Get a Life

In an earlier blog entry (The Beat, July 28), I wrote that sports is not simply a game. There are many more intangibles then simply the final score, wins and losses and “how you play the game”.  I firmly believe that sport has an intense ability to bring people together in ways nothing else can. However, there are many aspects that have come to light that have me screaming... IT’S JUST A GAME PEOPLE!

Regardless of our opinions of Lebron James’ decision to jump ship in Cleveland to play second fiddle to Dwyane Wade in Miami, that was his personal decision and he did what he felt was best. I can give him that, it was his right and he exercised that right. My opinion of Lebron James ends there, me as a basketball fan observing a basketball player. When fans began burning his Cleveland Cavalier #23 jersey that they paid a lot of money for, it screamed at me… IT’S JUST A GAME PEOPLE! Actually my thought was more, GET A LIFE PEOPLE! But still, I can understand the intensity of their displeasure. As a sports fan growing up in Michigan, my worst sports moment came when Barry Sanders decided to retire on the eve of training camp. Any Lions fan will tell you now, “well looks like Barry knew what he was doing,” but at the time, Barry transformed himself from hero to public enemy #1 overnight. However, we got over the pain of our loss because after all, it is just a game.

Now, in the great age of social media that we live in, athletes and public figures face a whole new level of scrutiny. I won’t deny that even my access to the media, as a blogger suddenly gives me a voice that I never otherwise have had. It is a scary world to live in when as a basketball player, Lebron James is now receiving racially charged Twitter messages from enraged fans, including a moronic and cowardly twitter follower’s racist tweets regarding Lebron’s mother being a “ni***er slave” and the different ways he and other various public figures would have sex with or perform sexual acts on her.  Really dude? I am only pretty sure I do not have to go into any sort of detail as to why this is horrifically inappropriate.

Here is the message, and listen closely. The sporting life is a great life for those who choose not to abuse it. For the fans who have dedicated themselves, from Little League umpires to season-ticket holders to fantasy football die-hards like myself, sports provides an outlet that we would not find elsewhere. Taking it upon oneself however to degrade another human being because of actions performed on and off the playing surface is ridiculous. Including their family members is cowardice. Like I have said, sports is not just a game for me, and sports is in many ways indicative of real life played out in front of millions in game form. But sports does not and should not allow for moronic characters to engage in degrading and repulsive actions that remove the aspect of fun from the topic. Sports is a way of life for many people, but we need to remember the game, the reason why we are fans.

where are we going?

on the highway today a re-occuring thought crept back into my thoughts, where is everyone going?

you know, there are always so many cars on the roads at all hours of the day, but where is everybody going? then, because this is what i do, i thought deeper about it.i started thinking about, well… where am i going? and why?

i mean, i know i was headed home because i had work to do. but really, what am i doing in life, and why? then that led to me asking myself, am i motivated enough to change my situation? it is nice to know that as terrifying as it can be to change and adapt and grow, i can finally feel comfortable saying, yes i am motivated enough to decide my future, and not let the future decide my outcome.

i just wonder how many people really are doing what they want to do.

i wonder how many people hold themselves back, for whatever reason.

of course there are many legitimate reasons, family and obligations primarily, but i get the sense that there are so many people who live an unsatisfied life without the motivation to change their outcomes. maybe the sense that change means sacrifice is scary to them. maybe it is that feeling of doubt and insecurity that holds them back. i don’t know. what i do know is that when i ask myself where i am going, i hope i can answer that i am on my way to a better situation than where i was, that i am moving forward, that i am pushing head.

that is an answer i can live with.

sometimes.

there is something about desire that out weighs talent.

there is something about determination that overrides intelligence.

there is something about having just the right amount of ambition that supersedes natural gifting.

the reason is, when life gets tough, when things do not go the way we expected, when everything we have leaned on or believed in has let us down, that is when talent and intelligence and our skill sets no longer matter.

sometimes all we have is our grit.

our desire to just get through it.

sometimes all we can think about is never giving up.

sometimes all we know is to just keep fighting.

sometimes it is all we have

sometimes.

not okay.

did you know?

that 884,000,000 human beings in 2010 go without access to safe drinking water?

that 2,600,000,000 people in 2010 live without basic sanitation needs?

that over the last 2 years, the number of hungry people has increased by 115,000,000?

that every 7 seconds a child dies from hunger-related causes?

these are –

men. women.

sons. daughters.

fathers. mothers.

brothers. sisters.

aunts and uncles.

grandpas and grandmas.

people with heartbeats and a story to tell

just like you and me.

this is simply not okay.


