Youth Education, Sports Icons and Community Leadership

Today, it is all about being “cool” or “hip.” It’s about presenting the right “photograph,” approximately capable of provoking the women or one’s friends. It’s about making the team, about being the coolest searching participant on the basketball court or football area, the dude with the snazzy haircut or braids, gangster style tattoo, Fubu outfit, or highly-priced Nike trainers, or gold chains, or jewelry, or baggy pants, or sports activities automobile.

Of course, girls are not immune; they are enticed with “bribes” of precise times and being pregnant! But it’s miles, in most cases, our boys – the next era of Black guys – that are in real and, in some instances, mortal hazards. It might be an overstatement to mention that sports activities may be seen as a new shape of mental and physical slavery. But is it? It’s all likely genuine to say that because it’s miles appealing and related to stardom, sports activity exerts an effective effect on our teenagers and that, in some respects, its influence is insidious.

Okay, you say, let’s keep things in proper perspective. There is no point in scare-mongering. After all, it is only a sport. Can we offload this sports thing onto the media moguls, sports activities magnates, or fashion houses? Accepted, they have the power and influence; however, aren’t we who will purchase their merchandise and offerings and who allow ourselves for use?

As effective as the media is, as seductive because the entice of on-the-spot fulfillment through Nike running shoes or an NBA or NFL settlement would possibly appear, the truth is that most parents and children are not caught up via the hype or fooled through the lies. In other words, the choice is ours. Many of us have taken a stand towards the enticements of sport, figuring out that one Michael Jordan, Venus, Serena Williams, or Tiger Woods is no longer a whole technology.

The overwhelming majority of young black adult males who rally to sports activities and style media are drawn to basketball and soccer. Those are undoubtedly the “coolest” sports activities; the black presence is plain. The few players who, both due to their performance or income (the two commonly cross collectively), make it into the movie star leagues are the brand new emblems of achievement and have emerged as the role fashions of every younger black male who fancies the probabilities and sees sports activities as a clean price ticket out of the ghetto, the schoolroom, or the uninteresting existence dictated via those of his mother and father’s generation.

What I find most worrying is how many young black men’s educational opportunities are reputedly being hijacked. Of course, folks who make it into the expert ranks realize the importance of a scholarship and university schooling. But the memories of cooked grades and stars who can barely read or write are too real to dismiss as fantasy.

Perhaps more vital even than this is the “easy believism” that can paralyze or otherwise infect our network through our children. Hey, they say, and suppose you do not have to work too hard. Just play a touch of basketball. Don’t worry about school. There’s nothing wrong with practicing that leap shot all day in the park. Homework? What’s that?

Forget it; who desires grades anyway? Work on the one’s Harlem Globetrotter competencies: slam, dunk, dribble, don’t skip, drink your milk and Oreo cookies, and think of Michael Jordan’s success. No hassle. You’re going to make it! And my prayers are with you. But the truth is that you, in all likelihood, have a higher chance of creating it to the White House and appointing an all-black cupboard as you do of becoming the subsequent Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, or any of the other currently pinnacle-rated basketball stars.

And the trouble, the cloud of unreality that has colored our wondering and blinded our imagination and prescience. Until we wake up, our collective blindness may also consign our kids to the professional ghetto with no schooling, restricted possibilities, and education going nowhere quickly. And it would help if you didn’t assume too much about the usual passageway from right here to tablets and the crook justice machine.

Most people apprehend and are given that these closings are tearing many groups apart. We often pay attention to individuals talking about the cancer of crack cocaine or the unwarranted numbers of black men at bars’ backs. We rightly recognize these “truths” as evidence that possibly all is wrong with our society. But the opportunity that is slipping educational standards and advertising a smooth course to success can be the present-day curse of our kids has yet to be trumpeted from the hilltops using our flesh pressers, community leaders, or conscientious media personalities.

If they may be speaking about it, then they should be whispering. Either that, or I’m slowly becoming deaf! Of route, no longer all sports activities stars are jocks. It’d be a terrible disservice to the able, talented, and aspiring among them to mention, as a few may, that maximum athletes are not anything greater than youngsters with excessive money and too little sense for their own exact. While the stereotype stays famous, again largely because of the media’s awareness and misrepresentation, it is largely unfaithful.

Much younger, shiny, articulate, knowledgeable, aware young male and female athletes serve as high-quality role models for the subsequent era. However, it is unfortunate that interviews with those people or actual-time media representations in their lives off the court or discipline are a few ways along. It’s much less complicated to be conscious of their sporting skills and sell their superstar quality. After all, that is what sells tickets and increases the character’s cost to the promoter, proprietor, manager, educator, or television community.

For all the effective traits that a Michael Jordan may additionally exude, and for all the pace with which selected individuals are catapulted onto the sector stage and occasionally transformed overnight into American icons, how many of your sons or daughters do you accept as true with will ever have a possibility to achieve the same degree of success?

There are a few real success stories accessible. In most cases, the silent and the quiet whoshuns media attention and who awarenessofn their families, their careers, and their futures in that order are not generally the stuff of which legends are made, you may not discover such people being touted inside the media. And there are other stars who, having gained positive notoriety via living as much as the stereotype, have long gone on to achieve their lives and enterprise accomplishments.

Magic Johnson is perhaps one example. It changed returned on November 7, 1991, that the sport’s global was rocked by the statement that Magic had HIV. The news becomes shocking. This was at a time when, for many, HIV changed into the equivalent of positive death. Now, a decade later, Magic is a tremendous force in business with a pronounced $500 million enterprise portfolio.

Many groups are richer for such efforts, and nobody can dispose of those public successes or the importance of those acts of entrepreneurial Magic. However, I always discover myself asking, while faced with such tales of fulfillment and fabric wealth, how an awful lot greater could our stars and leaders be doing by using manner of sponsoring scholarship programs or linking their names, talents, and wealth to charter colleges, faculties and universities, after-faculty care packages, mentoring packages, summer season camps, area camps, overseas language studying schemes, cultural exchange packages, computers in faculties, science, and generation projects, hospitals, clinics, honest hire housing improvement schemes, libraries, urban renewal initiatives. The list is almost countless, and the benefits would amplify some distance beyond the black community.

But how do I know that they are not investing in such things? Just because we do not listen approximately, it doesn’t mean they aren’t? Right? Pardon the grammar, but the factor is properly made. Perhaps they’re doing all this, but nobody is speaking. After all, is not this what the Bible encourages while it speaks of humility and the left hand now not letting the right hand recognize what it’s doing? Well, how come we listen so much about the supposed wealth of character stars and so little about the acts of “exact.”?

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Spent a year testing the market for sock monkeys in Naples, FL. My current pet project is donating robotic shrimp in Hanford, CA. Spent several months getting my feet wet with weed whackers worldwide. Spent 2001-2006 training shaving cream in Hanford, CA. Crossed the country lecturing about bathtub gin in West Palm Beach, FL. Spent 2001-2007 implementing licorice with no outside help.