Friday, May 20, 2011

An Ode to Brooks

I promised myself the last week that if I passed the bar I would have to write this thank you letter. You should all know by now I'm superstitious enough to follow through with this. (This might possibly be THE most ridiculous thing I have ever written, which is saying something, but I also stand by it.)

Dear Brooks Laich,

I wanted to thank you for helping me pass the California Bar Exam. No, we've never met. I've never even been to D.C. But you had an impact on my ability to focus and get through the hellacious studying period of the bar exam.

As quick background: the CA Bar Exam is a 3 day test administered every February and July and is required for admission to practice law in California, something we all want to do because we went to law school and have a stupid amount of loans we need to pay back. Pass rate hovers around 60%. When I took it the first time in July of 2010, I didn't pass. My emotional train wreck of a study period and complete lack of desire/fear of the future may have had something to do with it.

I had to get back in the study saddle for the February bar exam right around Christmas time. Which is about the time I discovered hockey.

People keep asking me how I suddenly and completely became enamored with hockey and I don't have a quick answer. It becomes even more bizarre when they want to know why I'm a Caps fan since, as I mentioned, I've never been to D.C.

The answer is this: I grew up in San Francisco. We don't have a lot of (any) hockey tradition. I knew of the sport in passing, sure, but I devoted my attention to Giants baseball and then LSU football. There were points in my life where hockey may have taken hold, a lot of shallow promises by even shallower guys to take me to a game that never panned out, so hockey and I never connected. I watched the Vancouver Olympic games with rapt attention but that was it. It ended and life moved on.

As one of my best friends is a Caps fan and HBO was airing its special about the Winter Classic, I made note and said to him, "Hey! Your team is gonna be on the TV! We should watch that!" And I did. And a new love affair was born. Yes, with you, sure. In case you were unaware, you have piercing blue eyes and a strong jaw and are generally quite handsome by most standards. But also with this sport. I sat, jaw agape, wondering why no one had bothered to REALLY make me watch this before. All this time I'd been missing out! Yes, there was slick videography and a well culled soundtrack but the basic art of the sport and the characters that play it translated well. I wanted in on this. Thus: hockey fandom. Some people were completely supportive (Dad, best friend). Others weren't (mom, brother). But I was having fun watching games, so what anyone else thought was irrelevant.

I'd like to add that it was more than just you being handsome. As I read more and gleaned all I could about hockey, studying it as I was studying for the bar, I discovered that you were known as something of a work horse. First to the rink, last to leave, maybe not Ovi levels of natural talent but certainly willing to work harder with the gifts you had. I developed a crush, and an admiration for that work ethic. I figured there were worse bar study role models and as someone who has suffered from a lifetime of lacking discipline, you were a good example to follow.

Here's where it's going to sound ridiculous: I used this crush to motivate me to study. I'd start getting lazy, disinterested or unfocused and think, "What would Brooks do?" The answer was usually, "Work harder." So I'd redouble my efforts.

Then I'd take it a little further, making my future depending on passing the bar. I'd think, "If I don't study really hard and pass the bar and move forward with my life, Brooks will never date me!" Don't worry, this was a study trick and I know it had no connection with reality, just something to motivate me. Mostly. I shared this with two of my closest friends. One who, male, told me I was insane. The other, female, who giggled along with me and said whatever gets you through the study day. Because study days are brutal. It is 8-10 hours of trying to make yourself focus and care about 16 subjects of law and to not feel completely hopeless about the whole endeavor. It became a bit of a joke amongst my friends when I'd yell during the Caps games "Leave my boyfriend alone!"

As opposed to the first time I went through this, I was practically monastic this time. No drinking, making sure to exercise and eat right to maintain health, no real distractions, less TV. It kind of felt good to buckle down and do this. So I used you as my distraction, my escape. I'd take breaks to indulge in my new obsession: Caps games. This was right about the time you guys really started clicking and winning. It was fun. It was exciting. I also took one real night off from studying a week before the bar and attended my first ever hockey game: to see you play in San Jose. I had an amazing time.

Last Saturday I found out I actually did it. I passed the California bar exam. I can go practice law now. I figure a little bit of the credit for that is due to you, even if you have no idea that you helped some girl in California make it through bar prep. So thanks for the bar study inspiration. It worked.

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