Sports as a Reflection of Culture: Be Multifaceted

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(Leonardo da Vinci)

I can only accurately speak to football and basketball, but it’s clear that the best athletes in their respective sports are multifaceted. Drawing a comparison to the rest of the world, it seems that the most successful or well-known people have a myriad of skills, that are very effective.

If you are a sports fan and end up watching highlights via the various media outlets, you may be familiar with LeBron James, Miguel Cabrera, Robert Griffin III (Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson), etc, to name just a few. These athletes are threats in multiple ways. And they are considered some of the best in their respective sports, or at least at their position. If they aren’t right now, they will be. LeBron James can shoot, pass, rebound, and defend. Miguel Cabrera is an excellent hitter who won the first Triple Crown in many years, for being a high percentage hitter, home-run hitter, and hit to enable others to score (they are highly correlated in my opinion, but still). Robert Griffin and the new age of Quarterbacks, can run with the ball very well and pass the ball with accuracy. Although there will always be a place for a Peyton Manning or a Tom Brady who are incredibly cerebral and accurate passers, there seems to be an infatuation with these hybrid football players. These athletes do several things very well, making them the most effective or valuable.

Drawing the comparison to the non-sports world, I posit that the most success people and corporations do many things very well. Most people who find themselves financially successful aren’t people who just work wonderfully at their job or within their career. They take on other ventures. They seek opportunities in real property; play the financial markets; find other means of income via board membership; all while spending money wisely.

President Barack Obama is an educator, writer and politician, some aspects complimenting the others. A person I just heard about named Randal Pinkett, seems to have never taken a break. And, Jerry Jones or Daniel Snyder are successful because they have their hands on as much as they can, while shouldering and shuttering much risk. Steve Jobs had more than Apple. He was an essentially part of Pixar.

Wal-Mart is an easy corporation to point to that is a one stop shop. You can go there and get clothes, food, entertainment items, household needs, and far more. This isn’t a secret, but the best athletes are a reflection of that, now. Specialist are becoming obsolete. Why play a 3-point shooter, when you can play a 3-point shooter that can rebound and defend? Why go to the liquor store, when you can go to Wal-Mart to get your liquor and mixers, and sunglasses and Advil?

Athletes in their triple or quadruple-threat-ness, mimic corporations who have cornered several markets, or people who have embarked on championing several fields. This may be the reemergence of a Renaissance era, where you must do a multitude of things in order to stand out. Maybe that has always been the case, but our athletes are reflecting that idea right now.

Success isn’t only defined by fame or money. But, if you are a good friend, spouse, or parent, it is likely because you are more than just humorous, affectionate, providing, good at lending an ear or advice. It’s probably a combination of those things.

Billionaire!

“Fuck it I want a trillion,” says Jay-z. I feel you, and I hope you get it. “Good luck with that, bruh.” Seriously, I hope he and we all get what we want. More than that I hope we go for Image

what it is that we really want. Me!? I just want peace of mind. Young people who were always told what to do and how to do it, while seeking the approval of those telling them, turn into old people who need to be told what to do and how to do it while seeking the approval of others. Nah…I’m good off that. But I was that young person.

Kinda borrowing the swag of Cee-lo/Gnarls Barkley, most of my heroes had the heart to live out on a limb, doing what it is they thought was right. (Not trying to discuss right or wrong; or, good vs. evil.) And hopefully you do whatever it is that you do for more than fleeting things like money, but for something deeper. Although, bills, mortgages, living costs, etc. are real concerns. It’s well-known that you need to be a valuable and contributing member of society, somehow or just valuable. Meaning you earn a living.

It’s never too late so, go chase your dreams and fail–or succeed. Just go find out. It’ll teach you more in the process than any teacher or professor from any institution could ever try to, even if you dream of being a teacher or professor. A professor can’t teach you to do something they cant or haven’t done, so Dream Big. Little black kids need to dream big, knowing the world is their oyster too, and that they can be Neil Degrasse Tyson, Anton Thomas, PhD, or Jay-z. There’s more to life than shoes and entertainment. You can transform footwear and be a billionaire or trillionaire and give it all away. It’s clear that we’ve been miseducated about how to approach and go through life.

