No Dad= No Leadership= Unsuccessful NFL QB ???

Sports journalist tend to push the envelope when it comes to controversial topics, and it seems that the recent hot topic story in the NFL is the success of quarterback Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos. Just from observing the internet there are two sides; either you hate it or love the story that has developed from what he has done after replacing Kyle Orton at quarterback. For me in sports the ultimate goal is to win game and that is what he is doing, regardless of how good he looks doing it. There have been plenty of former quarterbacks who looked the part of being a quintessential quarterback but the end results didn’t match the look. In addition to his antics on the field; the awkward throwing motion, the forced adaptation of the read-option as a staple in the bronco playbook to the invention of a celebration craze called “Tebow-ing”, people have taken shots at him being open and honest in discussing his spirituality (which I applaud and wish more religious people did.) However the most outrageous hot topic story is the one written by Fox-Sports journalist Jason Whitlock, in which he says that Tebow’s success as a quarterback can directly be attributed to being raised in a dual parent household.

“Tebow’s performance on the football field is testament to Bob and Pam Tebow and what they instilled in their youngest child…”

Whitlock later goes on to call out two quarterbacks who have spent a significant amount of time on the roller-coaster of being being a NFL quarterback, they also happen to be black while Tebow is white:

“…At this moment, no one knows whether the Tebow experiment Elway and Fox have been pressured into undertaking will result in anything more sustainable than Tennessee’s Vince Young experience or Atlanta’s Michael Vick roller coaster.

What should be dawning on us — especially those of us who greeted Tebow’s Broncos career with skepticism — is that, thanks to a rock-solid, two-parent upbringing, Tebow is quite different from Young and Vick in terms of mental and emotional makeup. Those differences raise the real possibility that Tebow is the athletic-freak quarterback an NFL franchise should embrace with a revolutionary offensive approach…

NFL quarterback is a 24/7-365-day job that Vick and Young were unprepared for coming out of college. NFL quarterback is a position best played by young men who were raised by strong fathers. Quarterback is the ultimate leadership position. You have to be taught how to lead. You have to be taught how to prepare.

Vick and Young, athletic freaks on par with Tebow, do not have Tebow’s nuclear-family foundation. Vick and Young entered the league emotionally immature and with a set of values inconsistent with the values that lead to consistent, strong QB play. You can wing it in college and get by on sheer athleticism and talent. You can’t do that at the quarterback position in the NFL…”

This has to be one of the most ridiculous correlations ever made by someone claiming to know sports. First of all there we still do not know if Tebow will be successful as a NFL quarterback because ironically the two examples he used to try to prove his baseless theory had successful seasons as rookies. We all realize that in the black community the percentages of dual parent households are dismal and even lower once you consider professional athletes, so if Whitlock wanted to make a more credible argument why not find a white quarterback that struggled because of no in-house father figure to base his argument on.

Is he saying that if Cliff Huxtable wasn’t an in-home dad, Theo wouldnt have had the leadership qualities needed graduated from college and would have been subjected to a life of spending monopoly money to survive?

Yes its true Michael Vick and Vince Young have struggled in their careers, but can we truly attribute that to the fact that their dad was not in their home when they were growing up? I will agree that the position of quarterback is the ultimate leadership position in sports, but who is Whitlock to say that the only way you learn how to lead is through an in-home dad. There should be plenty of outraged mothers, grandparents, coaches, and mentors out there in society, because I guess the foundation they laid meant nothing and only “dear old dad” can be the one cultivate your ability to lead on the football field and in life. In being critical of men being able to effectively lead without dad present, I guess Whitlock overlooked perhaps the most important leadership position in the world, President of United State. Current US President Barack Obama shattered every misconception that Whitlock used during his journey to be the 44th president. While being a NFL quarterback is high pressure, even Whitlock will agree that being the President of the United States requires a lot more responsibility than being a professional athlete and if President Obama could ascend to that level of leadership without dad being there I am confident a quarterback could as well.

One must also consider the flipside of the conversation, while perhaps Tim Tebow success can be attributed to dual parent household playing an active role in his life; there have been plenty of NFL quarterbacks who had their dad in their homes and for a better usage of words still SUCKED!!! ESPN’s most recent “30 for 30” series documents the tumultuous rise and fall of super prep and former LA Raider quarterback Todd Marinovich. Todd’s father, Marv Marinovich, was a mad scientist when it came to trying to develop his son into this “Robo QB” subjecting his young son to quirky exercises and training processes that back in the 80’s was thought as being over the top.  During the documentary, Marinovich recounted the moment he made it as a NFL quarterback; he felt that his whole life as an athlete was for this moment and once it happened, he realized he had made his dad proud and there was nothing else left to play for. Unfortunately being under the pressure that had first been applied by his dad, Marinovich’s NFL career ended just two years into existence and he subsequently fell victim to a life of drugs and run-ins with the law, lifestyle choices that even the most protective dad, as Marv was, couldn’t save him from.

