Baltimore Ravens runningback, Justin Forsett, stopped me in my tracks during his ESPN interview on his recycled NFL career. For me, his message lives outside the lines (aka beyond the game) and offers a pick-me-up anecdote to take into each day:
“You’re not a victim. You’re a victor”…
Ramble me this:… Before I read the caption, I truly thought this was his granddaughter. Tell me why she isn’t?
New England Patriots’ owner, Robert Kraft (71), and his girlfriend, Ricki Noel Lander (32)…. Okay [I literally am not breathing right now.]. Ricki MUST be a football fan, right? Right. You, too, can have a billionaire boyfriend to wine and dine you. Just get up on those Xs and Os.
So, I’m talking to my sister-in-law a couple days ago… (Wait, just so you know, she’s sports’ allergic.) …and we were discussing how she approaches sports, a.k.a. spends time with my brother. It was both difficult and intriguing for me as I listened to her talk about her sports’ reality. It was as if someone was actually speaking German to me (For clarity, no, I don’t know German.) and the translation dictionary was no where to be found.
There were so many things she shared during our talk, but one main thing I walked away with was that feelings, for her, was the driving force. She loves my brother, so that makes her want to learn and ask questions (albeit at the most inopportune times) just so she can share space with him. As a general sports’ fan (…some call me a dude with hair and I’m cool with that), I was just sitting there listening and wondering how in the world could I relate and add something substantive to the conversation. I found myself being the neutral ear, and moreover, interpreting what I felt would be my brother’s point of view.
I explained how they, indeed, had a commonality… That for him, it was about feelings, too. But, the general thought of “feelings” (in this case) is broken down into passion, excitement, competition, and an array of intensity (sometimes described as testosterone-filled explosions to avoid doing real work) that translates into why he doesn’t want you talking when the game is tied, in the 4th quarter, with 27 seconds left on the clock (Hence, Wait ‘Tila Commercial ladies. It’s a noun and a command. LOL!). She understood my time-sensitive analogy after I offered balance by asking her how she would feel if my brother deleted her DVR’d HGTV Holiday special… especially after she talked about this show with such anticipation for weeks. I tell you honey, the veil was lifted. But… that was just the first 10 minutes into my dinosauric, yet revealing, sports’ dialogue.
It’s true that there are relationships out there where it’s Monday Night Football or March Madness and we’re all on the same page, but (there’s always a but) there are more where Monday Night Football means pizza and laundry and March Madness is getting ready for the in-laws’ visit. Let’s bridge that a bit… So we can have football, pizza, (laundry during commercials) and the in-laws are optional (I’m just saying.). My plan for the next few posts is to lay out what I peeled back as to the reasons behind the colossal black hole that makes up those who share a love for one another… and, the other love that seems to be year round. Oh yeah, and some sports’ stuff, too.
I’ve come to learn something incredibly sad regarding a good number of people… They (whomever “they” are) love to keep you down and judging is the Number 1 nugget in this, apparent, glass crown.
How many times in a day would you like to tell someone to “please, mind your business”?… It’s really not that hard at all. To mind your business, that is. This “glass” crown came to mind after I heard the story about Anna Burns Welker, wife of New England Patriots’ wide receiver Wes Welker, blasting Baltimore Ravens’ linebacker Ray Lewis. I am not providing her Twitter quote because I want to, but rather because you won’t fully appreciate my stance unless you read it:
Proud of my husband and the Pats. By the way, if anyone is bored, please go to Ray Lewis’ Wikipedia page. 6 kids 4 wives. Acquitted for murder. Paid a family off. Yay. What a hall of fame player! A true role model!
Really, Ma’am!?! Phrases like, “Sweep around your own front door before you try to sweep around mine”… or “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”… are just consuming my mind. Truly (which is one of my coworker’s fave go-to terms), why stoop so low and, tell me, what are you actually gaining? There are so many turns to take in this story, but I will just stick to how poor it makes you look when you defame others, repeat someone’s business that you shouldn’t, and yes… judge. I learned from a sports’ analyst, while listening to opinions surrounded around this story, that Mrs. Welker (among other things) was also crowned Miss Hooters in 2005 (I honestly just put that little funny together about a glass crown and her being crowned. Crack up!). ‘Nuff said, right? I would really like to know how many years would Lewis need to go about his life before this glass house owner would free him from her moral standard hold… After the tornado of backlash received for her horrific comments, Welker subsequently submitted an apology (Thanks for that.).