it is not okay to live in a world where selfish desires are acceptable. it is not okay to accept an environment where arrogance and greed can be tolerated. it is not okay to turn our backs, our minds and our hearts to the tragedies suffered on a daily basis by billions of human beings around the world.

it is a matter of human dignity.

the most fundamental of our basic daily survival is water. food. shelter. sanitation.

these are things you and i do not consider as optional. we do not go a day without these, even in the most basic forms (or what we  consider basic). yet these are not options for so many. too many.

they need that option.


all of us. each one of us can make a difference. it is up to us. you. me.

there are many ways to get involved.

get educated. show love.

be love.

if not us, who?


there are many ways to get involved. to learn more. to help. here are just a few links to get started.
www.bloodwatermission.com
www.one.org
www.churchworldwideservice.org
www.worldvision.org
www.un.org/waterforlifedecade
www.20liters.org

one | divided

‘we’re one

but we’re not the same

will we hurt each other

then we do it again’ – one – U2

one.

 

one world. one love. one people. one human race.

really?

are we really united as one?

does it feel this way to you?

wars

murders

crimes against each other

political back stabbings and finger pointings

burning the religious teachings our ‘neighbors’ treasure

it really seems difficult to consider us ‘one’ these days.

we live in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. why does it seem difficult to conceive the notion of us being a truly united nation? is this what the idea was? to conjure up an idea of constructing a wall to keep our neighbors out of our country? one nation we stand? oh well if you look like you might not be from here than we are going to need some identification to prove you belong here. that would make sense, if only there was such a thing as being one hundred percent American with no biological ties to other lands.

one?

we are truly losing grasp on what America was built to be. once there was a time when we wanted to be considered a melting pot. a land where people could assimilate their cultures. we once believed that here, on this land, we could practice religion the way we chose, in our own manner and to which ever god we believed in. we deserved that freedom. is that still the case?

a pastor decides he wants to burn the Koran. the holy book of millions of people worldwide. because he wanted to ‘warn’ the radicals. what is truly sad to me is that his fear of other religions overrides the truth of the God he supposedly follows.

one?

this nation continues to fight internally over political endeavors. blaming the ‘other side’ has become the normal way of life. republicans. democrats. tea party loyalists. the ‘one’ thing in common with them is that they blame everyone else. this is not how the system was supposed to work.

we are one?

even if the Koran was not burned does not mean that pastor altered his hatred of the Islamic faith. sadly he has missed the main message Jesus taught regarding others. this is not the idea Jesus had in mind when He said He was the way. He never said that hatred for others was a relevant part of being a Christian. quite the opposite actually. it is sad how little love has come from such a large group of people.

we are truly losing the battle we created for no particular reason. we demanded that the Berlin Wall be torn down but we threaten to build our own. we claim democracy and unity is what the world needs. but we have created barriers within our own borders that make freedoms harder to come by. we send troops overseas to fight wars on foreign soil but we ignore the wars waging everyday here. the wars against the homeless, the addicts, the poor, the flood victims etc. etc. etc. we have lost sight of reality. we have become a people we fought against. we have become the oppressors of freedom instead the ‘beacon of light’ we dreamed of being.

we have become one | divided.

breathe it in – soak it up – breathe it out

as a kid, i had many dreams of what being an adult would be like.

and then as i got older i found myself wishing i was just a boy again. i just wanted to fall back to who i used to be. full of dreams and ambition and so many aspirations.

that is…until recently. the last couple of years i have really come to embrace the stages life brings me. though i am not a kid anymore, the kid in me does not have to  disappear. the kid that would dream of big things and never accept failure as a final result, the kid who always had a smile and could make anyone laugh, the kid who would dream of traveling the world, that is who i was as a boy. and that is who i want to be as a man.

i think that everyone dreams of adventure and every person has intense desires to accomplish as much as possible. what is unfortunate is that we do not believe in ourselves enough. we sell ourselves short too often and we settle for too little.

the people i admire most are the one’s who do not sit and mope and wish they were more. i admire the people who have no quit. who look at life as a challenge and not an obstacle. this type of person inspires me to not just set goals but work harder to achieve them, even the loftiest of them.

when i was talking about being a boy, this thought crossed my mind: as children, we dream of who and what we will become, and we sincerely believe that is who we will make of ourselves.  then we grow up and doubt and self-loathing and fear and this need for certainty creeps in and we pull back and we stop ourselves.  it does not have to be that way. who we were as kids, with that child-like determination and wide-eyed wonder, is still a part of who we are as adults and those desires we have dreamed up, they never leave us.

we should aspire to be everything we can be. we were created for that much. we were created for adventure, we were created for desire. we were made to live and love and laugh and learn and be all and accomplish all. this is our life and we only get one. we don’t get do-overs. we have one chance to live as much as we possibly can. we have to breathe it in, soak it up, breathe it out, and step out into the world and become who we always believed we could really be.

so that is my inspirational for the day

be good to your life. it’s the only one you get.