So yes, in an ideal situation we would want the NFL to be full of players, especially black quarterbacks, who were privileged enough to be raised in homes with their dads playing an ACTIVE and positive role, and while today it is a rare occurrence we still must not give men in society a reason to bitch and complain and not achieve at the highest level in their respective endeavor, it just may mean that they have to do a little more than their counterpart who had all the resources.

On Saturday there was another quarterback inducted into the Heisman brotherhood Robert Griffin III. He is a product of a two parent household, and could  be the next one to prove Jason Whitlocks flawed theory correct, but before I send him an apology and a bouquet of flowers, he must remember there will always been exceptions to the rules, ask Redskin fans about Heath Schuler!

Be strong… Be VERY strong…

             For the past couple weeks I have been on my “Tiggalo ish”, for those who may not understand what that means, Tiggalo is the alias/alter-ego for Hip Hop Renaissance Entertainer Phonte (1/3 of the rap group Little Brother and crooner for R&B super-group Foreign Exchange), who happens to be one of my new favorite musical entertainers. After finally getting a chance to download his recent release, a solo album dubbed “Charity Starts at Home,” I gave the album a quick listen but there was a song that I had to go back to “Sendin my Love.” On this track, he really gets personal in the struggles that many men and matter of fact people in general struggle with daily “Life Choices.” For him the choice battle surfaced when he allowed a woman from his past to conjure up feelings of lust and temptation, hence my initially mentioning the men. We all have vices
that lure us and tempt us but in the end we have the ultimate choice to make, to do right or do wrong. There are guys out there that will argue that it’s not in them to be with one woman or be faithful but I call BS on that, just like you choose to get up every day and go to work, or choose not to rob/steal/kill,
the choice of doing right by your significant other carries the same weight. We ALL get faced with the option of falling for the“furry temptress” but it boils down to what really matters to you… I can hear some of my guy readers saying that “I have drama at home” or “I’m not appreciated” and that may be so but at the end of the day you still have a choice. Part of what made the temptation so much greater in the Phonte song was because he was having issues with his significant other, but as with most things in life the Devil looks for entrance ways to cause strife and mess in even the happiest circumstance.

Here are some ways you can avoid falling:

Surround yourself with positive men who will keep it 100 with you:

There is nothing worse than you battling a  temptation issue and your boys are encouraging you to cheat or giving you  avenues to do so. At this stage of life your boys/friends/frat brothers should  be doing things to build you up no break you down. If all you have around you  are people who encourage that negative behavior then it may be time to change your circle. And if you are one of these guys who are encouraging your boy to act up GTHOH, time to grow up and leave the juvenile games of “chase the cat” back in the bachelor days, your friendship should mean enough to the point where you don’t want to see him jack up his life.

See beyond the “moment”:

You can’t give in simply because you got a hard on, wifey tripping and a blast from the past is pushing up on you. As science says the blood the fuels the erection comes from your brain, thus reducing your ability to think logically. You have to ask yourself is that momentary “release” with this fling worth jeopardizing all you  claim you love and worked so hard to build. Whether you are married or single,  you being in a relationship took some investing in and are you really willing  to lose that for a chick that you won’t want to deal with the next day.

Communicate with your significant other:

A lot of men say that they look elsewhere  because there is a disconnect with their significant other. But how often have  you tried to bring things back together is the key question. In my own  experience I’ve learned that things have fallen off simply because the guy saw  it one way and his significant other saw it differently. But keep this theory  in mind in the conversation “when she’s wrong she’s RIGHT and even when you’re right you’re wrong”

Avoid tempting situations when having relationship issues:

We all will have relationship disagreements  but there is nothing worse than having one and then putting yourself in a  situation to be tempted. More often you will let your anger/frustration in the  relationship diminish your common sense and allow yourself to be put in  compromising situations that you then try to justify. So calling your boys up and running to the club (strip or dance) may not be the best idea if you just go into it with your girl. Even if you dont necessarily want to be around your girl, go somewhere that you know is a safe haven like the driving range, a cigar bar or the gym… on second thought maybe not the gym considering what some of these ladies wear to work out nowadays.

