Close Calls and Near Misses

I’ve often referred to myself as shark attack lucky rather than lottery lucky. I’ve been oh so close to a couple of $10,000+ wins in Draftkings or Fanduel just to be a player or two away. Players I even had in a lineup and swapped out. I’ve been a seat away from catching a live home-run ball. A seat away from a game used Udonis Haslem jersey he once threw into the crowd after an ejection.  Right girl; wrong time. I could write a novel based on incidents of close calls and near misses where I wound up the unlucky one.

Don’t get me wrong; I am blessed. I never confused the two. Blessings and luck are two totally separate things. You look around the world and see people and their struggles that they have no control over while the majority of us cry over a cracked phone screen. But I couldn’t help but feel as if I was just unlucky, until 08/14/17 that is.

Me and my brother were on the way back down to South Florida from Pensacola. He was driving his truck and I was passenger along I-10. Not even an hour into the drive we both experienced the luckiest moments of our life.

We were in the left lane when a lady merged over without seeing us, nearly side swiping us. Hindsight, it would of been smartest for my brother to stay in his lane and let her graze us. We all probably would’ve left the incident with a couple scratches on the vehicles but that would more than likely be it. But who knows, by staying in our lane and allowing that to happen the event could’ve been catastrophic for everyone nearby.

I’m sure everyone who has been driving for sometime has been in an incident where they were almost side-swiped. Or maybe you were the one who didn’t see the other vehicle in your blind spot and you nearly side-swiped someone. The point is, it happens and it’s rather common. And most of the time you swerve, instinctively to avoid a car collision.

My brother swerved to the left and veered slightly off of the road to avoid the collision. The lady noticed and quickly got back in her lane. And for that moment everything seemed okay. He attempted to get back into his lane and it felt like we would get back to driving smoothly. However, the roads were a little wet and fate had other plans for our drive.

We began to hydroplane, rather quickly at that. As we got back into the highway it became apparent that we had lost control of the vehicle. Being a day and half removed from the incident some of it becomes a blur. The next thing I remember is being in the median drifting uncontrollably for what felt like an eternity.

It’s hard to explain but from the time we first veered off road to the time in which we stopped the car it was maybe ten seconds tops. But as we hydroplaned across the median time slowed down. To us it felt like we were sliding for at least a minute. An eternity at that. All of our senses were heightened and aware. The best way I can explain it is that moment when a super hero first gets his powers and the world around him slows down.

We were driving at least seventy when we first veered off the road and began to descend in speed. But to us were moving in slow motion. Every turn felt extremely slow. As we began gliding in the median we almost flipped nearly four different times. And even though I saw everything in slow motion, it was as if my brain didn’t have to time to fully react or complete a thought. With each and every turn of the wheel I could feel our wheels lift off.

How the vehicle did not flip is beyond me. But the next thing I notice is we began to drift into the other lane into oncoming traffic. How the road wasn’t filled with traffic is another blessing. There was only one vehicle on the other side of the road; a semi truck. An eighteen wheeler. We drift into the lane and I can feel our wheels lift off again, within a split second of death and getting annihilated by this semi truck.

An in this moment as we drift off the median and into the gravel, time is at a complete stand still. B.o.B’s “Lovelier Than You” plays so equolently in the background as we approach death. And all I can think is, “holy shit. We are gonna die. This is how it ends.” And somehow as the adrenaline flows through my body and I see time freezing slower and slower, I’m at peace.

Death has always scared me. It’s where all of my anxiety occurs. And somehow in this moment I felt so calm and tranquil. Just in disbelief that it would end this way.

My brother said the driver was able to swerve enough to where we just narrowly missed him. I didn’t notice the driver swerve. But point being, we avoided contact. Within feet, and I mean maybe two or three of getting crushed. We swerved back into the median and very shortly after stopped the vehicle. I let out the biggest sigh of relief. My eyes welled with tears as I feel the purest form of elation that I have ever felt. We look at each other in total and utter disbelief. We made it.

Now death is unavoidable but on this day we defeated it. Here I am all my life thinking that I am shark attack lucky due to how many close calls I’ve had that didn’t go my way. But a day and a half ago I had the best close call ever happen to me. We avoided death in that instance. And as I write this I still can’t even stress how close we were.  I am lucky.  So amazingly lucky I still can’t believe it. Who knows? I might still get bitten by a shark but…

I am certainly counting my blessings and not taking things for granted. I wrote this for me as a way to remember my near death experience but if you can use it to realize how valuable life truly is than by all means that works for me. Things get taken for granted all of the time and I’m not going to pretend like this incident won’t change that for me. I know somedays I will still take things for granted but here’s to hoping that happens less.

