Archive | May 2011

Are You Nervous Mr. Gilbert?

      The NBA Finals start tonight. The well-monied, long-suffering Dallas Mavericks meet the purpose-built Miami Heat. Kidd and Nowitzki, meet Wade, James and Bosh.

     Far north of this championship fight, and Far south in the standings is a party who could be fidgetting. He’s the person that compels me to root for the Heat.

     

You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”

You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wrote these words a year ago. He punctuated one of the most ham-handed PR moves with an even bigger one. James’ “decision” led to this derision and the call for a curse.

 Mr. Gilbert, I really hate to play Dr. Phil here….but….how is that workin’ for ya?

I’d like to see LeBron James put up a final performance on par with the finest Magic, Bird or MJ. A performance that makes Mr. Gilbert squirm a great deal as he will be a witness.

And as LeBron holds that golden trophy up in front of the world, I would hope that the chattering classes in the sporting press give Mr. Gilbert’s rant a second look. Remember:

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”

Mr. Gilbert’s poison pen wrote a check in jealousy. I want LeBron James to see to it that the funds are woefully insufficient.

Are you nervous Mr. Gilbert?

      

Advertisements

What I’ve Learned In Forty Years and how it relates to college football.

I turned forty today. Forty. Hard to believe I am forty. Just 10 minutes ago, I was an eleven year-old kid cheering wildly for Gordon Johncock to hold off Rick Mears. Oh by the way, wasn’t that a wild Indy 500 over the weekend? I feel for J.R. Hildebrand, but there are 800 corners that you have to negotiate to win at Indianapolis. J.R. got 799 of them right, and one horribly wrong.

Just a wild Sunday of the best of racing. The Grand Prix of Monaco comes down to a Formula 1-style green-white-checker finish. Dan Wheldon gets a miracle at Indy at Hildebrand’s expense, and Dale Earnhardt Jr, checkers in sight at the Coca-Cola 600, only to be a drop of fuel short.

In forty years of this sporting life I’ve learned you can’t give up, its not over into it’s over and sometimes you can plan for victory but sports and life sometimes just ain’t no darn fair.

And today, as I cross into fortysomething. I saw an example of the cynicism you learn as you grow old. The cynicism that grows when you once again see how much of a lie the noble bromides of sports seem.

Jim Tressel did it corporate-style. As the heat was the coming into THE Ohio State University, he got out of the kitchen. He tendered his resignation, and so began the vultures of the fourth estate, and opposing fans (mostly Michiganders) to pick away at the carcass.

But why are so many picking at the carcass? Why the spasms again? Why all the outcry about tattoos, “improper benefits” and “street agents”?

To quote Marcus Buckeyeus Maximus, “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!!!!! DID I NOT VANQUISH MICHIGAN EVERY YEAR? DID I NOT WIN YOU A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS AND BCS BOWL GAMES??? DID I NOT SEND PLAYERS TO THE NFL? DID I NOT SPREAD GLORY TO THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY UNSEEN SINCE WOODY HAYES??? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED???!!!!”

Tressel lied to the NCAA about tattoos. Had he not lied? No problem. However, it would be naive to think this was just about tattoos, they same way that we were naive that the Pentagon paid $600 for a toilet seat. There is too much smoke  for this not to have a fire. There was some cash and free cars involved. But so what?

Once again, we are going to have “crusade against corruption” for about two weeks and then the next super team steps in line, and then there will be more questions…Just like there were about Auburn and now Oregon, and their ties to a “street agent”.

The same NCAA who wants so hard to be Elliott Ness and be a defender of scholarship is the same NCAA with a membership you never see discussing educational reform in this country or educational issues. When it comes to myriad educational issues, you never see the head of the NCAA or it’s voting representatives to their conventions published in educational journals, testifying to congress on educational issues, or even involved in matters in areas such as expanding college opportunities, dealing with the disparities in educational opportunities in our country, or improving curriculum. When it comes to forgetting about the “student” in “student-athlete” nobody does it quite like the NCAA. Interesting given that the NCAA is first and foremost a body of educators.

Maybe with age, I have grown cynical. I’ve grown cynical with a sporting press that wants to moralize, but at the same time they’ll demonize if you don’t win enough. Lets be real, you can have “student-athletes” or “blue-chip,five-star prospects”. I’m long past the belief that you can put together players who are combinations of both in the numbers needed to win a national championship, and take home all that bowl/television money. The same fans and pundits who will call Jim Tressel a cheater were the same people who called John Cooper a loser, even though he won 75 percent of his games. No championships and annual losses to Michigan defined the man. It was the same way that Rich Rodriguez was ran out of town, because the guy “cheated”…and still didn’t win. It is the same reason that many a coach is harried in papers, blogs and on sports radio. You didn’t win or you didn’t win enough. American philosopher Bill Parcells said it best, “You are what the scoreboard says you are.”

