Archive for March, 2017

Was Logan Just A Microcosm?

Posted in Movies & Television with tags , , , , , on March 16, 2017 by geniusscribbleink

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“Wolverine is a world-weary old warrior. His rage issue notwithstanding, I see him as someone with the tortured soul of a poet, but one who has seen too many friends and lovers die. Even with that, he has grown into a leader and a true hero”-Jonathan Maberry

 

“Back in my days” or “When I was growing up” are repetitive loop reels that we often hear cascading down from the mountainous range fondly known as elderly wisdom. I try to blend in with the modern-day climate that is our social realm, but I too must admit that I even grow weary at times trying to find the proper balance that can afford me to have both my knowledge base, as well as, the ability to absorb the nuances of today’s generation. My old school heart ticks with a greater sense of consciousness, as it recalls that unbridled and stubborn youth who thought that the world was in his hands for the taking, only to realize that it often sifts between your fingers like fine granules of sand. Yes time waits for no one, but this ingenious philosophy comes at the expense of vital knowledge learned by those who have wasted time precariously throughout life. So what happens in turn is that we feel a certain obligation to relay this so-called wisdom upon those who are inexperienced before they have to endure certain hardships, tribulations and trials. Depending on the delivery of these said messages, we have been considered preachy, grouchy, inflexible, and of course the universal terms being utilized more and more today is that we are “hating”. The idea of criticism or critiquing has been branded as a form of malice and character assassination. Of course the “old heads” as we are often distinguished as, find this to be an “oversensitive” or “soft” take on what we deem as basic criticism that we had to endure throughout most of our lives. We were taught at an earlier age that we just can’t get our way and that the term “no” would be as constant as the air we would breathe. This makes for a perfect storm; a generation hell bent on not being denied as opposed to a generation that was often denied. A polarity brilliantly captured in the movie Logan; and here is how.

 

This will not contain any spoilers but more of a plot scenario to link to my blog subject. In the movie we find an old warrior (Wolverine) hardened by life. He has seen a lot (death, loss of comfort, no friends to trust) working on a job he hates and making the best out of what life has handed to him. The moral of the story is he had tough breaks and his current priorities (taking care of ailing elder) won’t allow him to be reckless as he was in the past. Add to the fact that the scars of ages are now prevalent in his physical appearance. So when a younger person enters into the picture all spry with energy and tapered in reckless abandonment; it becomes utterly annoying and impossible for Wolverine to relate. In fact it reminds him of the younger him. The younger him that he now wishes could have done things perhaps differently. The younger him who he wished had listened and appreciated what he had before the casting shadow of finality began to hover over his life. Ultimately when the intolerant youth is matched with a savvy veteran, eventually by nature it will turn into a teacher-student dynamic by default. But the most important tool in this dynamic is to find commonality. Often times when speaking from experience it is difficult to relay that information to an inexperienced mind. We saw Logan struggle with giving a damn as well as we saw the resistance of a youth seeking guidance but not understanding how to ask for it. As we tunnel into the future we find a seasoned generation often in adverse conversations with what has defined as millennials. I don’t know if this presents a newfangled scenario, as we have always had a Will Smith theory of parents not understanding or our music versus your music banter.  But what is a solution for finding commonality? As an elder is it our responsibility to relate to their generation or is it their job to respect the process of longevity and attrition?  In Logan we saw commonality emerge in the form of one person caring and the other person realizing the importance of having someone take an interest in their well-being. In my experience I have come to realize that there is a learning process on both ends as it pertains to the teacher and the student. You have to learn to become adaptable; yet steady. Truthful and forthcoming; yet measured. But ultimately you have to become a great listener to know when your music should be played and when it is time to give a listen to their music without judgment. This is the balance we all should try to seek in not only communicating from elder to youth, but perhaps even peer to peer. Logan after a long shouting tantrum with a youth discovered that screaming in a car at one another was getting them nowhere; it wasn’t until giving in that he learned that sometimes the young know where their headed even when we doubt the chances of them being correct. I learned this with my nephew and it’s a lesson I value more and more as he grows older. We can all stand to learn from one another. Logan indeed taught us that. Maybe, just maybe we can all become greater leaders and turn into heroes for someone instead of just being old weary warriors with poetically tortured souls. Charles Xavier stated: “This is what life looks like: people love each other. You should take a moment”. Wise words from Professor X. #logan

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Loose Ball or Loose Cannon: Who Is Lavar Ball?

Posted in Sports with tags , , , , , , on March 2, 2017 by geniusscribbleink

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“Basketball is my favorite sport, I like the way they dribble up and down the court”-Kurtis Blow

 

