I want my money back! Ok, I want my brother to get his money back.

The “Fight of the Century” was anything but that. It was more like a dance off.

But let me back up. We, the die hard sports fans, have been waiting five years for this fight. We sat and watched as folks on both sides of the aisle bickered about money, drug testing and how their opponent utilized their free time. Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather. It was finally happening! Years of back and forth finally culminated in people all across the world tuning in to watch what we all hoped would be one of the best fights ever.

Welp. So much for hopes. I cannot recall the last time I was so bored watching a boxing match. Oh yes I can. It was the last time I watched Floyd Mayweather fight.

I have heard it all before about how Mayweather is this great fighter and is now self proclaiming to be the best ever. Oh stop. Dancing around the ring all night does not make you the best ever…

 

You know what. I am not even interested in continuing this post. I could sit here and defend why I think Mayweather(and yes I do give him props for being one of the sports greatest is boring to watch but I do not even feel like doing that anymore. Plus I am hungry.

 

 

Until next time…TOODELLS.

 

P.S. Mayweather won. I cannot condone that nonsense Pacquiao was talking.

{Source: Google Images}

{Source: Google Images}

 

I have a confession. 

I have not been feeling very “sportsy” lately. 

What does that mean exactly? Well, my life often revolves around sports. I have been known rearrange activities or even skip them because “the game” is coming on. I watch SportsCenter daily. I read ESPN.com daily to stay abreast on the latest happenings. And I answer at least one question a day from someone regarding something sports related.

But lately, I have found myself oblivious to lots of things that are going on in the sporting world. I am not quite sure who is still in the NBA playoffs. I know San Antonio and the Clippers of LA are still in it. It is the one series I have been watching. Go Spurs Go!! Oh and I know the head of social media for the Houston Rockets lost his job because of a dumb tweet. What was that guy thinking? When the playoffs started, I had no clue that the Atlanta Hawks were the number one seed in the East. How did that happen? When did they become contenders? Who plays for them? Did the Human Highlight Film come back and suit up? Do they even have a star? Is Elton Brand still there? Talk about clueless.

Then there is the Stanley Cup playoffs. Now I am a woman who loves some playoff hockey. The intensity that shows up in the playoffs is second to none. I love it. I love it. I love it. But I do not know who is still playing. I have yet to watch a playoff game. I do not even know when the next game is. What is going on here?

Then there is the NFL Draft. Unless you are new to my blog then you know that football is my favorite sport and I am fully engulfed in the sport. The NFL Draft is tonight. Assuming nothing has changed, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are still expected to go one-two, respectively. If anything has changed, I would not know because just like the NBA and Stanley Cup playoffs, I have not been keeping up with this either. Yikes.

Then there is what is being dubbed as the biggest fight since Thrilla in Manilla, the fight we have been waiting years for, Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather. Most of the talking heads expect Mayweather to win. I for one am cheering for Pacquiao. Since I am not feeling sportsy I do not feel like breaking down why I am cheering for him and why I think he will win. Just know, it is Go Pac Man over here!

The Kentucky Derby is this weekend. Baseball is in full swing. Maaaaan. I do not even know who is leading the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. I just Googled it. Kevin Harvick is. What else is going on? What else have I missed?

This is a weird place for me. Now you all know why I have not had much to say. No worries though, it will not last long. Sometimes you have to make certain adjustments in life and lately I have had other endeavors that I have needed to focus my time and attention on. Although I may not be as in tune as I typically am, I am always in the know. Plus you all are depending on me to keep you abreast of the latest happenings, right? Guess I better step my game back up, huh?

I gotcha.

 

Until next time…TOODELLS.

I went to bed early Wednesday night and I wish I had not. I mean I needed to be at work early the next morning. Since I am not a morning person, regardless of how much sleep I get, I knew I needed to go ahead and get some shut eye.

I was watching the end of the second quarter between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers. It was a tight game that could either way. However, what was most intriguing about the game was the immortal Tim Duncan. Timmy was being Timmy. In the first half, he was seven of eight from the floor for 16 points. He was tossing in floaters, posting up one the the league’s best defenders, DeAndre Jordan, and he was creating space to allow his teammates to knock down easy baskets.

For some reason, the Twitterverse was shocked. I was more shocked to see Steve Blake still in the league playing for the Portland Trailblazers. There was absolutely nothing shocking about Timmy doing the same thing he has been doing for the past 17 years. Were people shocked because he will be 39 on Saturday? Were people shocked because he plays for the Spurs, a team many label as boring? Or were people simply shocked because it was Tim Duncan.

Those people made me laugh. If it was Kobe Bryant or LeBron James or Kevin Durant, shock would be the furthest thing from their mind. Newsflash, ain’t nobody doing what Timmy has done for as long as he has done it. The man is immortal. He barely ages. His energy level has barely diminished. And after watching him play last night, I am convinced that he is capable of catching up with Michael Jordan this year in the rings department.

For 17 years we have been witnessing greatness and we better embrace it while he is still dishing it out. He has stayed true to himself since he raced up and down he courts at Wake Forest. He will not draw you in with his cockiness. He has none. He will not draw you in with his outward display of emotion. It is rare that you see it. He will not wow you at a press conference. He is not a many of many words. Where he will wow you is on the court. Watching him play makes me smile. His fundamentals are some of the purest I have ever seen.

Often, I do not hear Timmy’s name mentioned in the top 5 category. Let me tell you this, Tim Duncan is one of the five greatest players to ever step onto an NBA court. Want to debate it? Come on. I have plenty of facts to back it up. Until then, sit back, relax and enjoy the Timmy show! #GoSpursGo

 

{Image: ESPN}

{Image: ESPN}

 

 

Again?

Not again?

Please do not tell me it happened, AGAIN!!!

Another black man. DEAD. Another white cop. SHOOTER.

I am so tired of crying. I am so sick of these stories. I am starting to become numb.

How many more black males have to become a #hashtag before we see some real change?

This story. I cannot even bring myself to read about it. All that I know about the story I have learned from Twitter. And I still do not know the whole story. Nor do I want to. All I know is that Walter Scott was black. Michael Slager is white. Walter Scott is dead. Michael Slager killed him. Walter Scott was running for his life. Michael Slager fired fatal shots from behind. I have heard that Michael Slager said Walter Scott tried to take his taser. I have heard there is video of Michael Slager attempting to plant the taser beside Walter Scott. I have no idea why or how Walter Scott and Michael Slager came into contact. I have no idea how this incident started. But I know how it ended. Another black man, dead and the culprit is one who took an oath to protect and serve.

It is not that I do not care. I do. I just do not want to know what happened and I definitely do not want to see it. As a writer, I am very visual and it is hard for me to shake certain images sometimes especially images that are disturbing. I know enough. My mind knows enough and I am doing all that I can to prevent the image of Walter Scott running and falling as bullets pierce his body from running rampant in my head.

As much as I want to avoid the talk of it, I know I cannot. I have got to do something. I want to do something. But I do not know what to do. Sure, I can organize a protest. I can organize a roundtable discussion. I can stir the pot. But will any of this be effective? We have been protesting, discussing and stirring since 1991 when Rodney King was beaten like a rag doll.

I am frustrated because I do not know what to do. By nature, I am a fixer. I try to fix everything. Weary minds, broken hearts, unhealthy bodies, wayward children, difficult relationships, reduced bank accounts. You name it. I have probably tried to fix it. But I do not know how to fix this. Seriously, how do you get a percentage of white cops to stop using a percentage of young black boys and men as target practice? HOW? What is the solution?

I do not know.

Last year I wrote about how I have NEVER been afraid of the cops(http://kassienetteskorner.com/2014/08/14/i-have-never-been-afraid-of-the-police/) until now. In August, I was struggling. My feelings were all over the place. I was up. I was down. I was sad. I was mad. I was disappointed. I was hopeful. The one thing that was consistent was that I was disturbed. It was too much then and it is too much now.

As I am typing this, a thought came to mind. It is going to take cops stepping up to the plate saying enough is enough to see some real change. I get the “fraternity” of the profession but wrong is wrong and it is time for those who serve us to say this. I really believe the key is police policing the police but that must be done by police who are fully committed to the oath they take.

For now that is all I have but trust that even if I am not “saying” anything about these incidents, my wheels are always churning. I have never been one to just sit around and do nothing. And I am not about to start now. Even if I do not know what to do. All I know is that me doing nothing is not helping the situation. You sitting around not doing anything is not helping either. It is time for us all to step up to the plate. Our black males NEED us. ALL OF US.

NOW.

 

Rest in Peace Walter Scott.

 

Walter Scott

Nuff said.

{Source: Google Images}

{Source: Google Images}

{Source: Devon Still's IG}

{Source: Devon Still’s IG}

 

I had a Jimmy V day today. I thought. I laughed. And I cried.

