Wednesday, May 13, 2020

45 Years Old: 45 Questions Answered (Part I)

I’m 45 today. Happy Birthday to me! I’m going to celebrate by publishing this blog post where I answer 45 questions asked by friends. This is part one since 45 questions in one blog post would be way too many, and I don’t actually have 45 questions to answer yet. So please send me an email or a message on Facebook or Twitter or even in the comments with a question or two. A blog post titled 45 Years Old: 19 Questions Answered sounds awful.

1. What is your greatest regret?

I honestly don’t really have anything major. I should have asked a girl or woman out when I was younger, but I guess I was scared about being rejected or sharing my feelings. I could have met the Pittsburgh Penguins at the airport when they won their first Stanley Cup or attended a Penn State football game once when I was in State College. Maybe the fact that I lived in San Diego and actually decided to leave? Even with that, I wouldn’t have had the life I have now if I stayed in Southern California. Oh, not a great regret, but I lived in San Diego for 2 years and never visited Mexico. Not sure how that was possible. You know, there is one thing. I had a best friend from before elementary school through high school, but we lost touch and it was likely my fault. It would be cool to reconnect with him again

2. What was the best birthday you ever had?

Probably my 13th birthday. I had my Bar Mitzvah the following day, so I got to have a huge party with my entire family and friends. And I became a man and heard lots of fountain pen jokes that I still don’t understand 32 years later.

3. Which professional sports hall of fame has the most dubious standards?

I really don't know how the NHL or NBA Hall of Fames operate, so my answer is the NFL. Except for 2020 where the NFL is having a centennial class, each year a 48-member selection committee picks 5 players for Hall of Fame enshrinement (not including old-time/senior nominees). One of the journalists on the committee argues his or her (I think there's only 1 woman on the committee, so it’s basically his) case why a player should get in. While someone like Troy Polamalu or Peyton Manning are locks to make the Hall of Fame, let’s say that a journalist isn’t prepared or a good speaker to try to convince the committee to elect Hines Ward or someone who may or may not make the Hall of Fame. There’s no public forum or indication of who votes for or against a certain player either. 48 people get to pick. Seems like there should be a better system.

4. What is a favorite place in Pittsburgh, for you?

Well, it can’t be The O anymore, so I’m giving two answers. The first is taking The Incline up to Mt. Washington and staring down at the city. I could just look out at the skyline and the rivers for hours. The second is PNC Park to watch a baseball game. Sure, you can say Bob Nutting is cheap and the Pirates are bad, but I still love going to baseball games and PNC Park is the one of the best place to see one. If you’re on the third base line, you can look at a different part of city skyline and the Allegheny River.

5. Ticked off that you were Government Man rather than Lil Abner?

I made my acting debut as Government Man in the Gene Kelly-award winning Woodland Hills High School production of the musical Lil' Abner. I am completely fine not earning the title role. The biggest reason is that I wasn’t (and still am not) a good singer. I made the musical cast because I did really well in my dancing audition, and I think they needed more guys. In the first rehearsal where I had to say my lines, one of my lines was "Cough, cough water cough" after drinking some moonshine or other awful-tasting product. Instead of acting like I was choking, I actually read out “cough, cough, water cough.” I did this again after the director stopped the scene. It was at that point that the director completely flipped out. Who knew that I was actually supposed to act like I was choking in the first rehearsal? I was just saying my line. There are actually videos of my performance (but not my cough cough water cough line) here.

6. Who let the dogs out?

It was the Baja Men with some help on the inside. Why have only one security guard and post him outside? Plus, someone must have opened the doors for the dogs!

7. Of the cities you have lived in, which one was your favorite?

Going back to the first question, San Diego. I moved there in 1997 for a job knowing basically two people: a distant relative who welcomed me with open arms and let me stay at her house for a month and a friend from high school who chose San Diego for grad school and became my roommate. I mention 1997 specifically since the 1997-1998 winter was a really bad El Nino year (and the first time I ever heard that phrase) where it rained much more than it usually does in San Diego and there were days where the high temperatures were only in the 50s. People who lived in San Diego for years said it was one of the worst winters they remembered. For me, it was fantastic. No snow and some rainy days. After spending 22 years in Pittsburgh and Ithaca, New York, the winter weather was fantastic. I also loved my job and knew that I fell into an amazing experience with the best working environment I would ever have and made some really good friends. I also took a surfing class. I couldn't do that in Pittsburgh, Ithaca, Columbus, or DC!

8. Suppose you had to introduce yourself with something *other* than "Hi. I'm Sean. I'm from Pittsburgh."

Now that I’ve lived in Northern Virginia for almost 20 years, when asked, I say that I live in Northern Virginia. I then say that I’m originally from Pittsburgh!

9. If you were from another place, where would it be, and what sports teams would you follow?

Because of my parents and other family members, the answer would be the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers no matter where I lived. Like many Penguins fans though, I didn’t become a fan until Mario Lemieux joined the team. My earliest memories of the Pens were watching them on WPGH-53 lose to the Islanders with Denis Potvin and Bryan Trottier 8-3 regularly in the pre-Mario days. If I grew up somewhere else in the 80s, I would be a fan of that hockey team. It would be the Red Wings if I grew up in Detroit, the Blackhawks if I grew up in Chicago, or the Capitals if I grew up in the DC area. (Yuck!)

10. What's your favorite BBYO memory?

This was my youth group in high school. I was always a chapter-first guy, so my favorite memory was winning Tournies when I was my chapter’s president. Tournies was a competition between various chapters in our region in all types of events like basketball, bowling, Connect 4, a lip-sync, and a lot more. We were awesome!

I’d like to thank Leah (one of the people who recommended me for the job in San Diego 23 years ago) for giving me the idea for this post since she did it herself.

Please keep the questions coming, so that I can have parts II and beyond. (I already have some questions but can use a lot more.)

Update: Part II is now available here.

Pittsburgh photo by the amazing Dave DiCello.

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