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Sports and Entertainment: Is it the Problem? or the Scapegoat...

Priorities. What is a priority? Our good friend Merriam-Webster says, “The things that someone cares about and thinks are important… therefore coming or being dealt with first.“

In a perfect world, the sporting and entertainment industries are in place to provide an escape from the rigors of our daily lives to just sit back and relax. In this downtime we enjoy a performance put on by our generation’s best of the best. These people practice at the highest level, day and night preparing for a presentation to the people. As the best of the best, they are compensated as such.

Success tends to backfire every once in awhile. The boomerang effect for the entertainment industry is that they make it look too easy sometimes. Making something look so easy has a tremendous trickle down effect in many communities around the nation. It also comes with much scrutiny, unwanted attention, and labels such as: overpaid, cocky, flashy, brash, entitled… the list goes on and on. Is it warranted? Let’s see.

Exposure Creates Desire:

What you see, is what you get isn’t just a song by the Dramatics but a lifestyle in a sense. Every kid in the world wants to grow up to be rich and or famous, doing what they love whether it’s playing football, singing like a canary, or pursuing traditional careers in medicine, law, education, etc. Again, that is in a perfect world.

In reality, people are products of their environment. Abe Lincoln once said "Whatever you do, be good at it”. As a product of the inner city of Highland Park, during the late 1980’s and 1990’s I saw a lot of success in front of me. This success was reached either the right way or the left way. Those who choose neither usually remained stagnant due to high comfort levels in their careers, were poverty stricken, or even homeless in some cases.

The Right Way:

Everyone knows right from wrong. It’s communicated to us through our conscious. You know, the the voice that tells you you might want to think about that right before doing something detrimental to your quality of life. Those who go left learn to silence the spiritual advice coming from their psyche which usually doesn’t end well for humanity. Or the demons they in turn have to deal with.

The trickle down effect that takes place in the communities is one of two things. One becomes envious or inspired. Theses two things can give life to something groundbreaking or take one away from a future mountain mover. When success backfires, rarely does it bode well for the dreamer. Some people spend the first 18+ years (or less) of their lives working towards a goal that will bring happiness to their families for years to come. They see a dream and they chase it relentlessly until they catch it. As a reward for their hard work, they may begin to make major purchases to show fruits for their labor. Things like cars, houses, jewelry, and other gidgets and gadgets. Once these things are purchased the next step is to show it off. Why not? They earned it, right?

The Left Way:

The left way is a one way ticket to the Thug Life or the Street Life. People who partake in the Street Life live fast. Each day is a new adventure and tomorrow is never promised. Knowing so, these people maximize every second, dabbing in their boxes of guilty pleasures. As a result, some aren’t able to maintain the high speeds in the fast lane and face hardships later in life because of poor decisions they made growing up.

Others here in America are the end result of generations of hopelessness. Through the years they lost complete faith in the American Dream and its schooling systems. They tend to see the Thug Life as their shot to reach true “success” as shown on televisions sets, cell phone screens, and tablets across the country. With those preset images of success running through their mind, they begin to seek their own riches.

Living the Thug Life means one plays by a different set of rules than most Americans. With no faith in the established systems in place, they live by a code stating only the strong survive and other variations. With such a code, they naturally prey on those seen as weak and ally with others exhibiting the same strengths to form a superpower. Thugs see themselves as soldiers and at times are at war with each other. Those who tend to flash their riches recklessly, pretending to be something they’re not, often face their wrath. As bad as their reputation may be in some circles, many of them are true Patriots to this country.

The Middle:

These people are the problem. Most people fall in this middle group. They were the students in class who breezed through school, went to college, got hired, married, started a family, and were never to be seen again. They’re the ones who arrive at 10 year reunions in foreign cars and new American made automobiles.

They’re the problem because they forget to reach back and help their former classmates realize their potiential. In reality we’re all the problem because we know better. What’s really sad is that the men in the community are losing their voice because they’ve become too comfortable, sitting back watching the women silently rule the world…

What Happens When the Three Intertwine?

Let me paint a scenario for you…

After a great week in sales not long ago, you noticed a $300 commission bonus on your check stub. While sitting in your car at the bank parking lot, your phone rings as you endorse your check ahead of time for the teller. It’s your mother. A glance at the clock reads 2:37pm.

The call goes a little longer than you expected and the clock now shows 3:14pm. In that time you saw legendary small forward, Noel Léon(fictitious character) and son enter the bank about 5 minutes ago. You don’t want to look star struck so you stay seated and tell your mom what just happened..

You: “Guess who just walked in the bank?”

Your Mom: “Elvis?”

You: “No,” you say with a chuckle after choking on a pretzel..

Your Mom: “Tupac?”

You: Come on mom,” you laugh out loud.

Your Mom: “Who?” she snickers.

You: “Noel Léon, the basketball player.”

Your Mom: “I’m glad he still comes around. I grew up with his family. His aunt was my doubles partner in tennis back in high school.”

You: “Some man and his son are cleaning his car, for ten dollars the sign says.”

As the man and boy finished detailing the car, Noel Léon and his Junior were leaving the bank, greeted with perfect timing. Looking at the sign held in front of him, he repeated “$10 dollars?” over and over again.

You: “He acts like $10 is a lot of money, he saw the sign just like I did.

Your Mom: “That whole family is frugal. Always has been.”

Fixing his glasses, the sun ricocheted off his diamonds and gold causing the young boy to shield his eyes. Sorting though 40-50 one hundred dollar bills, he fanned passed 50, 20, 10, and 5 dollar bills before stopping at 10, 1 dollar bills.

Noel Léon: “Here, you’re lucky to get that. Do you know who I am?”

Already having spent the money he was soon to receive in his head on meals for the week, the man refused to take the $5 he was given for his services. For all he knew that could be his only job all day. It wouldn’t be uncommon.

Snatching a fist of cash, the man handed it off to his son who sprinted across the busy intersection. Making his way behind him, cars honked with heavy hands as he and the boy raced down the street and through the alleyway.

Moral of the story: You never know how your actions might affect those around you.

Thanks for reading. Be sure to check out my previous posts:

"Do you Fight to Live or Live to Die?"

"What Happened to the American Dream"

"30 Minutes: The US Government"

"5 Questions About Our Youth and Communities"

Be Great!

© Ali Muhammad 2015

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