Happy tears.

A little girl and her family received some wonderful news today. Remember the story I wrote a few months ago about Devon Still & his daughter, Leah(http://kassienetteskorner.com/2014/11/07/the-father-daughter-story-that-is-inspiring-millions/)? Well today, they received the news that Leah’s cancer is in remission!!! Thank you LORD! While scrolling through my Instagram, I saw that the NFL has re-posted Still’s image. After only reading the first two sentences, I immediately knew what the rest of the text would reveal. 

Every day so many people experience heartbreak due to this cruel disease. And it seems to overshadow all the stories of survival. So when anyone finds victory, on this side of the disease, I rejoice! That victory is often played out in public by adult figures. It is rare that we get to see someone as young as Leah give the disease a knockout punch. Yes, it happens daily and I hope we get to hear more stories such as hers.

If you have Instagram and you do not follow Devon Still, I encourage you to do so. In the midst of such a tumultuous time, his page was often filled with encouragement, fist bumps and laughter courtesy of Leah. While it would have been easy for them both to succumb to a state of despair, they allowed love to overtake them and it radiated out to the world. Through the battle, we were able to see the courage of a young warrior who gave it her all to ensure that she would celebrate many more birthdays. Her innocence shined brightly through her smile as she danced in her princess attire. And how could you not love her penguin sticker whom she affectionately named “Ice Cream?” 

I am so happy that Leah is on the road to recovery. And Leah if you happen to read this, thank you for inspiring millions of us grown folks to never, ever give up! You rock princess!! {Fist Bump}

 

 

Until next time…TOODELLS.

 

Screenshot_2015-01-18-01-48-39-1

This picture sums up my feelings about my beloved San Francisco 49ers perfectly.

Well, it sums up exactly how I feel about our front office.

Rarely am I speechless but the past few weeks have left me with few words and a lot of head shaking. Let’s see, we have lost Frank Gore, Mike Iupati &  it looks like Michael Crabtree is next. Patrick Willis retired. Chris Borland shocked the world and retired at the age of 24. Justin Smith is rumored to retire. And please do not make me go back and talk about Jim Harbaugh’s departure. Yeah yeah, the retirements are not the front offices fault but it does not lessen the sting. Especially not when we have lost so much production in other areas.

It is going to take some time for me to get over losing Gore. Talk about stunned.

I really do not know what to make of my beloved 49ers right now. The team is almost urecognizable. Never in my life have I seen such an exodus. Sad thing is, the exodus is so unnecessary but tell that to management and I am sure you will probably get the same look I have been giving them. It is as if they want us to have to rebuild but why? We already had most of the pieces in place. Just needed to plug some holes.

Sadly, I wish I could say I am surprised that it has come to this. The writing has been on the wall. When the rumblings started about Harbaugh being “released” at the end of this past season, I knew we were dealing with some not so smart execs in the front office. I mean really? Who even entertains the notion of “releasing” a coach who has taken you to three straight NFC championships and was one play away from ring number 6?

It just makes no sense whatsoever. There is no logical explanation for this ridiculousness. Can we trade our president and GM? Just sayin.

Last Wednesday night I cried. And I prayed. And I asked God for comfort. But not for myself.

I was talking to him about Josh Hamilton.

If you have spent any significant time around me the last few years, then you know how much of a fan I am of my brother in Christ. The story popped up on my time line last Wednesday that Hamilton was meeting with Major League Baseball officials regarding a disciplinary issue. Despite his past, my first assumption was NOT that this was drug related. I did not know what to make of it. I just knew I needed to pray.

Then the story dropped, which has yet to be officially confirmed. Hamilton suffered a relapse. My heart sank. Supposedly the relapsed involved at least cocaine and alcohol. That is when the tears started. Hamilton’s “Beyond Belief” is one of my favorite books. A few years ago after reading Coach Tony Dungy’s “Quiet Strength” I became very intrigued with reading about the lives of others, particularly fellow believers in Christ. I was enamored and always floored by the paths some people had taken to get to where they are now or were. I was amazed to see how God weaved different situations into their lives to pull out the best results. Their stories were a sheer testament to the goodness of God and how He continues to watch over and protect us even we are causing destruction in our own lives.

What I loved so much about Hamilton’s book was his honesty. He was very open about his struggles. Hamilton started in detail from his childhood days growing up as a youngster who could throw and hit harder than most teenagers to the path that lead him to become engulfed in the drug culture. From the outside looking in, it was hard to see how this could happen. From the outside looking in, Hamilton had everything you needed to be successful: a two parent household, a loving family, great people skills and an enourmous amount of athletic talent that rivaled my other favorite baseball player, Ken Griffey, Jr.

None of that was enough to keep Hamilton from straying off the path that had been laid out for him by others. As many of you know, Hamilton became addicted to cocaine, struggled with alcohol consumption and was out of Major League Baseball for three years. It is a story that was well documented during my time at North Carolina State which is located in Hamilton’s hometown. The story soon turned from tragedy to triumph as Hamilton battled his demons to find himself back on the field and excelling at the sport he dominated in his youth.

Hamilton has never been one to shy away from sharing his story. He has continued to provide, in detail, what he has gone through and the only way he ever explains being able to overcome those demons is by simply saying, “It’s a God thing.”

So Wednesday night hurt. I do not have to know Hamilton to know that he has been living his life to genuinely please God. So Wednesday night hurt. I do not have to know Hamilton to draw inspiration from him. So Wednesday night hurt. I do not have to know Hamilton to know that for as hurt as I am, he probably feels a thousand times worse.

It is easy to sit around and chastise Hamilton but it takes a bigger person to not pass judgement. This is a guy who willingly went to the MLB officials and admitted his wrong doing. We all have things we struggle with. While it may not be drugs, it is something that can in turn be a “drug” for us. My heart goes out to Hamilton and I will continue to pray for his recovery. I am fully believing it will happen. The same God who pulled him out the last time can pull him out again.

#GODis

Sooooo. I thought I posted this last week. Better late than never, huh?

This will not take long.

With his win last night, Tom Brady has now joined an elite group. He is only the third quarterback to win four Super Bowls as a starter. Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana are the others. With his win, the talk has now begun about whether or not Brady is the best ever.

I can answer that for you. NO.

I know. I know. I have heard it repeatedly. Brady has been to more Super Bowls. Montana had Rice. Brady played in the cold. Montana was one and done in the playoffs three straight years. Brady came off the bench to to replace Bledsoe. Montana was put on the bench for Steve Young. Yada yada yada.

Despite all of that, there is one fact you cannot dispute. Montana was undefeated in Super Bowls. He three 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. Yes, I know. Brady has done more with less. I will never dispute that. It speaks to his greatness but if you want me to believe Montana would not have been capable of doing the same thing with that type of talent then you will be waiting forever. Ya’ll do know Montana lead the Kansas City Chiefs to the AFC Championship game in 1993, right? Who were his wide receivers? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

I could go on and on and on but I feel no need to do that. My mind is made up. Joe Cool stands alone. Brady does make my top 5 though. Will that satisfy you naysayers?

NFL Conference Championship Sunday I found myself in a struggle. Here I was, a die-hard San Francisco 49ers Faithful contemplating doing the unthinkable-cheering for the rival Seattle Seahawks.

Ok, let me back up. That particular Sunday, I was actually cheering for the Green Bay Packers. As a Faithful, there was no way I could cheer for our rival even if they had only recently become that. A rival is a rival and I draw the line deep in the dirt when rivalries are involved. I cheered against Seattle in the Superbowl last year and I have cheered against them all season. It was the right thing to do.

That Sunday, I left the house in confidence. I had been spending some time with my nephew and it was time to take him home. I know what you are thinking. She left during the game? Yes I did but any real football fan will have the NFL Mobile app on their phone so they always have access to the game. However, this particular time I did not even bother to turn the game on so I could listen. Green Bay had a 12 point lead with about five minutes left, I think. I was confident they were going to win and I could celebrate Seattle watching the big game at home, like us. You know payback for last year’s NFC Championship game. You still do not want to get me started on that.

I got out of my car at my brother’s, left my phone inside and got my nephew’s belongings. After chatting inside for about 15 minutes, it was back to the car to tune in to Green Bay’s celebration of their win and return trip to the Superbowl. WRONG!! Surely my eyes were deceiving me. They had to be! I know the score did not say Green Bay 19-Seattle 22. Ummm, what? What happened?? I was shocked, stunned and beffuddled. How could this have possibly happened??

Two words. Two words I am very familiar with. Russell. Wilson.

