Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Back In The Day...

I can remember being a little kid and following my older brothers around. Wanting to do whatever they were doing or go where they were going. Life was broken down to "before or after school", and a year consisted of school, summer vacation, and my birthday.

Thinking back I can remember all of my closest friendships began with a fight over tether ball, and usually ended the same way. (Until lunch)

When did life become so complicated?

When did we all develop disorders and diseases? If you were bouncing around and couldn't sit still you were "hyper", now you have ADD. If your friend didn't want to be your friend anymore and you were sad, then you patched it up and were happy, that was just you're bipolar. When did laziness become depression? I just don't understand.

I remember days when I would be feeling kind of blah, then found out it was chocolate milk Thursday and the world became a beautiful they would say I had a chemical imbalance.

Now I understand that the pharmaceutical business is a billion dollar industry and thrives off of these diagnosis, but c'mon. This "business" of crippling children with some sort of ailment is what leads to this feeling of helplessness in adults. Giving them an out for their attitude or behavior at 10, is why they won't stand up and be accountable at 30.

Now i'm not saying that none of these children had or have serious medical issues, but not all of them. It's ok for a kid to be sad sometimes, or angry, or excited. Learning to deal with these emotions as a child prepares us for life. Just like sedating them prepares for that kind of life as well.

Those tether ball battles taught me about standing up for myself as well as patience. I learned how to control myself, and focusing on kicking their butt in the game instead of swinging my fists.

I hate to think about who I would be if I was drugged up and not allowed to grow into who I am. Before this "drug them up" campaign, this country produced some pretty good people. Flawed yes, a little scarred, sure, but capable and adjusted.

I can't count all of the times throughout my childhood that I was imbalanced, or over active, but I grew up and out of it. Though I do still get a little excited for a glass of chocolate milk.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

0-0...Everyone Loses

Anyone who knows me, knows that i'm a huge sports fan. Football, boxing, baseball, basketball, whatever. There seems to be this energy that comes out when I speak or think about certain games or athletes. Recently I was having a conversation with a couple of friends on the importance of sports in school.

Due to the current budget issues in my home state, California, a lot of sports programs have been and are in line to be cut. The argument is that it's just "p.e" and can be substituted with any physical activity. I beg to differ. Sports, especially team sports, teaches so much that not only prepares you for the game, but for life. Competition, determination, accountability are all traits needed to succeed in this world.

As we continued on, I was informed that they had already done away with keeping score. Games were being played, and no score was given. Everyone was given a turn at bat, or went the length of the field and they just switched. What part of the game is this? Seasons with no playoffs, no stats, no championships? What are we doing to the youth of this country? No wonder they have no sense of direction, ambition, or focus. No wonder there is this overwhelming feeling of entitlement...they're not working for or towards anything.

It was brought to my attention that some schools have completely done away with valedictorians, because they didn't want to have a "best" student or make the other kids feel bad. At this point I about lost it. Feel bad? How about telling them to try harder. Not keeping score? No stats? If I was one of these kids and wanted to truly compete, this would kill me. How do you get better? How do you push yourself? I think kids need to feel bad. Teach them about it when they're young, show them how to deal with it, how to overcome. There is nothing like the cold bitter taste of defeat and failure. Let them experience it early, they will either push themselves to never feel it again, or they will accept it and repeat that process throughout their lives. Let's give the fighters a chance.

Let's give our children a chance. Sports gives them the opportunity to interact with those that they may not with in day to day life. It teaches them how to communicate and work together. Let's not deprive them of these necessary life lessons. Kids need sports, and to keep score, and playoffs, winners, losers all of that.

For all of those parents and adults leading the charge in favor of this horrible idea let me say, just because you never got over being picked last for kickball doesn't mean the children have to suffer.

They say "art imitates life", well I say sports trains you for it. So let's have shut outs, run up the score board and end zone celebrations! Give these kids something to play for or hand them an instrument.

Go Lakers!!!

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Sunday, June 6, 2010


Now I usually try to limit my tangents to more general, universal topics, but I feel I need to address something that recently happened. I was in a nightclub when two female friends of mine decided to go to the patio area outside for some air. As they crossed the dance floor one of them was grabbed by a man dancing alone. She said, "no thank you" and tried to pull away from him. He grabbed her tighter and she responded by screaming,"no!" She pushed him away, he responded by pushing her back.

