I’m going to continue to write about my progress until I feel like I can be myself again. That feels so far away at the moment. All week, my body has been tense and my heart feels like it’s about to burst. Also, I’ve been hyperventilating and the nurse noticed it while we were going over treatment.

I received some excellent messages over the past few days and I can’t thank enough all the people that have checked in on me. Sometimes, a “you can do it” or “you will get through this” text is enough to lift me up. I truly appreciate that.

One told me to take it “step by step.” Another told me to take my time and not let fear take over me. And another told me that things will become normal over time. So I took all that in (along with a few other messages) and had this grand plan that I will try to get back to my routine.

We’re supposed to be celebrating my dad and my brother’s birthdays today. Mom then talked to me and mentioned how much I’m hyperventilating. Before I could even say something, she went on to say that the reason that’s happening is because I’m fat.

Thanks, Mom.

I didn’t react kindly to it. One of my insecurities as of late has been my weight, which was why I finally decided to do something about it. I had been exercising and working out in the last few weeks so I can finally look and feel healthy. The accident obviously interrupted it and, like I said, I had this plan on going back into working out.

Mom didn’t take kindly to my reaction, either. She yelled out that I’m a crazy man.

I’m currently in my room writing about what just occurred. This is not the first time Mom has done this and this is her weird way of showing that she’s concerned about me. I also don’t think she realizes she knows what I’m going through. She probably thinks I can just brush off one “minor” car accident.

Again, my body has yet to relax since Tuesday. And my heart continues to race. I also have hypertension at the moment (which my nurse has been monitoring since Wednesday). She attributes it to the trauma and, of course, the extra weight I’m carrying. I also wish I could stop thinking about my near-death experiences in 2002 and 2004. I just can’t help it right now, though.

This is such a hard battle right now. But the day is early and maybe my body and mind can function better later. If not, I’ll just take what my high school counselor told me when I was depressed in 10th grade.

“Every day is a new day.”

I hope that new day isn’t far away.

Writing about my life has been great therapy for me in the past. And this is why I’m writing about this.

I’m not living the greatest life at the moment.

Most of you know me as optimistic, happy-go-lucky, and an everything will be all right-sort of guy. It’s tough to feel like that these days for me.

As some of you may know, I just had a car accident last Tuesday. As far as accidents go, it wasn’t that major. At least, it wasn’t totaled is what I’m saying.

What has become major, though, is my mindset.

It’s tough not to feel afraid about being on the road at the moment. If what happened to me can occur at any given moment, who’s to say that it won’t happen again tomorrow or next week?

It seems silly to think about it but I can’t help but think this way. My mind reacts like that.

Unfortunately, this was not my first car accident. It was actually my third. But the second one was traumatizing enough that it took me two months after the accident to start driving on the freeway again… and that I always think about the anniversary of that event (October 14, 2004 will never leave me). I always felt that one more thing that went wrong in that accident would’ve gotten me killed. And because of that Tuesday, I actually remembered a near-death experience in 2002 that I had forgotten.

What’s even worse is that before that accident, I was already having some anxiety attacks that I never had before the summer started. I’m still shaken over the death of a good friend from last year (I still miss you, Colleen). A friend that I played basketball with since high school died on the court last spring. And then two more relatives in the Philippines died a few weeks ago in different circumstances in consecutive days. I seeked therapy after that happened and I thought I was feeling better until the accident.

(And I didn’t even talk about the fear of being profiled AND mother nature going on a rampage in this country. Those definitely don’t help.)

I just want everything to be where it was for me. I just want to be able to write about basketball without thoughts of disaster interrupting. I just want to be able to do podcasts without having to feel so paranoid about everything.

I do have some of the support of some great friends and great people. Unfortunately, this is where I also find out who my real friends are. But at this point, any support would be great because I don’t want to have to feel like I’m going through this alone.

This fight is just beginning.

Life is so unfair. A longtime friend and supporter of mine, Colleen Burns, tragically passed away yesterday.

But thinking about Colleen, it didn’t seem to matter to her that life was unfair. She was always smiling and her eyes were always lit up. It was like Colleen was everybody’s happy place. She took on life with so much vigor and energy that it was like she always drank 40 cups of coffee every day.

I first talked to Colleen in 2009 when she followed me on Twitter. She was so passionate about the Orlando Magic and her love for the team and the sport was so infectious. She started LadyBallers in an effort to get more women talking about sports. Colleen was always about community as she worked for Yelp Orlando and was the organizer of Kaskade Konnect (a community for Kaskade fans). She was always about making everyone smile and I always loved that about Colleen.