I am very spiritual. I don’t necessarily believe in religion but I believe in God. A god. My God. And I pray everyday and communicate with God. As we stopped a witness came who happened to be a pastor. He watched the incident from a far and said he was praying the whole time. Take that for what it is. I’m not into pushing my spiritual beliefs upon you. I don’t feel as if that’s my job. However, if you take one thing away from this just remember how truly special and amazing life is and any day alive is a gift.

Sidenote: I broke down last week in Gainesville at mile marker 418. Six days later I nearly died on the date of 8/14. I haven’t even thought of what that means and the coincidences. Just thought that it was wicked cool and I had to share it. Here’s the picture I took after I broke down.

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Lebron James Bobblehead

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LEBRON JAMES

Don’t tell the other bobbles this one but this is one of my favorites. However, I got a new round of pretty cool ones but this one will always be up there. There are only 300 of these bad boys made so I’m pretty happy to own one.

I love Lebron James. By far my favorite basketball player but Miami Lebron is my favorite. I don’t care for the team Cleveland. I solely pull for them because of Lebron but when he hit Miami I was esctatic.

And I loved when he first brought out the silencer and made that a thing.

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Not to mention Miami’s uniforms are so much better than the Cavs. These throwback red uniforms are fire. So whenever I saw this bobblehead I had to have it.

People go way out of the way to hate this man. It’s really uncalled for. But no one is hated who isn’t great, remember that. But how could you hate this:

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Lebron James GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

As I said I went to the 2013 NBA Finals and saw him play. That was awesome. The only time I’ve seen him play but I had to go.

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Now I can only hope that somehow he can find a way to beat the Warriors this year because man do they look tough.

 

PEDRO MARTINEZ BOBBLEHEAD

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PEDRO MARTINEZ

Pedro Martinez might be the nastiest pitcher that I have ever witnessed in the history of baseball. I don’t remember Dodgers/Expos Pedro but the Boston Red Sox Pedro is down right dominate.

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I always loved watching him pitch. Who didn’t? So he was an easy add to my collection. Not to mention, the energy he brought was unparalleled. Nobody could match the level of excitement and enthusiasm he would bring to each and every start.

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TIM DUNCAN BOBBLEHEAD

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TIM DUNCAN

Speaking of Tim Duncan, here he is. No basketball fan can claim to dislike Tim Duncan. He does no wrong. Five championship rings and a San Antonio Spurs rebound away from the Michael Jordan-esque 6-0 Finals record. As a Lebron fan I was glad to see the Ray Allen shot. But damn what a legacy nonetheless.

I’ve always been a big Tim Duncan fan. If I could construct a team of my all-time five he’s definitely my four guy, with Shaq or Hakeem Olajuwon rounding out the five. I’m happy to say that I saw him play in the 2013 NBA Finals. We went to game 2 of that series. I got to see legends such as Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, McGrady, LBJ, Wade, Bosh, and Allen. And I got to see this block.

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Sports GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

But enough about Lebron. Back to Mr. Fundamental.

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DAVID ROBINSON BOBBLEHEAD

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DAVID ROBINSON

I got David Robinson on vacation in 2014 in Orlando at NBA City. It was a toss up between him and Shaq and I ultimately chose David Robinson because of the vintage Spurs colors. I still don’t have a Shaq bobblehead but he’s on my list of future purchases.

As a kid I used to like the duo of him and Tim Duncan so he seemed like a great addition to my collection. And as I said I’m a huge sucker for the vintage Spurs look and that pretty much sold me.

So here’s a gif because I kind of love these things.

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BRIAN MCCANN BOBBLEHEAD

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BRIAN MCCANN

Brian McCann was another E-Bay purchase of mine as well. He was in the midst of a record breaking 2014 bobblehead binge. There’s really not too much to say besides I saw this bobblehead on-line. I liked it so I had to have it. Even though he currently did not play for Atlanta during the time of the purchase. He was still a favorite of mine.

DAVID WRIGHT BOBBLEHEAD

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DAVID WRIGHT

I got David Wright with Aaron Rodgers in South Florida as well. One I bought for myself and the other was a Christmas present from my brother. I can’t remember which was which.

