2 Visible Heroes!

Thank you, Richard Sherman and Kanye West. Richard Sherman has just proven that black people come in many shapes, sizes, intellect, personalities, and abilities. He’s an academic success and NFL football extraordinaire. Kanye West stood up for black people in a real way. He went off on a racist person, physically, the way he always appeared he would if you listened to how he talks. “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” was a verbal lash out that was manifested physically manifested in order to protect his wife and child’s honor. Yeezy backed up his shit talking, just like Richard Sherman did.

They are heroes simply for backing up their shit talking like Muhammed Ali did regularly–many years ago. But they are more so heroes for the command over the media they earned while vehemently portraying truth about the world. Sherman showed us they don’t want to hear our minds, but only see our bodies in action, so they can talk for us. West’s situation showed America is still fucked up and did what every man has wanted to do when pelted with racial slurs, no matter their color. Congratulations for capitalizing on your moments time and again.

Yes, the Super Bowl will be a bowl game with racial undertones!! And marijuana overtones. The bowl for the best bowls. Fuckyeah2014.

About My Pain

I trained for my own pain
believing it would be relieved in success,
such so to override the pain it took to get there,
yet never realizing that I trained for my own pain.

I am who I am. And it will be what it will be,
but I can’t see beyond the misery.
I made the me I am, for the dream of who I am,
yet unaware that I trained for my own pain.
The pain is freely given for those on this road, need no tarots for this is no
mystery.

Simply and shamelessly gullibly ignorantly oblivious to my training for for my own pain.
Not enough paint can paint the painting to my pain.
Can’t point the finger knowing I was the master of my slavery.

I trained for my pain to become a slave–unknowingly.
I’m the me I am that created the slave I am,
unnoticing the grave I’m digging for where I’ll lay one day.

Not sure how I didn’t realize that I was training for my own pain, yet a pain I didn’t train for, but no less adore.

In Re Firing Coaches

With the speculation of Jason Kidd’s job and Mike Woodson’s job being in the crosshairs of the firing gun, with just under a quarter of the season being complete, it’s hard to appreciate the idea that the teams’ collective success, or lack thereof is their fault respectively. Coaches often times deserve to be fired. But in these two situations, I can’t help but to think the players need to bear the burden.

As for the Knicks, you have two 100 million dollar players, as far as what they are being paid, in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudamire, but they can’t play together, and they can’t win on their own. A coach’s job is to get them to work together or talk to the GM to affect a trade. But when you have two superstars!? It’s the superstars. They are the ones playing. And, these guys don’t care about any coach! They are getting PAID playing basketball. Melo is getting all the shots he wants, but can’t make his teammates better. These guys lack motivation internally, that no coach can give them. Melo needs to sit on the bench and let people who can similarly lose games, but want to play, play. Let those guys earn their keep somehow.

As for Brooklyn? Ha. The expectations were too high, and for no good reason. You can’t bring in three guys from a squad and expect them to mesh well with the old guys. There is a war of factions within thy squad. Then they have to learn to play well together. But then consider the fact that Brooklyn is old. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce aren’t as motivated as they get ever closer to retirement. Not to mention injuries, especially to Deron Williams. They haven’t had their core team play together often enough. It’s a learning process. The big 3 of the Heat lost a lot their first year together. Then, you add a first year coach who was just playing with these guys on the court last year, in J Kidd. It’s hard to go from one of the guys to being on the other side as a coach. You have to give him a chance to make it work. Management had to have taken that dynamic into consideration when hiring him. Give that man a legit shot. Damn. The players have to play hard and execute on the court.

Currently the Knicks and Nets aren’t presenting a quality package on the court. Blaming the coaches is a mean cop out when you have legit superstars on your team. Basically, give some responsibility to Carmelo. And, let Kidd have a real shot at coaching.

Concept of God through Sports

I don’t have to look further than my athletic experience or other people participating in sports to help me understand bigger life conundrums or know that a “higher power” does exist. I know there to be a God/Gods/God-like-force in the universe and functioning this planet because of the miracles I’ve witness in watching sports and playing sports. As athletes, we are like living physics problems; we are also like artists. But, sometimes when art and science can’t fill that gap, we have to turn to something else. Thus, I found myself transfixed at times seeing or feeling the presence of God in what I was doing or watching in rarefied moments, because it was unexplainable without such. You could make the argument that “science just hasn’t come far enough yet.” But, we will never be able to explain our existence as it is, purpose, and all the questions that start with why.

My concept of God isn’t associated with any one religion, but more so a collection of many religions. God is availed everywhere as like an energy in the atmosphere, especially in times when science or probability leave us stupefied. For example: when that hockey, basketball, lacrosse, or billiard ball player makes a miraculous shot, that can’t be duplicated because of the perfect alignment of “the planets” if you will, to allow for that triumph for that team or person in that very moment, while simultaneously creating joy in others watching; and the associated pain for the opposition, to learn from that experience. Giving them the chance to bounce back and appreciate their next win or success (moral victory) more deeply. That has to be something greater than coincidence or luck or misfortune depending on which side of the equation you are on. People often time wonder why a God, would focus on sports. 1) I don’t think it is right to personify God; but 2) why wouldn’t God work in sports as with the rest of life since it is a part of life just the same; also 3) There is so much attention in the sports world, if God were to want to send a message, why wouldn’t “he/she/it” want to express their powers there? But again, God is something else that’s everywhere, all the time, drawing on our energy as we get it back from that energy.

