Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Female Sports Fan (or Groupie)

an enthusiastic devotee, follower, or admirer of a sport, pastime, celebrity

an ardent fan of a celebrity or of a particular activity

I know this has been beaten more than a repeat offender runaway slave as well as it being a pretty sensitive topic altogether, but I feel the need to address this: The Female Sports Fan. For some reason, trying to distinguish a real female fan from a fake one (groupie) seems to be a sport in itself. Why is it that a woman can't like sports for the sake of liking sports? The answer to that is pretty simple: women and sports wasn't always a common mix as it is now. Some males just outright dismiss the fact that a woman can be a sports fanatic outside of just simply wanting to sleep with athletes. For the others, it's just all about taking some getting used to. Over time, more and more women are not only becoming legit avid fans of sports, but playing them. For every male pro league there is around the world, there's a woman league right beside it. So now it's not as taboo as it once was, although still a hot topic between the two sexes. Whenever a man finds out that a woman is a self-proclaimed sports fan, that's when the questionnaire happens.

It starts off with "How did you become a fan of said sport/team?" Three answers are usually heard. 1) I was raised on the sport by the way of brothers or my father. 2) I played sports growing up. 3) I found a certain player attractive. If you answer with either #1 or #2, a barrage of questions comes in testing your sports knowledge. Ranging from "who's your team's all-time leading scorer" to "name the Quarterback depth chart in order". Questions that man probably doesn't even know himself, but yet he wants to test the woman. Funny. Although I do understand why men feel the need to test a woman when it comes to sports. It's to see if you really know what you're talking about. That simple. It's not necessarily because you are a woman, because men do it to each other too. But when a man hears answer #3: Because I think "so and so" is fine, all credibility goes out the window. I know I'm not the only male who gets annoyed when the following exchange happens:

Man: So, who's your favorite team?
Woman: The Saints!
Man: Oh really? What brought you to like them?
Woman: Reggie Bush!
Man: he your favorite player?
Woman: Umm, not really I just think he's fine so I root for him.


Woman: What?
Man: So you know nothing else about the Saints except the fact you think Reggie Bush is fine?
Woman: Umm...yea.

Really? You're cheering for someone because they're FINE? Oh. Sorry, excuse me I thought this was a sporting event and not a model show. If all you can think about is how good someone looks and not care about the outcome of the game, you're a groupie. There's no getting around that. When men ask you these questions that's what we're trying to determine: are you a fan or a groupie? They have every right to question you and see if you're a credible fan or not. For me at least, it's insulting when a woman's sole reason to cheer on a team because they think a certain player is attractive w/o any knowledge of said team and expect us men to take her seriously.

Whatever brings you into the sport is fine with me, the more the merrier. If you became a Steelers fan (not a groupie) because you fell for Troy Palomalu's luxurious locks and boyish good looks then that's cool. Just be a REAL fan. Learn the rules, the ins and outs, learn about the OTHER players on the team, around the league. Just absorb all the knowledge you can. Be able to hold a conversation if you're going to consider yourself a "fan". That's all we ask as men, so when we ask you these questions that's what we are expecting. A fan. Not a crazed groupie who roots for a team because of how one player on the team looks. You honestly look foolish, thirsty, and desperate. Especially, once again stressing, if you have no idea as to what's going on in the game. The more you know, the more respect you'll gain. It's a simple concept. If you've taken offense to this then I suggest you just start watching more sports or repeat after me: I am not a fan, I am a groupie.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Who Is The Ultimate NBA Hero?

"You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain."-Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight

A couple of days ago, I read an article on Lebron James saying that "he's accepted this villain role." You can read the article HERE on In short, Lebron is basically saying he's grown accustomed to it [being the villain] and even enjoys it. Wait what? I have a couple problems with this statement. For starters, we all knew Lebron was slowly becoming a villain before Lebron knew he was a villain so he ain't fooling me. Secondly, Lebron "accepting" the villain role just makes me question how much he really respects himself as a person more so a basketball player. Why conform to what people are trying to make you out to be? If you truly feel like you're the victim, and you're a good guy then why switch it up all of a sudden? Which brings me to the quote above. "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain." This most certainly is the case with Lebron. So if he's the villain, who's the hero of the NBA?