By no means am I a Lewis worshiper. I see what he’s done on the field, which I’m most impressed with, as well as his off-the-field stories, which I honestly could care less about. There are things that have happened in my life and things I’ve done that I’d rather not open up a conversation with. I’m sure I’m not alone. And with this acknowledgement that I’m not, nor is anyone else perfect, I make it my business to shy away from throwing people under the morality bus.
For me, in a nutshell, I see that we are celebrating an athlete for his contributions on the field (a first ballot, Hall of Fame athlete). That’s it. That’s all we’re talking about. I believe there are only a hand-full of people who know (really know) Ray Lewis. Those people can do pulse checks on his life, as he trusts them to do so. Fans, as I am, should just stick to celebrating what happens between the lines. Anna, go shine your crown and hush up a bit… It’ll serve you better.
As a woman, there are several precautions I take in life… It’s just something that’s instilled as you grow up, from outside influences, and social standards. Like, not walking alone on a dark street at night; during the holidays to be especially aware while shopping and going to your car; carrying your purse a certain way as to minimize theft; letting someone know your whereabouts; dating only marriage material to save yourself a lot of grief… The list could go on and on.
But, while I take several precautions each day, I know (in the back of my mind) stuff just happens. It does. And, really, there is nothing you can do to avoid stuff happening if it’s meant to happen. So, as a woman, I think about Kasandra Perkins… I like the way one close friend of Kasandra’s put it… “She was more than just a Kansas City Chief’s girlfriend”.
…I thought the same thing, even with not knowing her. Even if you aren’t a sports’ fan, the news of her horrific and untimely slaying has surely reached you by some medium. So, I won’t itemize the details. I just think it’s important to note the 22-year-old life that is no more. Mother of 3-month-old Zoey and Texas native, Kasandra was in school and planned to become a teacher.
She was a person. She took precautions like all women do. She was more than just a Kansas City Chief’s girlfriend… and, stuff happened.
The NBA Finals are upon us (Yay!)… Two dynamic teams, the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder, are vying for the throne (Thanks for that, Kanye and Jay Z). With both teams chasing their first NBA championship, things are sure to be interesting.
I’m a little bias… While I totally agree with the populous that Heat’s LeBron James is a beast of a player, he’s no Michael Jordan; or Kobe Bryant for that matter. Outside of my feeling that the latter two display such an intuitive and high basketball IQ, this sport’s best are distinguished from the others by the rings acquired. And yes, there are arguments in favor of James, but for me, he may be another Charles Barkley or Karl Malone (No disrespect to either one… They are both Hall of Famers and should be respected for what they brought to the game.). My point here is simply that—with all the hype and championship pressure surrounded around James, which Barkley and Malone never endured—on the track he’s on now, he doesn’t seem ring bound.
I’m just old school on this… the game is about championships, not about how many ads you’re in or how many other superstar players you can add to one team to, ideally, bully (a.k.a. sports’ speak: dominate) the League’s other teams. Child please!! (I see you, Ocho Cinco… getting Miami NFL love.).
My sports sporadics don’t necessarily line up with the latest headlines… I don’t seem to flow that way. These are just my thoughts surrounded around some countries within the world of sports, recent or not.
1. LeBron James is not better than Michael Jordan. And until he wins something, which is the point of this game called professional basketball, the NBA, he will never be as good. He will simply be another awesome player who never won a ring… Like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said, “the ring is the thing… and everything else is just statistics” (In context, he actually said this in reference to #2 [with Bill Russell having 11 championship rings], but it fits quite nicely here, too.).
2. Why is Scottie Pippen trippin’ (I’d usually ask why a person is on crack, but that can be considered defamation of character here.)? Did his PR person tell him he needed to do something to bring attention to himself? Who is he anyway to even open his mouth, ever? I can’t even think of a parallel to make this make sense [Did I mention Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said the ring is the thing? And Scottie can think Jordan for this honor.].