Walk away:

If you are constantly fighting temptation and even giving in to it, it may be time to call that relationship a wrap. Yes we know that can be easier said than done but I guarantee that your girl will  appreciate you a lot more if you end it that way than her having to find out  via Facebook, email, text or in person. If you are married with kids and in this situation you have to look at whats best for the kids because once you had them it no longer became about you, their welfare/safety/protection SHOULD have become priority #1 but considering you thinking about doing a selfish act of cheating, I may have to reconsider if you are thinking of anyone but yourself at this point.

Shoot you may even have to do like Phonte and  talk yourself out of it. There is a point in the “story” of the song  where he has a decision to make; either go with his ex or go home to his wife and we find him repeating to  himself “Tiggalo be strong, be VERY strong…” While it may seem silly to have to  mentally talk your way through the situation, you are distracting yourself from the temptation, allowing the lust to subside and perhaps even laughing at
yourself because you feel silly for having to talk to yourself but by that time the moment has passed and you are back to thinking clearly.

So the next time you are  faced with that tempting moment talk it out, even if it is to yourself, and  long as you don’t answer yourself you won’t seem crazy and by the time the one-sided conversation ends,  you will have built  up some confidence in knowing you can fight off this temptation and take it on home…

I was able to find the audio on YouTube, so take a listen for yourself and while you are at it just  go out and buy this man CD… #QUALITYMUSIC

Land of the Free… Home of the silent.

The early settlers came to “America” out of the need to escape Puritan England in order to gain freedom (religious), and even recently has always boasted that its citizens are awarded many freedoms, one being freedom of speech. What many have forgotten is just as with the freedom sail from England, our present day freedoms come at a price.

mendenhall
Rashard Mendenhall, a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers is finding that out the hard way now. For those who don’t know Mendenhall has caught MAJOR flack for expressing a right that many of us take for granted; FREEDOM of SPEECH. While I understand there still are things that cannot be protected under this right (like yelling fire in a crowded room, public defamation of the President of the country and a couple of others) what Mendenhall said should have easily fallen under that protection. Below is a copy of the is the copy the statement made by Mendenhall on his personal twitter account

“What kind of person celebrating death? It’s amazing how people can hate a man whom they had never heard speak. We have only heard one side.”
“We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.”

celebration of death (were reactions like this really necessary… NO)

What many people failed to do, was break the comments down into two separate parts (they were tweeted as such.) The first part in which he questions people who celebrate death is spot on… It’s ironic that a country that was established on Christian beliefs would be so contradictory of said beliefs. Matthew 22:39 states that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. No where in the verse is there a conditional clause, saying if he does this you don’t have to and your neighor extends to other countries. While we (myself included) take great issue with what Osama Bin Ladin did, he still was a human in which God commanded us to love. I personally take issue with how the country celebrates a vigilante murder, evil or not, this man was not given the opportunity to stand trial. Now there may be some who feel that due to the fact of his actions he didn’t deserve a trial, well that’s strictly opinion based. But in this country even Charles Manson and Ted Bundy, who were viewed as heinous, were given the right to have a trial, and I am willing to bet the family of their victims would have loved to get swift justice for their lost loved ones. It seems as if America is good for having rules but being able to amend them based on need, and wasnt this the SAME man who allegedly had ties to the CIA back in the 80s (for the truth, you sometimes have to go outside of US media outlets)

In the second part of the tweet in which he brings questioning to the true source of destruction during September 11th bombings, while it is very hard to prove that, he has not been the only person that has questioned the truth in this story. I will just say that the incident was so unfortunate and I pray that there was no involvement by our own government.

After reading the tweets I expected uber-patriotic Americans to voice their displeasure of the comments made by Mendenhall. What I did not expect to hear were news reports in which team president Art Rooney II from the Pittsburgh Steelers (the team which he plays for) say this

“I have not spoken with Rashard so it is hard to explain or even comprehend what he meant with his recent Twitter comments,” Rooney said. “The entire Steelers’ organization is very proud of the job our military personnel have done and we can only hope this leads to our troops coming home soon.”