Somewhere among my realm of computers exist a picture of me flicking off a wax figure of David Wright at a wax museum. However, this was in 2007 when the Mets were good and were smoking the Braves. In 2014 my disdain towards them had ceased so I added David Wright to my collection.

My Fictional Starting Rotation

If you are a fan of baseball movies then look no further. I have decided to compile my very own fictional starting rotation. Let’s start with the number five spot.

5) WHITT BASS

“Will I win? Will I win? Will I win, win, win?”

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Gotta love the signature slide.

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“Bass sets, and sets, and sets again.”

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Before Neal McDonough was Damien Darhk running around Central City chasing Oliver Queen, he was Whitt Bass. The beloved, goofy, right-handed pitcher of the California Angels. And that is how I will always remember him.

If this was a contest based on my personal favorite then Bass would be number one. But it is somewhat talent related so he fits in at the number five spot.

4) CARLOS

“I am 12”

The twelve year old, Carlos, will be taking the mound for me in the four spot.

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While he does smoke on the field, get hammered during the games, and appear a lot older than twelve, this guy oozes potential. And at a solid twelve years old, that’s a steal. Hey, he says he’s twelve and has documentation to prove it. Who am I to say he’s wrong?

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Okay. Maybe he’s not twelve. Two-thirds of his competition is completely talentless and he’s throwing off of a mound made for pre-teens. He’s still worth taking a flyer on so he slides into the four spot of my rotation. Plus, look at this guy’s energy and enthusiasm. It’s simply unmatchable.

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3) HENRY ROWENGARTNER

Actual twelve year old, Henry Rowengartner, gets the ball as my game three starter. Let’s just hope for more of this.

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And less of this.

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Seriously, the twelve year old has some filthy stuff with the ability to top a hundred miles per hour with ease. He even strikes out Barry Bonds. Barry Bonds!!!

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As long as his arm is magic and healthy, there’s no stopping this cat. He could and probably should be the number one guy but he’ll have to settle for the three spot. For now.

2) MEL CLARK

I have another angel in my rotation. However, this one gets ranked a little higher. Angel or no angel. I want the ball in Mel Clark’s hands in a big game scenario.

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Even Whitt Bass can’t knock the talent.

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The dude is hammering down shutouts on the brink of death.

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Maybe I only have a year with him before he passes. But who knows, maybe he comes back as an angel to help our team win some games. It could happen.

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1) RICKY VAUGHN

Could I really have a fictional pitching rotation without “the Wild Thing” cracking an appearance?

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The answer is no. And that’s why he is my ace. My game seven starter.

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MY CLOSER: KENNY POWERS

Okay. So maybe this team may never win a game. Ever. But they would make me a lot of hypothetical money. These guys would sell tickets. They all bring passion, excitement, enthusiasm, charisma. And who brings more emotion than the journeyman, Kenny Powers?

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There’s a solid chance that Powers may blow every save. There’s a better chance that him and Carlos fight during each and every game. But there is also the chance that he strikes everyone out and does this. I’m willing to take that risk.

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Aaron Rodgers Bobblehead

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AARON RODGERS

Aaron Rodgers. Where do I begin? You were a 2014 purchase as well. You were purchased in South Florida near Palm Beach. But that’s irrelevant. Do you remember when I was down by 61 in a non-PPR league and all I had left was you and Eddie Lacy? It was the semi-finals of my fantasy league  and I needed a win.

Do you remember me flicking your head back and forth asking if you were gonna do it for me?

I remember Eddie Lacy dropping a TD pass in the end zone that would’ve perfectly gave me the victory by one point.

But on the next possession, never fear, Aaron Rodgers is here. You hit Jordy Nelson for a fifty plus yard touchdown and a victory for John Stoeter. And we went on to cap off my first and only fantasy championship; so for that I thank you.

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Thanks for getting my name on the ax forever to be engraved as your 2014 Fantasy Champion.

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Sincerely, John Stoeter

Lebron James Bobblehead (Heat)

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LEBRON JAMES

The first of the basketball bobbles so of course I had to get Lebron James. I got him shortly after that Upton/Simmons trip in Atlanta. It started with the Fab Five and then I didn’t get another bobblehead for another four years. And then just kinda went ham in the year of 2014. And 15′. And 16′. But Lebron will always be the first NBA bobble in the collection.