The very press who now denigrate and investigate are the same press who are on the back of any coach who doesn’t win enough, or any student-athlete or pro athlete who just didn’t perform up to snuff. The kids know it, and they see it. They see that their jersey can be sold in a bookstore for $70 a pop and they see none of it. They see millions of dollars going to the school. They see big money alums pulling out the checkbooks and applications going up through the roof because of what television cameras show on Saturday afternoons. They see the coach getting millions along with the right to come and go as he pleases with guaranteed money.  The gladiator sees his name being cheered yet he, and slowly but surely she, cannot profit from it unless they can show enough to go pro…in sports. If they can’t?Hopefully, they were college-ready before they got there and/or they came from an area where education is valued. Such value is a shrinking commodity in 21st Century America.

The gladiator class can’t win enough, and can’t win at all especially in today’s Twitter-charged, 24-hour, bang-bang media. I am a member of that very media, so am I guilty as anybody else.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. I put down the rock long ago.

If big-time college athletics is to survive it either has to cease to be “big-time” or those of us looking at the spectacle must see it for what it is.

Think John Houseman in “Rollerball”

“Do you know what the chattering classes and the NCAA professors dream about when they are at their desks? They dream that they are great revenue producing-athletes. They have muscles. They bash in faces.”

Getting Beat On The Beat. Goodbye, Ms. Oprah..and Who Has Barack’s Back?

In the news: Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas got hit hard by tornadoes. Some in Washington D.C. are using the storm to play politics.

Oh speaking of D.C.

(courtesy: COPBLOCK.ORG)

Northside Chip YOU IGNANT Award Winners. These two D.C. Metro Transit Police Officers.

Now here was the “official” explanation. (Courtesy of Copblock.org)

On Thursday, May 19, the Metro Transit Police on routine patrol at the U St. Metrorail station observed a patron in a wheelchair drinking an alcoholic beverage. The officers asked the patron to leave the area and he refused. The officers then attempted to issue the patron a citation and when the patron refused to comply with the issuance of a citation he was told that he would be placed under arrest. The patron resisted arrest which resulted in him falling out of his wheelchair. The patron was arrested for assault on a police officer and drinking in public.

The patron was transported to a local hospital with a minor injury.
Metro Transit Police are following up on this report.

Steven Taubenkibel
Public Information Officer
WMATA-Office of Media Relations
P: 202 962 2474

He did fall out of the wheelchair, with a little help.

This is why the “war on drugs” doesn’t work. You cannot exercise authority without creditability. To my police peeps:  It only takes one ignant cop to free O.J.

Goodbye Oprah, and thanks for all the fish.

                                                                                                                           

          O is for Oprah, and May 25, 2011, The Oprah Winfrey Show ends a 25-year run.

         Say what you want about Oprah, but when you can run on TV worldwide for 25 years, you did something right.

         I’m a huge fan of this brilliant lady and what she put on the airwaves, and although I think in her later years the show lost a little bit of its edge, too many celebs at times to me, it was mostly on point.

        I tip my Stetson to you, Ms. Oprah. Thanks for showing how a little positivity can go a long way.

Now turning my attention to another big time O.

Barack Obama and British PM Dave Cameron get that special relationship feeling

Barack Obama is hanging out in Europe for a minute. A couple days in Ireland, and a pint of real Guiness. Now, he’s in the UK. Not a bad choice, Mr. President. Britain gets some love here on the Corner. Yes, Northside Chip is an Anglophile.

But can we give the President a hard time back here at home? Yes we can, and quite a few of us are.

Republicans? Yep, there is the snipe from the right. It’s a same you can believe in.

Sniper to the left? Yipes! and check out who is holding the rifle. Dr. Cornell West? Really? It is so. The Big Thinker isn’t too happy about what the President is doing.The health care plan didn’t go far enough in Dr. West’s mind. The economic team is too Wall Street in Dr. West’s mind. America’s First Black President isn’t all that into Black Issues, so Dr. West says.

Cornell West and President Obama: We just aren't on the same page right now

Being “socratic and prophetic” Dr. West went on to say, “I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” 

Dr. Cornell West, the Big Thinker? Going straight ghetto fabulous on the “I’m Blacker Than You” tip? Damn.

Such  thoughts caused a serious round of the dozens among the intelligentsia black and otherwise . Some saying the “old guard” of black leadership is passe. Others who agree with West’s contentions which put Obama at a level just short of Stephin Fetchit, Pigmeat Markham and Flavor Flav.

I think all sides in this circular turkey shoot need to aim the rhetorical salvos at a different target.

I’ll break it down for you. I respect and admire Dr. Cornell West. He is a brilliant thinker. That is why I am throughly disappointed at the way he went about criticizing the President. To call the President out saying that, “As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation. When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening. And that’s true for a white brother.” 

