SUPER TEAM: WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT TODAY’S GENERATION

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“How come we are afraid to lose?”

NBA super teams have become the norm in today’s society. And to be perfectly honest, it makes the NBA kind of boring. You don’t see it as much in the MLB, NFL, or the NHL. Super teams sound exciting, but when the same teams are in the finals consistently it waters down the sport. Don’t get me wrong, I witnessed the NBA run of the Chicago Bulls coming through the 1990’s with their 6 rings in 10 years. But, and there is a but, the Chicago Bulls had a superstar in Michael Jordan, the next best in Scottie Pippen, and amazing roll players who became stars themselves: Kerr, Rodman, Longley, Kukoc, Horace, Armstrong, and Paxton.

Some of the names I called off were, at their height, some of the best in the NBA in addition to being roll players. This is why Chicago was so much fun to watch. It’s kind of like the New England Patriots. Even though I am a Dallas Cowboys fan, the idea of 52 players on a roster, where we only know the names of a few, but they come together as a team to win Super Bowls is great football. It’s something so pure about a group of guys who win without that extra edge. Super Teams on the other hand are like using legal steroids.

The move of Kevin Durant to the Warriors really showed how boring the NBA has gotten. But is there more to this than sports? What does this say about our new millennial generation? Michael Jordan came out and stated he wanted to beat the best, not be on their teams. But when players today feel themselves losing, they run to the dynasty team. It says we as a generation can’t deal with the losing and must run from the challenge. In the millennial generation, today everyone gets a trophy, so you’re taught you’re great before you prove your greatness.

But then when you have to continue to lose, it really hurts and we tend to not be able to deal with the adversity. Look at Michael Jordan, he played for seven years before getting his first ring. He now is considered the greatest NBA player in history. He’s also a cultural icon for his game play and his apparel. He learned to consistently win because he took so many loses. That adversity makes you great. Tom Brady also was a last round NFL draft pick, sat on the bench behind Drew Bledsoe, and now is arguably one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks in history.

Will the super team mentality come back to haunt us? Will there come a time when Kevin Durant is alone and have to do it without his guys around? How will he feel once he realizes he’s going to lose here as well? But most of all, his former teammate Russell Westbrook has a chip on his shoulder because of his former teammate leaving. This may bring out greatness in Russell. But remember, there are a lot of other players who now want to knock the Warriors off their throne as well as the Cavaliers in the NBA.

In the end, how will this pan out moving forward? Will the super team method fizzle out? Or will people become bored and the NBA forced to make some adjustments? Because the Yankees tried to reach out over the years and build their super teams, but MLB players killed that plan. It’s what makes baseball exciting to see the Cubs and Indians play today. We have not seen the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees in the recent years in the World Series. Your super team building creates a beast. And that beast will eventually come for you.

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WHO AM I: THE IMPORTANCE OF IDENTITY

“Does where you come from matter?”

I have heard my whole life regarding heritage as a African American to forget about it. You’re an American, who cares about the past. And that makes sense if not for other groups of people holding on to their heritage. Another thing I’ve witnessed in my life has been the festivals and carnivals held in the name of other people’s heritage. So if everything revolves around America, how come no one ever tells Irish, Italians, Jews, Polish, Germans, English, to abandon all beliefs from those regions. In America we still celebrate these groups with events each year.

As a matter of fact the Confederate Flag, representing a group of men who aimed at keeping us enslaved is seen as a proud heritage symbol. But when I flag the Pan-African, African American Liberation flag there is an issue. So I started to think, why? You would think we are the only group seperating, but living here in New York City gave me an insight into multiple groups who still hold on to their own groups’ heritage. Well, why is it such a problem?

For starters, having a strong ethnic identity is power. Look at the groups of people with a strong cultural and ethnic identifier: Chinese, Indian, Nigerian, Jews, and Italians. These are just a few groups who take pride in their ethnicity. So much so, that their is a preference of their children marrying within the group to guarantee the continuation of the group. But the previous groups I just named are very powerful. They are rich in success, self-respect, discipline, and feel less inferior as it pertains to others. Not that they feel they are better, they just expect more.

When I look at the population of Black people in America, we use t have this in our community. But something took place over the past 30 – 40 years that changed all that. Not to mention, Jim Crow and Slavery. We are the only group in America without names, religion, homeland, military protection, nor government that will rally for the community. Yes, we are Americans by way of legality, but in order for the system to move, it usually has to involve a victim from the White community before they act.

