Saturday, August 23, 2014

Published August 5th

There is no doubt that sports dominates our culture right now. Tiger’s injured back, Farve’s jersey retirement, some NFL guy knocking out his wife. These things we Americans will definitely pay close attention to. It’s the first thing we click on when going to the internet while world affairs seem to take a back seat. So how do we get folks, particulary young ones, to become more interested in international goings on? Why just turn the goings on into sporting events! Something on which one can place a bet, make a predition, shed a tear when a loss comes or wreck some cars and break some shop windows when a team wins! It could go like this.  I was going to make a prediction on this year’s Israel vs. Hamas Middle Eastern Championship but it looks like it’s going to end in another dreadful tie, (think soccer), a winner never  decided. I honestly thought we had a chance of winning it all this year but as I write this today it looks like another losing season or at best batting 250. One could lose money for the next hundred years placing wagers on this thing. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I would love to vent an opinion about Israeli versus Hamas but I live in Georgia, USA and have never scouted either team. I do like the Israelis and in fact have a cousin who used to play on the Israeli team. She told me they begin training early for the championship and are required to do two years minimum on a local farm club (every town has one) to get ready for it. She’s retired now, raising three children, trying to make ends meet with her husband, who is a Presbyterian or something or other and doesn’t play. She said the Israeli teams of the past have been mostly defence oriented with self-defense, civil defense, CPR, and First Aid as the hallmarks of the coaching philosophy. This year’s team seems to be more offensive although I believe they’re about to pull their team off the field, as hard as that is to believe. Shoot, I thought for once we were going to actually see a winner over there. I think she’s enjoying not being on the team anymore, content to raise a family in a safer, less competitive environment. She still follows the team though and says she wishes there were more reliable scouting reports coming from Washington. That would make sense to me also. Seems like if we’re going to sponsor that team we need to be honestly informed as to our chances of fielding a winner. We’ve been through so many general managers since 47’ it’s hard to keep up. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy just to name a few. And as far as the coaching saff over there goes, I wish we could keep one for more than a few years. We’ve had twelve since 48’ with a few getting fired and rehired several times. No way to develop a winning franchise if you ask me. The Israeli team is beginning to bore a lot of assistant GM’s also and the Hollywood crowd is frankly ready to sell. I suppose you can’t blame them, with the cost of fielding the team going up every year and failure to produce a real winner since 1967. One has to admit that we’ve provided the team with the best equipment possible in the last few years, resulting in most other teams leaving our Isreli team alone. Probably a smart move on their part. When you’re the champ, sponsors are easy to come by and the money just rolls in. And you can’t beat that New York media.  I am concerned about the bickering that’s been going on between Coach Netanyahu and assistance GM Kerry. Kerry getting smacked around by the entire Israeli coaching staff doesn’t look good to potential draftees in 2015. Heads need to roll but where does one start? Let’s face it, it’s all about wining tradition and with Israel versus Hamas we have one of the best in history.  So let’s stop settling for ties in the game and do what we need to do to bring home a winner!

Friday, August 22, 2014

August 19th Published

I’m writing this from a safe, comfortable porch, surrounded by glass with a view of a calm neighborhood near the beautiful Gulf of Mexico and if I could, I would get down on my knees (they’re worn out) and thank God for a safe, calm place in which to work. I would thank Him for two parents who had opportunity and instilled in me the will/ability to become educated, think for myself, lead more than follow, guide others in thought, work with wonderful people and enjoy family. I could no more let someone with a bullhorn tell me what to do than spit across the Gulf. But it’s amazing to me how many of us are forced to do just that. I have a moral compass, instilled in me by a father who worked long hours as a policeman and still found the time to let me know I was loved and watched talked to and laughed with and watched again. And, if I listen carefully, which sometimes I do not, the compass he gave me will keep me on a true north path. He was the most ethical non-church goer I’ve ever known and the “still small voice” I hear comes as much from him as it does from God, which is important to know. But I digress. What we see in Ferguson, is a missed opportunity by people with no leadership. They are disenfranchised, leaderless, disillusioned, confused and very frustrated people with no hope. They get up every morning of every day in the same state of hopelessness and when something like the Brown shooting gives them the ability to be heard, they take it. They know that when all is said and done, when the police leave, when the trial is over (if there is one) when the positive remarks of Captain Johnson of the State Police are no longer there to be heard they will once again be in the same economic and educational state they were in before it all began.  Their lives are filled with fear of what tomorrow will bring, an uncertainty about their future and that of their children, a “heat” that only living in their environment can bring in August and constant worry about loved ones unprotected. They follow anyone with a bullhorn, anyone with an idea for a way out, temporary though that may be, it is a respite from what tomorrow must bring. The knowing that tomorrow will be as today is, filled with despair. They look for identity, a way to be different among the crowd they secretly cannot trust but must live within for there is no way out. A tattoo, a symbol, a way of dressing, anything to set them apart to say, this is who I am, I am different and not the way you see me. The mothers weep for their children, worry, anguish fills their lives as they see that generation after generation has seen no way out. Leadership comes but it’s not enough. Churches are filled but somehow the message is missed and what is that message?  Self-reliance is preached but somehow there is no help from an absent father who is seeking his own respite. And so it goes until the next incident when there is opportunity to once again say, “Here we are, we need help but from where will it come?” There is no MLK and there does not appear to be one on the horizon, only opportunists.  And so, in mass, they are confronted with police who have no choice but to follow orders to restore order and so-called leaders who feed them to the wolves for ratings and personal gain. The shooting of Michael Brown, justified or not, was an opportunity for voices to be heard, not sirens, fears to be assuaged, not increased,  hate to be starved, not fed , grievances to be addressed not addresses looted. The slogan, “No justice no peace” is as much a cry for attention for the young black male’s plight as anything else. It says, “You leave us no choice, no way out and we want to be heard.”  The most important single element in the life of a young male, black or white is the father. We thought we were smart when we said, “It’s not the quantity of time we spend with our sons, it’s the quality”. Remember that little tidbit of B.S.? Do not be deceived. A son needs to know dad is somewhere in the house every time he comes home, regardless of the hour, to put that still small voice in a young man who is unaware that, as President Obama told the Iraq’s, “The wolf is at the door.” Perhaps he should have saved that analogy for Ferguson.