About a week ago, a little war took place between a couple of extremely high-profile people in this country. It started during an interview on CNN when arguably the most famous athlete in the world took a shot at President Trump in a couple of ways. First, he claimed that Trump is using sports to divide people. That is certainly a point that can debated. Second of all, he took another shot at our President saying that he would never sit down with Trump in a meeting. He said he preferred to meet with former President Obama instead. Not one to shy away when attacked, Trump slammed the interview and claimed the person conducting the interview, Don Lemon, was one of the dumbest men on television and he made James look smart, which isn’t easy to do. And of course, the prez had to weigh in on the never-ending comparison between James and Michael Jordan.
This is not the first time that a famous athlete or celebrity has been called out by President Trump and probably will not be the last. A number of them, especially James, have been very critical of the Trump and have been very outspoken about it. It is only natural that an apostle of Obama such as James would seize on every opportunity he has to take shots at the President. I find it rather amusing that James claims the President is using sports to divide people when in fact, James and other elite athletes are doing the exact thing. Who is using the national anthem as a way to express their desires for social justice? It is the athletes themselves. James and many of his Obama loving athletes are liberals and liberals are known for dividing people. Maybe James should look in this mirror first when talking about people being divisive.
Surprisingly, I have a little issue with the President seemingly referring James as being hard to look smart. Believe me, LeBron James is no dummy. He seems to be very articulate and well spoken in his interviews despite the fact that he does have a college degree. This is another case when I feel the President went too far in his criticism of someone. Furthermore, James should be commended for coming up this idea of helping underprivileged youth with their education. Maybe Trump should have directed his tweets towards that gesture.
I find it very sad and troubling that these little wars seem to be constantly taking place between the President and athletes like James. These individuals could use their power and stardom to bring people together. Both Trump and James have done a ton for the black community and should be praised for it. Instead, we are seeing these little battles between a bitter James, who probably is still upset that Hillary did not win the presidency, and Trump who definitely does not do anyone a favor by calling someone dumb. How sad is that?! Maybe some day, James and Trump can sit down and meet. Don’t hold your breath though on that ever happening.
I usually shy away from posting personal stories because this blog is mainly about current events, but I just had to share a story that a few select people have experienced. Anyone who has ever played golf dreams of getting a hole-in-one. If you are not a golfer, let me explain what that is. You hit a ball from the tee box, usually anywhere from 100-200 yards, into a 4.25″ diameter hole. The odds for an average golfer to achieve this feat is 12,500 to 1. As you can imagine, this feat is awfully difficult to do. After playing golf for nearly 25 years, I finally got my first hole-in-one and it was an experience that I will never forget.
It was a bright sunny morning at my local golf club and I was having a typical up and down round, some good shots and some bad shots. I entered the last hole looking for a par so I could shoot a certain score. The hole was a par 3 playing some 157 yards. The minute I hit the shot, I knew it was a good one, however, I feared that I hit the ball too far and it would land on the back of the green. The green was elevated so I did not see my ball land clearly or the subsequent roll of the ball. Never in my wildest dreams could I ever imagine having the ball land in the bottom of the hole.
As I got closer to the green, I had this awful feeling that my ball was in some wooded area behind the green. Here I hit one of the best shots of the morning and it all goes for not! I was getting reading to prepare for a drop and one stroke penalty when a voice inside me told me to check in the cup. It was a voice from God telling me that a major surprise was in store if I just looked at the bottom of the flag stick. There it was! My ball had landed right in the bottom of the cup for an ace. My heart nearly jumped out of my body when I saw the ball. But then doubt crept into my mind. Maybe that is someone else’s lost ball? I grab the ball and yep, it was the brand name that I was playing. Maybe it was a good thing that it was the last hole because I was so traumatized after seeing my ball in the hole. I nearly got into an accident on my way home from the course!
In all reality, getting a lot of hole-in-ones in not a major goal of mine in playing golf. I get more satisfaction from shooting a really low round and being a good consistent player. Players of all ability can get a hole-in-one. But it is indeed special to finally become a member of that exclusive shot club that has evaded me for several years. I have come so close many times, but on that warm sunny morning, the hole just happened to get in the way of the ball.
The explosion of social media websites like Twitter has given us a rather unique opportunity to go into the lives of famous and high-profile individuals and hear their thoughts and opinions about what is going on in this world. Unfortunately with that freedom comes a very dangerous cost as many have had their careers ruined by some stupid tweet or comment posted on social media. A few major league baseball players are learning the hard way about the risks involved with these freedoms. Josh Hader and Sean Newcomb are now under attack for rather racist and homophobic tweets they made during their younger years. Never mind that these tweets were made several years ago. The horse is out of the barn and both players are in serious damage control mode. Only time will tell if these actions during their youth will further damage their careers.
Let me begin by saying that I am totally not defending what these ball players did. Any type of tweet that degrades a certain group of people is very troubling. You may not agree with the LGBT lifestyle but that does not mean you have the right to go on social media and post how much you hate gay people. That is totally disrespectful and you should expect some serious consequences for doing so. A famous or high-profile athlete or celebrity should use a social media platform to bring people together of all sexual orientations and races. Using it to spread hate is just not proper or right.
Having said those things, I also find it very troubling that a certain group of people seem to be taking advantage of social media to bring down the careers of a few high-profile athletes. Funny how they waited until Hader appeared in his first all-star game to expose what he tweeted when he was only 17. Newcomb appeared in the spotlight after coming within a strike of a perfect game last week. Shortly after, those old tweets from him appeared. Who is the next baseball player to be in the cross hairs of these people? I highly doubt these efforts will stop just for baseball players. You can be rest assured that members of the NFL and NBA are also at risk for being called out.