So in the quote he says that he hadn’t talked to Rashad, which he can’t due to the NFL lockout, so why would he go as far to think that he was taking issue with the job that the military had done in regards to this situation (if he truly knew his player he would know that Mendenhall spent time at a football camp in Germany with US troops.) But it goes to show how “speak first, then think later our society is.” Ironically the most important part of the comment that isn’t related to the story is that he hopes it leads our troops home soon, and that is right there is the BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION many americans have. They think now that the big bad wolf is dead, little red riding hood can come home. If you pay attention to American government they have been giving us MANY excuses as to why our Armed Servicemen are overseas;
weapons of mass destruction none there, Saddam Hussein handled him, Osama Bin Ladin- killed him. I wonder what the next threat to american safety will be to keep our troops away from home, because unless there is a significant amount of troops sent home before the holidays, I call BULLSHIT on the american government.

But back to the subject so now we see that Mendenhall doesn’t have the support of his employer we also find out a company who he was paid to endorse, Champion Sports Apparel has now “fired” him. Here is the press release made by a spokesperson for champion

“Champion is a strong supporter of the government’s efforts to fight terrorism and is very appreciative of the dedication and commitment of the U.S. Armed Forces. Earlier this week, Rashard Mendenhall(notes), who endorses Champion products, expressed personal comments and opinions regarding Osama bin Laden and the September 11 terrorist attacks that were inconsistent with the values of the Champion brand and with which we strongly disagreed. In light of these comments, Champion was obliged to conduct a business assessment to determine whether Mr. Mendenhall could continue to effectively communicate on behalf of and represent Champion with consumers. While we respect Mr. Mendenhall’s right to express sincere thoughts regarding potentially controversial topics, we no longer believe that Mr. Mendenhall can appropriately represent Champion and we have notified Mr. Mendenhall that we are ending our business relationship. Champion has appreciated its association with Mr. Mendenhall during his early professional football career and found him to be a dedicated and conscientious young athlete. We sincerely wish him all the best.”

So essentially what I got from the release is that:
1. Champion blindly supports the actions of the US government right or wrong
2. Anyone who questions the actions of the government is unpatriotic
3. Forget a contract, we can do what we want (I wonder if there was a character clause in his contract that forbade him to have any counter-governmental outburst… probably not)

Truthfully when was the last time Champion was relevant as an apparel company when it comes to athletes marketing, so in the grand scheme of things they became relevant for 2.5 seconds only to go back into the sea of forgotten after the next Nike or Under Armor commercial airs.

While I think Mendenhall bounces back, like all things in the american media, it will take time to blow over (or bigger news story.) He has even gone as far as to blog a clarification statement in which he breaks down what he truly was trying to convey (only having 160 characters can get you in trouble if someone misinterprets your tweet) And while I always thought he was a good football player, he has earned more respect from me as a man because; he felt a certain kind a way about something, spoke on it, saw the error in how it was conveyed, brought clarity to what he said, but never backed down from his stance. How you feel may not always be received nicely but if that’s how you feel MAN UP and stand by your statement… This is the type of athlete that should be endeared not vilified.

But this whole situation speaks of a bigger social issue… are we essentially telling people and specifically the youth that your beliefs views and ideas are insignificant, subject to scrutiny, and could get you fired if they are contrary to that of popular belief. We already have athletes who refuse to stand up for social/civil/spiritual injustices out of fear of losing their cash cow, but now they can’t even voice their opinions on social networking websites. There are many who are against athletes/entertainers being on twitter and many collegiate coaches have gone as far as banning it for their players due to some of the foolishness being said, but I do believe under the right context, twitter can be a positive outlet that endears fans to an athlete. Case in point Jalen Rose is establishing a charter school in my hometown of Detroit and he took to twitter to spread awareness of the opportunity for the youth of Detroit to enroll.

What I suggest is that EVERYONE even us common folk before you hit that send button on your respective twitter app think of the potential ramifications of having your words hit cyberspace, because while John Doe may not lose millions due to an inappropriate tweet, he could lose something more important to him like his job/wife/friends…

Even in writing this, I know I am subjecting myself to scrutiny, judgement and hate, but I DONT CARE… I am tired of people abiding by the status quo because its safe or easy. It is time for someone to shake the masses so why not me… I’ll be the blog Bad Guy, but know this if you have made it this far in reading, i know I have challenged you to rethink some things in life and if so, my job is done.