(Quick debriefing; she 5'6 120, him 6'3 215) I was alerted of the situation, being the only male in the group, and was met with apologies and a humble demeanor. He didn't want any trouble. His friends arrived when I did, intoxicated, but all pretty calm. Trying to find out what happened, we headed outside. While exiting one of his friends made a rude comment about her. She responded with a few choice words of her own, enraging "Mr. Grabby". He then proceeded to through a drink at her (in true Dynasty fashion), and then followed up by challenging HER to a fight.

I don't mean an argument, I mean a full on, shirt off, hands in the air, let's go, fight. Really?

I understand that the male ego can be a sensitive piece of work, but really? Now i'll give you that she should have stopped talking as they were leaving. Running her mouth didn't resolve anything. Even that she was a little over zealous by pushing him. I'll even go as far as to say that she was definitely advertising with the outfit she had on...but really? Calling out a woman to fight like he was Mr.T and she was Rocky.

I'll be the first to say that there has been a significant decline in the quality of men this world is producing, but even I didn't think we had come to this. What sticks with me is, none of the other "gentlemen" with him saw anything wrong with this. She was wrong. He was just standing up for himself...really?

Long after the ladies had returned inside he was still standing out front in his "wife beater" no pun intended, calling her out. I found myself just shaking my head and walking back inside. Is this what we have become? I wonder what this man has seen in his life to believe that this behavior is ok? What is he teaching and showing others?

This guy was about 30, a grown man, maybe even a father. I just hope that, one lapse in judgement is all this was. I hope he calmed down and was able to see how differently this should have been handled. I would even like to blame it on the alcohol and think that he's normally a pretty cool guy, responsible, respectful. I hope he is...but do I think so? Not really.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Forgive Me...Forgive Me Not

"To err is human; To forgive is divine." Not the way I see it, but ok. An interesting thing this "forgiveness" is. I've been told my entire life to "forgive and forget." Someone please help me understand, what sense does that make?

To forgive and forget; let me see...i'm supposed to excuse and overlook the event or action, then pretend it never happened? For what? Let me get this steal from me, I forgive you for doing it, then act like it didn't happen? So I don't get my money back, and you deal with no repercussions? Hmmmm. No thanks.

Now this might not get me into heaven, but I don't believe in forgiveness. I don't believe that we should overlook, cancel, or dismiss the actions and behaviors of others. Those behaviors are what make them, them. Also they're what tells us who we're truly dealing with. By forgiving and forgetting, we're blinding ourselves to the true nature of someone, their character. I don't suggest that we walk around carrying chips on our shoulders, I just believe we should hold everyone accountable for the things we do.

I know that everyone makes mistakes, that we all use bad judgement sometimes or just need to mature. That still doesn't give us a pass. If i've wronged you, and you choose never to let it go, that is my burden to bare. That's the cost for my crime. I'm not owed a do-over.

Forgiveness, no, I do however believe in acceptance. I accept people for who they are, and acknowledge what they're capable of doing. In that same example of if someone stole from me...just because I don't forgive you, doesn't mean we can't have a relationship. If it wasn't substantial enough to be a "deal breaker" we may still be ok. I accept that you steal and I know that. I may even be cool with you, i'm just not leaving my wallet around you, and if I get burned again...that's my bad.

This isn't about harboring anger or resentment. This is simply about taking personal responsibility for the things we do, and holding others to the same standard. I feel like more of us need to be real about our friendships, relationships and ourselves. How well can we really know a book if it's missing pages? Or a movie that has scenes missing? So how well can we know someone if we delete parts of who they are? That just cheats us both. Let's not be so concerned about erasing, good or bad, this is who we are.

I appreciate all of the people in my life who see and treat me accordingly. Taking in all of my traits, including my faults and foibles, truly accepting me. Even to those who chose to not give me a second chance, they made me evaluate myself a little more, they helped me grow, to mature. I thank you for that.

I'm a movie guy, and one of the best lines I heard about this was simply; "people say to forgive and forget. I say forget about forgiving, and just accept."

Just a thought.

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