Early in the second half, in an ominous moment of foreshadowing, I sent out a tweet. It said, “Packers bet not let up. Never count out Russell Wilson! #GBvsSEA.” You see. I knew what Wilson was capable of. I saw his capabilities up close and personal when he was the starting quarterback of my beloved North Carolina State University Wolfpack. There were games where our wins could single handedly be contributed to Wilson’s uncanny nack for making things happen on the field. As long as he was behind center, we had a chance. Always. When his path to the NFL took him from Raleigh to Wisconsin, it was the same thing over and over. Wilson making things happen when it almost seemed impossible to get it done. So never count him out.

My return trip from my brother’s house included a stop at the grocery store. This is where NFL Mobile is clutch. The stop was necessary and me watching the game was definite. So there I was, in the grocery store, with a basket and my phone tuned into the game. Yes, the actual game. I pretty much got nothing accomplished. I should have just went straight home. I was by the salads when it happened. The legend of Russell Wilson grew by miles. Green Bay had tied the game right before the end of regulation to send the NFC Championship into overtime. Seattle won the coin toss and could punch their ticket to the Superbowl if they scored a TD on their first possession. Well, yep, that is exactly what they did. Wilson dropped one of the prettiest dimes I have seen him thrown perfectly into the waiting arms and hands of Jerome Kearse who then landed in the endzone to give Seattle a chance at being the first repeat champions since 2004.

Again, I was shocked, stunned and befuddled. How could this be? What happened? Oh, Russell Wilson happened. As I surprisingly rushed out of the store to get home and watch post-game coverage, all I could do was shake my head. Then it happened. En route, I found out that Wilson cried during his post game interview while giving God the credit. And everything over here changed.

I could no longer fight the love I have for my fellow Wolfpacker. Everyone who knows me well knows I am all the way loyal to my Wolfpack. However, when it comes to professional football, my loyalties lie with my teams first, Peyton Manning second then my Wolfpackers third. Sometimes, I will pull for my fellow Wolfpackers when they are playing against Peyton if the win is needed to help boost their possible playoff appearance. No matter what though, I pull for no one over my 9ers or Panthers. So imagine the disloyalty I felt to my 9ers when I begin to feel happy for Wilson. This was not suppose to happen or was it? Could I possibly be happy for Wilson without being happy for his team? Eh. Not really but you catch the drift.

Ever since he stepped foot onto the campus at North Carolina State, Wilson has exemplified what it means to be a champion. He has proven himself to be humble, a great role model, a leader, an inspiration and one of the top quarterbacks in the league. As a Wolfpacker and a person who just generally likes to see good guys win, it is almost impossible not to cheer for him and want to see him succeed.

With that said, Go Russell!!!! Go get that second ring! This 49er Faithful is rooting for you! For now….

When I was a teenager, I had daily routine before school. Wake up. Get ready for school. Watch Rocky & Bullwinkle. Eat cheese toast. Turn to ESPN at 7a to watch SportsCenter. Over the years, my routine has varied some but the one constant has always been my morning dose of SportsCenter. It was on SportsCenter that I got watch one of my favorite sports anchors every morning, Stuart Scott.

I can remember the day I met him as if it happened recently. My sixth grade PE teacher, Ms. Graves, who has become a dear friend of the family invited me to go with her to Late Night with Roy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her son, Will, who was like a little brother was a freshman on the basketball team. Supporting Will was a no-brainer. As a proud graduate of North Carolina State University, traveling over into enemy territory was nothing new for me. In an effort to clearly let the masses know that I was there to support Will, only, and not the team I put on as much red as I could find. Red headband. Red NC State shirt. Red Chuck Taylors. Even in all my red, I was excited. I was excited that Will was going to get his first chance to really showcase his talent to the fans that would be cheering him on for the next four years and I was excited to see Scott in his element, up close.

I settle into my seat and soon Scott was introduced. I was mesmerized as I watched him command the crowd of thousands in the same manner that made him a favorite on SportsCenter. I could not believe I was seeing him in person. Then, it happened. He spotted me. I was sitting three rows from the court and I stuck out like beanstalk in a haystack. He was walking by the bench when I heard him say, “I know I don’t see what I think I see.” We immediately locked eyes and I smiled. Scott asked me to come out onto the court. Now even in all my boldness, I was not about to let him get me out on that court to ridicule me. I shook my head and told him to come up to where I was. As is typical with the banter between a Wolfpacker and a Tar Heel, neither of us budged. He gave up but not without making a State joke then moved on to something else.

After the event, I went over to speak to him. As I approached, he immediately smiled. He reached out to shake my hand, gave me a hug and thanked me for being a good sport. I told him how much I enjoyed him on SportsCenter and how he was one of my favorites. He thanked me, asked me a little about myself, told me to keep doing what I was doing and posed for a picture.

Stu

Over the past few weeks, Scott has crossed my mind often. Typically when that would happen, I would go check his Twitter feed to see if he had tweeted anything. He was a regular tweeter and the fact that he had not tweeted since November 14 was a cause for concern. As the weeks went on and the tweets still did not happen, I became increasingly sad. The absence of his tweets resonated loudly. Whenever he crossed my mind, I would pray; for him, his healing, his family especially his daughters, his colleagues, his medical staff, all those who knew and loved him. I tried to remain optimistic as I knew that wherever he was, he was fighting a good fight.

In July, I watched with the world as Scott accepted the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPYs. It was fitting that a man who had dedicated so much of his time and efforts to the V Foundation was now on the receiving end of the award named in reference to how Jimmy V lived his life while battling the same disease as Scott. My eyes filled with tears as I listened to Scott deliver a speech that totally changed the way I looked at cancer. He provided me with an 18 word quote that resonated loudly…”You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live.”

When my friend Quincy passed away in October after a 10 year battle, it was that quote that often made me smile, through the tears, when I thought about Quincy. Quincy never let cancer define him. NEVER. He lived a life worthy of being remembered forever. He woke up every day determined to live and that is what he did until he took his last breath. As I sat glued to ESPN this morning, I knew Scott had lived the type of life he spoke about on that stage in July. If you were a regular watcher or ESPN, you saw it every time Scott was on. The only indication that he was in the fight of his life was the LIVESTRONG bracelet that always adorned his wrist. There was never any pity, sadness or despair. Whenever Scott was on, he was on just like he had always been. He was a living example of what beating cancer looked like.

Today, through tears, I have thought a lot about Quincy. I have read tweet after tweet from Scott’s colleagues, current and former athletes, the President and those who just love sports. I have watched his fellow anchors fight back tears as “he is” has to now change to “he was.” I have reminisced on the countless hours I have spent watching Scott revolutionize the title of sports anchor/analyst. And I have thought a lot about the day I met him in the Smith Center. At the time, I was still focused on one day becoming an athletic director. Thoughts of one day being a sports journalist had not crossed my mind. If it had, then my interaction with Scott that day would have been much different. I probably would have thanked him for being authentically him. I probably would have thanked him for giving hope to countless black journalists who strive to have a platform as big as his one day. I probably would have thanked him for never compromising who he was. I probably would have thanked him for stepping out on faith and trailblazing a path for others to follow. I probably would have thanked him for bridging the gap between hip-hop culture, sports and corporate America. I probably would have thanked him for being so great on the job and for being even better off of it.

I would have thanked him simply for being Stuart Scott.

Staurt, you nailed it as only you could. With style, grace and a BooYow to top it off.

Well done, sir. Well done.

{Source: Twitter}

{Source: Twitter}

Bay Area Blues…

Posted: December 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

Sigh.

This sucks. It really does. I have literally watched my team self destruct for months. Sigh.

Sadly, my prediction at the beginning of the season was right. My beloved 49ers just could not get out together. From off season issues to on field miscues to season long talk of whether or not we would be looking for a new coach at the end of December, this season has been a complete disaster. Sigh.

I do not even know where to start. First, I cannot express enough my disgust with the 9ers front office. All season they have done nothing to qwell the talk of their surrounding their dislike of Jim Harbaugh. Since the beginning of the season, it has been abubdantly apparent that GM Trent Baalke would get rid of Harbaugh if given the chance. This was BEFORE they started their skid downhill. All I could do was shake my head. Sigh.

Here we have a coach who has been at the helm of resurrecting our dynasty. The ONLY coach to lead his team to three straight conference championship games in his first three seasons. So what he is not the most outgoing? So what he wears the same outfit everyday? So what he is not your BFF? The man is a proven WINNER. Is that not ultimately what you want? You man to tell me you cannot find a way to set your differences aside for the betterment of the team?  Sigh.

This year’s team has been a shell of itself.  The offensive line has been plagued by injuries all year. So has the defense. Colin  Kaepernick has played with the confidence of a middle school qb. Our receivers have been missing in action. Even our money kicker has been booting pennies. It has just been bad all around. Sigh.

I am mad yall. I am mad about this Harbaugh thing.  Now unless players start coming out saying Harbaugh was the problem then I will be fully expecting us to bring in a coach who can only exceed Harbaugh in one area: leading us to our sixth ring. For now, Go Panthers! Go Peyton!

