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Why October 13ths Are Strange Days For Me

Tom Fitzgerald

Thomas Fitzgerald is co-founder of XN Sports.Follow @FitzyXN
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(excerpt from the intro to my Daily Fantasy Hockey Morning Coffee on Sporfolio)


Indulge me for a minute before DFS …
Ocotber 13ths are always strange for me. On Friday October 13, 1995 I found myself face down, hiding, in a “friend’s” car, drunk, high as hell, with a police officer screaming at me to get out. I was 15. I remember the smell of that car floor. Warm grape bubble gum, dirty shoes, the vague smell of a wet dog. My mother believed I was a runaway risk … and I guess I was. The police believed her, too. I had spent the first month and a half of my senior year of high school walking to school and usually walking right past the school to the woods behind it. I was doing it much longer than that if you count the summer school I was supposed to go to and the entire year before. I always brought a notebook to jot down little stories or poems as I hid in the woods while the world went about its business. Sometimes I smoked. Usually I had a few beers, a few pills, but I would always make my way back to school to my 7th period writing class. And I showed my face in school just enough to try to fly under-the-radar. At some point, I decided going to school just didn’t make any sense. A few times the vice principal chased me as I ran through the woods — one time I hid in the bushes in front of an abandoned house across the street from the school while a police cruiser slowly drove by. I was nimble enough back then to sneak my way back into the school and play dumb. I’ve been here the whole time…
But eventually your luck runs out. The lie gets exposed. I peeled myself from the sticky grape bubble gum car floor and let the officer cuff me. I wasn’t exactly resisting and I wasn’t exactly cooperating. After a few minutes he took mercy on me, uncuffed me, told me to lean against his cruiser and just stay there.
I was sent away for about a month and a half. The weird thing is I can remember October 13 so vividly, but not the day I went home. I’ve spent many nights trying to figure out what that means. Maybe it means nothing at all, just a quirk of memory. October 13 is like a strange birthday. A day something changed — not for the better, not for the worse, just different. In the early morning hours of October 14, I opened my eyes to a group of strange faces. I had slept on the floor in the common area of a secure facility. I don’t really remember getting there. My shoes were gone. Soon after, I was naked in a freezing shower with a guard watching my every move. It wasn’t juvenile hall and it wasn’t really a treatment center — it was more of a place to hold you for a month or two before the world was ready to have you back. It’s curious how such a small frame of time — just over a month — can have on your future psyche. I probably met 100 new people in that facility, and I largely forget their names, but I don’t forget their stories. The people I met there would change me forever. But I’ll save those stories for another time…

The rest of my DFS writing can be found on Sporfolio. Special thanks to Mario Mergola for letting me publish this on XN