Jaden Smith was clearly high as fuck, when he said the world would be better if there weren’t schools, because our Education teaches us to be dumb or stifles thought, or something like that. Then went on to say, babies would be the smartest beings if they Imagecould convey it by speaking. He has a good point, in that our Education system needs to get better and change the concept for what it is to teach. But, babies are pretty much blank slates, unless you theorize that they are born into the world with all the answers, or have a cognitive function that is higher until they are forced to learn. Shit maybe. haha. It’s interesting and problematic that I even know Jaden said this.

ImageInstagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook are setting peoples’ expectations and defining success, cool, and whatever else by way of instapics, 140 characters, reblogs, and status updates. It’s kinda sick. We’re all little homogeneous beings lacking the drive and spirit to do more. All programmed the same. Maybe we can’t get mad that the large corporations run everything and Banks are getting too bigger* to fail. We are all buying into the same mode of thinking and way of living. There are people fixated with being a part of the conglomerate and having what they see via various media outlets, including relationships.

Girls want to get married, find love, have a family and have the perfect man that can help create it all for them. Men just do all that is required to get the affection of women, until one gets him. And, hopefully he acts right. Remember he’s been pushing for success to gain the attention of a woman his entire life. People love what Jay-z and Beyonce have, Angelina Jolie and Brad, Will and Jada, Barack and Michelle, Tom Cruz and wait…um… Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Brady and Giselle, etc. I can guarantee they have defined happiness for themselves or they really aren’t happy; and that their relationships aren’t what you would want for yourself. Unless of course you want a relationship where money and fame is the call of the day, and getting strange sex from another with as much to lose as you, because that is the best plan of attack for getting some ass since your wife or man is off in another country or place for…days, weeks, months at a time. But, you don’t want to have it all come crashing down because of a TMZ report. Basically, you have to find what it is that makes you happy. It’s something that can’t be taught to you. You’re most likely to find out what that is when you have peace of mind.

Therefore, social media, your parents, friends, and social media, should not define your happiness. Moreover,those celebrity relationships should be the LAST to teach or set expectations for a relationship (if that’s what you want to make you happy). You have to blaze your own trail to leave a mark.

Well, I postulate that once you reach your Billionaire status, or you’ve done everything that it is that your parents, friends, and society thinks is great, you will finally be able to have peace of mind and do the things that you really want to do. You will finally be able to see what it is to enjoy the little things. So until then, another day, another dollar, another social media view to inspire, depress, or empower you to reach the point where you gain higher ground in this rat race. “I Gotta Find Peace of Mind”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brWmS8As9Wk

Lawyers’ Lament

You know you aren’t special.

But you’re special to them.

From the tv shows and movies that glorify the struggle, it’s not too many that can’t do what we do.
Your success comes from skill draped in luck.

Did you make enough A’s in school?

Or pucker up enough to be the right person’s tool?

A keen ability to know what to say to people

And a vivid imagination

…enough to play people.

We’ve come a long way from burdens of 1L, to fearing some shit we do will land in us hell, or jail–even worse.

We live in this world. It’s what we know too well.

Angered that our work gets undone or another gets the credit

all to have 4 closets of Zenga and Hickey Freeman suits each tailored

and not worry about credit.

I wanna pull up to the golf course

in my Porsche

sharing war stories over a stogie, after hitting the back nine.

Lobster rolls and wine,

for lunch.

Never mind having a house with a pond and marble columns. We’ll settle for a McMansion with a private drive way.

Professorial to others in a quest to be greater

but there’s a power struggle too great we can’t dare to presume to wrangle.

Should’ve been a doctor, or businessman

not a paper pusher, argument crafter, contact drafter or killer, loophole finder, reg dodger, all for another’s profits

yet relish to share their dollars.

Your personal injury is our win
we guarantee,
please believe me,
I got kids, an aging wife, and a secretary

…associates, and paralegals to feed and please.

So please

work with me.

thirty-three

…Percent commission of any wins.

In one city there* 80,000 of me

but I’m better than them who don’t have the name of my law degree.

And I’ll squad up with those just like me.

I’m in a town where all they know is me

take your business and live where u can’t even reach me.

I’m in a big city where dollars are everything,

I gotta get those dollars so I don’t feel like nothing.

Far removed from pain of 2L or boredom of going to class to learn nothing!
Unapplicable info learned during 3L, a forced philosopher and all I wanted was a trade to get me paid.
These bar costs keep coming and hope I do things straight to escape the hammer of disbarment.
How quick we forget the agony of hiding out in books for 3 months to take a test for 2 days, or 3, to wait on results for 5 months praying and willing to dedicate your first child so that you pass.