So it brings up the question, who am I? When you live in a world where you are so frowned upon you start to search your lineage. Hoping to find something, anything that will give you an insight into where you come from. Why is it important? Because my whole life I have been reminded that you’re only a visitor, this really isn’t your country. Then if not here, where? Free slaves founded Liberia, and they have their own country. But what is our land? If I leave America, I’m still a visitor somewhere else. So I go where do I go?

In the recent years, companies like Ancestry and 23andme have aimed to aid people in their search of self. I have often contemplated using one of these services. Researchers have spent years testing groups throughout the globe. So there is a very strong confidence in the test accuracy. People may say, who cares, but I do. Like I said earlier, I am constantly being reminded either you don’t belong or you have no history. And the more disdain you receive the more you want to find out. And I am not asking for anything any other group has: cultural identity and their “own” base.

ALL FOR YOU (SHORT STORY)

It is toward the end of the day, and a group of senior girls are sitting in class. They are conversing regarding prom, while also congratulating a friend of theirs on what is her 18th birthday today. The birthday girl is so happy that she is 18 years of age and going to prom this weekend. The PA system sounds and the birthday girl’s name is called in class. On the other end of the PA system is a man’s voice, it’s her father. He not only wants to tell her happy birthday, but he has another important message as well.

DAD: Hello sweetie, this is your father, and I wanted to wish you a happy 18th birthday. Now I know this might make you feel uncomfortable, but please bare with me. This message is not only to tell you happy birthday, but something much more. 8lbs to be exact is what you weighed when you were first born. Holding you in my arms, made me realize for the first time in my life I loved something more than myself. Your mother was so fatigued after you were born, so I held you as she slept. Eventually the doctor carried you away to an incubator. And being the loving father that I am, I followed behind.

Looking at you from the other side of that glass, I was fixated on everything that was my infant daughter. From the cap the doctor placed on your head to wrist band with your birthing information. From your heartbeat to the machine that recorded it. I still remember being told by the doctor how you would have to stay in the hospital for a few days. The first night, I slept overnight in the hospital. Your mother fast asleep in the hospital room bed and I was curled up in a chair. The slightest noise at the room door, caused me to pop up out of my sleep. I’m telling you baby girl, being a first time parent you don’t know what to expect.

As you know, you came home and it’s what would be the start of our family. From the first night I laid you in your bassinet, I couldn’t help but to leave your bedroom door cracked slightly open. Even with a baby monitor, I needed more assurance. Everything about you, made me proud to call you my daughter. Your first words, your first steps, your first day of school. Oh, God, that first day.  Watching you get on that school bus with those other children was so painful. For the first few years, your mother and I kept you so close, now we had to turn you over to the world of academia.

I still remember driving close behind the school bus. I just wanted to make sure you got to school safely. And you know what, this wasn’t the first time I followed close by. Remember the time you wanted to walk to school alone when you were in the second grade. I said sure sweetie, but I walked close by. No one was getting close to you because I was close by. I realized in that moment you were growing into your own much faster than I anticipated. And boy did you grow. Watching you grow over the years, those adolescent years came fast. The parties, the arguments, the dating; nothing a father was ready to deal with.

But it came and I dealt with it the best way I knew how. So here we are, celebrating your 18th birthday. From the moment you came home from the hospital, I watched you grow into a amazing young woman. Everything I do, everything I’ve ever done has been for you. You know it’s funny as a man raising a daughter you have so many fears. You’re never ready to hear, dad I met a guy. But with those fears came a whole new level of appreciation. You taught me so much: you taught me how to listen, you taught me how to care, but most of all, you taught me how to love.

And not the love I have for your mother, but the love that forced me to my knees when I witnessed you take your first steps as a baby. The love I felt when you participated in your first gymnastics competition. And the love I felt watching you receive that acceptance letter to the college of your choice.

I don’t want to take up too much of your time in class, but you must know how much I care. You know, when you’re young, you think your parents are nagging at you. But I only talk because I know the world you’re up against. I talk because anything you needed to know and still need to know I wanted you to come to me. I want to let you know that I can’t promise I’ll be on this earth everyday. But what I will promise is that as long as I am on this earth, I’ll always be around. Anytime you need me, I’ll never turn my back on you. We may disagree, even argue from time to time. But until my dying day, I am only a phone call away.

So for the rest of the day, enjoy. Keep me in your heart and mind because you are in mind. You may be 18 years old, but my love as a parent is eternal. No matter how old you get, you’re my child and I am your father. And for that, I am a better man because of it. Love you always, Dad.

BOYS WILL BE BOYS

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“Is Trump the only one whose said what he said?”