Colleen and I kept in touch throughout the years. Most people know that I text pop song lyrics with people I truly love and she’s one of those individuals that got them. In fact, our last exchange through text last week was about LFO‘s Summergirls.

Now she’s gone. But she’s not forgotten. I will never forget her constant sparkle. I will never forget her smiling face. I will never forget her contagious positivity.

Rest in peace, Colleen. We all love you. I’ll see you soon, my friend. Keep on dancing in heaven.

StuartScott

I can’t stop crying.

Stuart Scott is gone. And it sucks. He died of cancer at the age of 49. That is such a young age. Stuart had so much more to offer to the sports world; he was a tremendous sportscaster that had a unique voice. But who I feel sorry the most for are his two daughters, who had just lost a father.

Stuart had such a different flavor in the mid-90s. When he was doing SportsCenter highlights, my brother and I would laugh at his sportscasting style. He was able to work in rap references (Public Enemy, LL Cool J, and Tag Team were regulars in his repertoire) and his catchphrases (as cool as the other side of the pillow). Yes, we would laugh at it but I secretly liked that he stood out. As a guy who is BIG on being unique and originality, I liked the swagger and attitude that Stuart brought to the game. He dared to be different yet he kept it professional the entire time. I never heard anything bad about Stuart Scott.

I never met Stuart Scott. But it feels like I’ve known him forever because he treated his viewers like his peers. I don’t think he realized what an influence he has been on this generation. He opened up a lot of doors for a lot of us trying to break into the sports world. He was unapologetic for who he was and he never changed for anybody. And if there was the one thing I took away from Stuart Scott, it was to continue to be myself. I didn’t realize it then but he has had a tremendous impact on my life.

I really admired that Stuart Scott kept fighting. He never seemed to lose his cool even when cancer was taking its toll on him. He kept living life the way he wanted to even when that damn cancer was in the way. I hate that cancer took Stuart away from us. But legends never truly die… and Stuart Scott is a legend.

Rest in peace, Stuart Scott. You’ve influenced a lot of us in the sports world. But most of all, you influenced a lot of us in life.

R2

EGM

This sounds really bad but I didn’t have very many dreams as a kid. Of course, being born to Filipino parents, I was always told to be either a doctor or a lawyer. I was never interested in either occupation.

But what I really wanted to do early on? I wanted to write about video games.

I’m not as caught up with today’s video game world; I always seem to be a generation behind when it comes to that. But I always did love playing them. My first video game system was the Atari. I know Super Mario Bros. 1 through 3 like the back of my hand. In fact, I have a pretty good video game collection and if I wasn’t writing about the NBAI probably would be writing about video games. I just didn’t think I would catch on with the NBA community.

Specifically, not only did I want to write about video games but, back then, I really wanted to write for then-supermag Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM). Even more specifically, I longed to be part of EGM’s Review Crew. I thought it was the coolest job in the world.

The Review Crew consisted of four people reviewing a game in one short paragraph. It was always my favorite part of EGM and looked forward to their ratings of the popular games (rated from 0-10 back then; the original format was always the best). The old crew was also very tough; they hardly gave a 10 on games. Later on, I was a little saddened when they started giving ratings in .5 increments and reduced the Review Crew to just three reviewers. They also started giving 10s a little more. So much for that tough love.

I had a taste of reviewing games (in longer form) with GameSpot (YES!!!). I’m not sure if they are still accepting reader reviews today but GameSpot, to my surprise, published my reviews after I turned in a few of them. Joe and Lauren Fielder, in particular (both might have worked for EGM in the past; I knew Joe Fielder did), took a liking to me. They even had me write a guest column about writing game reviews. I was very flattered and it gave me supreme confidence at 19.

I talked to Joe Fielder about EGM and he recommended that I E-Mail John Davison, who was their editor-in-chief at the time. Unfortunately, my sample reviews didn’t impress Davison (even I remember thinking that the reviews I turned in weren’t good enough) and he gently told me that they chose some other guys to be part of their Review Crew. I was crushed. Later on, I had found out that James Mielke (who was doing reader reviews for GameSpot as well) would get one of the spots for EGM. Mielke (nicknamed the Milkman) would go on to do 1UP.Com.

I temporarily gave up on the dream and decided to have fun with anime conventions instead. Of course, we all know what happened next. I ended up founding The No-Look Pass in 2008 and I’ve been a part of that writing community since. Now that I have built up a résumé on writing, I feel like I’m good enough to write about video games for a major website. I’d love to write about them sometime in the near future.

But would I give up writing about the NBA if I was offered a full-time job to write about video games? I’m not so sure. Maybe I can do both B-Ball and gaming.

Woof, baby.

dreamer,
R2