Friday, January 15, 2010

Trying Not to Be Mr. Cranky..

The original intent of me blogging like that wasn't to bitch about everything, although I've reread a lot of my stuff lately and I can sense some frustration in my voice. Ok, the fact that my household is in disarray because the long awaited house remodeling project has begun probably contributes to my stress level, along with dealing with more responsibility at work and the day to day interpersonal issues we all have each day. There's never a dull moment in what goes on in my world, which is great because there's always something going on, but I also reach the point where I just want the ride to stop so I can get off.
Well, and for many of us, we turn to diversions like entertainment and sports to help us lower the stress and focus on other things. They are supposed to be distractions, time to think of other things but instead those worlds are full of the same issues and hurdles we are all dealing with. There's as much legal, medical and rumor talk in these fields as most people deal with on a regular basis, so what do you do when your distractions carry as much baggage as real life? For me, I write and try to make sense of the things in my world by offering a little peek into what I'm dealing with. I do get advice, fun comments, and thoughts from others, but it also gives me a chance to read over things later and put them into proper perspective. As much as things upset me, it's important to keep things in perspective as much as possible.
Which is why something like Haiti really puts this into practice. Instead of focusing on the troubles of our local basketball team or whether our favorite late night television host is being hosed, we see the ravages and problems that others are dealing with, and suddenly things take on a whole new meaning. Granted, I'm still upset at selected people who have commented about the situation in rather selfish and uninformed ways, but at the same time, these people are dealing with real life issues while the rest of the world watches and tries to help. I'm amazed at how quickly certain organizations are able to mobilize help and get to the scene, although it appears now that in the zeal to help, there's need for better structure in the help to avoid people stealing or misusing aid. At least people's hearts are in the right place...
And I'm not going to stop writing about things and pointing out the crap that I see, because I think that's a huge disservice. It's still cathartic for me to write about things, but I also believe that it's important to maintain some balance in talking about things. The world isn't nearly the craphole that people might think, but at points, we all get wrapped up in life and can't see the forest for the trees. So then something like a disaster in Haiti happens, and suddenly we're reminded of our own frailties, our own mortality, our own future and choices, and who we are as a race.
This weekend, many people will be distracting themselves with watching the NFL playoffs, rooting on their side in the next steps to try and get to the Super Bowl, the home for a football championship and the pinnacle of all that is consumerism and marketing. Everything about the game is sponsored, analyzed and scrutinized, but at the core, it's simply two teams playing to see who is the best. And all the glitz and glamor shouldn't distract away from that, although with the limited amount of action in most football games, that might be difficult.
I've watched enough football to know that this report isn't far from the truth. Football spends a lot of time organizing for a few simple moments of violent collisions in the hopes for a few transcendent moments of glory. Football has a lot of standing around, organizing, and talking about what has already happened in preparation for those quick bursts of activity. And the beauty is that most of the time, it's routine but every once in a while, something extraordinary happens to make it worthwhile, be it a crazy tackle or a spectacular scoring plan. And the magical moments aren't always kept on the field, as evidenced by the Baltimore Ravens and their current playoff run. They've had help from an unlikely source who is battling his own demons, and in watching his battle, he's helped inspire a team to potential greatness. And it's these things that keep a lot of us coming back, simply because you might see something truly unique although you don't know where or when.
We might also hear the interpersonal stories of athletes who have overcome various things to get to the top of their profession, and it puts the crap we all hear about spoiled athletes in perspective. Personally, I'd rather talk about the story of Sundiata Gaines than talk more about what Tiger might do, what McGwire is thinking, or what the Trail Blazers are thinking about doing with their roster. Gaines was playing basketball in that hotbed of civilization, Boise, Idaho, for the D-League Idaho Stampede when he got a call to play for the Utah Jazz due to injuries. He signed a 10 day contract to fulfill his dream, and at the end of ten days, he was signed to another 10 day deal. This might have been the end of his story, but during last night's Jazz - Cavaliers game, Gaines was forced into action and it was a night he won't soon forget, as Gaines ended up on the floor at the end of the game and hit the winning shot. For one night, he's on the top of the world, but at this point, he's as likely to be sent back to Boise as possibly stay with the Jazz. But in that moment, everything came together and he lived in a moment that most of us would only hope to experience, and nobody can take that away from him.
And for all the craziness, pettiness, and insanity that the world has going on, it's these moments that make me remember why I love sports so much, and why I'll keep coming back every time. We all need distractions, but we also need perspective on what is truly important, imagination to believe that anything is truly possible, humanity to understand our gifts, and consciousness and character to honor those special moments where something truly magical unfolds before our eyes.

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