Sunday, August 18, 2013

Revived: An Encompassing, Perhaps Rambling, Occassionally Entertaining, GSAPC Blog Post

(Sits down. Takes a deep breath. Stretches legs. Cracks knuckles.)

Hurray for the Riff Raff Pandora: check.
Arnold Palmer (drink, not the golfer): check.
Pictures, memories, and tales of good times: check.
Pants….

Greetings GSAPC blog enthusiasts!

Secretary Alex here. It’s been far too long. I trust your summer months have treated you well. Snowballs. Afternoon thundershowers. Lazy Sundays. Sweating in places you didn’t know you could sweat. There are certain things the summer months bring that you can’t recreate, especially if you’re fortunate enough to spend them in The Big Easy. 

Last time we talked (via blog-styled conversation), I was in Olla, LA on a Rural Medicine Elective through the Tulane School of Medicine. Needless to say, it was an incredible, four week experience and the people of NoLA (Northern Louisiana) were kind, friendly, and welcoming beyond all expectation. I spread the Tulane Love with the due-i-est of diligence (see photo) and hope to visit NoLA sometime soon. Perhaps for either the Tulane football game versus LA Tech in Ruston (9/12/13) or versus ULM in Monroe (9/28/13).

I wore the Louisiana College hat (my mentor's university) and he rocked the TUSOM hat. It was precious.

Shortly (i.e. 16 hours) after returning from Olla to New Orleans, Class of 2012 grad Kathleen Pope and I departed for our Bernie & Pope Conquer the West: Tour de America featuring special guest Manifest Destiny (aka CtW) road trip. 36 days, 10,354 miles, 6 National Parks, 13 inside jokes, and 21 states later, we made it back to New Orleans just in time (Saturday, August 3rd) to get me back to the first day of medical school (Monday, August 5th). Here's a small sampling of photos from West of the Mississippi:
Overlooking the Grand Canyon. Bringing the Tulane Spirit. Gorge-ous.

KP and I on the Hoover Dam. Rocking the sun protection and tie dye. 
Enjoying a Moose Drool in the Lake Hotel Sunroom, Yellowstone NP. 4th of July, 2013.

Over the course of the five weeks of West Conquering, many lessons were learned, strangers befriended, NPR shows listened to, and crises avoided. If you’re inclined, loyal blog enthusiasts, I would like to share a four-piece sample platter* of those nuggets of wisdom with you. Each nugget will be paired with a complementary Youtube clip to play along with your reading. If you’re into that sort of thing.

4) Sports are awesome. We included three live sporting events in the CtW itinerary. Two MLB games in Seattle and one MLS game in Portland. Seeing the Red Sox play the Mariners two days in a row at Safeco Field was legen.....**. Starting at a young age, I finagled my “I was born in Massachusetts” card into being a Red Sox fan. So it was a pleasant coincidence that our time in Seattle lined up with the Sox being in town. Couple that with picking up a copy of “Now I Can Die In Peace” by Bill Simmons at UC Berkeley and a visit to Sonny McLean’s in Santa Monica, CA and I can’t help but say I was revived as a Red Sox fan.
One helluva way to spend the 23rd birthday.
However, the supreme sporting experience of CtW was our indoctrination into the Portland Timbers Army. A friend of KP and mine from Portland was kind enough to shepherd us into Jeld-Wen Stadium and introduce us to the most insane sporting event either of us had experienced. The people of Portland rocked, cheered, chanted, sang, drank local microbrews, danced, chanted some more, and rooted for their Timbers with unparalleled passion and balls-to-the-wall enthusiasm for nearly two and a half straight hours.
Photos don't do it justice. Helluva fan base right here.

What "started with a group of twenty guys banging on pickle buckets" morphed into what you heard in the Youtube clip. I cannot wait for the day that Devlin Fieldhouse, Yulman Stadium, and Turchin Stadium unleash the energy that we witnessed in Jeld-Wen!

While Portland (and pretty much every city we went to***) were spectacular, our 36 days on the road further solidified the knowledge that….

3) New Orleans is awesome. I planned on writing a heart-warming, thought out, eloquent piece here. However, I realized that I could never do New Orleans justice by describing it in words. Maybe if this blog was scratch-n-sniff, I could get close. Those with the writing prowess to accomplish this feat are far more skilled than I. While I could share countless stories about the Crescent City's influence on our trip, I believe this picture (taken in Portland) shows off one of the many reasons New Orleans holds a special place in all our hearts:
WWWHHHHAAAAATTTTTT?!?!?!?!?
2) Friends are awesome. KP and I met in 2010 through our shared employer, the Tulane HRL Department. We started planning the Conquer the West trip in the fall of 2012. Between her passion for Excel spreadsheets and my obsession with Google Maps, we planned out a budget, itinerary, timeline, and places to stay/camp. While we didn't necessarily adhere to any of those, it was (in retrospect) a hefty planning process and a whole lot of fun.
On top of the world in Salida, CO. Almost taking a normal photo. Almost.
How a small town boy from California and a smaller town girl from the Commonwealth of Kentucky ever wound up meeting, becoming friends, and planning such an adventure in the first place is pretty cool. Truly something that can only be summarized as: “Only at Tulane. Only in New Orleans.”