Another thought about this story that comes to mind is we are unfortunately becoming a society that refuses to forgive people for their actions. Hader explained that what he did was completely wrong and uncalled for. Can we just forgive someone for their actions several years ago when they were probably young and stupid? How many of us do not have any skeletons in our closets from our youth? Can we just move on? I would take this story a lot more seriously if these tweets happened more recently while these two players were major league players. But the truth is it happened about 7 years ago. People change and grow up a lot between 17 and 25. Let us give these players at least that much benefit of the doubt.
While these social justice warriors are at, they might turn their attention to the very racist comments of a new hired member of the New York Times, Sarah Jeong. As a middle-aged white guy, I am very offended by several of her tweets. Are these warriors going to go after her with the same amount gusto as the ball players? Somehow I do not see that happening. It probably does not fit their political agenda which is yet another sad fact about this story. Maybe all celebrities and athletes should just delete all of their Twitter accounts so they will not become the next victim. It is not worth losing a career over when you have a bunch of warriors on the rampage.
A vast majority of people do not end up living in the town that they grew up in. Most of us move to different areas or cities and towns for job opportunities after we finish high school or college. Such is the case for myself. I grew up in a small town in Minnesota, population of around 8,000. It was my dream to move away from that small town when I finished college. I was simply bored with the small town atmosphere and lack of job opportunities. I desperately wanted to live in a large metro area. My dream came through shortly after I graduated from college. But that small town still was a part of me and has never left. I relish the times when I can go back and visit. Times have changed dramatically since my parents used to live in that small town in Minnesota. My dad passed away and my mother re-married and moved to another small town located in the state. As you can imagine, those opportunities to visit have decreased dramatically in the past years, but last weekend was another opportunity to visit during a family gathering. I could not pass it up. I just had to see my old stomping grounds again.
I think many of you can probably relate to what I went through when I went back to visit. The first thing that comes to mind is how things have changed. While driving through town at a seemingly snail’s pace compared to what I encounter here in the large metro area, I was shocked at how things have changed. Some of my favorite spots as a youth were no long there. A restaurant that I used to visit frequently in my younger days was no longer there. It was replaced by some coffee shop. Everything seemed to be so different. The street lights seemed to have a different look to them. I used to know nearly everyone in town, but now I felt like some sort of alien visiting a new area. It was a very strange feeling indeed.
My cousin, who is also a native of the town and nearly my age, decided to take a little tour of the town after the family cookout. We just had to see some of the old houses that I used to live in. So many flashbacks came to mind when we drove by those houses. All those early mornings walking to school and my family came to mind. Those houses are barely recognizable now. The new owners have change things up a lot, but the memories of those houses will never be forgotten. They will forever be etched in my life. We also paid a visit to some of our old schools that we have attended. Unlike many things in that town, the schools did not appear to have change much. The same ball field still existed that my cousin and I have very fond memories of. And of course on a personal note, memories of hanging out with my old hometown friends and a few girlfriends really came out during our tour. Some of my best and worst memories ever happened there.
Some of us live many miles from places where we grew up and we no longer have connections to those places. Why not plan a trip like I did and relive some of those long last memories? It is quite amazing to think about how our lives have changed so much since our younger days. Nothing beats visiting your old stomping grounds. Through the internet and social media, I still stay in touch with that small town. It is something that is embedded in me forever even though I am a full-fledged city boy now. Those memories of my younger years will never be forgotten.
The annual buzz in the world of sports at this time of the year is not what you think it should be. No, it is not about the pennant races in Major League Baseball or the start of NFL training camps. Many sports talk shows in the past week have been over saturated with news about the big free agent signing of LeBron James by the LA Lakers. This time around, there was not a silly special television program to announce where King James was going to take his talents. It was fast and swift. Word got out last Sunday that LBJ signed a 154 million, 4 year contract to join perhaps the most prestigious professional franchise in this country. I was long rumored that James would sign with the Lakers, but many including this blogger felt that there was a very good chance he would stay in Cleveland and finish out his career. Boy were we wrong!
Some sports talking heads have criticized James for lack of loyalty again. I totally disagree with these people. If you have a chance to join an elite business, you do not pass that up. LBJ is the elite player in the NBA right now and he is going to join a very elite franchise. What famous free agent NBA player would not want to play for the Lakers? From a business perspective, it is a perfect move for James along with the fact that he has already some ties in Los Angeles. It is also a perfect signing for the league. The fact that a famous player is playing in a huge market will only add more excitement to the league. And the Lakers will have more success to boot. It is a win win situation for the league.
The thing that I find puzzling about his decision to join the Lakers is the fact that they still do have the pieces together to contend for a championship. I would think that James still wants to win a few more championships before he retires and I just do not see how that happens with him joining the Western Conference. It will still be a few years before they are good enough to contend with Golden State or Houston. If James had stayed in Cleveland, they could have tweaked their roster a bit in an effort to improve and compete for a championship. In my opinion, James would have a better shot of wining a championship by staying in the Eastern Conference.
Regardless of those things that I just mentioned, I love the excitement that this will create for the league. As a fan of the league, I always love this time of the year when big name free agent players make these decisions. Now only if the New York Knicks could land some big name free agents. The Lakers definitely got their man and the league is better off because of it. This signing and the buzz it has created only proves that the NBA is slowly becoming the second most popular professional sports league in the country. Many of us NBA fans cannot wait until next season to watch James play for a new team and his impact on the young Lakers. If you are a Lakers fan, you must be in 7th heaven now. Who knows, maybe more big-name free agents will want to come to LA in the future and play for the Lakers? Why wouldn’t they?