Ms. Brown Could Two-Piece You…

Posted by VeRonda Wicks April 14th, 2011

Generally, I think teachers are different today than when I was in school. I feel a good number of them don’t seem invested as they’re beating their students out of the door when the bell rings. I’m sure some of you remember the days when teachers stayed hours after their regular school day to tutor or just to talk some sense into a student… Not to mention the home visits. Well, uh rah, I think this teacher might get a pass…

When your elementary school teacher was twisting your classmate’s ear, pulling him to his seat for his latest bout of misbehaving, I’m certain you weren’t wondering if your teacher had a right hook… (Yes, Mike Tyson style).

Sonya Lamonakis, a 36-year-old Harlem [New York] elementary school teacher, is also a professional boxer. Despite her classifying this “gig” as a hobby (Crack up!), Lamonakis is a top-five-rated female heavyweight who is being groomed for a title shot (I know, I know… a collective Lil’ John “What“!).

Turning down fights if there’s a PTA conflict or school-day event, Lamonakis makes her priority clear:

In February, when [Promoter Lou] DiBella had a show televised on Broadway Boxing at BB Kings [in New York City], he asked me to be on the card. I couldn’t, because I had made a promise to the kids. I was actually going to take them to a show. I already made these plans like three months ago. So I told him I had a commitment to the kids, to my students, and I just couldn’t disappoint them.

While she loves the sport and really knows her stuff, I love that she loves the children. I mean, as someone who loves young people and is committed to their tomorrows, I am impressed by Lamonakis’ dedication and her overall compassion for her students.

I know teachers can’t throw down (a.k.a. beat down) with children the way they did back in the day, but uh, kids may want to think twice before talking back to tight-bun-glasses-on-edge-of-nose-flat-shoe-wearing Ms. Brown.

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Categories: Boxing

Quote: “They Are Who We Thought They Were”

Posted by VeRonda Wicks April 8th, 2011

It’s a crack up to me ’cause every time I attempt to bring a story from another sports arena, some NBA star grabs my attention. And for me, its a must tell…

We all remember Allen Iverson, right?… Well, probably not, but he was a prolific point/shooting guard for the Philadelphia 76ers for many years, giving up his body night in and night out (Uh, ask your significant other to translate that for you.). He then went all Rambo after he was past his prime and asked to come off the bench, which lead him to now being a star (once again) for the Turkish Basketball League. Iverson isn’t primarily known for his charity work, which he’s done a great deal of, or for giving back and re-building black (African-American… for the PC side of you) communities, which he’s also contributed to for many years. Rather, he dons the stamp of celebrity approval for being a bad boy, say-what’s-on-his-mind type of fellow… It appears that hasn’t changed.

Born to a single, 15-year-old, Iverson has known some hardships, but I’m not one for excusing ridiculousness because of childhood woes. I believe we’ve all, relative to our situations, have experienced one hardship or another. Anywho… Iverson’s Lamborghini was pulled over by an Atlanta officer who noticed the vehicle changing lanes without signaling (Yes, a bit extra, I know, but stay with the story.), and after some time this once NBA All Star became irate because he couldn’t leave his vehicle (He was the passenger.) to eat (Wow!).

Okay, let’s forget the expired tags (Don’t even ask…) since 2009 and the 20 minutes, apparently, that Iverson needed to explain who he was to the officer… Let’s focus on the fact the he said to another human being (1) “Do you know who I am” and (2) “Take the car. I have 10 more.” And I like this one best, him telling the officer (3) “I make more money than you will in 10 years.” What, in the name of all that’s holy (I just got that weird mother-wouldn’t-like-that-phrasing feeling.)?… Who does that? This once MVP deemed it necessary to berate an officer for doing his job? Of course, later, he apologized (Whatever.). He’s lost so many cool points. How do you explain to your kid or younger sibling that this is inappropriate behavior when the world says, verbally and in action, that it’s okay… You get a pass since you entertain us. Even as a realist, a small piece of me (a little circle on my ankle) believe people have to be better than this.