Dr. West, you know better.  Pulling that one out sounds no different from the Birthers to me. Worse, it blunted the arguments that I happen to agree with and that is what saddens me. Now, Tavis Smiley coming out of the pocket with some of this left field stuff is understandable. Mr. Smiley got radio shows, tv shows and books to sell. Side note: Notice how you really hear about Tavis Smiley only when he hawking his next book or project or something?

But I would like to ask Dr. West’s critics a question based on what the professor said about the policies within this Administration: What is Dr. West saying about the policies that is untrue?

I like President Obama, I voted for President Obama, but let’s be real for a second. President Obama ran on health care reform with a public option. He surrendered that early in the fight, and what we have is a huge windfall for the health insurance-pharamceutical-industrial complex.

President Obama ran on economic recovery that would help a great deal of us who are not CEOs. But the CEOs and Wall Street got a huge bailout, which a good number of them used to feather their own nest. And notice that Eric Holder has yet to lay a legal smack down on anybody on Wall Street who helped pull off the biggest jack in financial history. But then again, did we really expect an economic team made up of the “Too Big To Fail/Too Big To Jail” crowd to prosecute the crime and clean up the mess?

President Obama ran on ending our military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, we got an escalation of both wars.

President Obama has governed in the fashion we feared, but knew was coming. That is why I did not support the President during the 2008 primaries.

Discussing this with a good friend, he told me “Obama’s main job is  to maintain American hegemony regardless of what his skin color is.”

A fair point. However that hegemony and exceptionalism is a dangerous proposition in the 21st century. The concept of American Exceptionalism is highly toxic to our survival as a nation and the survival of the human species.

But Barack Obama ran as something different. He ran as beacon of hope. Why that beacon has dimmed? You only need to look in a mirror.

Too many of us who consider themselves in the “progressive” camp fall into the same trap. We figure that we put a mainstreamer who can talk the talk in charge and immediately the problem is solved. WRONG, THE BATTLE IS JUST BEGINNING.

When the Tea Party People were in the place to be, hitting the streets and getting noticed, Where were those of us who wanted better and knew better? We didn’t swing up and push this Administration to fight for what they ran on. And that isn’t limited to black folks, I’m talking all progressive folks.

Cornell West can’t do that. Boyce Watkins can’t do that. The “Talented Tenth” can’t push that forward, it’ll take the Whole Damn Hundred of us. If you want peace and social justice to be on the program, it’s not coming from the top down it has to start grassroots up. Street heat is the only way that radical program has a chance, and  my firm belief has always been that for the United States of America to move into the 21st century, it will need a radical perestroika. The coming issues of the years ahead will demand that structural change.

Some will say “c’mon Chip, you are talking that radical business. Obama is a PRAGMATIST. We need pragmatic thinking.”

The definition of pragmatism in today’s talk reads: “Be fully assured that you won’t get anything you really want or anything you really need because of the priorities set by the people in charge. In short, take the crumbs we might give you.”

Our goal? Redefine pragmatism. The current definition is a product of our mass inaction. It has nothing to do with Obama’s upbringing as a person, it has everything to do with the upbringing of his administration. We got the people we got because we didn’t demand service after the sale. Imagine what pragmatism would look like if Barack Obama could look to the Capitol Mall and see hundreds of thousands of Americans holding up a banner saying “PUBLIC OPTION NOW!”, “PROSECUTE THE WALL STREET CROOKS NOW!”, or “TROOPS HOME NOW!”

Also, Dr. West and in fact all of the black intelligentsia, could you tell me what constitutes a “Black Issue”? What counts? Is it just Unemployment and Crime? Not that those high rates aren’t important, and being black an all I understand that. We need jobs in our communities and economic development and I agree, President Obama needs to be out front a little more than he has been.

But it seems to me, being black and an American and all,  that all issues affect Black America, so why aren’t we talking about those issues as a community?

    Energy Independence is a serious  black issue. When Peak Oil hits, you know it will seriously hit The Corner. Notice I didn’t hear a lot of ripples among the black peeps when Van Jones was getting ran out to of town by the Whitey Righty Oil Brigade,

Environmental Classism and Racism? Hello both sides, why aren’t we talking about this?

The War. When I go to anti-war forums, I’m too often a “Pudding In A Cloud” (Def: The only person of color in the room). This is a “black issue”, too.

Its time for Black Americans to stop talking about “black issues” and start making our voices heard on the issues across the board. All the critical issues that pertain to our nation pertain to me as a African-American. 

Demand. It’s a good word. Frederick Douglass used it very well. Power concedes nothing without demand.

That’s the real issue those of us who seek the hope and change we were sold in 2008: How deep is our demand for it?

