April started with rugby.
No, I did not play rugby nor have I ever played the sport, but I did learn more about it as I entered into this new month. You see, one of my fellow interns was a former rugby player for Point Loma University. There was a game happening in our area, so naturally they were invited to be hosted by us.
Do you all know what rugby is? It is like unprotected football! The game’s “kick-off” consists of a fusion of teammates creating a border around the person with the ball then an eruption of running and dodging. The difference from this and football is that the person with the ball can only pass backwards. Sounds normal, until you recognize THEY HAVE NO PROTECTION!! No padding. No helmets. No mouth-guard. NO SIR.
Actually…little known fact. I have some natural athletic ability and a little bit of a competitive itch. I would play rugby at least once just to try it.
My focus on writing about rugby was less on the actual game and more on the people who were leading this specific group of players. Now those were some role models! For example, one thing that blew my mind was all the coaches had something for the overall team, BUT another coach went through the ENTIRE team, saying something both celebratory, and constructive to each and every player. It was mind-blowing. I personally have not been a part of ANY team like that. That is something I want to keep with me for any future leadership role I may step into. Yes, it takes patience and an intentional energy to do that for everyone, but it was so evident just how valuable that sort of encouragement could really effect someone for life. Nearly 15 years later, because of that, my housemate still honors his coach.
April also hosts my other favorite holiday….RESURRECTION SUNDAY..aka EASTER! For some reason on this holiday I just have to do it BIG! Easter is just too celebratory for just a small hand-clap. It makes me SHOUT!
This Easter I had the pleasure of reuniting with a good friend I met, when I gave another friend a chance, when we were just strangers trying to be friends with other people, and made friends with their friends.
Did you catch that? Long story short, two of my closest friends came from taking a chance at an audition for a “boy band”. I will hold off on that story for another time, but just know that some indescribable experiences came from knowing such special people.
On Good Friday, I traveled all the way to the vast land of Stockton, California. For those of you who are not familiar with that town it is a part of the East Bay area. Since I live in Palo Alto in the main Bay area, I have to travel from here to get to there. This requires about THREE highways and many loop-de-loops in between.
With my time there I had some random yet, memorable experiences. For once I finally had some authentic Mexican food from a restaurant called Nena’s Mexican Cuisine. You need to go. There has been so many times in my life where people have lied to me about how good certain Mexican restaurants are. I will not make a list of those places, because I do not want to bash anyone’s establishment, but people need to be convicted. Nena’s is connected to a indoor mall, where the entire place is attached to a gated dock. It was a beautiful spot.
The next day was Easter! Do not judge, but we were late to church, however we did catch the message which is a key. We thought we could not get in because it was a packed church with an overflow room. To my surprise, we got in by this kind lady and we found out how many seats were still open, considering people left spaces in between row
. We ended up next to some distracting pre-teen and his mother. That’s what we get for being late. The service closed with an inspirational song about resurrection, so we did not completely miss the music ministry, but I want to know the name of that jam…
Our first meal of the day came from this country themed place called Red Tractor Cafe. I thought I was going to be disappointed. I was hungry and felt overdressed. Once again, it transformed me. Their breakfast meal special was on point. My friend will never be doubted when it comes to food recommendations. NEVER.
After that meal it had started to drizzle so we decided to go to a park. Yes, it was an outdoor park. We were inspired. There we did a spontaneous photo shoot where we “liberated” some tin garbage cans and made art.
Our finale came with the viewing of Logan. The story of wolverine years after all mutants became extinct. I will not spoil the movie for you all, but know that it did not go in all the ways I expected and it was quite violent. Yet, there were some precious messages about hospitality, love, and sacrifice.
THE HIGHLIGHT of the month had to be supporting the Sunset Youth Service : Life Is Not A Game Annual Fundraiser. It was an amazing opportunity to see a program that focused on troubled teenagers and young adults in the San Francisco area. The leaders and youth of the program hosted an impactful event. The dining portion consisted of a 5-course meal, a tray of desserts, an auction ( in which our group won 4 of the prizes!). The program portion consisted of a live-action game of LIFE with a Sunset Youth twist that acknowledged some real struggles of the youth in the program, an original song “Life is not a Game” performed by Sunset youth, a representative from the police department who has partnered with the program for years, and a testimonial from a homeless teen turned high school graduate. I was blown away and honored to witness so many unstoppable individuals.
All lives are different. Not one story is the same. I believe that we should constantly keep our minds wide open. Take the time to support something that is not your usual interest. We all can be surprised on what we can learn and apply to our lives.