It was the year 1984 and yes the bias child that still lingers within me unequivocally believes that life just couldn’t get much better than the 80s. I remember watching some local cats embattled in a break dancing contest in front of a local store front and at the time the very song I borrowed an excerpt from at the beginning of this blog Basketball was providing the nostalgic soundtrack for what is arguably one of the greatest forms of self-expression to date which is the B-Boy or Break-Boy. Of course this is not a blog on the evolution of Hip Hop culture as we can save that for a future blog. My true intent and focus is actually about the song Basketball. I recall hearing that song for the first time during that break dancing memoir I previously detailed. It was then in which I realized just how relatable that song was to me on a personal level.  I love basketball, just like Kurtis Blow articulated in that song. In fact I have healthy/not-so healthy obsession with the sport that often hovers on the cusp of insanity. But is that not what passion is all about?  Passion is defined as: “strong and barely controllable emotion”. Well if you ever catch me watching my New York Knickerbockers play, all that is described in that definition is always on full display, as my television is usually a sounding board for both those positive exclamation during heroic moments, as well as the profanity laced discourse of villainous failure. Indeed it is the quintessential polar opposite dynamic that embraces the concept that in order to understand great love you must first experience even greater heartbreak. But that is what unbridled emotions are about. They are lively and in the moment. They are raw and organic. And at times they can even be misconstrued. This is why I entitled this blog focusing on the father of UCLA’s basketball star Lonzo Ball; asking whether or not he is merely a loose ball or a loose cannon? We all know he loves his son, but is his passion too strong and uncontrollable due to his emotions. Let us delve into his history and let you decide.

 

First let me state that I am a very confident person. I don’t wear it with an arrogance or exude the type of bravado that sucks the air out of all living species. In fact I despise narcissism and self-absorbed people. To me confidence is just believing high in yourself and your ability to accomplish anything you set your mind towards doing. If we are going to give confidence its fair description, its definition states the following: “the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust”.  When examining Lavar Ball and his impassioned assurance in his son Lonzo Ball’s basketball prowess, one could conceive that he believes and trust in his son’s ability to become a great basketball player at the professional level. I don’t believe it is a farfetched notion as Lonzo Ball’s projected ceiling has zenith and apex written all over it. Projected to be one of the top draft picks in this up and coming NBA 2017 draft class, many have Lonzo Ball being either the number one or number two pick. So one can concur that not only does Lavar Ball have confidence in his son, but apparently those at the professional level endorse his conjecture as well. But this is normal and not outlandish. We have seen young prospects be ballyhooed year after year, projected to be the next Michael Jordan. So no harm no foul in that regards. In the case of Lavar Ball what has been an unprecedented act is the fact that he has predicted greatness for his son (who has never played at the NBA level) by climbing over the back of two NBA champions (Jason Kidd and Stephen Curry, the latter a two-time league MVP) in order to transmogrify his son into a basketball savant.  If it stopped there then maybe this blog is not written, but he then goes on the lament the fact that his son would only play for a particular franchise of his preference (he has since backtracked the statement) even though the drafting process is in laymen’s term is “first come, first serve” as whatever organization that is in position to draft said player has every right to pick whoever they so choose. He also went on to proclaim that albeit sneaker companies have been after his son (once again his son has never played a professional game in his life) he is only willing to discuss distribution deals for his son’s sneaker brand in the likeness of Jordan brand called Triple B’s. So to give this perspective, a young man who has never played professional basketball father is demanding that his son have a shoe deal, his choice of the team he wants to play for, all while insulting two NBA legends as well. Wow. We often talk about handing out trophies to all participants, but what does it mean when a kid’s father hijacks the trophy truck way before the trophy presentation. I can understand having confidence in your child and feeling passionate about his life and wanting the best for your child. I get it. But what kind of precedence or standard of respect is this teaching your child? To each his own with regards to how they choose to raise their offspring, but sometimes some things are so egregious that you have to question a person’s parental guidance. Lavar Ball is not lacing up those shoes, in fact the university is paying for them more than likely. Lavar Ball will not have to pay his son’s salary at the NBA level, because the org he plays for will handle that. Lavar Ball will not have to face competition night in and night out against the world’s best basketball players who will look to annihilate young kids who come in with an air of arrogance surrounding them. So all in all why is Lavar Ball acting like he is the one playing for UCLA and not his son? This should be a time for his son to showcase his greatness, yet we are talking about the arrogant proclamation of a father  who is stealing the spotlight from his son. No one is questioning Lavar Ball having high standards for his child or anyone having high expectation for children. Really good parents want their kids to exceed abundantly. I have always believed that true power is alway silent. Greats like Tim Duncan barely made a squeak during his entire tenure as a professional and yet his NBA resume puts him atop a list of the all-time greatest ever to play the game. So is Lavar Ball “that” parent?  We all know them, the ones who scream at their kid’s coaches and trip cheerleaders who make the squad over their kid. The ones who create a generation of entitled anal cavity muscles who believe they deserve everything just because they showed up. Lonzo Ball has apparently worked his butt off to get where he is and I think it is safe to say his father played a humongous part in doing so. But one of the worse things any person can do is pull a Leon Lett and celebrate prematurely before reaching the finish line. You respect the goal and you respect the process, I don’t know of any great person no matter how confident he or she is that does not adhere to this philosophy. In sports you may see players scramble for a loose ball now and then and are able to corral it, but when a loose cannon misfires the results are always quite damaging. My hope is for a great career for young Lonzo Ball who is talented beyond measure, but I also hope that Lavar Ball recognizes that he has done a great job that does not require these demands as validation of that terrific job. And perhaps in the end Lonzo Ball will be remembered in a song by his generation’s Kurtis Blow’s much like Julius Irving was. #when Dr. J shook the whole damn team with moves that came right out of a dream #they’re playing basketball  #ballislife