The Rapture Rush and The Rush To Judge Lance Armstrong

The Rapture didn’t happen on Saturday, but for a lot of folks in the midwest nature did bring tribulation. Being a native midwesterner, I understand how this time of year can make you a little skittish. Severe weather is a part of life along the plains, but once in awhile it gets as violent as the storms that have hit Joplin, Missouri hard. If you want to know how you can help, please click here.

I’m going to be a lot of writing in the next two days, for there is a lot going on. Two of my favorite things happen this week. My birthday and the Indianapolis 500. We have 33 drivers on the grid after a wild qualifying weekend. We’ll have a full preview on the corner later in the week. Over the weekend, I can channel some Mike Gundy. I’M A MAN! I’M FORTY!

In the news? Well there was all the reports that the world was going to end. I even wrote a song about it? Wanna hear it? Here it go!

(sung to the tune of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”)

I guess we’re all still alive
Nope, He didn’t come back
Even while you weep
He still has work for you.

Harold Camping, don’t be dour
No one knows the day or the hour.
Why are we so quick to end the world?

As we try to seek to perfection of the Creator and the grace of the Creator, lets not be so heavenly minded that we aren’t minding the creation here on Earth. This is how the recent “Rapture Rush” and every eruption of this type strikes me.

I really want talk about Lance Armstrong. Didn’t this guy retire after a couple more tough bike rides last season? Isn’t he taking on cancer full-time these days? Lance Armstrong is out of the game, SO WHY IS EVERYBODY STILL CHASING AFTER HIM?

I checked out Tyler Hamilton’s tell-all on 60 Minutes. And when 60 Minutes gives more than half of the show to one topic, there’s got to be something.

I don’t buy Tyler Hamilton. I’ll say that up front. Here’s a guy who got caught and now he’s dropping dime Team Livestrong. Its the same with with Floyd “I Didn’t Do It Before I Did It” Landis. Both these guys are like the one petty crook who tells because “they can’t do all this time by themselves”.

I don’t buy a lot of the finger-pointing on Lance Armstrong by people who themselves got caught up. To quote some of my peeps on the street “STOP SNITCHIN'”

That is not to say I believe Lance Armstrong. I’d like to. We know the story. Young, budding cycling talent on the rise and then he is diagnosed with cancer. The cancer was fast moving, nasty and deadly. The doctors gave him 1 chance in 3 of beating it. That was 1996.

L.A.’s will combined with aggressive chemotherapy turned the tide. By 1997, he was cancer free and in training. In 1998, Lance Armstrong was back racing again. He opened up both barrels at the Tour of Spain, one of the Grand Tours, and finished 4th. Not bad for a guy who was full of tumors a year or more ago.
And then came 1999. Le Tour de France…and beginning of the Tour de France becoming the Tour de Lance
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005. All Lance. All The Time.
America, you were watching it and getting into it. You were rocking the U.S. Postal Jerseys and bumpin’ John Tesh’s old school Tour de France music in your ride. At least a few of you got all hyped, bought a bicycle, and rode to Phil Liggett’s voice in your head as you climbed the Alps d’Huez in your immediate vicinity.

It was a comeback story on pedals and we love a comeback story. That is why I want to believe Lance Armstrong. He could have resigned himself to the idea that even if he beat cancer, he’d never ride a 10-speed at the razor’s edge again. But he not only wanted his life, his wanted his passion. He fought back. I respect that.

And there’s the facts in the case. Imagine being Lance Armstrong in 1999. Tough Texan back in France, and sacre bleu He’s owns France for a month. And every after stage, the words Controle du dopage become very familiar. That’s French for , “You will be peeing into a cup every day, Monsieur Armstrong.”

Lance Armstrong has been tested more than any world-class athlete ever. Over 500 different samples, including testing after every TdF stage he has finished. Lance has never yielded a positive test. Those are the facts. Yes, I know, a good cheat can find ways around the test. But that is with enough time and tools. Over the course of a 1-month, 23-stage race where you are on the bike and in front of the press every day, you don’t have the windows to be a good cheat. The detection methods have improved great deal over a short amount of time.

Also consider that you are dealing with organizations that have no reason to play you honest. The International Cycling Union makes the rules, but in the Tour de France, the French Cycling Federation has the primary responsibility to handle the anti-doping effort. You have an American dominating the biggest sporting event in France. Owning the very sport that is the French National Pastime. Given some of the hanky-panky that has been reported when American athlete meets European drug testing, its a conspiracy theory that has some legs to it. You don’t think at least some in French cycling wouldn’t love to have a big picture of Lance Armstrong on the front page of Le Figaro with a big headline screaming “LE BUSTED!”

