Friday, October 05, 2007

Another Star Athlete Bites The Dust

On every news station today, the opening story was, Marion Jones Admits To Using Steroids. This comes on the heels of the Michael Vick case, whereas Vick eventually pleaded guilty of financing a dog-fighting ring. I say eventually, because like Jones, Vick too vehemently denied the allegations via a press conference with the world as his audience, as did Jones back in 2004. We can't forget the continual accusations against home-run king, Barry Bonds either.

I suppose one might be asking, what's my point? Well I'll tell you. My point is I am so sick and tired of African American athletes making a fool of themselves, while squandering the opportunities of a lifetime, in Vick's case, quarterback in the NFL, and Jones' case, gold medalists. Why is this bugging me? It's bugging the hell out of me because I know of so many young people who would practically give their right arm to have the opportunities these individuals have had.

I'd bet some money and say that neither Vick nor Jones needed these enhancements, as they had God-given talent. So, why would they risk everything they worked for, dreamed of, by using these enhancements in the first place as in Jones and Bond's case, or participate in illegal activities in Vick's case? Didn't they realize, or didn't anyone tell them that they would be under the world's bigger microscope just because of the color of their skin? Didn't anyone ever tell them that they had to be twice as good as the next athlete? I'd venture to say someone did, but that didn't mean using enhancements in their bodies to make them better. That just meant that they had to work harder to get to and remain at the top of their games.

Steroid use had been the topic of many conversations on the sports channels lately, particularly when it became evident that Bonds was set to break Babe Ruth's record, and lo and behold when he did break it he just had to have had help in doing so. But according to many sports analysts, steroid use is very prevalent in sports, yet I don't see them hounding the white athletes (anyone remember the Farve prescription drug abuse case?) as ferocious as they're pursuing Bonds, and obviously Jones too because of her confession.

Now, like Vick, Jones is facing the possibility of spending some time in jail because of her participation in, and then lying about the illegal activity. Jones will be stripped of her gold and bronze medals won in the Olympics, while the Atlanta Falcons organization is demanding over twenty million dollars Vick received from them. And you can bet, they're lying in wait for Bonds to admit he used steroids also so they can strip him of his home-run title.

It's often said that everything happens for a reason. Maybe one of the reasons behind these public embarrassments will be that it will remind future athletes that they will be scrutinized under the world's microscope and that they'd better rely on their God-given talent to fulfill their dreams, and not steroid enhancements, or participate in other illegal activities that will take them down faster than they can say their names because sadly, they will be surely judged more harshly. (Can somebody say THE JENA SIX!) So yes, in 2007, we (African Americans) have to be twice as good, twice as smart as our white counterparts because the world is staring at us through their microscopic sunglasses daring us to rely on just our God-given talents.

Love & Peace,

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A One-Person Retirement Party

Well, officially it's been two and a half months since my retirement from my job. I've taken on a remodeling job in my master bathroom and bedroom. That's completed. I've cleaned closets, made room for Christmas decorations that's been sitting in boxes and plastic containers in the corner of my dining room. I ask, "What's next," as I scan my surroundings.

Summer's over and the kids are back in school. On several mornings on the drive back from bringing my daughter to school, I've called some friends thinking maybe we could do breakfast or something, only to realize or after being reminded that they were either already at work, or on their way to work.

It has finally dawned on me that I am not even fifty years young and yes, I'm retired. That's not the problem though. The real problem is that no one else in my friends circle is retired. Therefore, unless they're on vacation, or other type of leave from work, I'm left by my lonesome to eat breakfast, go shopping, visit the casino, whatever I'm in the mood to do.

If there's one thing I miss about the workforce, it's sharing morning coffee with coworkers and friends, people that I've done this routine with for many years. Now, don't get me wrong, they couldn't offer me double my salary to return back to the workforce. There's a saying, "You can't miss what you've never had." But, in a small and significant way, I do miss that interaction.

My coworkers and I would use that time to catch up on the happenings in our community, share tidbits of gossip from either in the community or work or just give updates on our kids, whether funny stories, their accomplishments, or lack thereof. While these could certainly be classified as 'little' things, that we've all taken for granted, it's on days like today I can say those little things have moved over to the category of being priceless.

In spite of my sometimes lonliness, I'll survive though. Those moments are certainly not enough to make me want to return back to the workplace. The moral of this story, enjoy what time you have with coworkers, especially those who are fortunate enough to fall in the 'friends' category. As with most things in life, everything must come to an end.