In the year 2005 Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and then correspondent Billy Bush were on a coach bus. They were caught on microphone making statements about women. Donald stated that he meets women and has to just kiss them. Even made a comment about having to grab them by the genitals. Even though they were comments made over a decade ago, the story was so large recently that Billy Bush was fired form his Today Show gig. Which was odd that this video has been out for so long yet Bush was fired today.

Now once the audio came out, there were discussions mainly from women. Women who felt what Trump was saying was perverted. But it’s when the men on television were talking about the situation that made me start questioning authenticity. There were men who said they have never heard such comments. And to add to the phoniness, even a few athletes stated they had issues with what he was saying. Now, what’s odd is that I have grown up my entire life hearing men converse like this. But for some reason, all these men won’t admit that they’ve said or heard this before.

Well why won’t we just be honest about what Trump said. You don’t have to agree with what he said, but to say you’ve never heard of these kinds of conversations, ever is a lie. What about in locker rooms, gyms, bars, nightclubs, etc. The truth is, we do and instead of admitting it, everyone act as if he said something the world has never heard. We lie because if we admit the truth there is fear that honesty gives Trump more leverage. And anything that will keep him from winning the presidency must stick.

Even the firing of Billy Bush was a little odd. You mean to tell me that a video that has been out for over 10 years just pops up now. Never before have we heard of this until now. I’m always weary of dirt when it comes out at certain times. The timing of this video is another thing I question. All it means to me, is that people fear he could win. Because if there was no chance of him winning, then it wouldn’t matter. But what we don’t realize is our dishonesty is actually the reason he’s popular. We’re so dishonest, that is frivolous honesty feels good.

And that’s what it boils down to is the honesty. Especially the athletes with the way they treat their women. Men who are notorious woman chasing guys are telling another man how to treat women. The fact of the matter is that Donald has not been affected at the polls much. But with the main election less than two weeks away, we’ll see if still is held over his head. Who will come out on top Hillary Clinton by way of this story, or will people believe in Trump and continue to stomp for him.

PAST VS. PRESENT: DOES IT MATTER?

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“Is your past a reflection of your future?”

Should your past dictate your future? Or is it whatever you did in the past should stay in the past. Some people think the past is important others don’t. But what is important to you regarding what someone’s life was in the past. Does it matter in a relationship, in a societal situation such as on a job, or what about day to day interactions with people you don’t know. Let’s observe reasons a person’s past might matter or not matter. Such as a stranger moving to the neighborhood on a predator watch list.

If you have been placed on a list of names of people who are considered sexual predators people should be notified. Now what if this was in someone’s past? Should it matter if it was decades ago? Or does it not matter how long it’s been? If a man or woman were convicted of molestation 20 to 30 years ago and have lived their lives right since, some may dismiss their past. But considering a lot of former sex predators are placed in residential neighborhoods it makes parents nervous. Doesn’t matter how long it’s been, a sex crime against a child has no statute of limitations to a lot of people.

Well, what about something less predatory, like what if you are working on a job and someone was a convicted felon. Should the employer know? Well, on a job, this type of information has to be given up front anyways. Then if the employer has to know, does that mean other employees should know as well? On a job employees don’t have to know. What if the person with the felony was convicted for robbery/theft?  Other employees are not privy to this type of information either unless the employee shares this info, which most likely won’t happen. Well how about a sex crime? Especially if you’re a man convicted, this may rub some women you work with the wrong way.

Can we observe some other past history of a person that is for open discussion? How about intimate relationships? Should how many people someone dated be a topic of discussion? How about how many people that person slept with before you? These questions can be seen as subjective depending on the person you ask. I think that women are a lot more apprehensive about divulging their past information. It comes from so many double standards in our society. And any amount of guys a woman slept with before the guy she is with now may be seen as too many.

Well lets flip the script, does the past of a guy matter? What about if he’s cheated, been with a lot of women,  or even physically abused a woman he was with? Does any of this matter to the woman? The cheating and number of sexual partners may be something she could get over, but the physical abuse is something different. There are so many taboos with hitting women, that this might be unforgiven. In the end, a person’s past can either make them or break them. Whatever the case may be the choices we make tend to dictate the life we lead. And even if we turn our lives around, it could still lurk depending on the allegation.

NEW BROOMS SWEEP CLEAN, JUST WAIT!

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“Why is it so hard to keep it up?”

Ever hear the term, “A new broom always sweeps clean?” People always put their best foot forward up until a certain point. But why is it so hard to keep that going? The reason being is that we put on airs because we don’t want people to see the real us. Yet eventually, we all get a chance to see that person for who they truly are in this world. Trust and believe that they’ll show their asses. This may personify itself on a job, relationship, and or in day-to-day society.