And there are the health questions. Given Armstrong’s fight with cancer, why would he even fool with something like EPO, which stimulates red blood cell production. I’m no doctor, but at the basic level cancer is cell growth run amok. Why would a man who has beaten cancer do something that could theoretically cause it?

“Well gee Northside Chip, sounds like you are drinking the Lance Armstrong, Livestrong Nike flavored Kool Aid.

No. As much I want to believe Lance Armstrong, I do look at him with cross-eyes narrowed. It wouldn’t surprise me if it turns out that his yellow jersey turned dingy tainted brown when its all over.

Firstly, because of the nature of the sport. As an decidedly amateur cyclist and weekend triathlete, I can tell you that this sport HURTS. No athletic activity I’ve ever attempted can match the burning of pushing a 10-speed as fast as you can through some twisty bits. Many of us feel the burn on areas that are nothing like those climbs from hell in the Ardennes or the Alps.

The athletes who participate in Grand Tour cycling are superhuman to me. They have turned their bodies into the most efficient machines possible. Consider oxygen transfer, VO2 Max, calorie intake-usage, heart rate etc. You are dealing with some elite Good Lord Engineering developed to a degree that most human beings couldn’t imagine, much less achieve.

Even with that preparation, the concept of finding the “unfair advantage” isn’t new to cycling. That quest has been around since the sport’s beginnings, and intensified in the last 50 years. It began with amphetamine-type stimulants and cortisone in the 1960s and 1970s. Even the greatest cyclist to ever push a pedal, the Cannibal Eddy Merckx got caught in four separate incidents involving stimulants between 1968 and 1974, including being thrown out of a Grand Tour. In the 1980s, blood doping became the next magic bullet, and one of the biggest users was just about the entire 1984 U.S. Olympic Cycling squad.

The late 1980s and 1990s brought the next wave with those three special letters: EPO. That’s short for Erythropoietin. Its a protein hormone used to treat anemia, and it can really help on a steep climb. EPO boosts the oxygen capacity per unit of blood, and much like a well-tuned engine, the more oxygen you can get into the fuel mixture the more power you can put down on the road. (For a more detailed clinical explanation of EPO click here)

A tough sport full of highly talented human beings that have shaped and honed their bodies to a fine point through grueling conditions that I don’t think the Creator had in mind when we were created. And now lets add the simple fact that this is major league sport, which means $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Maybe us Americans only pay attention when you have a Lance or a Greg LeMond around, but across the Atlantic, this is what you check the papers and the websites for every day, and it pays to be able to ride a bike fast. Go to Spain or France or Germany and you will find Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck and Mark Cavandish on the billboards across the continent.

Its no different than any other major sport you are used to. Its big-time competition, big-time entertainment worth a lot of Dollars, Euros, Marks, Lira, Pounds or whatever money you want to use. And just like here in the States, Second place is considered the first loser.
And just like here in the States , The next wave is coming younger, and stronger, and there’s only so many jerseys and free high-end bikes to go around

To me its time to stop the endless witch hunt on performance enhancing drugs. This “war on drugs” can only be won on the demand side. Such in endeavor is nearly impossible, even with all the federal indictments and subpoenas, because the genie is so far out of the bottle that he’s not going back in.

I can understand why its hard for athletes to say no to seeking an edge. I’ve worked in a big piece of the industry that makes its really tempting to reach for the the PEDs.

All the bromides we tell our kids about “winning isn’t everything” become absolute lies the minute there’s some money on the table. In modern big-time athletics winning is truly everything.

You don’t think our young people know it? It starts from the beginning.

Check out the increasing numbers of people who are pouring money into the quest for an athletic scholarship when the little boy or girl is still figuring out long division. I wonder how much those same parents pour into their child’s education, but that’s another blog post for another day.

The kid know it the minute they start getting those letters for colleges. Imagine being that kid who notices that the rival at his position has Nick Saban visiting his school and his house…and you? Well UConn or Kansas are considering you as a walk-on.

Or imagine being a 6-foot middle blocker. Penn State is looking at you, and they are looking at that girl across town, too. Nebraska, Stanford and Hawaii people were looking at her last week, too…Oh by the way, you got an email from the PSU coach…”There are others we are looking at ahead of you but we will keep you in mind…” The exact same email you got from a lot of the first-tier schools. A lot of second and third-tier schools are offering, but most of those are not competitive NCAA-tourney caliber teams.

Winning is everything for every college dreaming of a Bowl Championship Series bid. That’s $15 million to $20 million of revenue on the line. And you don’t think the kids know it? They know that if they are the weak link on the road to the BCS, you will get cut off. A coach’s family eats dinner based on your performance. If you’re messing with somebody’s money, you will get recruited over.

Imagine being that Olympic athlete. You have that USA team uniform that you’ve worked a lifetime for. Now its your time to hit that track and or jump on that bike and grab that gold…which could also mean you could grab some green. But to get the green, you have to win the gold.