Tulane has provided all of us at GSAPC with amazing, life-long friendships that cannot be described in words or YouTube videos or blog post (yet I still try). We are all quite fortunate to have been together at a place like Tulane in a city like New Orleans to learn, live, and grow together for 4 (or more) years. On that note….

1) Tulane is awesome. As if we didn't know this already, right?! Maybe it was the fact that we were welcomed into homes thousands of miles away from New Orleans because of the friends we had made at Tulane. It could have been the numerous two lane highways we drove (insert pity laughter here). Perhaps it was the time spent away that made the heart grow fonder.

A Tu-Lane Highway in Yosemite (insert eye roll here).
All I can say is this: The experiences of this summer made me more proud to support Tulane and believe in the future of our athletic program than ever before. Whether you still live in New Orleans or not, we are all very lucky to have a university and city to call home and a family of Tulane supporters to cheer with us during the good times, cry with us during the bad, and enjoy libations together on days that end in "y".

Now, you're probably thinking, "Isn't this a Tulane sports/booster club blog? What is this kid rambling on about? I just wanted to read about all the fun, exciting, awesome things that the Gumby's Social Aid & Pleasure Club is planning for the start of the school year!" Or you're thinking this. Either way, here's a breakdown of what's coming up in the next couple weeks:

Friday, 8-16-2013 (Spark Notes ReCap): GSAPC hosted it's first official "Holy S^#!, there's a Tulane player on the Saints!" tailgate this Friday in honor of  AB Freeman School of Business 2013 graduate Ryan Griffin. Ryan looked right at home in the Dome from our Section 608 seats. He played a solid chunk of time in the 2nd half, made great throws, and rocked the Black and Gold. The Black N Gold themed tailgate, the Saints W over the Raiders, and Class of 2012 Tulane grad Joe Enriquez getting some RG4 face time post-game made the day one to remember.
GSAPCers Enjoying a Black N Gold Tailgate.
Look, I see Ryan Griffin!
Tulane, Saints, and RG4 Fan Joe Enriquez (Class of 2012) chilling with RG4 (Class of 2013).

Tuesday, 8-20-2013: GSAPC Welcomes the Next Generation! GSAPC Wave Council Members Lynne, Jeff, and Yours Truly will be welcoming the members of the Class of 2017 that are participating in NOLA, the popular, pre-freshman year, funtastic week that is offered by Tulane. We're partnering up with other booster clubs and Tulane fans for the event. It promises to be a great time (we're bringing desserts!).

Monday, 8-26-2013: Get your appetites ready! From 1pm-7pm on this day, 10% of tips at the two Dat Dog locations in New Orleans will be donated to Devin's Den.. While this isn't a GSAPC event, it's an extremely worthy cause and warrants mentioning here. As a former Dat Dog employee (summer of 2012), I would have to recommend the Guinness Dog with Andouille Sauce, cheese, bacon, grilled onions, and creole mustard. Get a CBR (Chedder, Bacon, Ranch Fries) with grilled onions if you want to enjoy a "balanced", delicious meal!
Great food + greater cause = greaterer deal!


Thursday, 8-29-2013: This is the one you've been waiting for: The Tulane football season opener. In true Tulane spirit, GSAPC is partnering up with the TU Alumni Association to bring you a helluva good time! We're providing an all-you-care-to-eat/drink blowout extravaganza at Walk On's from 5pm to gametime. Walk On's is (pun intended) walking distance from the Dome on Poydras. Tickets to this event are $30. Which, let's be honest, will pale in comparison to the priceless memories you will make on this historic night. So bust open that piggy bank and join us for what promises to be a rousing good time by ordering your ticket(s) here.



Thanks for reading, enthusiasts! I wish you sweet dreams of Montana to Grant, Santos splitting the uprights, and Darion Monroe cleaning someone's clock.

Love from Louisiana,

Alex

Notes:

* = For the full course menu, you'll have to wait for the release of "The CtW Movie: Keeping KP Fed & AB Quiet" starring Kristen Stewart as KP and McLovin as AB.
** = ....dary.
***= The jury is still out about Tijuana.