Before I get into this, I would like to make one thing clear: Lebron is just A villain, and not THE villain of the NBA. I know he's painted to be the most hated NBA player right now, probably of all time but I don't see him being THE guy. He's just being hated on NOW because of his recent off-season move to take his talents to South Beach. If anything, he's like The Red Hood of the NBA, a wannabe villain scorned by the world and who secretly just wants to be liked. If Lebron were to ever get back into the NBA fans' good graces he'd accept them with open arms. That's not a villain, that's a child screaming for attention so let's get that out of the way. The true villain of the NBA, as much as it pains me to say it cause he just so happens to be my favorite player, is Kobe Bryant. My reasoning doesn't have anything to do with him snitching on Shaq, his sexual assault case, I'm not even gonna say it's because of him committing adultery numerous times on his beautiful wife, Vanessa...speaking of his wife:

*ahem* It mainly has to do with Kobe just not giving a damn. He really truly doesn't. He doesn't care if you love him, or hate him. He has a one-track mind and that is to be the best by any means necessary. He's a cold-blooded killer and wears his nickname, the Black Mamba, quite well. Funny thing is, as cold and calculating as Kobe is there's just as many people who adore him as many as that hate him. If the NBA were the DC Universe, Kobe Bryant is The Joker and Pau Gasol would be his Harley Quinn. (Gasol has nothing to do with this, I just wanted to take a stab at him.) So back to the question, now that we know who the REAL main villain of the NBA is...who's the main hero that will rise up and take down the two-time defending champion Kobe-led Lakers team? First let us clarify exactly what a hero is, by definition:

[heer-oh] –noun
A person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.

Now using that definition in combination of taking a quick Twitter poll to see who everyone else thought as an NBA elite player, I got the following candidates at least more than one time eventually making a list of nominees to be "The Ultimate NBA Hero":

Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic

Other than the fact that he's inherited the nickname "Superman" after Shaq, Howard has all the trademark personality traits you want in a superhero. Caring, thoughtful, selfless, and brave just to name a few. Loved around the league and widely known as "a very nice guy", Dwight Howard just could be the hero the NBA needs to face the evil Kobe "Joker" Bryant. They have faced each other once before in the finals w/ Kobe and his flunkies winning the series 4-1. During that series, Dwight and Kobe had a pretty heated exchange. Since then, the regular season battles between the Lakers and Magic have been pretty intense and close, both teams winning a game (Lakers 98-92 and Magic 96-94). Could there a possible rivalry brewing here? During the offseason, he has finally worked on his weak offensive game and is now showing off an arsenal of new moves, including the 12ft jumper. Will Howard be able to guide his team to the finals and face the Lake Show, redeem himself and possibly claim the title of the NBA's hero?

Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder

Kevin "Durantulla" Durant. At 19 years old, the young hero came into the NBA and met everyone's expectations by winning Rookie of the Year and more. During his short NBA career, Durant has become the NBA scoring champion (the youngest to ever win the award at 22), made the All NBA 1st Team (second youngest to make it at 21 years and 197 days), and also winning a FIFA World Championship gold medal as well as leading Team USA in scoring throughout the games. In last year's playoffs, he and the Thunder took on Kobe and the Lakers, taking them to six games before ultimately falling to the eventual champs. The moment I knew Durant had officially arrived was when he took it upon himself to guard Kobe during the 4th quarter in Game 3 of the series. Not only was he able to "shut down" Kobe, he also poured in 29 points and grabbed 19 rebounds en route to the win. Despite all these heroic feats he's still not quite there yet to be THEE hero of the NBA. He's still wet behind the ears and has some improvement to do. But someday I do see him taking that spot and leading the "good guys" of the league, just not right now.

Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls

A surprise nominee, to me at least, is Derrick Rose. Young, talented, and flashy I can almost see why he made this list and got enough votes to be among the heroes of the NBA. But just like Durant, I don't think Rose is quite there yet. He's obviously the leader of the young Chicago Bulls squad and you can even argue him as being the best point guard in the NBA. But then again, wouldn't you want your leader know, be smart? No shade to the guy because his leadership does come through his actions on the court, but we all know he isn't the brightest kid in the class. If I'm going to have anyone be the Ultimate NBA Hero, I'd at least want him to be able to have some level of intelligence.

Amar'e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks

I'm almost certain the only reason Amare' was able to make this list by fan vote is due to the abundance of Knicks fans I have on my Twitter timeline, but fact of the matter is if you're a hero in New York, you're considered a hero everywhere. Knicks fans are proud of their season thus far and especially proud of their leader, Amare' Stoudemire. I don't see him being THEE hero of the NBA, not now and to be honest not ever. Despite him being on track to having his most productive season yet with avgs of 26 pts and 9 rbs, his best since the '05 season with the Suns, he just doesn't have that heroic aura about him. Great player though, just not quite the guy to be the face of the NBA as far as good guys go.

Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat

Before this season, I believed that Dwyane "Flash" Wade was indeed that guy but not quite the shoe in as I once believed and I'll get into that later. Out of all the nominees, Wade has the ring and a Finals MVP to back up his resume. Easily one of the most popular and well liked players in the NBA, Wade actually was nominated with the most votes during the polls so the fans definitely dig him. There's also him leading Team USA in scoring en route to an Olympic gold medal as well as claiming a NBA scoring title during the '08-'09 season. He's also well known for his philanthropic involvement in numerous organizations promoting education and health-care for kids and the comedic and equally charming T-Mobile commercials with Charles Barkley. But the fact still remains as he lobbied to bring a now self-proclaimed villain, Lebron James, to his Miami Heat team. There has been times in history where the hero and villain work side by side to achieve a common goal so maybe him being the hero can still happen. Especially if Wade and Lebron are able to win a ring together, will Lebron relinquish his villain role and come back or can Lebron possibly swing Wade into the dark side with him? Now that's a story arc I wouldn't mind tuning into.

So what do you guys think of the nominees, do you agree or disagree and why? Is there anyone else you'd recommend besides the ones mentioned here, explain in the comments section below.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Media Revolution Part 3: Under The Influence

in·flu·ence   [in-floo-uhns]
noun, verb

1. the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others.

Note: The first two parts of "The Media Revolution" can be found by clicking on the links for PART 1 and PART 2.

The latest installment of "The Media Revolution" series comes from me being inspired by a short film that I happened to come across entitled "INFLUENCERS" that you can, and I highly recommend, watch HERE. It's a short documentary (roughly 13 minutes long) that interviews a few trend-setters in their own right who give their opinions on what it means to be an influence on people through their creativity. I felt this was a powerful and dope piece of work put together by directors Paul Rojanathara and Davis Johnson that explains not only how we are influenced by the media, but also how certain influences from our peers could directly effect us. Fashion editor, Josh Peskowitz hit it on the head with a quote from the film stating "The reason why reality TV and blogs, not just style blogs, are so popular is people get great satisfaction of seeing their peers presented in that sort of context." The context he speaks is content of the material being presented to the public. As the audience, we are then supposed to take on whatever the content is and believe this is something we want to do and be part of.

When it comes to being influenced by something it should always come down to how it moves you emotionally and spiritually. It should be something that consumes you naturally instead of you breaking out of who you are and become something different just to "fit in." You have to ask yourself: Is this a positive influence? How is taking on this trend going to better myself? Thing is most people don't take the time to focus on that aspect of how influences can affect you and are too focused on "being cool" and "being part of a cultural phenomenon." No one wants to be left behind on a cultural movement that sweeps the nation and trendsetters know this and play off of this universal truth. Could you imagine being that person who lived during the time of The Beatles and missing that? The pandemonium was second to none during that time. To this day, The Beatles are still by far one of the most influential music groups ever. Which leads to my next point in how the past is more connected to the future than most people realize.

If you look at the current popular trends in the media, do know that what is going on now will influence the future people in their time. So, the ignorance that is being applauded and cheered with trashy reality TV shows that are sprawled out on air, celebrity breakups with their sex tapes and dumbed down lyrics coming from artists such as Gucci Mane that are put in the forefront and reported as "news" and "what's hot in the streets" are going to be people that our children look up to. If they don't already, since it seems no one is really taking a stand against this kind of stuff. It really wouldn't surprise me with the current trends of today will be absorbed in the future.

That's a scary thought isn't it? Really take that in. Paris Hilton is probably going to be one of your daughters' role models. Paris Hilton. In 2020, a nasally, bratty snob is going to be looked at as a cultural icon who hasn't done anything in her life except get drunk, high, yell, scream, fight and get it caught on camera and then write a book about it. And be famous from it. On the flip side look at how one Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino has used his Jersey Shore fame to promote his fitness tape, a new vitamin line with GNC, as well as appear in a PSA for The Candie's Foundation that promotes abstinence. So at least the Jersey Shore's popularity may have worked out well for someone. Your child may want to be an aspiring MC. That's cool, but who is he going to look up to? Lupe Fiasco or Wakka Flocka? Who's on your TV screen and on the radio waves right now? Understand it's not necessarily the's also us because we are the consumers who are entertaining. If we weren't, then the aforementioned people wouldn't be as popular as they are now.

If you want to be, or are going to be part of a national craze that will no doubt influence millions in one way or another just take a step back and ask yourself: Is this what I want, do I want to become apart of this movement or against it? And for the record: For those who are against it, you're not doing any justice just talking about it and complaining. Do something about it. Don't just sit back and make snide remarks on how stupid something is and you're not even doing anything yourself. Influence others, but not for your sake, do it for their sake and all will just fall into place. Or so you hope.