Imagine being that young kid who worked his way through to get sponsored and win a road race, or a triathlon and now he’s blazing a trail toward the pro ranks. He or she has the posters of Lance Armstrong and Chris McCormack on their wall. And they are busting their butts, but seeing that are falling short because somebody has the talent, plus the edge…and some interviewer on Versus is wondering, “when is ________ going to finally break through and win?

Imagine being that 12-year veteran who wants to keep playing, and the front office is squeezing him out for that next wave . They are coming younger, stronger, faster and you are a year older. That siren is singing, “Do you want that arm firing rockets again, or do you want to spend 2 more weeks on IR while young hotshot is taking your job and sending you down to the minors?”

The siren will call to all of them, and those of us who are fans are part of the call whether we mean to be or not. We are a part of it every time we fume that “Derek Jeter just ain’t hitting that ball like he used to” or “that pitcher’s a rag arm” or “we can’t win with this guy as our quarterback” or “with that girl as our point guard”. We are a part of it each time we hear some Olympic commentator mournfully say “American athlete __________ had to settle for silver” and then turn the “bitter defeat” into C.S.I. London.

We are a part of it every time we call some sports talk show and bellow, “Coach ________ sucks! FIRE HIM/HER”

If its all about winning, why are we getting all upset because athletes are taking the steps to make winning happen?

Did Lance dope or not? Does it matter?

I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just saying what is.

A view I’m feeling.
Bicycling Magazine had a very thought provoking article on this in an issue last year. (Would you like to know more? click here)

The Bottom. It’s A Great Place To Start….and Grant Hill Can’t Win, Either

First the news: Palestinian-Israeli clashes. Wade’s a victim of Gibson’s bashes. Our economy still crashes. But that ain’t the big story, because “The Guidos Have Landed”
But I see Donald Trump decided 2012 just wasn’t for him claiming, “I still have too much passion for business.”

That’s a far cry from what else he said as he shutdown his bid to trade Park Avenue for Pennsylvania Avenue: ” I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election.”

Gee, I figured a money man like The Donald would be willing to put his financial wherewithal in line with his maxillary orifice. Methinks his grasp of the issues wasn’t the only thing lacking.

The whole Trump story leads me to something I’ve thought for quite sometime. Why do so many corporate-Wall Street-big business-big shots believe because they are a corporate CEO that they can be the CEO of the United States of America? Every election cycle there’s always one candidate, usually Republican, who believes “This nation would be just fine if we ran it like a business.”

Just a few problem with that Daddy Warbucks. Firstly, you can’t “outsource” the citizenry as President (most of you CEO’s have already done that.). Secondly, your board of directors/shareholders are a whole lot bigger. And thirdly, it’s a bit harder to stonewall the watchdogs, and I won’t begin to deal with the special interests and lobbyist that you have to answer to a lot more frequently. On the other side of the screen, it all looks so easy, right? Never mind all the other things like foreign policy, environment, energy, etc. Basically things you guys are used to paying people not to think about. I feel that most, if not all big business leaders aren’t the people I’d want running the country.

Politicians are largely out of touch with a few exceptions. The dual citizens of Richistan are all the way out of touch and that’s the last thing we need in our national government. Granted, we already have that in Washington with the over-rich Thurston Howells we’ve already voted in.

What gets me is, why can’t these people start at the bottom, especially when they’ve never ran for office before?

Why not start small. How about city councilperson? Deal with ordinances, road construction and dealing with public safety first. Maybe school board? Local offices that have the direct impact on people’s lives on the ground where you are. Perhaps a county board seat, or in your state legislature to begin with. Heck, even starting the middle in the House of Representatives would give you a better picture of what it really means to govern than buying a seat in the U.S. Senate Club or going for all the marbles as The Prez.

I think such experiences would be great for all people who seek public office, but especially for those in that upper economic strata, because many of those of mass means who seek office strike me as quite out of touch. You can tell it by the decisions they often make as corporate chiefs. When their quick-money schemes fail, they take it out on the rank-and-file, the consumer or both. Or they get the big bailout for Washington and give themselves another bonus. Yes, I may be generalizing a little, but the recent evidence points in that direction. Liars figures, but the figures aren’t lying.

I’m not against anybody running, even The Donald. But the advice than many big-timers give those just getting out of school and getting that career thing going would be very sound for those big-timers who have an eye on Capitol Hill or that White House. The Bottom is a great place to start.

    Grant Hill Can’t Win, Either

Donovan McNabb, you have company. First you get Jalen Rose firing up on Grant Hill and making “Duke Graduate Basketball Player” a synonym of “Uncle Tom”. But, it seems the NBA standout is getting some more flack for a PSA he did calling out homophobia. And its, really sad to see fellow black folk riding the homophobia train. The PSA itself? It was a solid take. Calling something “gay” as an insult is rather lame, but then again so is calling something passe out of style or out of vogue “ghetto”. If something is as played out as an 8-ball jacket, why not just say that. If its on the rack and its whack, just put it back.

