3 days. That’s all it took me to break my promise that I would be blogging every day. Of course, at least that was one day longer than it took for everyone to realize I have no clue what I’m talking about after last night’s absurdly wrong preview of the Temple/Duke game.
However, my girlfriend has been enduring pain in her kidney region, dizziness, and nausea for about two weeks, and after not being able to see her primary physician this morning, a trip to the ER was in order. 7 hours later, we went home drained with no real answers. Now some of you may ask how I could manage to write three posts on a day when I was working a double, yet couldn’t manage one on a day when I sat around a hospital for 7 hours. Well if I have to explain to you that writing a blog in between serving martinis is ambitious, while attempting to write a sports blog next to your girlfriend writhing in pain is unwise, then you might be single a while longer.
Anyway, I saw quite a bit during those 7 hours (I keep repeating it so you feel my pain) that made me realize how lucky we (my girlfriend and I) are. Yes, we were there all day and we were miserable. But at least we had each other and at least our health problems (fortunately) are of the relatively mild variety. There were many patients there in much greater pain, and perhaps more importantly, alone. There was one woman enduring shortness of breath and chest pains that was sobbing, not out of pain, but because she was afraid to die, with no one by her side. Another woman was brought in by EMTs; she had been found lying by a bar in her own excrement, though not drunk. She couldn’t answer who she was, where she lived, and even gave three different answers when asked her date of birth. She was filed as Jane Doe and carted away as I wondered how people reached that point in life. This is not a post meant to depress or preach, but simply to convey how appreciative I am that everyone I love is relatively healthy and happy: my girlfriend (despite recent minor issues), my daughter, my mother…..and my brother.
For anyone who actually visited this blog before its most current version, you may have noticed there is NO mention of the fact that I even have a brother. I changed the bio page so he was not listed in the opening sentence and any photos of us were replaced with ones omitting him. See, my brother and I haven’t spoken since August. Without going into too much detail, my girlfriend presents an uncomfortable dilemma for him, one that I admittedly understand to SOME degree. Upon my reuniting with her in August, I decided I would not attend his housewarming party if she was not welcome. This decision was not personal; it was merely my statement that said “While I understand your dilemma, you need to accept the situation as it is- if not, then I can’t exclude her from important events to ease your comfort level”. I put my foot down to some degree, seeing how he would respond. My girlfriend and I went to the shore for Labor Day weekend. My brother certainly responded – he removed me from his Facebook without a word and when questioned, told me he didn’t want anything to do with me anymore. And here we sit.
Tonight, after running from the hospital to my daughter’s basketball practice to dinner with her and my mother, I decided to catch up on Twitter. While skimming through my timeline, I found that Sixers CEO Adam Aron had answered a few fans, even telling a few that he would stop by their seats to greet them at tomorrow’s home opener. One of his stops tomorrow will apparently be at the seats of @Negron1107 and his wife – my brother. After the long irritating day I had, I responded immaturely; I’d been trying to get a response from the new Sixers owner for weeks, as well as drum up followers to boost the blog audience. I noticed another tweet by my brother telling someone “the upper bowl is louder than the lower bowl” at Sixers games. I fired off a snarky tweet asking why he didn’t sit there anymore with the hash tags #sellout, #whipped, and #forgothisroots.
After acting like a child, I scrolled further down my brother’s tweet list… And saw this directed at a Sixers fan page: “if there’s anyway you could promote my brother’s blog, diehard Sixers fan. Willnegron.wordpress.com Go 6ers!”. I’m not often speechless. I sat stunned at a packed Applebee’s unable to move, let alone speak.
I love my brother. Unconditionally. But throughout our lives, whenever we had butted heads, I had always been the one to fix it; to apologize, to kill the beef. Hey, I’m the older brother, so in many ways, it was rightfully on me to do so. And truthfully, our spat now is not about who’s dating who, who offended who by not going to an important family function, or anything so absurdly superficial. The truth is we have had a disconnect ever since the accidental death of our father 5 years ago. My brother and my father were tight; my father and I were constantly at odds. Somewhere along the way since then, my brother decided, subconsciously or not, that he was going to replace Dad by emulating him – he grew up a lot, got a good paying job where he works long hours overnight, stopped going out, got married, bought a home….and looks down at my inability to live the “right way” with disapproval and detachment.
Look, I know I haven’t tread the most common path, and I’ve messed up more than I haven’t. But I don’t need my brother to tell me that – it’s all in the bio. It’s just a shame that he isn’t. Because as I saw in the hospital today, when we grow old, start to break down, the people that will stand by us in the emergency room are fewer and farther between.
I miss my brother. I do. Not only is he going to the Sixers opener tomorrow, and apparently meeting the owner, but he named his mastiff puppy Sixer and decked out his new basement in Sixer memorabilia. He got that Sixers obsession from me – for many of those Sixers playoff games I never missed, he was my partner in crime, my shoulder to lean on in disappointment, and my favorite person to jump into and hug joyously after an unforgettable moment. I miss the old Eric, but I’d settle for the new one, because I, unlike him, accept his decisions on how he chooses to live his life, whether I agree with them or not. But I won’t fix this; I can’t. He’s not my little brother anymore. As his actions seem to scream out to the world, he’s all grown up. Well part of growing up is accepting responsibility, being man enough to apologize, to realize what’s important in life. If he doesn’t want a brother, that’s a decision he must, and seems willing, to live with.
I got a puppy recently myself, a pit bull named Bella. She jumps me excitedly whenever I walk in the door and follows me everywhere. Dogs are great; they love almost completely unconditionally. Once upon a time I would’ve thought brothers do the same.
Sorry for the day without sports everyone. Sorry about the long, perhaps too personal, post. But life is about more than sports, even for someone like me. Be back tomorrow with a vengeance.