Grit


I moved to Gig Harbor in 2007 when the soon-to-be ex-wife thought we’d have better schools for the kids. It was certainly a step up from where we were living in Port Orchard at the time.

One of the the things I enjoyed from my time there is the annual football game between the two high schools in the area (Gig Harbor and Peninsula), otherwise known as Fishbowl. With both my children being in the band, and being 4 years apart, I got to go for 7 of the 8 years they were there, with the missing year being due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Peninsula High School is in Purdy, which is in the next town over from Gig Harbor. Unlike Gig Harbor, which is reasonably affluent, Purdy is not. It’s quite obvious when you see the Gig Harbor and Peninsula fans sitting across from each other during Fishbowl. Which is funny because only Peninsula has a football field, and Gig Harbor shares Roy Anderson Field with Peninsula.

In the seven Fishbowls I’ve been to, I believe Gig Harbor has only won maybe once. There’s a good reason for that. The people from Purdy have something the folks from Gig Harbor generally lack: grit. This fact really demonstrated itself nicely in the 2021 Fishbowl, when Gig Harbor was the visiting team.

The visitors have bleachers on the other side of the field that are not covered. Which, given the weather in the Pacific Northwest, can be problematic. And in 2021, I experienced the full impact of this.

In the first half of the game, Gig Harbor was dominating and Peninsula couldn’t seem to do anything right. At the half, the score was 28 to nothing, and we were relatively dry over on the visitor side of the field.

Then, the second half started and the tables turned. The rain picked up, Gig Harbor couldn’t seem to do anything right, and Peninsula scored 28 points to tie the score at the end of regulation. And, of course, Gig Harbor couldn’t manage to score in overtime, meaning Peninsula won. Again. We were supposed to go to another family’s house to party post-game. Instead, wet and soaked, we went home.

Here’s the thing: the generally affluent, entitled Gig Harbor crowd was never my people. I always felt…weird around them. Sure, I was affluent myself. However, I busted my ass for it. Not to say some others in Gig Harbor also didn’t work hard for what they had, but there were plenty of folks who had more money than sense, more entitlement than humility.

Now, as I’m going through a divorce where the courts are ordering me to give more than 70% of my take-home pay to maintain the status quo of my soon-to-be ex, I’ve been forced to scale back and basically start from scratch. Instead of living in a large house in an affluent neighborhood, I’m temporarily living in a bedroom in someone else’s house that I can barely afford in a far less affluent area. Instead of being able to save money for the future, I’ve had to stop contributing to my 401K. Even doing that, I run a deficit every month just to meet my basic needs.

Now granted, I know my life is still pretty good compared to the homeless people I see on the streets every day…something I never saw in Gig Harbor, by the way. I do have somewhat of a financial buffer that is allowing me to run a deficit for the time being. I’m going to have to dip into that buffer a bit in order to secure a more permanent place to live. I also know that buffer won’t last forever, so the belt is ultimately going to need to tighten.

Not going to lie: dealing with lawyers and the legal system is unpleasant, to say the least. Not to mention expensive. It’s not an expense I can really skimp on, given how this divorce is playing out. It will eat more into that buffer, though.

The good news is these conditions won’t last forever. While I don’t know ultimately how the divorce will play out, I do know that it will end and things will settle into a new equilibrium. To get past the light at the end of the tunnel that is trying to run me over, it’s going to take some grit and perseverance.

The good thing is: unlike most of the people I’ve met in Gig Harbor, I’ve got the grit and perseverance the neighbors in Purdy have. I’ll do what it takes to make this work.


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