Sigh.

I have never been a fan of Christian rap.

Until I heard Lecrae. Admittedly, I am way late when it comes to his work. I have heard a few of his songs over the years. I have had friends who have told me how great his work is. I have even met fans of his who are not your “stereotypical” Christian. For years, I have struggled with this new wave of music. Everything sounds the same. The beats, the lyrics, the delivery. Everything. Gone are the days of boy bands, rock bands and girl groups. Everyone seems to be all about self. Gone are the days of originality, substance and groundbreaking. Everyone is doing what everyone else is doing.

These facts are precisely why I have stuck with my old school music. I love music from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and a few songs from the early 2000s. I miss the days where I can turn on the radio and hear good quality music. I miss the days of BET & MTV showing videos. I miss the days of waiting with great anticipation for someone’s album to be released. So for me, sifting through all the rift raft to get to music from Lecrae was almost an impossible task for me. Newer artists have let me down so much that I did not even want to take the time to possibly give Lecrae a chance. Then, September happened.

There was a lot of buzz throughout social media about Lecrae’s “Anomaly” album during the ninth month. My attention was immediately grabbed. Buzz? About a Christian rapper? Really? Wow Lord. My research began. I found out that Lecrae does not like to be labeled a Christian rapper. He prefers to be labeled as a Christian who raps. Got it. I found out that teens are heavily into to Lecrae. Love it. I found out that a movement sent by God in the form of Lecrae has been gaining steam for years. On it. I knew enough and immediately downloaded “Anomaly.” And with that, everything I assumed about Christians who rap went out the window.

I was not sure what to expect but I would soon find out. The album opens with a song that literally left me with my mouth open. “Outsiders” is an ode to the people in the world who do not fit in. The people who were created to stand apart. The people who refuse to conform to the world. This was me! Ever sense I discovered my purpose, I knew my journey would differ from most. To say I have been on the outside looking in many times would be an understatement. This song confirmed that “I’m not alone cause there’s plenty people like me.” As the tracks continued to play, I was awe struck by the delivery of the messages. Lecrae was not saying God and Jesus in every other sentence and still the messages resonated loudly. It was in those moments that I realized that Christians who rap can effectively get across the message that God has sent through them without saying his name 50 times in a song. As long as He is the foundation, the words still have power.

I have listened to “Anomaly” over and over from two and a half months straight. I have been a witness to Lecrae seizing the number one spot on the Billboard 200. Number one ya’ll. I have celebrated on Twitter with my brothers and sisters in Christ when #LecraeOnFallon became a reality. And last night, I worshipped and praised the Lord with thousands of my fellow brethern at The Anomaly Tour.

What I witnessed last night was amazing. The Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center could have easily been called The Melting Pot last night. There were people in attendance from all walks of life. There were representatives from numerous age groups, ethnicities, cultures, backgrounds, countries and races. And everyone was on one accord as we all partied, screamed, sang, rapped and gave God praise.

The show opened with DJ Promote setting the atmosphere for the show. It was great to hear a DJ set that was free of profanity and mixed so well that it was easy to forget at times what songs we were listening to. After the completion of his set, I unlike most in attendance, was sort of  introduced to Andy Mineo. He is featured on the “Anomaly” album but that was relatively all I knew about him. Just as before, I had not taken the time to really do my research on him. By the time his set was finished I was hanging my head. Andy Mineo is so dope! Just as before, I was awe struck by the delivery of the messages. I was left wondering, how could I have let him stay under my radar for so long? Now, that is a moot point. Now I am on a mission to hear all of his previous work as well because I can see God working in and through him. Andy, if you are reading this, you gained a new fan last night. I cannot wait to see what else God has in store for you!

Crowd rocking with Andy Mineo

Crowd rocking with Andy Mineo

Then it was Lecrae’s turn. The electricity that had radiated through the building during Andy Mineo’s set continued throughout Lecrae’s set and rightfully so. From start to finish, Lecrae set the stage on fire with his personal testimonies, songs of encouragement and humor. I had been giddy all day from the thought of hearing the “Anomaly” album live and disappointed I was not. The best moment of the set was easily when Lecrae snuck into the audience and performed. I was sitting two rows in front of the audio engineers when Lecrae surprisingly appeared on top of equipment behind us. Lecrae. In the crowd. Crowd goes wild. Oh and he spoke to me while he was up there. Take that, take that, take that.

Lecrae performing 'Welcome to America"

Lecrae performing ‘Welcome to America”

Look who just showed up behind me :-)

Look who just showed up behind me :-)

 

Usie!

The show was everything I hoped it would be and more. To the encore of  “Say I Won’t” to the teens jumping up and down to salsa dancing, it was a party. One that pleased God. Much like sports, music can unite us across cultures. Music can remove whatever boundaries we have when it comes to how to we interact with our fellow brethren. Much like sports, music can draw us together to root for one common goal. Last night the goal was simple: to glorify God. The music last night allowed us to wallow in the love that God desires us to have for each other. To be able to co-exist and appreciate the differences He created in all of us. He created us to stand out. He created us to give Him glory and spread love.

He created us to be…anomalies.

 

 

Until next time…TOODELLS.

 

P.S. Follow me on Twitter @KassieNette

(Originally posted on 11.11.12. It has been updated, slightly)

This post has absolutely nothing to do with sports.

On today, November 11, people all across the country will celebrate the great men and women of our Armed Forces. They will be honored with parades, free meals, handshakes, standing ovations and endless thank yous. They are worthy of each and every act of gratitude that is bestowed upon them on that day. The members of our armed forces are known for their strength, determination, resilience, heart, work ethic, faith, courage, dependability, endurance, integrity, loyalty, the list goes on. I admire them for all these things but what impresses me the most is their humility.

All of my life I have been surrounded by men and women who were in the military. My grandfather was a Marine who served in World War II. He also served as a Post Commander in our hometown at one of the American Legion posts. My grandfather was a very humble man. Over the years, I had numerous conversations with my grandfather about his time in the Pacific and I can not recall him ever initiating those conversations. He was not one to brag. He would just simply say, “I was serving my country.” For all the times we talked, I had no idea I was talking to a man who made history. Not long before my grandfather passed, my mother found out that when he entered into the Marines he was among the first wave of African-American men to ever be admitted into the Corps. Come again? My grandfather? My daddy? The man who I call “The Epitome of a Man” was living history? Imagine our surprise. We knew he was stationed at Camp LeJeune but we had no idea about Montford Point which is where the African-American Marines were trained. The more my mother researched the story, the more we grew to understand just how huge this discovery was. When asked about the recent information that was discovered about him, my grandfather simply replied, “Yes, I was at Montford Point.” That was it. No tooting his horn. No sticking out his chest. No bragging about what he had done.

My grandfather’s response to what he accomplished is what I have always encountered with our soldiers. No boasting. No reminding you of what they did. No expectations of handouts. I am always humbled when I meet soldiers and I tell them thank you. A lot of times, I am given a “thank you for your support” as a response. I typically have that “you do not need to thank me” look on my face. It is not necessary but I get it. They fight for us. They serve for us. Many have given their lives for us. They do it selflessly. They do it knowing the risks. They do it because they love their country. Often times, I feel like our military heroes are forgotten. We see praise all over the place for reality stars, athletes(I managed to tie sports in), musicians, YouTube sensations, etc. Being a soldier is not just about November 11. It is about a commitment they made to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” As humble as our soldiers are, I know that acknowledging them solidifies that what they have sacrificed was worth it. So do me a favor, the next time you encounter a veteran or a current member of our armed forces, tell them THANK YOU. Then allow yourself to experience the feeling that truly makes them who they are…humility.

In honor of Veteran’s Day, I would like to publicly acknowledge some very special men and women who have served and are currently serving in our armed forces…my grandfather, the late LM Lockhart, the late Mr. Dewey Hill, Owen Mitchell, Brandon “Peanut” Parker, Danyell Horton, Tommy Parker, Johnny McKeithan, Adam Horne, Carlos Spruill, Leonard “Boogie” Williams, Cedric Payne, James Roberts, Jr., Lena Godfrey, Keith Hargrave, Tim Jones, Bernard Carter, Sheri McDowell, Jimmel Anderson, Quenya Borders Glenn, Tom Wiegand, Danielle Moses, Leon Marsh, Tracy Marsh, Marlaina Beaty and the late Josh Harris(I did not know Josh but he was a Navy SEAL Team Six member from my hometown who sacrificed his life during a combat mission in 2008). THANK YOU all for your sacrifice and service!! You allow me to proudly say, land of the free because of the BRAVE!

 

History. Montford Point Marines. My grandDaddy is on the last row, second from the left.