3. Mike Brown? Really? The end…
4. Why do colleges pick and choose integrity? Jim Tressel tenders his resignation to Ohio State? But, there has been recent press around the fact that “maybe” these college athletes should get some type of stipend above room, board, tuition, and such (People are so dramatic. Drained.)…
5. FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association [a.k.a. soccer]) can now join the other elite professional sports with [opened to the public] scandals, lies, betrayal, bribery, isolation, embarrassment, and denial. Good times…
6. After the first NBA Finals game, Dirk Nowitzki is who we thought he was…
7. I went to Dallas this past weekend. Is there any other sport/team there outside of football?… There was no shortage of Cowboys memorabilia, symbols, or random stars that weren’t isolated to the Lone Star State. It was a crack up… It definitely shows who brings in the money (Or, who has the most money at least).
8. Roger Federer is a man god…
9. Did you know Kim Kardastian’s fiance`, Kris Humphries, plays for the New Jersey Nets?… I didn’t either (Yes I did. It was just funnier to say I didn’t. Love is grand!).
10. “The ring is the thing… and everything else is just statistics,” is my new single-sentence argument.
The NFL Draft is going on and all I can think about is rejection…
So many dreams hang in the balance and yet rejection is still so much a part of that reality. It’s something, in life in general, to prepare and be the best at your skill (or one of a very limited number), and still not necessarily be a shoe-in. Being #1 is relative, right?… For instance, Cam Newton is the #1 overall pick (going to the Charlotte Panthers) and still, there are so many components to determining greatness. He experienced media and rumor-mill rejection. But today, today celebrates him as the best of the best.
It’s hilarious how one can experience the heights and depths of perceived greatness. I’m all about celebrating hard work, tenaciousness, gifting, and discipline. My heart just bleeds for those who will feel the indelible sting of rejection. It’s something that can only be explained after it is experienced.
No, I didn’t forget to talk about one of the biggest sporting events of the year… But you know me, and it has to be more than just the latest and greatest. In fact, while watching the all-day coverage leading up to the 2011 NFL Super Bowl, I was struck by one of the stories covered.
It was nostalgic to see William “Refrigerator” Perry getting some TV time. I’d wondered what happened to him and often times, now with the prevalent Internet, to find out something all you have to do is type a person’s name to find out if he or she is still dead or alive… Well, the Refrigerator was, indeed, still alive.
During the 1980’s, Perry was a household name as he invaded your television commercials and dominated the field for the Chicago Bears with his mammoth size. But this recent story didn’t necessarily leave me with the greatest of tastes in my mouth. In front of me (on the TV, of course) was a shell of a man. He was as cheerful and loveable as ever, but the years weren’t too kind to him.
We discovered that the now close to 400-pound Refrigerator suffered from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disorder triggered when a person’s immune system attacks their peripheral nervous system. Ouch, right? Imagine seeing this bigger-than-life weapon reduced to this robotic, stiff, and struggling man. The details are many, but a college-acquired habit of drinking alcohol is one of the chief opponents for this disease, and obviously for him now, too. And while Perry kicked the habit, after falling to a scary weight of 190 pounds and time in physical rehab, he says he only drinks one or two now… In his words, “no big deal”. I couldn’t help but walk away from the story thinking of how big a deal it really was.
In 1992, the New York Jets defensive end, Dennis Byrd, in a tragic second, hit head-first into his 275-pound teammate, shattering a vertebra, one of the 33 bones that make up the spine. In that moment, he was left on the field partially paralyzed… 19 years later, Byrd returns the #90 jersey, that was cut from his back on that 1992 day, to Coach Rex Ryan and the Jets’ organization.
Now while I don’t really understand the jersey returned sentiment (Can anyone help me with that?), I’m well aware of the emotional impact his presence made on the current Jets team. As the honorary captain for this playoff Jets team against the formidable Pittsburgh Steelers, Byrd re-energized the already awakened Jets with a speech for the ages. The profound and passionately significant point of Byrd’s speech resonated with me as a “must share” with readers.:
A man has a body, a mind and a spirit. There are times in a man’s life when his body will tell him it can’t continue on. There are times in a man’s life when his mind will tell him that the task set for him is too hard to accomplish. Those two don’t matter. It’s a man’s will and his spirit, and in those moments and in those times that will tell him ‘You can do it,’ and it will make the mind and body follow along.
While this is a powerful in-between-the-lines message, it is also such an impactful one to take into the most calm and tumultuous parts of every day life. This man told his personal story to this Jets team, a group of men in a completely different generation, where the men can typically be bigger and the hits can potentially be harder. But, they got the message. From all the lessons taught, speeches delivered, or plays drawn out, I believe the one common thread and driving force among them is simply the hope that they get it…