bad. So read on, and I promise, there is poker content...you just have to give it some time. As mentioned above, this is an unfunny post, however that alert certainly does not qualify all my other posts as funny. I'm no comedian, nor am I a Rocket Surgeon. There I feel better now...

For as long as I can remember, I've had that extra something in my life that has made me happy. I don't mean God, family, friends, pets, or significant others...they are the most important things in my life...nuff said. I mean that addition to your life that changes things from the norm like a hobby, activity, or interesting job. Over time, as I've changed, that extra something has changed as well.

As a child, during the summer, my happiness revolved around the pool. I would wake up, go to the pool, and spend the entire day there. It was like a dream to me. Looking back, I'm amazed I didn't get hurt with all the crazy games we played. My parents were very trusting of me...not sure what they were thinking. But I was a good swimmer...not starting on the swim team good...just good. In the winter, my happiness was in video games. If I wasn't in school, I was playing a video game of some sorts. And I was good at them...not going to some national video gaming convention good...just good.

During middle school (6th - 8th grade) my happy place was on the basketball court or baseball field. As I made the move towards high school I - in what felt like a weekend - grew to over 6'1'. This made basketball a more viable option for me and certainly didn't hurt my game one bit. I was good at basketball...not starting on the high school team good...just starting on the church team good.

In college my happy place was at the University gym. I worked and played there. For work, I spent my time either supervising the weight room or the front desk. For play, I spent my time on the basketball or racquetball courts or lifted weights. I grew to love racquetball...and I was good...not professionnal good...but intramural champ good. During my senior year in college I landed an internship with the New York Yankees Single A affilliate, Greensboro Bats. As I progressed from student to alum, that internship blossomed into a full time job as the Operations Manager of the Bats. Suddenly, my happy place became my job. I loved baseball and couldn't believe I was getting paid - albeit small change at the time - to work at and spend time in a baseball stadium. And I was good at my job...yeah...I was good. The toughest thing that I had to deal with around this time was fully tearing both my ACL and MCL. I went from playing any and every sport I could, to feeling helpless.

As I fast track this post through that point to current day...approximately 7 years...I'm starting to realize a lot has happened to me. In that time, I met the most incredible girl and, to my amazement, married her in 1999. She is a dream to me and sometimes I have to remind myself (and her) how lucky I am. Around the same time of our marriage, I started a new career in the Financial Services industry. 2004 marked a 5 year anniversary for my marriage and job...both of which I'm very proud of (yes honey, I'm much more proud of our marriage). Along the way my wife and I managed to have and raise Jaxon (or as I call him, Boy) who is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. He is now 4 and is the friggin man. If you haven't noticed, my handle here and online when playing poker is TripJax...he's my boy so I had to represent. Now we are set to have baby #2, a girl, in April. She will no doubt be the next greatest thing to happen to me.

Somewhere along the way though - from my childhood to now - I found that something was missing. I was extremely happy with my family, friends, and life in general, but I was missing that extra thing that brought happiness to my life. I didn't know what it was or how it went missing, but I knew something wasn't 100% right. In reflection I now know what was missing...actively being a part of sports and games. Friends and family may beg to differ with all the sports I watch on T.V., but that's not what I'm talking about. Being in the game and having the rush is what I missed.

Which brings me to some poker content damnit!

In 2002 I saw the WSOP in which Robert Varkony, a 1st time tournament player who won a super satellite, won the main event. At that time in my life I had played numerous dealers choice home games, but never an organized tournament. The 2002 WSOP was what started it all for me. I remember thinking the first time I turned the channel to the show, that based on the poor production and horribly dressed players, it had to be a show from the late 80's or early 90's. I couldn't believe it when they flashed on the screen 2002 WSOP. Regardless, I was excited to watch the action of each hand and amazed at the real dollar stakes involved. Yeah...I was hooked. Unknowingly, this was the first time I got to experience the oddity that is Phil Hellmuth Jr. I remember thinking that no matter what was happening in the tourney, he found a way to make it about him. Even though he had already been knocked out. If you have not seen it keep a look out on ESPN Classic as they show it there on occasion.

Soon after my work buddies and I were playing tourneys about once a month...ususally $5 or $10 stakes. Then they became every couple of weeks...usually $20 stakes. Over the last couple of years they have progressed to cash games and tourneys almost any day of the week...stakes anywhere from $25NL cash games to $50 - $100 buy-in tourneys. Needless to say, I never have to worry about playing, even with it being illegal in N.C. I do however span my play out so I'm not playing too much, thus not missing out on the rest of life as we know it. In other words, it's rare that I will play live 2 times a week. Usually once during the week and then a little online whenever I have the time. Along the way - more than anyone I know - I feel I've worked the hardest to grow my game and become a better player. But I do it because I truly enjoy it. I'm sure I bug some of my close friends when talking poker, though I've tried as of late to keep my poker conversations to a minimum. Not everybody is as enthusiastic for the game as me...no doubt.

So now, after all this set up, I get to the question at hand...Why Am I Here? Right here, right now...writing this blog and doing what I do as it relates to poker. And now I know, it's because this is my happy place. I know that sounds cheesy, but it's true. This is where I come to write about something that interests me. And more importantly, I'm doing something I did not think I could do. I'm writing about my life. I'm writing about something that I enjoy. And I'm writing something that might just make it to someone elses monitor...and maybe...just maybe...they will agree. And if not, at least they had a chance to decide for themselves.

I've read a little bit recently - at a few of the poker blogs - about the growing number of poker blogs out there and the questionable reasons for their entry into the community. Though I did not write this post on that situation, I think my question Why Am I Here? inadvertently follows that path. I'm here because I want to be. I'm here because it's right for me, and if people choose to read my words, then it's right for them too. The first time I read HDouble, I was happy. And the day he wrote in his blog that the words on one of my posts made his day, he in return, made my day. And the day I found out Iggy had linked me on his site, I was happy. A few days ago, when I read his blog and found out one of his friends had passed away, I was profoundly sad. I think it may have been that post that prompted me to write this post. I guess I needed to understand why this whole thing is important to me and why other peoples words were having an affect on me. As I mentioned, my closest friends know that I love the game and that this is just another outlet for me to express my feelings on whatever I choose. I guess I just needed to write it out to understand it myself.

So here I am. I'm writing about and playing poker...I'm not a professional nor do I profess to be...I'm just good at being myself and playing my game. When it's good it's good, and when it's bad I deal with it. But more importantly I understand now, I needed that extra something, and it turns out poker is that extra something...and the words that hit this page....they are my happy place.

posted by TripJax @ 4:09 PM,

14 Comments:

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