History. Montford Point Marines. My grandDaddy is on the last row, second from the left.

 

{Source: Google Images}

{Source: Google Images}

{Source: Devon Still's IG}

{Source: Devon Still’s IG}

 

Sports have divided us for years. The dynasties vs. the non dynasties. The haves vs. the have nots. The winners vs. the losers. Every once in a while, the tide shifts and rivalries are set aside as fans unite to lend support, encouragement and prayers to those who give so much to the game. There was the late Lou Gehrig, the late Jim Valvano, the late Kay Yow and the late Tony Gwynn. Recently, there has been Chuck Pagano, Pat Summitt, Stuart Scott, Jim Kelly and Lauren Hill. Then there is Leah Still…

Like most of you, I first heard of Leah this summer right after her father, Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle, Devon Still was released from the team. What we would all soon find out is that their reason for releasing him was due to the fact that Leah is battling a rare form of pediatric cancer called neuroblastoma. Still came to the conclusion that in order to provide Leah with the care she needed, he would walk away from football. In one of the classiest moves ever by a professional sports organization, the Bengals informed Still that after being cut they would resign him to their practice squad. This move allowed Still to continue to receive health insurance thus ensuring Leah would receive the treatment she needs. Her medical expenses are expected to exceed $1 million and the NFL will cover 100 percent of the costs. A standing ovation is allowed at this moment.

The story spread rapidly. During a summer that was plagued with stories of domestic violence and child abuse, this gesture by the Bengals was a breath of fresh air. In an industry where the phrase, “It’s just business,” sours relationships and throws lives onto an emotional rollercoaster, it brought a smile to my face to see the powers that be put aside any thoughts of what can you do for me to view Still as what he is: human.

As news of the Bengals decision took over the news mediums, the organization took it a step further. Days after being signed to the practice squad, Still was upgraded to the active roster. After signing him to the 53 man team, the Bengals announced that they would donate all proceeds from the sale of Still’s number 75 jersey to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and pediatric cancer research. Within 24 hours, Still’s jersey set a record for the most sales during that time span in Bengals history. Another standing ovation is allowed at this moment.

Not only have fans stepped up to the plate but different NFL organizations, players and sports figures have as well. The Philadelphia Eagles sent Leah toys and a basket full of goodies. New Orleans Saints Head Coach, Sean Payton, purchased 100 Still jerseys(in sizes small and medium) and donated them to the Pediatric Care Hospital in Cincinnati. Hall of Famer, Jim Kelly, who was recently went into remission, sent Leah and Devon a personal note along with an autographed football and jersey. Commentators have been photographed holding up signs with the moniker Still wears under his eyes and across the bridge of his nose every game, “Leah Strong.” And perhaps one of the biggest tearjerkers took place on October 5 during the Sunday Night Football game between the New England Patriots and the Bengals. During the third quarter, as a video tribute to Leah and other children battling cancer played on the big screen, the Patriots cheerleaders unzipped their jackets to reveal the fact that they were wearing Still’s number jersey underneath. The cheerleaders had taken a page out of the owner, Robert Kraft’s, book who announced he would make a $25,000 donation to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Leah’s name. Yep. Worthy of another standing ovation.

This is what I love about sports. The camaraderie. The selflessness. The unity. As I watched the Bengals take on the Cleveland Browns last night, I smiled. I smiled because I knew that Leah was attending her first NFL game. I smiled because I had seen pictures of her in her Still jersey, adorned with rhinestones as she posed for pictures with the Bengals cheerleaders. I smiled through the tears as cameras caught the touching moment between daughter and father as Leah waved emphatically, from her suite, at her father on the field. And remember those jerseys fans and supporters eagerly purchased? The Bengals, with Leah on the field, presented a check for $1.3 millions dollars to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital last nigh in her name. You know what to do. Standing o.

Whenever you have a moment, say a prayer for Leah, her father, all the little ones battling this disease and their families. Often times, for as much as their little bodies are having to bear, they tend to light up the room. Their “I can beat this” and “One day at a time” attitudes serve as a reminder to us to never give up. We have a lot of fight in us if we are willing to tap into it. In the midst of this ordeal, both Leah and her father have been very inspiring. His Instagram(man_of_still75) posts are filled with positivity, gratitude and love. Still offers up a glimpse of his relationship with his daughter. He gives her pep talks, she beat boxes and dances and they both enjoy life in the now. I admire the strength of this little four year old warrior and I pray that her strength will carry her into a life of remission. Continue to live “Leah Strong” babygirl! We are all rooting for you!

 

Every two years around this time, I get extremely annoyed.

Annoyed by all the political ads. Annoyed by all the bickering. Extremely annoyed by all the people with the “my vote doesn’t count” attitudes.

It never fails. I see people all over social media complaining about how they are not going to vote because their voices are not heard or that all politicians lie or that there is no one running that they believe in. Hey! I get it. Wait, no I do not. Ok, to some extent. Yes, lots of politicians lie. However, I do believe there is a large number of them that keep their word. You know grouping them all together is a stereotype, right? Like an all young black males want to be football or basketball players stereotype. Like an all young white males who like to dress in goth attire are likely crazy. Like an all youth of today only want to play on their phones all day stereotype. This is along to same lines.

Years ago I was asked, “Why do you vote?” My response was simple, “Why would I not vote?” Besides the fact that I have the right to vote, I refuse to let the thousands of people who sacrificed their life so I can have this right die in vain. I allow myself to be reminded of all the people from all walks of life from all shades of color from all corners of the US who fought so that we can all have a voice in the booth.

Today, there will be millions of people who sit home and decide not to exercise their right for whatever reason. These are the people I roll my eyes at because this tells me that they do not value their voice. Sure, your voice may be one among a million and while we may not be able to put a face with the voice, we can see that you have spoken.I tend to find that the people who do not vote are the loudest critics and “find” the most problems but they rarely have solutions. They tend to not volunteer or give back in their communities. They tend to not attend meetings where decisions are being made. They tend to not voice their opinions in a manner where they can be effective. In my opinion, people like this just want to stir the pot and hope whatever is inside burns. To those people I say, keep your mouth shut.

If you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem. As this election season comes to an end, I challenge everyone to stand up for something. Stop hiding behind social media. It is great that you see all these problems but what are you doing to rectify them? If nothing, then today is the best day to start. Start by going to the polls and electing officials that you think are the best candidates for the job. Leave the all politicians lie stereotype outside of your voting booth. The truth is, we can all talk a good game, politician or not. Vote and hold them accountable. Show up at the meetings. Email them. Call their offices. Make your voice heard beyond the ballot.

Today, exercise your right or keep your mouth shut. Actions speak louder than words. What do yours say about you?

 

{Source: Google Images}

{Source: Google Images}

 

I was minding my own business, drinking a nice hot cup of hot chocolate last night when I hear my mother say, “Ut oh. They were fighting at the race, again.” I reply, “Again?! Who was it this time?” Immediately we both began to search social media for answers.

A few weeks ago, after watching the finish of the Bank of America 500 in Charlotte, cameras were fixated on Brad Keslowski and Matt Kenseth. According to Kenseth, Keslowski immediately drove him into a wall during a restart. The damage to the car caused Kenseth to drop out of the top five and settle for a 19th place finish. With two laps to go, Kenseth retaliated by swerving into Keslowski. Following the finish, as the cars rolled down Pit Road, a still bitter Keslowski hit Kenseth, again, with his car. When both players exited their vehicles, words were exchanged while members of their respective crews tried to separate the two. A few minutes later, cameras are once again on Keslowski as he is walking alone between two trailers. Suddenly, like a thief in the night, Kenseth storms down the alley and proceeds to put Keslowski in a headlock.

As a reward, Keslowski was fined $50,000. Kenseth received no fine.

I do not even feel like sorting out yesterday’s fight that involved Jeff Gordon and yep, Keslowski. Young man stays brawling.

NASCAR is a very popular sport. It is a sport that I happen to love but I have noticed something. For all the brawls that have taken place over the years, there is a never a major uproar about them. Sure, I hear people talking about Tony Stewart and the Busch brothers all the time. One would think with the amount of swinging and intentional crashing that has been taking place on the speedway, we would hear more about the “violent” NASCAR drivers. Oh wait, we are talking NASCAR which means it is ok for drivers to have melees on occasion because it is part of the sport.

One has to wonder though? What makes their fights any different from the ones I have seen in the NFL? Or the NBA? Baseball is known for its bench clearing brawls but these are seemingly welcomed just as much as the seventh inning stretch its.

So I am left to ponder. Is there a double standard when it comes to fighting in certain professional sports? Oh wait. I do not need to ponder. I know the answer.

 

Until next time…TOODELLS.