I forgot about doing right.

I need to this cash.

150k so not to be considered the same

150k so there’s no need to have game

150k gotdamn what a shame

I mean sham, not enough money can pay us back for how our souls’ slain.

Just honor and respect us

at least the best of us

I can only imagine the love I’d find if I never thought this way

Can’t unlearn or spurn it. I bought this me I am. I worked for this me I am. And learned to be a killer…
for this me I am.

I promise I won’t thwart another effort by tipping off the opposition.

Hoping they may offer me a higher paying position.

I promise not to lie and say it can’t be done or we can’t do it. Fuck it

i”ll do it,

you need the help and I’m here to. I’m before God and the courts

but they should know lying out your ass is par for the course.

We take shit personal…fuck business. I been in this for the wins, it is personal, you bitches.

An argument, I could lose, a strategy seen from miles away, it’s chess at its best. But there’s always another day…

and another fight to get right. Even if its at home. The effort never stops. It’s like time, it doesn’t.

A competitor’s spirit finds the motive in their soul, not a paycheck.

But fees, a mortgage–god forbid–school loans will check your dreams.

Don’t be fooled, money, power, respect, sex, and people relationships

and the the chance to do and see shit you’d never expect…

is the driving force.

I wanna save the day, so one day, I can say, I did that for you’all.

it’s time to pay me, b/c I can’t forget the face of my daughters and sons when they thirst and hunger or desire

and they should have that b/c their parent’s a lawyer.

Working hard for the money

taxes better not come take it from me.

Hide it out in he Caymans and have a nice vacation.

I deserve it,

I structured your license agreement perfect.

Lost sleep, hugs, and kisses from the Miss. Mr. Mrs. or Mistress.

Made millions and can’t give it up

too much love for the game…and perks just the same.

What else am I gonna do, but be a lawyer?

Until I die or they take it from me.

I’m still gonna be a lawyer.

Kanye West

kanye westAlthough Kanye West is a polarizing figure, everyone has to respect what he has done. Like Plato may not have made all the best arguments, but you have to respect that he was an incredible philosopher. And it’s fair to say that Kayne is a legend in a game that was once ruled by the likes of Tupac (who will live forever) and Notorious B.I.G., Master P and No Limit, Bone Thugz-n-Harmony, Wu Tang Clan, Cash Money, Eminem, NWA, Snoop, OutKast, Hypnotized Minds or 3-6 Mafia, Gheto Boys, and many more. Currently, there are folks like Jay-z, Lil’ Wayne, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Rick Ross and whoever else you want to throw on that list. Then, you can think about groups like the Pharcyde, Little Brother, and Tribe Called Quest; or artists such as Mos Def and Common…and Talib Kweli that he idolized and likened himself to. But those folks only shared a niche fandom. Kanye has a diverse portfolio of music which consists stylistically of all of the above, which has made him appealing to mainstream rap/hip-hop and underground alike.

Fact is: Kanye made “being yourself” a great thing. He single-handedly changed the dress code for a micro-generation. He’s like what Miles Davis was to the late 60’s and 70’s. In 2003, black kids at Harvard and colleges across the country thought it was finally “ok” to wear Polo shirts and more fitting clothing; more like what it was to be a college kid as opposed to posing while wearing do-rags and baggy…everything. College kids fronting hard as fuck–outside of some of the athletes–like they were something they weren’t. Moreover, he expanded fashion or style for the black youth and others as time went on. It was cool to take pride in your appearance again, as black people. I believe high fashion has always been in style, but he has broadened the scope. The downside is that it has created a bigger consumerism problem. He even has had to deconstruct what he did fashion-wise in order to remain ahead of the curve. He has created a hybrid of hood wear and high fashion. So Thank you, Yeezus. And, don’t be mad at him for wanting to call himself a god, unless you are also getting mad at Jay-Z, for calling himself “Hova” and everything other rapper.

Yeezy also created a unique sound in music, that “chipmunk soul” among other things, with his sampling techniques. (Don’t be mad at sampling, b/c most rap tracks were created from sampling beats.) He was the mastermind or “genius” behind the beloved Jay-z’s BluePrint 2. Also, don’t forget that he literally murdered 50 Cent’s rap career with the Graduation album. 50 was that nigga. But, he had his 15 mins and capitalized the hell out of it. And, 50 is probably a better rapper. There are a bunch of better rappers, but not every rapper can send a direct message with the ingenuity Kanye has. Plus, it’s a self fulfilling matter now. “Everything Ye poop on will explode.”  But, Kanye’s slaughtering of 50 should have put everyone on notice that Hip-Hop, Rap, or both–if there is really a difference–changed. Rap reverted back to fun times as it was conceived back in the late 70’s. Not solely about killing and or drug dealing.