God is that presence when two cars collide, but no one is injured, because of the occurrence as it unfolded allowed one or both people to defy the odds of incurring pain. God was there when the vehicles were being designed to be safer. There is video of a person being perfectly spit out of his car as it rolled over, landing him on his feet, with pure bewilderment on his face, as his car went on to get thrashed. (Wish I could find it to link it. But this is good enough.) God is that presence which allows a surgeon to have the focus, skill, and ingenuity to combine correctly to help save a life in the most delicate or intricate of situations. Or,  it’s where the Internal Medicine doctor that has been sleep deprived, is still able to go through the memory bank and combine that knowledge with a unique perspective to allow them to treat a ailing patient, ailing from a little known problem, as glorified in the television show House.

Sadly, car accidents, or when other less than fortunate events take place that have a tragic outcome also leave us questioning the presence or existence of God. “Why me?” we wonder with pain and agony. And I don’t know!

Even when I fail in the future, or when I have failed in the past; or experience other unfortunate occurrences, I know I have to remain steadfast in my work ethic, while hopeful, as I keep trying to create a time when things materialize as I dreamed them. If and when it happens, it is bigger than me or you, the individual, but a sum of effort, the procedure or steps taken, probability of success, and good fortune working in our favor. We can only take responsibility for so much when things go wrong just as when things manifest as desired.

In athletics, especially a team-sport, players and coaches analyze what could’ve been done better or differently, often times resulting in a player being held accountable. An awesome and most pure approach is that the team outcome is the accumulation of many events not to be blamed on one person; or allow one person to have all the glory. But, too often, we see players feeling the pressure or accepting the blame for a loss, when there were many players out there on the field or court. But what about when a player drops a pass only he could’ve caught to win the game, or miss a shot only he had the opportunity to make? It becomes very absolute then. Either it went well or it didn’t. Was it fear of failing or fear of success, lack of talent, or something bigger? But one thing is true: there is another time to get it right…unless that was the last. Hopefully we aren’t experiencing the last one, but you never know when it is or the next to last one. Just give it your all and be thankful for every experience. And understand that there are other venues for the expression of talent to create success or happiness.

In my estimation, Athletics are a microcosm of life in its entirety. And athletes have a very direct connection to the physical and incalculable energy that exists in the world. It’s why I love my sport of choice and was so sad when I didn’t have the opportunity to continue it at the highest level. But, I’ve found peace in that I can still play the game and still feel that connection.

Now, I’m moving forward with what I have learned from the game and those lessons have been priceless for me in the non-sport world. I also can better appreciate that there is something greater working its show too.

Sport to Life

Coach Mike Preston once told me that I’ll never be as good as I can be, until I take it upon myself to put in the wok on my own. Mike Preston was my prep school basketball coach, who also accompanied me to my first college, as an Assistant Coach.

In college, I had to work on my jump shot accuracy and consistency. Over the years, a player will learn certain drills and believe in them blindly, as if that’s all a player can do to improve on those areas of their basketball game. That was me. I thought I was hard working and motivated–and I may have been compared to those closest to me, but I needed to do more. Bear in mind that there is always someone somewhere working. Getting better when you aren’t.

Working with this coach was an exercise in expanding my mind and approach to what it was to master a skill and become great. “It” has to come from within. A person will only be as good as they can be when they start making themselves take those 200 extra shots; or going to run; or hitting the library or writing without being told by an authority figure. It creates ability or skill, and confidence in yourself.

The greatest theories or innovations in art, philosophy, sports, and the like are not made or formed in a classroom or during a team regulated practice for the most part. The real discoveries of self-ability are found when doing one’s own experiments–although maybe based on classroom teachings, furthering the groundwork laid by individuals in a person’s environment.

I got exponentially better at basketball when I decided that I didn’t need a coach to put me through a workout. I found a way to challenge myself. As this relates to the rest of the world, I know that self-starters or those who go above and beyond the call of duty are those improving at the greatest rate of change.

Improvement is a core feature of living, in my estimation, such as adaptability is essential to survival. You can reference Darwin and other theorists of evolution if you feel otherwise.

I guess the teaching my parents gave me for being accountable or responsible for my own actions was driven home by a basketball coach, by seeing it applied in a more discrete venue. My room was never as clean as the time I wanted it clean. The same way my jump shot was never as accurate until I took it upon myself to never want to miss, or think every shot was going in the basket.

I found new ways to perfect shooting; or made new moves to help me get by a defender; or imagined making shots with a defender guarding me. When I was using my imagination the results were greater. I believe that is applicable to all things.

Being mindful that rules and laws set a baseline, the imagination in conjunction with hard work is here to expand that baseline; thus giving us more. Sports are a microcosm of life in general, but certainly as sports pertain to improvement.

