Tuesday, Jul 30 2013 11:00 AM

The Roadrunner Connection: What a long, strange trip it's been

I turned 33 last week -- a non-milestone birthday if ever there is one.

It's true what that say, that some people start to care less about their birthdays as the years advance.

I make it a point to go somewhere and experience something new on every birthday. Last year it was Chicago. This year it was a short trip to Vegas with the wife, but at least it was something to mark the day.

Birthdays tend to make one retrospective. As an introspective person, I take time on my birthday to think about life even more than normal. Thanks to social media and countless Facebook birthday wishes, I realized the sheer amount of good quality people I have made contact with over my 33 years.

Everyone from old Tehachapi High School friends to former professors and college buddies took some time to wish me well; we all met somewhere along this journey and that alone was a birthday gift.

There's no doubt that who you associate with is a direct reflection of the type of person you are. This was a lesson taught to me by Steve Denman at Tehachapi High School, as he was adamant that his football players hang out with each other and stay away from the crowd that didn't have their best interests in mind.

That lesson no doubt rolls into life and all the birthday wishes I received were a reflection of that. There were some great people chiming in on a day that comes around once every 365.

It also happened to be a nice week. Along with people I have personal relationships with are the student-athletes and professional contacts I have made, as well.

In the week leading up to my birthday I was able to watch a former CSUB soccer player Richard Menjivar play on national television for El Salvador in the Gold Cup Quarterfinals against Team USA, I saw another former soccer standout Gyasi Zardes score the game-winner for LA Galaxy and I heard former Roadrunner pitcher Scott Brattvet won his first professional game while pitching in the Pioneer League.

All these things are gifts.

Watching those around you succeed can sometimes be worth its weight in birthday presents. Being a part of their lives while they succeed is just as special.

I don't have a specific plan from here on out; 34 is right around the corner, but in the meantime I'll stay thankful for all those who are a part of my life.

The legendary Grateful Dead used a most brilliant line in one of their songs that I tend to quote often: "What a long strange trip it's been."

Couldn't agree more, and God-willing they'll be plenty more chances to be thankful for all those I've met on this trip of my own.


COREY COSTELLOE, a Tehachapi High graduate, is Director of New Media and Broadcasting for California State University Bakersfield.

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