Here we go…

Alarm goes off at 4:45a. I jam a little to Bobby Brown’s “On Our Own”(my alarm tone), cuts alarm off then looks at temperature on phone. SIXTY-SIX DAGREES. Huh? *cuts eyes at cute new leggings I bought for the occasion, shorts it is*

1. Miles 1-2. Feeling good, feeling great. How are you?

2. Mile 3. In 2012, I had to dodge some roadkill that was the size of a baby kangaroo. Sunday, I dodged some roadkill that was the same size. Did that joka not decompose?

3. Mile 3. I hear “Black or White” by MJ and start shimmying. Wait, is that MJ performing? I need a pic but homeboy is on the opposite side. I yell “MICHAAAELLLLLL” and keep going.

4. We’re almost near the Key Bridge. I’m still feeling good. Then I realize that I should because I am only 4 miles in.

5. Hey the Key Bridge! So happy to see you after being herding like cattle up that steep, narrow bridge to get here. I always wonder who’s idea was that?

6. My hair is twisted and it was in a cute little style until I got to the Key Bridge. Thank God I had enough sense to bring a rubberband with me.

7. Mile 5. Good ole G’towne. Happy to see you! Love the energy on M Street. Favorite costume out there…Ketchup, Mustard & Relish.

8. Miles 6-9. Rock Creek Park. This is new. We didn’t run this in 2010 or 12. Wait, is there a banana up ahead, running? Wait, is that the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man on the other side, running? Wait, I know this dude ain’t dribbling a basketball and juggling? You are doing the absolute most, sir.

10. Heading to mile 10. I hear someone behind me chanting what I thought was a cadence. Then he passes me. Dude is singing and is so far in his zone that he doesn’t notice how loud he is. Well, do you boo boo. Now, the orange slices are coming! Let me start walking because I have seen plenty of people almost get taken out by those things.

11. Mile 12. The Blue Mile. Hains Point always leaves me choked up. So many soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Forever grateful.

12. Mile 13. Halfway! Yeah baby! Making good time too. I’m hongree though. This bagel in my pouch is not appealing.

13. Mile 14. The first of many angels appears. The first one was a lady with a fruit bar. I don’t like mango lady but today I do! That fruit bar concoction was on point.

14. Mile 16. Fatigue kicked in. Ugh. Legs felt great but I was drained. Called my mom for a pep talk. She could’ve easily been a Marine.

15. Mile 17. The Gauntlet. I have never wanted to kick someone as badly as I wanted to kick the man who almost clipped my wings trying to cross with a darn running stroller during the marathon. A two seater at that. If you don’t get out my way sir….

16. Saw the 2 Legit sign. Had to get a pic. I love MC Hammer.

17. Mile 19. The second angel appeared. The little boy with the Tootsie Rolls. I know he came straight from Heaven.

18. Bridge time! Crushed it and I have the pic to prove it. They didn’t have a fun Marine there this time though. Wonk wonk.

19. For some reason, the choppiness of the Potomac(I could see it out the corner of my eye, along with all the people on the bridge made me nauseous. Had to walk most of it.

20. Crystal City. Another angel. First, my girl Ta’She was there and she had pretzels! I needed salt badly. Secondly, whyyyyyy are the miles in Crystal City soooooo freaking long?? The energy is always great there and we need it because it takes forever to get through that mug. The spectators also have the best snacks there.

21. Mile 24. I am usually excited about those donut holes but I had taken in too much sugar. Then I heard someone say “Ooooo, a chocolate one.” I immediately stopped and a fellow runner said here take this one. I savored every morsel.

22. Before Mile 25. I broke down. As I stated before, I run for the Leukemia 7 Lymphoma Society and I ran in memory of my friend Quincy who passed away three weeks ago. The emotion of that overwhelmed me but I could hear him saying, “Keep pushing buddy. You’re almost at the end.” Once I got myself together, I noticed the baby tropical storm like winds I was encountering. That’s always what you want at the end of a race.

23. Right before Mile 26. Please tell me ya’ll saw the little boy, who is destined to be a future Marine, was out there. Before I even got to him, I could hear a little voice screaming, “Yeah! You got it! Gimme some, gimme some! Keep going! Fist bump! You got it! You got it!” Lil man was no more than 2 ft tall and was the hypest spectator I saw all day. Oorah lil man.

24. Mile 26. Customary pic with the mile marker then I hear someone shouting my name. My friend Steve, is right near the hill, videoing. I run over as well as almost run over people(ala dude with the running stroller) to get to him so we can celebrate.

25. Time to take the hill. Hi-fives. Low-fives. And smiles all around. I round the curve to see my dear friends, Jeneen and VJ, who have been at the finish line since the start of the race waiting for me. They are waving frantically and cheering louder than anyone else in the stands. Couldn’t ask for better support.

26. FINISH LINE. Quincy and I made it. Again. Thank you Lord! I PR’d too at 5:32. I’m 99% sure that is the last 26.2 for me. Always have to leave room for the one percent because I am the same person who said I’d never run a marathon.

P.S. Shoutout to my grandDaddy who passed in 2008. He was a Montford Point Marine(part of the first wave of black Marines to enter the Corps in the 1940s) Please research them if you aren’t familiar with their story. He’s the reason I have only run MCM. Can’t see myself 26.2’ing anywhere else. Oorah to my favorite piece of American History.

 

#RunningForQ #26point2ForQ

#RunningForQ #26point2ForQ

 

MISSION. ACCOMPLISHED.

MISSION. ACCOMPLISHED.

 

Two of my dearest friends who waited for me at the finish line. Love these two!

Two of my dearest friends who waited for me at the finish line. Love these two!

 

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My Get Hype Crew. OORAH!

My Get Hype Crew. OORAH!

Hi everyone! Thank you for all the love shown the past couple of months. I am truly grateful and thankful for your support. I know I have been missing in action on here. Sorry! I have two drafts to posts I started writing but could never get the words to flow right. I hope to get those finished soon. Derek Jeter & Peyton Manning deserve it.

 

In the mean time, please check out my column today in The Dispatch. This column means a lot to me!

 

http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20141023/COLUMNISTS/310239991

Aaaaaaah! I want my sports back!!!

Posted: September 25, 2014 in Controversy, MLB, NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL, Sports
Tags:

I just want one day where I can turn on ESPN and they are talking about sports. Period. Actually I want more than one day but at this point in time, I will take what I can get.

 

OVER IT.

 

 

 

Being a teenager and young adult these days can be tough. Just ask Jameis Winston. Or Johnny Manziel. Or Justin Beiber.

Every day it seems like my Twitter timeline is filled with people talking about the latest slip up from this young celebrity or that young celebrity. Sometimes all I can do it just roll my eyes as I log off to avoid social media for a few hours or days. Some people love nothing more than to chastise those that are not living up to their moral code.

Yes, what Winston did the other day was down right foolish. Not because of what he has been accused of in the past. Simply because it is a stupid thing to say no matter how popular the phrase is on social media. It was even more foolish to stand up on a table at the Florida State Student Union and yell it out.

I hear all the time that some of these celebrities and athletes need to make better decisions which is true. At the same time, we need to realize that a lot of these celebrities and athletes we are raking over the coals are young. Not to mention they are human. Oh and they are growing up right in front of our eyes. The other day I tweeted that while what Winston did was foolish, we all need to remember that he is TWENTY years old. If we went back and looked down your personal timeline at the age of TWENTY, I am sure we would find quite a few things that you would never want blasted all over social media.

While celebrity status is guaranteed to some based on their success, these young celebrities and athletes are facing a world that their predecessors did not. The world of social media and instant news. Back in the day, it may take two to three hours, longer than that if it happens overnight, for breaking news to spread. Now it more instant than grits.

I am not going to sit here and pretend like I do not shake my head over and over because of some of these celebrities choices. At the same time, I am reminded that none of us are perfect. I cannot imagine the pressure that some of these youngins are under as they try to navigate the waters of doing nothing to rock the media boat to living, growing and making mistakes like any other young adult.

I am sure some will roll their eyes at my mini rant and that is ok. It is my Korner and I can say what I want :-).

 

Until next time…TOODELLS.

I am sure you came here today thinking I would have a post about the latest happenings in the NFL since my post last week. While I do have solid thoughts about those situations and some of the commentary I heard over the weekend, I have no desire to write about it. I am all tapped out with the controversies. Right now.  Instead, you will get my thoughts about a topic that I have never lended my words to on The Korner: MUSIC.

Those that know me well know that I am all about old school music. Music from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and early 2000s with a few newer songs sprinkled in. I grew up on old school music. I have vivid memories of riding in the car with my mother listening to ConFunkShun, The Jackson 5, The Commodores, Sly & The Family Stone, The Temptations, KC & The Sunshine Band, Duran Duran, Michael Jackson, Phil Collins, and the list goes on and on. I have vivid memories of my grandma sitting in her living room with “We Are the World” playing on the record player as she tapped her foot to the beat of the music. I have vivid memories of gathering with the family around the television to watch MJ debut his newest video on primetime television. I am talking about 8:30pm on a Thursday. That kind of primetime.