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Rose Dud

Posted by VeRonda Wicks March 31st, 2011

So… former NBA star with the Chicago Bulls, Jalen Rose, was arrested recently on drunk driving charges.

When I heard this story earlier this week, I was shocked. As a pretty good analyst on ESPN (not sure if he still has his job), Rose just didn’t give off the impression that he would make such an idiotic decision. I guess that statement should be qualified since, for most sports analysts (or people in general), you really don’t necessarily get any impression other than what one wants portrayed, personality wise, on air (Of course, there are a few [who shall remain nameless] I wonder if they take a swig or two before going live.).

Once I got beyond the shock, I actually became a little itchy with the entire thing in that a little over a week ago, my mother was involved in an automobile accident with a drunk driver hitting her. Thankfully, outside of a totaled vehicle, a few burns (from the deplored airbag), bumps, and bruises, my mom will be okay. But, the thought still crosses my mind that it could have been so much different and therein lies the source of my itchness…

For me, the driver who hit my mom could’ve been “x” person (Rose, Spoonge Bob, Gaddafi) for all I cared. The point was that you made a decision, which is truly yours to make… and that’s drinking (and even getting tore down if you choose). But, then you made a second decision that took away the choice for someone else. That’s a problem for me. So, while you all know I’m one for redemption and grace being applied equally,  I totally don’t get the  general arrogance and complete irrelevance for human life. I’m hoping–simply–that Rose chooses better next time.

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Monkey Tendencies

Posted by VeRonda Wicks March 21st, 2011

I call it Monkey Tendencies… Okay, remember back in the day (Uh rah, maybe even last week…) at the Pop Warner games or any pre-pro game for that matter, when the parents would take matters to another level?… Fussing, cussing, and even going to blows (i.e. “fights” for my ebonically challenged) over a bad call, their kid not getting enough playing time, or just because the ref sucked…

Now, fast forward to today (minus the parental battles), with professional players and their million-dollar salaries, it’s hard to imagine what it takes to make these high-paid adults lower themselves to throwing bows (…Urban Dictionary translation = to throw a punch past an opponent’s face and then to strike them with a pop of the elbow). Well, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Matt Cooke didn’t forget the good ole days and with his latest infamous hit, the National Hockey League (NHL) suspended him for the remainder of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs. And, contrary to how parents/mentors tend to side with their athlete, the Penguins “parental lordship” (Yeah, I know lordship was a bit much…), a.k.a. general manager, Ray Shero, was completely in favor of the suspension.

“The suspension is warranted because that’s exactly the kind of hit we’re trying to get out of the game. Head shots have no place in hockey. We’ve told Matt in no uncertain terms that this kind of action on the ice is unacceptable and cannot happen. Head shots must be dealt with severely, and the Pittsburgh Penguins support the NHL in sending this very strong message.”

I’ve always been of the mind that removing these professional players from the game, where they’re now not contributing and possibly feeling considerable heat from their teammates, is the best way to teach them… It’s a poor way to bring up an athlete, with instilling acceptance of barbaric behavior, but its an even more despicable and sour taste watching millionaires act like baboons for the heck of it… Even if it’s hockey. It seems like ridiculousness, in general, is so contageous. And no one runs to the medicine cabinet for a dose of soundness.

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Categories: Hockey, Issues In Sports

An Ejection of Sorts…

Posted by VeRonda Wicks March 10th, 2011

I am so accustomed to the Kardashians being, well, the Kardashians… That I was taken off guard when, middle sister of the Kardashians older trio set, Khloe shared with the world the very personal reality of infertility with her NBA husband, L.A. Lakers forward, Lamar Odom.

