set the stage the night before: Days Inn. Troy, NY. gorge myself on Cheesecake Factory cheesecake. come back to a room that is never quite hot or cold enough all night. don't fall asleep immediately. don't fall asleep eventually. don't fall asleep at all. toss and turn in a a bed where the sheets don't cover your feet. wake up to the phone alarm...7:30 am.
start the day off right, sort of: love my morning coffee. wish it wasn't at 7:45 at a sticky IHOP in Troy, NY. check out of said Days Inn. leave my pillow in room.
get away from normal "big event" routine: maybe you drink a protein shake, give yourself a pep talk, rehearse, etc. I usually listen to music, heat my arm, and pray. Today my ipod died, i burnt my arm with the heat pack (damn thin towels), and sang the national anthem so beautifully to myself that I forgot to thank God after my bullpen.
"big event" goes worse than you foresaw...much worse: 3.2 inn, 5 runs, 8 hits, 1 walk, 1 hbp, 1 error, 1 pitch for a strike in 1 spot, 1 glove throw, 1 expletive, many "tough day" mantras repeated to me, 0 that had any effect.
day that should end there just doesn't: 2:00 deli meat sandwiches (again. 3 days in a row). 4 hour bus ride through New Jersey even though we played 90 mi. north of NYC (enough to make any day worse). crammed van ride through Brooklyn...back seat on the tire. latin music blaring. ipod still dead.
silver lining becomes nothing more than a shade of gray: I love food. peer pressured into a 20 min. walk to Buffalo Wild Wing for dinner. table of 13. no separate checks. don't have cash. order chicken sandwich. no chicken left. order burger. mediocre at best. wish i could've had more beer. too expensive.
you figure out the actual silver lining hidden in the mess: in the midst of my nightmare, I have a fiancee and family that know no other way than to encourage me and tell me "tough day" and "you'll get 'em next time". Im always reminded of the things that transcend crappy days. even really crappy ones.