And while we are at it, Grant Hill scoot over. Common needs a seat on the “Can’t Win” bench, too. Amid some of the narcissistic drivel we get in a lot of hip-hop today, there is the oasis of somebody like Common. The FLOTUS invites Common for a night of poetry at the White House and the Right Wing Dead Wrong All-Star Team jump on him and the current occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The Common flap is another reinforcement what the Hannity-Limbaugh-Coulter-Palin crowd fear most. “Oh My God, The First Family Is A Black Family!”

Common is a “gangsta rapper”? That’s as laughable as a “Terrorist Fist Bump”.

I know you righties are still sore about getting clipped on birth certificate thing, but Common’s a gangster rapper? C’MON MAN! Once again, the paid comedians of the right YOU IGNANT!

Oh, you peeps firing on Grant Hill on Twitter, YOU IGNANT, TOO!

The Winner Who Can’t Win

Donovan McNabb just can’t win.

We are talking about a first-round draft pick, booed by his own fans.

He played quarterback in one of the toughest towns in sports in front of fans who booed him, and turned the boos into cheers.

He took the Philadelphia Eagles to five NFC Championships straight years. He has a played in a Super Bowl and put his team at the time in their best position to win a Super Bowl in their history. Six Pro Bowls appearances. NFC player of the year, 2004.

A winner on the field through criticism. Through being told he wasn’t the guy the fans want. Through one commentator saying that Donovan McNabb’s career and prowess was an exercise in social engineering. “I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL,” Rush Limbaugh said. “The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. They’re interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well … McNabb got a lot of the credit for the performance of the team that he really didn’t deserve.”

McNabb’s response? Class all the way.

He’s been told his not “black enough” because he doesn’t run from the pocket when the first read isn’t open. He played too “white” because the man checks his progressions, they way NFL quarterbacks have to in today’s game.

McNabb response? Mouth shut. Game on.

That’s been Donovan McNabb through it all. Mouth shut. Game on. Even through the 2004 circus that was T.O. If anybody can work your last good nerve its Terrell Owens. They got to a Super Bowl together, and probably could have won it the next season. But T.O.’s head was throughly in his nether regions, right down to saying that if the Eagles would have had Brett Favre, we would have won.

Wasn’t the NFC’s top offensive player that season Donovan McNabb? Didn’t he destroy Favre’s Green Bay Packers 47-17 that season?

The man from Syracuse wearing #5 has been an NFL fire hydrant. A lot of people, most of not all lesser people, seem to lift their leg next to him.

And now we have Bernard Hopkins calling McNabb an Uncle Tom. “”He was right, but (he doesn’t) represent that,” Hopkins said. “The only reason he spoke was because he felt betrayed: ‘I thought I was one of y’all’s guys. I thought I was the good one. Y’all told me this.’

What is it about the Ignant Award Winners among my people which makes them believe that they are the official concessionaire for the African-American Express Card? Saying that Michael Vick and Terrell Owens “understand”? B-Hop? C’MON MAN! (and yes, you are this week’s Northside Chip “YOU IGNANT” Award Winner.)

Let the record show that Terrell Owens has been coonin’ and buffoonin’ ever since he became a star in the NFL. At the start of his career, Terrell Owens was just a football player, and a darn good one. When he was in San Francisco building his rep, you saw the talent. It was all you needed to see.

But, when Terrell Owens became the feature wide receiver (a.k.a The Man), it went to his head. It started with ripping his quarterback, and then ripping the coach. It grew to that business with the Dallas Cowboys star in Texas Stadium, and the pom-poms and the Sharpie and everything else. From there it got worse. He went to Philadelphia and showed his butt. He wrecked the relationship with the best quarterback on the best team he’s played on. And from there, on to Dallas, Buffalo, Reality TV, and then Cincinnati to meet up with fellow Black Male Kardashian Chad Ochocinco.

It’s “Amos ‘N Andy” in cleats. Quite of few of us give more respect to that, than to a ballplayer like Donovan McNabb. His grace on the field and off harken back to a time when being a black professional athlete wasn’t about money, ring and bling, but even more about setting a high standard and an winning example for the generations after to follow.

Oh by the way, B-Hop. Since you mentioned Michael Vick? Who lobbied his team to give Michael Vick a second chance? Your so-called “House Negro” quarterback Donovan McNabb did that. In my mind, the way McNabb reached out to Vick is worthy of a lifetime Platinum African-American Express Card. He didn’t have to reach out to Vick. He could have said “Ex-con? Let him rot.” Instead, McNabb told his front office, “This guy paid his debt, and has something offer.” To his credit, Vick has made the most of that second chance, but lest we forget who helped get that second chance on the table.