DIVAS

DIVA.

it is quickly becoming how we the fan defines today’s sports superstar.

prima donna. me first. what have you done for me? you want me to write my name on a piece of paper? not unless you give me money.

clearly not everyone (or anyone) is a fan of lebron james these days. his “decision” to put himself in the public eye made a spectacle of reality television, and that is hard to do considering the degenerate nature of reality television in our country. but can we blame him?  DIVA? yes. lebron qualifies. but the reason he can be a diva is because he can get paid to be a diva. chris bosh is allowed to parade himself around nba cities as a free agent like a lapdog after his master because, well, he can. espn takes heat for a lot of issues, and i personally have a love/hate relationship with “the world wide leader’ which i’m sure i will explore here at some point, but the network only airs what the public wants to see.

the question i have is: why? we hated that lebron turned his “decision” into a national-slap-you-in-the-face to the city of cleveland and all cavalier fans, but why? why did we let him? i hated the idea from the start, but i knew i’d watch the circus-like show anyway. why do we give them that much power?

ochocinco drives the regular football fan crazy. i would guess that most fans do not really care for him. but who turned chad johnson into chad ochocinco? did chad johnson? no. we did. chad johnson became chad ochocinco because he knew we cared enough to like it. or hate it. either way we cared and he knew it. but why do we care?

when i sat and watched roger clemens battle bryan mcnamee on capitol hill regarding steroids for hours on my day off, it was not exactly riveting drama. but i watched it for hours. why?

the point is, athletes can become prima donnas and divas because we let them. we buy the ticket to watch them perform. we buy their shoe. we wear their jersey. we download their iphone apps (ochocinco). we watch terrell owens do push ups in front of his house and then watch his show on VH1 even while hating ourselves for watching it in the first place. we think ron artest is crazy, but is he crazy or is he just savvy enough to know we are the crazy ones who will fall for his antics every time? we get so caught up in the idea that the athletes are the problem. that they are the ones corrupting our beloved sports. i am beginning to believe that the only divas these days are us, the sports fan. we want our sports now. we want it our way. we get mad when our teams do not finish in first place every single year, but then criticize the other teams that do.  we cry foul when another team signs a high-priced free agent and say they are trying to buy a championship, never stopping to comprehend that this is professional sports and every team including our own favorites try to buy a championship every season. we like our athletes flashy, but get mad at them when they are. we like them respectable and nice, but when they are we say they are too boring. we want them to play for the love of the game but when they say they are, we argue it must be the money. we the fans are the ones never satisfied. the athletes, the supposed divas are just trying to squelch that hunger that drives us. they know we live vicariously through them. the question really becomes, why did we let ourselves become the diva?

It’s What Separates Us From the Animals

If we don’t stand for something, what is it, don’t we fall for anything?

People die and we barely blink. War is tragic and it is senseless, but we say it’s a necessary evil to fight evil. Have we not become the monster we intended to destroy?  Bono asks…how long do we sing this song? How long?
It’s war, people die…that’s what we say…as if it makes it okay. Handing a mother a folded flag instead of allowing her to see her child grow into old age…that is not necessary…even if it is dignified.

Children are dying because we are looking the other direction. On purpose. People curl up and die on sidewalks, but we are concerned about suburbia, economic growth. What about keeping hearts beating? Generosity? Genuine concern? What have we become?

What is our gift?We have a soul, and we have a conscience.That is our gift.

It is what separates us from the rest of the animals.

God granted us that. For a reason.

When does humanitarianism count? Genuine care for each other? When did that become rare? Why do we praise people for actually caring about others? We give them awards and keys to the city. Why? Because it is rare. But it doesn’t have to be.
Are we not supposed to care about each other? It’s not just Christians banding with Christians. Jews with Jews. Muslims with Muslims. Blacks with Blacks. Whites with Whites. Rockers with Rockers. Rappers with Rappers. Hipsters with Hipsters. We are a “melting pot”.

Life is here. Heaven comes to earth. We should not wait until we reach heaven. Heaven on earth. Peace on earth. How dare we live just to survive?

There is a song that says, “this world is not my home, I am just a passerby”…is that what we are doing…just passing by? How many people do we “pass by” without a second glance…because we are on a higher calling?
Life is here. People should live. Here. Especially if we have the chance to keep them alive. Children should not die before they have a chance to live

This is what would separate us from the rest of the animals