Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Give Me My Damn Points!

A couple weeks ago a friend of mine (G) asked could he write a post for my blog...I said no doubt man just let me know. Well here it is:

Give Me My Damn Points!: America’s Selfish Attitude Towards Sports

It’s July 8, 2010. Millions of basketball fans and outsiders tune into ESPN to view Lebron James inevitable decision on what team he will join the following season. The anticipation has been building more than Dr. Dre dropping Detox as fans and "experts" alike have debated with their friends for months as to where Lebron would end up and why he’ll choose to play there.

Now the moment of truth has arrived, people are on the edge of their seats and Lebron makes his well-awaited announcement.

WHAT THE F***!!!!! This is probably what you yelled at your television screen. Unless you were this gentleman:


In one horribly articulated moment basketball's golden child turned into America’s public enemy number one. (It has also been documented that at this very moment Tiger Woods hit the dougie for the first time...performing the popular dance number in celebration of him no longer being the most hated figure in sports.)

Every different geographical location in the nation had a different reason for hating Lebron. Chicago scoffed at Lebron who looked to provide the key to a championship with an already well assembled squad, New York fans could not seem to understand how Lebron could ignore the bright lights, big city, and Amare Stoudemire’s proposal to Lebron to "Do something special" and Cleveland...well their anger cannot be articulated with mere words.

Why was everyone so mad? I mean this is about Lebron’s family right, his friends, making the best decision to win a championship right? Right?...WRONG

This is about America’s selfish fascination and relationship with athletes. Every player who competes in a sport owes us something. If you get traded to a team in our hometown you better be ready to win a championship, because we need a reason to rock team apparel and brag to all of our friends about how our team won the NBA Finals, Superbowl, or World Series.

Team sports put extreme pressure on athletes to perform already, but then came the creation of Fantasy Football (and for some Basketball). The widely popular virtual competition puts friends against each other as they compete for bragging rights on who makes the better GM.

These matchups for ego, bragging rights, and sometimes cash have turned all who participate into unforgiving psychopaths with outlandish expectations. Each week we take our team of virtual soldiers onto the field, and hope and pray that they will produce enough to beat our friends so we can talk smack throughout the whole week. We yell at the TV screen, we slam our computer keyboards, often times yelling "GIVE ME MY DAMN POINTS!"

ESPN Alert: Michael Vick leaves the second quarter of his matchup with the Washington Redskins with a severe injury to his ribs. "WTF MAN, GET UP, GIVE ME MY POINTS!"

ESPN Alert: Austin Collie leaves his matchup against the Eagles with a concussion after taking a vicious blow to the head. "MAN GET YO ASS UP OFF THAT STRETCHER...GIVE ME MY DAMN POINTS!"

ESPN Alert: Detroit Lions lead the NY giants by 7 with 1:00 left in gametime. Looks like they’ll take a knee for the rest of the game to solidify their first road victory since 2008. "MAN F** YOUR FIRST ROAD VICTORY THROW A HAIL MARY TO CALVIN JOHNSON...GIVE ME MY DAMN POINTS!"

Sometimes I feel like the doctor:

Each and every week we put all consideration and empathy to the side, as we selfishly hope that athletes will give US a victory. It’s not about their families, it’s not about them being stand up guys, it’s not about their emotional and physical health, it’s about them producing enough so we can prove to our friends that we are smarter than them, and know more about sports than the Average Joes.

This is not just limited to Sports. We do this in most vehicles of entertainment. Look at when Kanye produced "808’s and Heartbreaks", or Common produced "Electric Circus" (although those two albums should never be mentioned in the same sentence). I’m sure when they were making the music on those albums it felt good to them. It was an emotional outlet, that helped them express how they felt at the time they recorded it. But because it was against the grain of what we are used to hearing, or what we’re used to them "producing" we felt disrespected and upset with them for their choice of self-expression musically.

Although we have extremely high expectations for all those who participate in these high-pressured forms of entertainment one can argue that they are in fact in the "Entertainment business." Their job day in and day out is to produce a product that is satisfying to the eyes, and pleasing to the ears no matter what personal hardships they have to go through to get there.

This is how we easily justify expecting the most out of these people. We don’t have to be concerned about their personal lives, and well-being, they just need to do their job and consistently achieve greatness the way each and every one of us individually defines it.

But who am I kidding? This is America! We can have whatever we want, whenever we want, our needs consistently being catered to is just part of the game. Because the customer's always right....right?

If you have a question or comment for G email him.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Getting by on Talent

How far does it go?