I love music! On my iPod you can find Chris Tomlin, Bon Jovi, The Notorious B.I.G., Backstreet Boys, Usher, TLC, Metallica, Kirk Franklin, Justin Timberlake, Jodeci, Tye Tribbett, MC Hammer, The Mississippi Mass Choir, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and the list goes on and on and on. However, what you will not find is music from artists who came out let’s say ummmm 2007 or later except for Rapsody, Bruno Mars & Justin Bieber. Hey! I love “Baby”, “One Time” and “As Long As You Love Me” plus The Biebs is talented.  And if you are not up on Rapsody then you need to make that a priority to do so. I do not know what happened but today’s selection of newer artists is less than stellar. Now there are some newer artists, in addition to the Biebs, that are very talented: Adele, Imagine Dragons, Kings of Leon, Lupe, to name a few. However, the quality of music as a whole, in my opinion, lands somewhere between wonk, eh and booooo.

Due to my love of old school, you can imagine how excited I was to be attending Funk Fest in Charlotte this weekend. The lineup was one of the craziest I had ever seen put together: Salt n Pepa, Fantasia, Doug E. Fresh, B.O.B., OutKast, Olivia, 95 South/69 Boyz, 112, War, The Roots, Ice Cube & LL Cool J. Yes people. This all took place in ONE location. On ONE stage. You cannot get much better than this.

{Source: oldschool1053.com}

{Source: oldschool1053.com}

Friday evening started with a road trip to Charlotte with my girls that soon turned into a night that we would never forget. The one thing about shows like this is that theyare long, typically outside and will go on rain or shine. Oh and September in North Carolina, you know that humidity was on scorch. So we arrived at the venue, having missed Salt n Pepa(bummer but I was glad I got to see them a  few years ago) to find thousands of people mingling around the fairgrounds where Funk Fest was being held. We quickly all settled into our seats to get ready for the night to remember. I was excited to see Fantasia whom I had never seen perform. I follow her on Instagram and I have been thrilled to see the progress she has seemingly been making in her personal life. She looks amazing! Fantasia is high energy and despite the heat and humidity she gave us her all as she took us through her catalog of hits. She danced, jigged  and took off her shoes, ala Ms. Patti. I truly enjoyed her showmanship and definitely want to see her again.

After her, the man I cannot get enough of was up next: the legendary Doug E. Fresh. If you have NEVER seen him perform, then you need to put that on your bucket list. “The Entertainer/The Human Beatbox” gets the party started like no one else in the biz. I have seen Doug E. at least six times and I am never disappointed. He had the crowd up on its feet from beginning to end. We all rapped along to “The Show,” “La Di Da Di,” and “Freaks” which featured surprise guest Lil’ Vicious. That song took me all the way back to my middle school days. I am always amazed by the skill that is beat boxing. It is so intricate and of course, I cannot do it so I am fascinated with people who can. Just when I thought I could not respect the art more than I already do, Doug E. Fresh pulled a trick out of his hat so dope that I have been YouTubing to see if I can find a clip of him doing it. As he was closing out his set, he went into a beat box that lasted literally four minutes or more. He beat boxed the same beat taking very minimal breaths. I was mesmerized. What I was witnessing was mindblowing. I have never seen anything like that in my life. The man exerted so much energy that he beatboxed himself into a sweat as he got down on one knee just to finish. One of the craziest things I have ever seen! And then he “Dougied.”

{Source: oldschool1053.com}

{Source: oldschool1053.com}

 

Of course, everyone was hyped after witnessing greatness but it would not last long. We were soon told that we had to seek shelter due to an approaching thunderstorm. Everyone quickly hurried into the exhibit halls to wait out the storm that took almost an hour and a half to pass. Soon we were able to return and anxiously await the arrival of Big Boi and the man known as 3Stacks, to grace the stage. Are you wondering why I did not mention B.O.B.? Well he is one of those new artists whom I do not listen to. I tried to give him a chance but his music sounded like everything else I have heard from the majority of these new artists. A bunch of fluff.

After waiting in the heat and the rain, it was finally time to see the group that put Atlanta on the map: OutKast. I had the pleasure of seeing Outkast in 1998, shortly after their release of their third album, “Aquemini.” However, to get a chance to see them again, after 20 years in the biz and after all the ups and downs the group had been through was enough to make me do a cartwheel. From the time they stepped on the stage and their PHENOMENAL band lead us into the outerspace intro beat to “Bombs Over Baghdad,”, the energy level was through the sky. They set the tone for their performance from the beginning as they took us on a trip down memory lane to the house of nostalgia with an array of hits such as  “Ms. Jackson,” “Skew It On The Bar-B,” “Southernplayalistic,” “Hey Ya,” “Roses,” “The Way You Move,” and one of my all time faves, “Aquemini.” And when they paid respects to their dear friend, the late Pimp C, by performing the classic banger, “International Players Anthem” they sent the crowd into an unexpected frenzy. The layout of hits was delivered just right as both Big Boi and Andre each did short solo sets that highlighted their creative geniuses that were evidenced on the Grammy award-winning “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.” There had been talk, even recently from Andre himself, about how he gets nothing out of performing. Even if that was the case, on this particular night it was anything but noticeable as he smiled and laughed continuously throughout their set. The interactions between him and Big Boi was like watching old friends/family pick up right where they left off. As we all stood in the rain, singing and rapping loudly, I smiled. I was reminded that this is what life was all about. Priceless moments.

{Source: clclt.com}

{Source: clclt.com}

The next day proved to be just as exciting as the day before. However, with all the hype that has surrounded OutKast’s return to the stage, their performance was hard to top. I enjoyed seeing War. They are one of those groups that I grew up listening to with my mom. At almost 70 years old, those men still put on a show that will put a lot of young acts to shame. Following them was a group that was sure to receive some respect from them: The Roots. As a huge fan of Jimmy Fallon, I have fallen more and more in love with the talent of The Roots. I have loosely followed them for years but seeing them perform night after night first on Late Night and now on The Tonight Show, my level of respect for their craft is heightened. They are crazy talented! I could not get enough of their musical intricacies. They are definitely in the upper echelon when it comes to bands.

[Source: WCCB}

[Source: WCCB}

Last year, I saw both Ice Cube and LL Cool J perform during the Kings of the Mic tour so I knew to expect performances that were energized and full of hits. Neither disappointed. Well, LL did but it was not his fault. Wait, Cube did too because he did not do any NWA stuff like he did last year. I was ready to rap “Straight Out of Compton” like I was straight out of Compton. Unfortunately, right before LL’s set started it started to rain again. Just like the night before, most people did not care. A little rain never hurt anyone. Plus this is LL we are talking about. He has hits for days. Well as much as LL wanted to perform his whole set, the powers that be made him cut it short(he only performed 30 minutes of his hour and a half set) because of how much rain was on the stage and they were concerned for his safety. I get it. I really do. However, between Friday and Saturday night the powers that be should have been able to rectify that situation in the event that it rained, again. We stood out in a baby monsoon at times to watch OutKast perform and you mean to tell me that you could not figure out a way to let LL continue performing even though it was no longer raining? Shaking my head.

[Source: oldschool1053.com}

[Source: oldschool1053.com}

{Source: V101.9}

{Source: V101.9}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, despite the heat, humidity, rain, lightning and thunder, I had an absolute ball! One of the best concerts I have been to. A collection of artists that have stood the test of time and can still deliver performances that are worthy of witnessing again. I thoroughly enjoyed every performance. However, I have to say seeing OutKast after so many years of wishing they would get back together was everything I had hoped it would be. Although their set was an hour and a half, it was too short. I wanted more! It has been a loooooong eight years between their last album and this performance. Add this OutKast high to my New Edition high that I am still on and you have a Kassie that will be floating in the clouds for a loooong time.

I feel sorry for the kids that are growing up these days thinking what these new artists are putting out is music. Many will scream that I am getting old because I say that. My rebuttal is that it has nothing to do with my age and everything to do with the quality or lack thereof of talent, diversity and creativity. There is not one artist, other than maybe Adele, that this generation can honestly say will be able to sell out shows 20 years from now. Not one! Sad state of affairs.

Well, at least they have the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and early 2000s if they want to learn to appreciate REAL music. Enjoy youngins!

Yesterday afternoon as the aftermath of Ray Rice’s release and suspension continue to send shockwaves throughout the sporting community and beyond, two trends took off that begin to put everything in to perspective: #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft. Initially, I chose not to read the tweets. I had already spent time writing about the situation, was engulfed in discussions about the situation and my Twitter mentions were too much to keep up with. I needed a break from it.