Kanye Albums (from tumblr)

Kanye Albums (from tumblr)

As mentioned above, Kanye has a diverse portfolio of music. 808’s and Heartbreak still rocks. Because of that Lil’ Wayne was forced to try an alternative music album. (Btw, Yeezus is a really good album, and it doesn’t sound like anything he has done before.)

Moreover, Kanye has paid it forward and paid others back. We all love John Legend and Jamie Foxx as singers. He is part of the reason their singing careers are so good. Jamie Foxx is a beast of his own doing, but musically, Kanye helped him get on. He held Twista down, by trying to help reemerge his career, although it didn’t take off. 2 Chainz also had a really good debut album and is super hot. Kid Cudi has his niche following; and West and Cudi worked well together. Don’t forget about him trying to popularize a hip-hop violinist–Mari Ben Ari. Not all your ideas will pop, but if you keep trying enough things and staying at it, you’ll be ok. Kayne has also paid it back by including Charlie Wilson in his music. Uncle Charlie keeps a paycheck coming from Kanye. He put on for Raeqwon, Ghost Face, and RZA by featuring them on various songs and Ma$e.

Essentially, you can’t be mad at him for being an asshole with the media or childish about wanting awards. People are perfect and behaving with “class” does not have an effect on production of art. Kanye has a strangle hold on the industry and is trying to expand his empire. Good luck and much respect to that brotha. I’ll get off nuts now.

An Ex-Athlete’s Delight

Wake up with the pain of a prior day’s work recalled as your feet shockingly touch the floor.
Resent waking up…well, the process.
Love waking up to carry out your night’s dreams in today.
Begrudgingly start your routine of push ups, sit ups, squats, toe raises….
Willing to do whatever to get that advantage on your competition–wherever they reside.
Gotta make it.
You wake quick, to get to the next step.
But, the daily grind wears on your mind,
takes a physical toll on your body, and thrashes at your soul.
Being an athlete has it rewards in the fleeting moments they come, but it’s all work, but some say its tons of fun.
Essentially, athletes keep playing for the chance at “the glory.”
“Thank God if I make it.”
Blame him for having another plan for me if I don’t.
“It can’t be me. I work too hard. Sweat too much.”
Why do I even do this? I’m tall? I’m strong? I’m fast? I’m quick?
My friends, family and expectations?
Is this love or lust?
I know I can have minions to keep feeding my overgrown ego that i wouldn’t have otherwise.
It’s only because my name appears in the paper; or, my image flies across YouTube;
or, your HDTV.
Do I do it for the day I hit the Shine of a Spotlight?
Do I do it for the day I can really get paid?
Do I do it so that my good looks are profitable
or bad ones and skin color become irrelevant?…
I love the game.
It defines me.
I enjoy winning.
The losing is motivating.
I see God, and the good in both.
I spend all my free time in a gym,
with or without people.
It’s my religion.
Sorry, God! (I think).
I sacrifice:
Academics, love life, social experience, other life joys, jobs and money.
I’m different for my ability to sacrifice.
But, I’m not honored or given my due unless I win and keep winning.
So how can I really appreciate a loss?
Fans can love or hate you for what they can’t do.
Future employers can love to gloat about your past accomplishments, while longing for the day to berate you….”I’m your coach, now!”
What it is to work for love and passion–neither can be replaced by money or trophies.
It’s great to have it all, but better to have your sport.
You grow to love the pain, agony, triumph,
and defeat, and saddened when you’re liberated from it all when…
On the one day it stops.
Death over dishonor?
I gave so much to the game and now it’s gone.
With it, my youth and spirit.
How to care beyond something you have given more than half your life to?
How to carry burdens of burned friendships in pursuit of a bigger dream?
I love the clicks in my knees, toes, elbows and neck.
It’s what I have left from days achieving without having
to look at old stat sheets, clippings, or trophies.
Artists at their finest is an athlete.
Those you’ve never heard of and those we all adore.
We all have this in common: a lot of pain and love and muscle memory.