Sports as a Reflection of Culture: Be Multifaceted

Image

(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.

Pete Carroll is an Example…

Image

With the recent Seahawks’ win, and other wins under Coach Carroll, I do believe Pete Carroll is an example of a successful coach. He is also an example of what most coaches, who have coached football at the NCAA level are like, not so much in his behavior or skill level, but with his tactics. And, by tactics, I mean the fact that people have to get their hands a little dirty. This should not take anything away from his success at the Pro or College level. The idea that his hands could be considered a little dirty is based on the regulations of the NCAA, but regardless of his recruiting techniques Carroll knows football; and is still carrying on with a youthful exuberance and love of the game, at 62. What this should call attention to is the NCAA.

Johnny Manziel, may have profited from his autograph this summer (not like he needs the money). And, after NCAA investigations were complete, he served a team administered one-half game suspension. But–current NFL wide out–AJ Green was suspended by the NCAA, for four games, for selling his jersey for $1,000 to an alleged agent, after his junior year in college. All the money he made for UGA? He can’t profit too. Oh! My boy Dez Bryant lost his entire senior season and the money from a dropped stock in the NFL pro draft, for lying about hanging around a former prominent athlete. It’s really not a surprise that the treatment of one rich white kid, who won the Heisman is juxtaposed to two black kids, who are now millionaires, but god’s grace. There appears to be an arbitrary enforcement mechanism. And looking to these examples Racial issues are still alive and well if NCAA sports are any indicator.

So why does this matter when talking about Coach Pete Carroll? Because he coached Reggie Bush, who–while at USC–under Carroll’s tutelage, was accused of taking money. Reggie was then stripped of his Heisman Trophy. USC would also deal with sanctions. And, what was Carroll’s role? what punishment does he deserve? But, good thing for Coach Carroll he got out of there and landed a position with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. But, the idea that USC and Reggie Bush have to give up wins and a trophy is ridiculous. Hopefully while on the level playing field that is the NFL, it will show that USC was deserving of those wins and Bush entitled to his trophy.

We have an NCAA which implements rules and regulations for players, schools, and coaches alike, but it seems for the most part that it’s the players who get in the trouble, spawning from a multitude of reasons. The coaches and schools find themselves in violation when attempting to recruit the best players. It’s clear the rules have to get broken to have a modicum of success. Moreover, the lack of guidance from the coaches and schools hurts players when players start to look like goldmines, based on their stellar college performances.

Sadly, not everyone is going to be rich from playing a sport–including those who make it to the highest NCAA level. Sadly, those players who don’t “make it,” are left with nothing to show for it financially. Money matters. You can argue that players have the chance to earn a free degree, but in this economy, it’s next to worthless, especially when considering the majors for the degrees earned, if earned. The compromise of blood, sweat, tears, and a lack of a balanced college life is not repaid with a free education. The NCAA is running a plantation especially when it comes to sports like football and basketball.

Pete Carroll knows the devil that is the NCAA and the difficultly associated with being a successful head coach at that level. He had to do dirt to hit pay dirt enough times to where his teams could win, which enables him to look good. And, now with Coach Carroll at the NFL level, where the playing field is level, as far as talent is concerned–for the most part–it’s clear to see that talent acquisition is only a part of the puzzle. Pete Carroll is showing that it’s what you do with the talent.

The money used to entice young talent to attend a school does not make a team win, no more than buying a drink for a girl at a bar will get a man laid. It helps. It helps. But, there is way more involved in order to have a team win or have a man get laid. The NCAA should appreciate that fact when handing out violations, while NOT amending their rules for this current age of collegiate athletics. The NCAA stripping Bush of his Heisman is still a bullshit decision. Reggie didn’t play better because he got a couple hundred dollars. Fuck that chump change! Think about it this way: that money was nothing compared to the money Reggie Bush helped the NCAA, ESPN, the then PAC-10, and USC make during his tenure. Not to mention what all players help networks and their schools to earn for playing a sport. Reggie was trying to get NFL money, not a few hundred bucks so he could help mitigate the cost of living, or to get it while the getting is good because nothing is promise in a gladiator sport like that.

Basically, Pete Carroll is exposing the NCAA for their weak ass policies, with his winning in the NFL. Hopefully Chip Kelly and Jim Harbough can keep the show going. Pete Carroll is going to win no matter where he is because he has the tools from his knowledge of the game, not money from…whatever resource to pay players (if they are getting paid, because not all do). Face it: College Sports are not amateur sports. College athletics are a billion dollar business made off the backs of young people, without the allowance of paying the talent. It’s so hypocritical, it’s sickening. And not to mention criminal, in that schools have arranged price-fixing, so not to pay players (see antitrust laws). Just stop with the bullshit NCAA and schools protecting their profit margins. Way to go Coach Carroll, you’re exposing the NCAA.

Also!! The Lack of Diversity in leadership in NCAA athletics…:

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-110hhrg35220/pdf/CHRG-110hhrg35220.pdf

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.