However, before I went to bed last night I decided to take a look. My mom had told me how powerful the hashtags were and that I should read them. I laid down thinking I owe it to these victims, these victims who are courageous enough to take 140 characters and explain their story. As I lay in my bed, my eyes filled with tears as I read tweet after tweet of women AND men who shared their whys. From not understanding what love was suppose to look like to being told over and over it would never happen again to believing things would change to believing the abuser wanted to change to being afraid of children getting hurt in the process to being afraid that leaving would literally mean a choice between life and death…the stories were gripping. They were REAL.

The tweets tell a story…a story of manipulation, fear, paranoia, lies, pain, anguish, hurt, sadness, depression, unworthiness, deceit, deception, persuasion, coercion, threats, humiliation, rape, assault. The tweets tell stories from those who have lived it. The tweets tell stories from those who have suffered through it. The tweets tell stories from those who made excuses. The tweets combat the assumptions I have seen spewed all over social media…those who blame the victim, those who make ASSUMPTIONS about why a person stayed or their actions, those who think it is easy to walk away from situations of this magnitude.

If you have not been in that type of situation then it will be hard for you to understand. I cannot fathom being in an abusive relationship. So instead of trying to understand it from my “I would never allow that to happen” point of view, I try to understand it from a why does this happen point of view? I am reading to see if I can understand where the disconnect happened in the victim’s life to justify the first blow they ever received. I am reading to understand what signs I should be looking for. I am reading to understand how I can help. I am reading to understand what more needs to be done. I am reading to understand why this topic is just now getting this type of attention. I am reading to understand how some got the courage to leave.

We rarely hear the stories of victory.  We rarely hear the stories of the victims who left in the middle of the night and drove for hours just to start a new life, free from their abuser. We rarely hear the stories of the victims who secretly planned their escape for months. We rarely hear the stories of the victims who were one step from suicide but found the strength to decide that they were worth more than that. More than anything, #WhyILeft is a rallying cry. It is a rallying cry for those that are still living in the nightmare of abuse. It is a rallying cry to let them know that  life outside of their situation, that they can be victorious and that love does not come with fists. It is a rallying cry for those that took matters into their own hands. It is a rallying cry for those who finally know their worth. It is a rallying cry that sends a signal to those who cannot understand…check your assumptions at the door because they have a story to tell.

P.S. There are so many causes out here that need our attention. We all cannot be fully dedicated to raising awareness for every cause that plagues our country/world but we can make a difference in certain areas. I challenge you all, if you are not already involved with a cause, to get involved. It should not take a national news story for you to want to help. Actions speak louder than words. What do yours say about you??

My spidey senses did not perk up this morning when I turned on ESPN2 and saw that Adam Schefter was sitting at the First Take desk with Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless and Cari Champion. Yesterday marked the first NFL Sunday of the season so I simply thought he was there to discuss that.

WRONG.

Disgusted. Sickened. Sad. The first three emotions I experienced this morning as I stood, stunned watching the newly released footage of Ray Rice TKO’ing his then fiance, Janay Palmer, in an elevator. To say I was disturbed to see what I saw would be an understatement. For weeks now, the talk has been about NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell and his light penalty(a two game suspension) concerning Ray Rice. The suspension is a topic I have not written about NOT because it does not concern me but because I simply chose not to write about it. About a month ago, I addressed the Rice situation when Smith found himself in hot water for what many called was him implying that it was ok for men to hit women. Everything I said on July 30, I stand by.

However, what I do not stand by is the way the this situation has been handled. Not by the NFL, not by the Baltimore Ravens, not by Rice, not by his wife, not by the prosecutors. When Rice and his wife held their press conference, together sitting far apart, I knew something was off. The fact that two people who had been involved in a physical altercation were presenting a united front was disturbing.  If the NFL thinks I believe that TODAY is the first day they have seen the video of Rice landing his best ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson left hook on his now wife then then I must also believe that the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot are real. One of the powers that be saw that video. Maybe not Goddell but somebody. The NFL expects me to believe that they asked for all video footage but were not given the video inside the elevator but TMZ was?? We are talking about the same NFL that is one of the most powerful organizations in the world, not the country, the WORLD. Excuse me while I go watch Pinocchio’s nose grow.

What I saw take place in that elevator was enough to bring tears to my eyes. Yes, I saw a woman, who in the elevator, made contact first. I then saw a man levy a hit so hard that it knocked her out of the picture, literally. I then saw a man who, according to his non verbal language, was not overly concerned with the fact that the unconscious woman laying at his feet was the woman he had pledged all his love to the day he put a ring on her left hand. I then saw a man, not pick up but drag his soon to be wife out of the elevator and leave here laying there on a cold, hotel lobby floor as he seemed to contemplate what to do next.

None of us knows for sure what happened before they got into that elevator. We know what they said and we know what others have said. To me, it looks like a relationship that was plagued with domestic violence before hand that either no one seemed to know about or one where the issues were hidden very well. His actions upset me. A LOT. Even if she was the one that delivered the first blow, which is wrong and puts you in a position to get what you dished out, the amount of force in which he used should be enough to make anyone sick to their stomach. Assault is never ok. Domestic violence is never ok. What I saw is never ok. Oh and two wrongs do not make a right.

I have heard plenty of people say over and over that I should not be upset with the NFL because this is a social issue not an NFL issue. I often wonder out loud if they have been paying attention to the same NFL I watch. If it has nothing to do with the NFL then why does the league have policies concerning conduct, drugs and steroids. Domestic violence is a social issue that effects many affiliated with various companies and organizations including the NFL. In July, Goddell had an opportunity to set a standard when it comes to an issue that has been swept up under the rug for too long. He had a chance to issue a suspension that spoke volumes about how the governor of the NFL feels in regards to domestic violence. He had a chance to stand up for domestic violence victims, both women and men, and say this will not be tolerated in our league. Instead, he handed out a punishment that was the equivalent of what our parents used to dish out to us for missing curfew, lying or letting our friends wreck our new bike.  Shoot, in a lot of cases parents levied a stricter punishment.

If I heard right this morning, then there is a certain policy in the Collective Barganining Agreement in which Goddell could retroactively issue a stiffer punishment on Rice. Should he? I am on the fence about that one. Part of me says he should have handled it right the first time. Part of me says he should go back and hand out a longer suspension. Another part of me wants him to have to face the inferno that is headed towards him in light of the new evidence. Now that I think about it, hand out a longer suspension and face the inferno at the same time. Stand up and admit you dropped the ball. Stand up and admit you thought this would go away. Stand up and admit that the NFL is an organization that has the power to bring awareness to certain topics. Stand up and admit that you should have done more.  Stand up for victims who cannot stand up for theirselves.

Stand up for your daughters. You owe it to them.

 

Until next time…TOODELLS.

 

P.S. As I was finishing this post, I got word that the Ravens have released Rice. Does not change anything I said above.

P.P.S. Let us all take a stand and fight this issue head on. We can speak up for all victims. GIVE THEM A VOICE!!

OH HAPPY DAY!!!!!

I can hardly contain my excitement. The day I have waited for since February has finally arrived.

Since I am a writer and I love sports, I know you all are expecting me to issue some predictions. I have said over and over that I hate doing predictions. They hinge on so many things: who stays healthy, who performs the way that they should, which coach best utilizes its players, yada, yada, yada. However, without predictions, it would not give journalists much to talk about, huh?

So you are expecting a Super Bowl prediction. Oh boy. Can I pick two teams? Sure I can. It is my blog. I fully expect Denver to be in the Super Bowl again. Aaaaaaaand I expect their opponent to be an NFC team. Haha. Ok, for real because I do not think Seattle will repeat, I am going to go with New Orleans. Denver will win and Peyton can ride off into the sunset like Ray Ray.

I would have loved to have picked my beloved 49ers. Sadly, I think I window of opportunity may have closed. I do not even want to get into it. Even with the departures, suspensions and distractions, I still think we have tremendous talent and players in place to win it all. The question is, can they gel together to get it done? Only time will tell. I hope my prediction is wrong!

I think my beloved Panthers will be solid again this year but I do not expect them to have the same success as last year. I honestly cannot even tell you why. Just a gut feeling. I hope my prediction is wrong!

 

 

So here we go, my predictions for the week…

Seattle over GB
NO over ATL
STL over Minnesota
Cleveland over Pittsburgh
Philly over Jax
Jets over Oakland
Cincy over Baltimore
Buffalo over Chicago
Wash over Houston
KC over Tenn
NE over Miami
Panthers over Bucs
9ers over Dallas
Denver over Indy
Detroit over NYG
SD over AZ

We shall see what happens.

Enjoy the first weekend of the NFL!!!