I was talking with my LB @KingovNY85 this weekend about football like we typically do every week. We talk about a lot of different things but one of the things we always get to is how overrated players are...especially corners. 2 in particular stand out: Antonio Cromartie and DeAngelo Hall. You're probably thinking what am I talking about, they both get mad picks. True they do, Cromartie 10 in '07, Hall 4 in one game a couple weeks ago, but it rarely has to do with their skill levels. 

Out of position but talent makes it up

Its mostly talent, supreme talent indeed: they're both freakishly athletic, lightning fast, and have ridiculously hops. A lot of their picks are a result of their talent but they're techniques as cornerbacks are not good. They both spend a lot of time gambling and trying to bait QBs into throwing their way and so they're out of position a lot. Sometimes they're able to pull down a ridiculous pick but most times they're getting picked on and beat. Many people think they are great corners but I think they just get by on talent. 

The risk paid off this time

Corners are the most overrated players in the NFL because people let them get by on talent. Of course talent is a necessity in the league but by itself it can't make you great. The superior corners, the ones who are really great combine technique & skill with their talent to create greatness. Think about Darrelle Revis, whom many consider the best corner in the league. His technique is impeccable, he's very skilled at covering guys. He rarely ever is out of position and rarely leaves his guy with enough space for a QB to throw it his way. If a QB then dares to throw he then uses his talent to make ridiculous picks.

Talent + Skill = Insane

Life operates the same way. There are tons of people who get by on talent, some of which are even confused as great. They can afford to just "show up" and do well and in some cases exceedingly well. They're in the minority though. Most of us won't become great on our talent alone. We'll try though. We'll see how far it will take us. This is how we are, we'll ride our talent because it does just enough for us, its taken us to a "pretty good" place. But what about becoming great? We hear more of people with the potential to be great then we do of people who are great. Few people match their talent with skill. People aren't interested in working hard and developing skill. They're perfectly fine getting by on talent, and we're perfectly fine with it too.

See how talent is doing on South Beach, 8-6

I don't want to be Hall or Cromartie. I don't want to ride my talent because I know it will blindly lead to people calling me great. I'll admit that I've done so thus far, and I've done pretty well. however, I know I won't get far if I keep doing so, I'll never reach my potential. As I get older and think about Real Life I realize that as talented as I might be its not enough to do what I want to do and become who I want to become. I'm trying to be great and I don't want it to be any doubts concerning my greatness. I want to be Revis, who might not be as talented as some of the other "great" corners but is so skilled that everyone agrees hes great. The only way to get there is to get skilled and combine it with my talents. I'm making a commitment to stop getting by on talent, what about you?

Oh almost forgot to say F*** my LB....he beat me in fantasy this weekend ending my playoff hopes. My talent never showed up lol.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Giants World Series Champs

Congrats to the San Francisco Giants who won the World Series on Monday night.

They defeated the Texas Rangers 3-1 in game 5 to win the series in 5 games (4-1). They defeated soon to be Yankee Cliff Lee on Monday (for the second time in the series) courtesy a Edgar Renteria 3-Run Home Run in the 7th inning. Renteria went on to be named World Series MVP. He's no stranger to World Series heroics though, he had the series winning hit in 1997 for the Marlins. He's been one of my favorite players every since, I pick his batting stance whenever I create myself in any baseball game.

I'm very happy for the Giants, as I was rooting for them. The main reason was because I owe them. Their departure from New York after the 1957 season led to the founding of my NY Mets. Our cap logo and the orange we wear comes from them. Guess I should say thank you.

I had other reasons too though. They're from the National League, where my allegiance lies. They play in one of the most beautiful stadiums in baseball (NL has all the best looking stadiums). Of course they also have Cody Ross (#sayitlikeross) who had a ridiculous postseason (.294 5 HRs 10 RBIs). It was probably because of his beard:
Speaking of #bawse beards, there was Brian Wilson who dyed his joint black:
Fear the Beard
They really represented the team concept: a group of low ego guys working together for the good of the team. They relied on mostly home grown talent,a bunch of cast-offs and journey men, and a rookie sensation: Catcher Buster Posey. They won games with great defense, timely hitting from unlikely sources (Renteria, Ross, Jaun Uribe, Aubrey Huff) and outrageous pitching. 2 time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum (also known as Big Time Timmy Jim) defeated Cliff Lee twice, Matt Cain didn't allow an Earned Run in the postseason and Madison Bumgarner threw 8 shoutout innings in game 4, dude is 21.

Congrats again Giants, you earned it. #Respect

Mets, hope you took notes.