While Odom doesn’t make gossip news often and many times will have the more grounded and rational soundbites, Khloe and the rest of the clan often times are the contrary, having every word and action play out on one reality show or another. I must say I was a bit sadden by the announcement, but also hopeful that, as I like to think and often say, things happen as they should (Really! It’s one of my -isms.). And she appears to be taking the same stance. She’s a career woman, sister, wife, daughter, and friend, and the pressure of all those relationships can be burdensome for anyone, celebrities included. That’s why such a topic, although a common one, has to be hard to play out in front of the cameras… Night after night he’s a crucial player on a star-studded, veteran team and she’s living out her life, the envy of many (Well, if you choose this particular sister…).

The bigger picture, at least externally, is that they’re young and seemingly healthy… they’re wealthy, which offers them potentially more options, and they appear to be in love (and actually fairly normal, which is a rarity in their circles, I’m sure)… All ingredients for optimistic tomorrows.

Something like this helps everyone, I think, remember that we all have “stuff” to contend with, relative to our own lives and that jumping to the first conclusion about someone isn’t often the best course of action… You just never know. It pays to go deeper and get to know someone before you automatically go negative (I’m just sayin’)… A lot of those lessons grandma taught you back in the day render themselves true in adult life. Here’s to a fertile future… in whatever bountifulness that’s meaningful to you.

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Really?

Posted by VeRonda Wicks March 2nd, 2011

I know my title doesn’t lend very much to the imagination, but it was the most descriptive and appropriate word, given the gravity of what I just read.

I’d like to first say that I’d hope to write up this nice an informative article regarding some note-worthy historians and sport giants, which I still am planning to do, but this latest story trumped even that… but, not in the best of ways.

L.A. Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times, inviting underprivileded children to a free, random game in honor of Black History Month in, well, March. Yes (Close your collective mouths.). But you first have to see the actual ad, digest all of it’s really-did-I-just-read-that jargon to truly really appreciate the depth and width of the profoundness of my title.

Black History Month, late coming as it may, started in 1976 and since that time has been celebrated in February. And while I guess if I sit back and take the time to think I could see that maybe this debacle came from a good place. But the initial shock and surface reaction is way too deep for the everyday person to actually take the time to sit back and think. There are so many directions I could go with this story, yet I remain.

Aside… what exactly are the qualifications of being an underprivileded child? Is there like a pass or something, or do you bring in your parent/guardian W2 (Wow!)?

I can admit that I’m not a general fan of the current hip-hop movement (I’m old school all the way.), but the very famous tune from the profoundly creative, clever, and controversial Kanye West comes to mind… How could you be so heartless?…

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Roster Roller Coaster…

Posted by VeRonda Wicks February 28th, 2011

As a sports’ lover, you come to realize that with certain sports, when it all boils down to it, the talent is really cattle… High paid as they may be, cattle all the same.

So, this mega NBA trade of Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks, along with this crazy 25-team shake up (Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.), got me to thinking about the team comradery side of things.

How would I feel if my star/franchise teammate suddenly leaves mid season for potentially greener pastures, leaving my team to drown at best… Or in team terms, “rebuild”? Given the nature of the beast, I’m pretty sure there’s a generic understanding of how things go and that its about business. But you know the behind-the-scene conversations are full of questions, doubt, and wonder. I’m thinking it’s never fun to lose a family member and I’m guessing from a team perspective, this is the same mind set.

I hope Carmelo has the combination of the team and the paycheck he wanted.

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Categories: Basketball

Excellence Honored…

Posted by VeRonda Wicks February 17th, 2011

Sometimes, there is no need… no need at all to try and punctuate on an already beautiful ending.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/commentary/news/story?id=6128100

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A Frigid Reality…

Posted by VeRonda Wicks February 9th, 2011

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.

Top Professional Athletes' Stories

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.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/william-perry-the-refrigerator-2011-2#ixzz1DSbi5Qvo

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Hope Never Tires

Posted by VeRonda Wicks January 23rd, 2011

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.

Top Professional Athletes' Stories

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…

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