Look at when you’re on a job for instance. The new broom is the person that dresses nice their very first day. Or better yet, their first month on the job is going to be picture perfection. But what about one year into the job when you’re showing up 10 – 15 minutes late. Instead of being cordial like in the beginning you wind-up having confrontations with your employer. Initially you ask coworkers who want something from the store for lunch. Then you eventually go off to lunch without even asking anyone around. You’ll put extra work into your job in the beginning then enough time goes by for you to be the status quo guy. Your smiles will turn into frowns and your wanting to be at work will become watching the clock all day long.

Now that’s just a job, what about a relationship? Men love to open car doors for a woman. We need to prove chivalry is not dead. Women turn into Susie Homemaker because she loves catering to her new man. Then the time sets in and the real people come out. He begins ignoring his phone calls and she begins to nag in his ear. He starts to curse you out of your name and she is breaking your car windows. Why because it’s hard to keep up something that’s not you. I mean think about it, how many men actually consistently open car doors. And how many women consistently cater to their men.

But what about living in day-to-day society. People’s interactions in society are fresh and new, especially when you live in a new city. Like for me, when I first moved to New York City, I was so Mr. Niceguy from the Midwest. After a while, I started to talk and think like a New Yorker. Because in order to survive here it required being a lot tougher than I’m used to being. So in the end, the new broom sweeps the way it does because we all put our best foot forward. We don’t want to come off aggressive because sometimes it’s not about being fake. Sometimes we want to bring people into our lives slowly. Make people understand you, then they can go I like this person, despite their faults rather than this person is just a jerk.

LIVE AND LET GO

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“Hard to forgive, but easier to go through life.”

You ever have someone in your life do or say something that you feel you can not let go of. But why, why hold on to something for so long, especially if your life is going so well. Is it worth holding a grudge? There’s only a few things in life that may be seen as unapologetic. If someone takes the life of someone close to you, I understand the anger. But what about other things: your parent walk out of your life at a young, your significant other cheats on you, or someone close to you steals from you. Is any of these prior options worth not speaking to them for a lengthy period of time.

Let’s observe one of the prior options. What about if a parent walks out of your life at a young age? Depends on the situation. How about a boy? Is it harder for males to accept not having one of their parents not in their lives? Usually it’s the father not present in the child’s life. Could you as a male forgive not having your father? Let’s see what you miss out on: not being shown how to defend yourself, walk into society with confidence, change a tire, shave, or deal with rejection. These are typical things boys learn from their fathers. Can you say I forgive you?

How about a girl? Can you as a woman forgive your father for not being there? Fathers are suppose to protect their girls and show them an example of what men to choose to date in life. Or what about her loosing her mother? There is so much a girl need from her mother to learn about womanhood and femininity. How can her father show her how to be a woman, when he’s not one himself? He can aid in her being responsible, but not being a woman.

Well should a male and female forgive their parent? There is a lot of things you  miss out on not having them around. But some people have went on to become more successful by not having that parent. Or, you might later on meet that parent and realize, they shouldn’t have been in your life after all. You should be thanking them for not being there. As a boy, you might be forced to witness your father abuse your mother. Or as a girl, witness your father cheating on your mother. Maybe sometimes it’s the best.

Well, what about if someone cheats in a relationship? For men, can you take back a woman that cheated on you in a relationship? Women are always taking men back when dating. Why is it so hard for men to do the same? We say women are the ones who are emotional, but our reactions make us more emotional. How about women? Can you take him back if he cheats? A lot of women are able to take him back. But there are still those women who say absolutely not. Now, can either one of you forgive for the cheating. Even if the relationship ends, can you forgive? It’s hard to forgive because it requires checking your ego.

Now, what about forgiveness when someone steals from you? Taking possessions of yours can be just as bad, if worst than getting cheated on. Because generally when people are stealing from you, it’s someone close. If a stranger steals from you fine, but family and friends can create a bind in your relationship. So how do you go about saying I forgive you. Well, I guess it depends on what they took from you. If it was something small, it can be forgiven, but what about major things? What about money that could jeopardize your living day to day? This may be harder because your life is now at stake. Some people can say forgive and forget, and some say never forget or forgive.

In the end, a clear conscious is crucial in your own sustainability. Because when you hold on to things that someone has done, it festers. The longer it sits there, the more it eats away at you. Because all you can think about is how they hurt you. It’s easier said than done. But in time, hopefully you find it in your heart to say sorry. Because you never want to stay mad at someone over something meaningless and that person dies. And you never get the chance to squash any beefs.