When I see ignance like yours Mr. Hopkins, my inner Sergeant Waters from “A Soldier’s Story” comes out:

“Do you know the damage one ignorant Negro can do?
We were in France in the First War.
We’d won decorations, but the white boys had told all them French gals…
…that we had tails.
And they found this ignorant colored soldier.
Paid him to tie a tail to his ass and run around half-naked making monkey sounds.
They put him on a big round table in the Cafe Napoleon.
Put a reed in his hand, a crown on his head…
…a blanket on his shoulders and made him eat bananas…
…in front of all them Frenchies.
The white boys danced and passed out leaflets with his picture on it.
Called him “Moonshine, King of the Monkeys.”
When we slit his throat, you know that fool asked us…
…what he had done wrong.”
My daddy told me, we got to turn our backs on his kind.
Close our ranks to the chitlins, collard greens, cornbread style.
We are men, soldiers.
I don’t intend for our race…
…to be cheated out of its place of honor and respect in this war…
…because of fools..”

You caught him. You killed him. But what’s next?

How ’bout those Dallas Mavericks and those Atlanta Hawks? The ambush was on in the NBA last night. Boston Bruins getting things done on the ice. My Kansas City Royals are hanging in there, but those darn Cleveland Indians are looking like the 1984 Tigers right now.

Moving to the bigger games, Stephen Harper wanted a majority and he got one in Canada. The Bloc Alber-ta now truly run that country next door to the north. The very left New Democratic Party is now the official opposition. Bon Chance, Jack Layton. Tommy Douglas couldn’t do it. Ed Broadbent couldn’t do it. You Monsieur Layton have made the NDP truly relevant from the Maritimes to B.C.. But can you work with that orange bloc quebecois you just inherited?

And of the course the continuing big news. Sunday night you could almost hear President Obama whistling “Farmer In The Dell” as a group of Navy SEALs rolled into a heavily guarded complex somewhere in Pakistan and whacked Osama bin Laden….Or maybe that was “Woke Up This Morning” I heard through all the cheering.

Either way, a country starved for revenge the way a crackhead needs a fix got a collective national hit as our military successfully executed Al-Queda’s point man/money man/rich brat on dialysis. Do not see the previous sentence as a criticism of our armed forces. The brave men and women who wear the uniforms of the forces do not make policy, they are instruments of policy. I have nothing against them. The Navy SEALs who drew this assignment carried out their duties.

Is the world better off without Osama bin Laden in it? Absolutely. He sleeps with the fishes and given that he was behind the biggest single-day mass murder in world history, it is fitting that he sleeps with the fishes.

But, I have a real issue with the battle cry that “justice has been done.”

Frontier justice has been done. The technical term for that is vengeance. Vengeance was ours sayeth the President. How about we just be honest and call it that.

Count me as someone who has never been a fan of the “War On Terror”. To me it has been an episode of “The Sopranos” with more baggage, our #1 welfare program, and an effort akin to our “War On Drugs”. Its been built on a set of deliberate deceptions. It has in many ways harmed our position in the world. It has betrayed fundamental tenants of our legal system at home and abroad. It has put the United States in league with rogue nations which endorse detainment without cause and torture. Those who support those things crow loudly now, because of this execution.

The Osama bin Ladens and Mullah Omars of the world are poverty pimps. They don’t scare me. But the people they are pimping do scare me, because those are the people who actually carry out the scheme. They have many names and faces. They live all over the world. Some are Muslim, some aren’t, and soon some of those could be good American Christian folk. I’m afraid of that person seeing Israeli tanks driving down his street on the West Bank. I’m afraid of the person in a Jakarta sweatshop making Under Armour Heatgear or a Victoria’s Secret supermodel shirt for 15 cents a day. The father and mother in Nigeria who’s groundwater got poisoned by petroleum waste. When they complained, they got a visit from the “Kill And Go”.

If you really want to wage War On Terror, you have to wage War On Poverty, War On World Hunger, War On Resource Exploitation, War On Corporate Greed, War On Over Three Billion People Not Having Clean Drinking Water, and War For Human Rights, Worker’s Rights, Health Care and Education Worldwide. Violence is often is response to needs that aren’t being met. What I just listed are needs that aren’t being met. Needs that make it real easy to listen to an Osama bin Laden. Those are the things that often lead someone to putting on a Semtex sweater and walking onto a crowded bus, or lead a group of people with boxcutters onto a 777 and flying it into the World Trade Center.

When we deal with the real issues that breed terrorism, then we will truly have justice and we wouldn’t have to send so many brave American men and women in uniform into harms way. That would be something truly worth cheering for.