“‘Seize the Day’ / I heard him say / Life will not always be this way / Look around / Hear the sounds / Cherish your life while you’re still around…” This is a line from progressive metal giants Dream Theater’s 25 minute epic, “A Change of Seasons.” You may be asking yourself, ‘Wait a minute, why is he talking about music on a sports blog? This guy sucks!’ Well, I can assure you 7/8 of that statement can, and will, be explained. The other 1/8 is, well, maybe that will change. This entry hits a personal subject matter that I’m sure many of you have gone through, and although it doesn’t center around sports, do not worry. My other posts will, for the most part, be centered around sports, and most importantly, Yankee baseball.
Ah, where are my manners? I haven’t introduced myself. If you have not read my bio yet, here’s me in a nutshell: Dave, mid 20’s, Yankees, and Music. So I have now essentially eliminated all reasons for you or anyone else to read my bio. Why I created one is beyond me as well. Now that we have that cleared up, let’s get down to the matter of things. The phrase ‘Carpe Diem’; translated from Latin is not, ‘Seize the Carp’ but in fact, ‘Seize the Day,’ has been a part of my life for some time now. I discovered it not only in music, but also in movies as well. Most of you probably know that this mentioned in ‘Dead Poet’s Society’, in which the theme of the film is to take advantage of all of what life has to offer, or seize the day. Now that I have pounded this phrase into your temporal lobe, we can move on as to why this mantra not only means a lot to me, but to others as well.
Let’s start with someone you all may already know. Let’s try, Derek Jeter. This guy is a good example of ‘Carpe Diem’ and what it stands for. He came from a small town, and one of my favorite words to say, Kalamazoo, MI and took advantage of every opportunity thrown at him to become what he and what millions of others have always dreamed of, to be a Yankee. But its not just the Captain who makes a good example. Take Josh Hamilton, he was damn near nailing his own coffin the way he abused himself with drugs and alcohol. But after realizing he wasn’t only hurting himself, but his loved ones as well, he did something that is just awe inspiring. He fought through every debilitating moment of withdrawal, every passing day of rehab, every month it took to get his body and mind back on the game he loves to play. Eventually, in 2007, he came back not with a whimper, but with a thunderous boom putting up the kind of numbers he should have been and was nominated for Rookie of the Year. Speaking of thunderous booms, I will never forget watching him during the 2008 Home Run Derby and seeing him massacre what once was a baseball into the clear summer night and into the facade of the old Yankee Stadium. After the Derby, Hamilton said: “This, was like living the dream out,
because like I’ve said, I didn’t know the ending to that dream.” It’s stories like these that make me realize how true ‘Carpe Diem’ is.
Now we move on to lesser known folk who live by this creed, myself. I was 15 when my father, Anthony, was diagnosed with the latter stages of cancer of the spine. My family rarely talked about it, but we all knew in the back of our minds what could happen if it wasn’t treated immediately. In the early morning December 30, 2002, my 16th birthday, I laid in bed and peered through my ajar door to see my father leaving the house with some family friends. I didn’t get up to say anything, it was early and looking back, I was just plain lazy. I found out later that day that he contracted pneumonia from his weakened state and had to be kept at the hospital for treatment. A few days go by, still no word on when he’s coming home. A week creeps up and I find out he’s been quarantined because he is so sick. Finally, on January 9, 2003, my father goes under cardiac arrest mid afternoon and passes away. I came home late that day after staying after school, to see my family’s friends had returned when my mother came in from the kitchen and broke the news to me. I remember immediately thinking, ‘Why didn’t I say good-bye the day he left? Why couldn’t I just say something?’ All these questions and more whipped around my mind in such a flurry I couldn’t sleep for days, weeks even. I blamed myself like everyone else who goes through these things do. But eventually I pushed into the back of my mind, until 2 years later by mother succumbs to illness and is hospitalized as well. My sister came down from college to stay with me in our home as we anxiously awaited our mothers return, but on an early June morning, our phone rang. My sister picked it up, still dazed from her awoken slumber as I, when she let out a blood curdling scream I will never forget. Deep down, I knew what happened, but I ran to her room anyway to find out the grim news of my mothers passing. She too, as it turns out, went under cardiac arrest when she departed. We were now alone, scared and wondering, ‘What do we do now?’
6 years later, we have moved on with our lives and grew stronger with each day. Thanks to our family and friends, we managed to find new homes and happily live new lives. My sister now lives in the city and just gave birth to a beautiful girl, Chloe Ann, while I stayed in good old Dutchess county where I have lived all my life. I’m sorry if I made you upset, that won’t happen often in this blog. This blog will be (hopefully) full of laughs and (hopefully) full of fun (and readers too…..hopefully.) But this was necessary for you to understand what I now know, and that is ‘Carpe Diem.’ Every moment passed is one that will never be brought back, so why not make the most of it? I wish I did with my parents, and I hope you all can do the same, whether it is through sports, music, Parcheesi, whatever floats your boat.
Some may appreciate and understand what I’m doing. Others may see it
has an escape to a hard life that I don’t want to face. But it is at
this time, I feel like I want to be heard by others. Say what you will,
I will still choose what to do, when to do it, how to do it. This may sound
like a rebel cry, but it is something that each and every one of us
has, and that is the power to seize the day. To take advantage of every
waking moment spent alive on this earth. This is why you will see me end all my posts with ‘Carpe Diem,’ it’s not just a signature to me. They are words to live by. So, look around, hear the
sounds. Live your life while your still around.
David Anthony Rufo