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”…
It’s a hard pill to swallow, but in life, there will be those who rejoice in seeing you fail. And relationships are absolutely no different… In fact, you can count on it. This is what I was thinking after watching the Miami Heat’s 27-game winning streak come to a humbled end by the competitive ball play of the Chicago Bulls (100-97).
While the game and real-life relationships are worlds apart, it’s beneficial to notice the similarities. Within both, you need passion, commitment, a work ethic to make things work, a love for what you’re doing, communication, and a pinch of fun… When these ingredients are all working together for a common goal, you don’t have to look too far for naysayers. But, you heard LeBron [James] say it wasn’t about the streak; that it was about getting better and working as a team. The Heat’s coach, Erik Spoelstra, echoed this same sentiment. Being on the same page, echoing the same message is how you shut all the noise out.
So, while I am a known LeBron-isn’t-Michaelist, I can appreciate the work effort and focus… and I actually enjoyed watching the Heat make history. Where the game and real-life relationship similarities end is that with having one bad night, the streak doesn’t have to end.
Sigh… Scratch… Sigh again, right?
With life, not just sports, the question often pops up… “What does he really want?” It’s not just a guy’s question about a woman. There’s really no way of knowing, honestly, unless there’s some type of communication. Well… from that conversation with my brother and his wife (go a couple posts back), I have a simple answer to what he actually wants when it comes to spending time while you two are watching sports:
“I want some level of appreciation, passion for the sport. I feel like you just tolerate me. If you try to get the terminology and social side of the game, you’ll appreciate the significance.”
I was shocked that he was so candid and that she was receptive. I think she was a bit shocked, too… She asked him what was she doing that said she didn’t appreciate the sport. It sparred conversation (I walked out of the room… I just wanted the sports portion of the relationship and it trickled into something else, honey.). It seems old and ineffective, but talking seems to open doors. And… as much as I am not a LeBron James’ fan, some type of communication (and endurance) happened in order for him to finally finish up those Save-the-Date cards with his long-time girlfriend and mother of his children, Savannah. Talk it out…
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.
It’s a freeing feeling when you can be unashamed, right?… Just embracing what life brings and being unapologetic for living the way you choose. And I like when I stumble upon people choosing to live that same way.
…I don’t know how I could’ve created the proper segway for a greasy navel (literally), but I tried my best. Anyway, Karl Malone (my fave Utah Jazz turned L.A. Laker mailman) went on record revealing what has to be one of the weirdest and nastiest revelations about Charles Barkley… that he kept Vaseline in his navel whenever he was on the court (Yep… Did you look out both corners of your eyes like I did?). I had the similar thought of most… Could someone on the bench not hold a jar or tube for you, brother? Apparently, Charles wanted to be self-reliant and you have to love that.
There is nothing worse than a black man w/crusty lips. -Charles Barkley
So if you go to a nude beach, own it! If you have a tattoo on the small of your back of O.J. Simpson, go with it! And if you’ve received beads from Mardi Gras the good ole-fashioned way, love it!
Michael Jordan [If you don’t know—which would be hard for me to imagine—he’s the greatest NBA player of all time.] is 50 this year and his competitive nature has not subsided.
I was actually relaxing, reading through some sports’ articles, and came across one about Jordan. What tickled me completely was how he was now being granted the leeway—because of age—to be, let’s say, crabby [That’s a nice word, huh?]. The implication, which isn’t new news by any means, is how difficult Jordan was [and apparently still is] as a team mate and businessman. He admits that his ego is so big that he expects certain things… I feel ya MJ, so do I, honey (LOL!)! Along with his own expectations, he expressed expectations of today’s current players.
Jordan says today’s players aren’t tough and that they wouldn’t be able to hang with his era. He describes players as soft, coddled, and ill-prepared for the highest level of the game. As someone who watched Jordan during his era, along with the likes of Charles Barkley, Charles Oakley, Dennis Rodman, and the entire Detroit Pistons team (LOL)… I, too, am a believer that today’s players would be out of luck.
The soft player thing could be a post of its own, but my point here was to give MJ love for being the standard, the template, by which every player should strive to model their on-the-court attributes after.
I love Herm Edwards!… Now that I’ve gotten that out, I can continue. For those who don’t know, Edwards was an eccentric coach in the NFL and currently maintains this same eccentrics as an analyst/guest host for ESPN. But I digress…
While driving this morning, I heard Coach Edwards on ESPN radio talking about the San Francisco 49ers’ former quarterback, Alex Smith, who was abruptly benched for [then] back-up quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, after Smith sustained a concussion. Edwards had high praise for Smith as he maintained a positive demeanor–continuing to be a supportive and enthusiastic team mate–despite everything. But, what I like about Coach’s comments is this one phrase that just stuck out for me… he continued to autograph his performance. Coach Edwards depicted how Smith’s actions spoke volumes and how coaches all over the League would remember how he performed.
For me, that phrasing is something to take into everything life. Life throws so many darts and missiles and stones… and thrown in with all of that is a little sunshine and laughter and peace. While I’m dodging missiles, it’s useful to remember it may not be about the current role or situation, but whatever the case, to still remain in a mental place where I continue to autograph my performance for what’s to come.
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.