-God Bless

Duke Basketball vs Black America

duke target
In the world of sports there are generally teams that are disliked or even hated simply for the fact that they are successful; The Dallas Cowboys in the NFL, the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA, the New York Yankees in professional baseball and in college basketball of recent years it has been the Duke Blue Devils…

Generally there is no in between either you love them or you dispise them… Seeing the Lions, Pistons, and Tigers beat the “hated” team in their respective sport always brought me joy. I still will always remember the 1991 season for the Lions because their only playoff win of my ere as a fan came against the more popular and favorited Cowboys team. The 2004 NBA championship for the Pistons was so much more sweeter because they were able to obtain it by beating the Lakers who many felt were the superior team. Also in 2006 to see the Tigers beat the Yankees to get back to the World Series was wonderful.
Growing up a HUGE U-M fan I usually disliked any team that gave them trouble in sports. For football it was always Ohio State and Notre Dame, and in basketball it was Duke. I can go back to my gradeschool days of watching U-M play Duke and truly hating them because it always seemed that U-M could never get past them. The 1992 season was especially frustrating because not only did U-M lose in teh regular season but they also fell to the Blue Devils in the National Championship Game. After that season I became one of the biggest Duke haters their were… there were some successes like the 2008-09 season where a young scrappy U-M team was able to beat a more talented Duke squad, but often times Duke came out on top.


Recently there was a great documentary done by ESPN on the Fab Five. And in one segment each of the players who participated gave their input on how they felt about the Duke basketball team during that infamous 1992 season. Each player had no qualms expressing their dislike and almost hatred that they had for the team at the time going as far as saying disparaging things about specific players like Bobby Hurly, Christian Laettner and more specifically Grant Hill. In talking to Jalen Rose, who grew up in innercity Detroit who was raised by a single mom and had no relationship with his son until on his deathbed, he was very candid about his issues with the type of player Duke recruited. Paraphrasing, he felt that Duke would never recruit a black athlete like him and only went after players who he described as Uncle Toms. He then went on to specifically call out Grant Hill who grew up in an affluent educated two parent home, and you could tell that even though he was reflecting on his thoughts as an 18 year old young man those thoughts still lingered in him even today.
While I do feel that his comments were VERY misguided, unfortunately they are the thoughts of many inner city blacks who ignorantly equate education/success/desire to do and be better with being an Uncle Tom. I feel that Jalen incorrectly targeted the players and would have had a greater argument being critical of the coaching staff who recruited these players. As a distant fan, I always felt that Duke and specifically Coach K, recruited a certain type of black basketball player to play at Duke. The majority of black players fit into that “safe negro” category, whether it was Trajan Langon (whose father was an Anthropology professor at the University of Alaska-Anchorage) or even super freshman Kyrie Irving (who was born in Australia while his father played professional basketball.) Even when it came to recruiting in the state of MI the three players I remember them recruiting the hardest were Chris Webber, Shane Battier, and Mike Chappelle. All three players upbringings were similar: two family household middle class, higher regarded educational background

There is only one player that comes to mind who didnt fit that typical mode of black recruit and that was Elton Brand. Brand was from Peekskill in upstate New York and grew up in a single parent household and had an upbringing that was very different from many of the black players that had previously played under Coach K . There are various accounts in which Brand speaks of not being comfortable at Duke and upon leaving after his sophomore year, experienced backlash from fans because he was the first player to ever early-declare for the NBA Draft under Coach K. A female co-ed went as far as to send him a very disrespectful email about tarnishing the Duke name in which Brand took the high road and responded in a sarcastic yet professional manner
letter from a duke “fan”
Now is it wrong for Coach K to recruit only a certain type of player, alot of people will say no. Programs all over the country do it, and generally base it systimatically (coaches look for players that can run the weave, fast break, 3-point offense) but rarely has it had as great of a socio-economic undertone as playing at Duke has. I guess what he is doing is no different than what Eastern Michigan football coach Ron English said he wanted to establish with his struggling football program, recruiting a specific type of player; one that comes from a two parent household. STORY He later adjusted the statements stating that he knew it was an unattainable due to today’s society make-up. I did see where he was going and agreed with a lot of it, too bad he wasnt allowed to stand by what he said due to pressure from the university and the court of public opinion. (IMO)
Two MAJOR differences in the comparisons is that 1) Duke wins Eastern Michigan footabll hasnt in 15+ years and 2) Coach K never publicly stated that he is purposely being selective in recruitment.

Now I know there are some that are reading and may say “well Duke is a prestigious intitution and the admissions process and standards may too high for inner city recruits.” And to that I ask is the University of Michigan not one of the most prestigious academic insititutions in America, some even consider it part of the “Ivy League of the midwest” along with Northwestern U? And even with its high academic standards, football and basketball coaches have always recruited the inner city well, a la Jalen Rose (who later one stated felt that because of his elevated social status, that his kids would be the type that Duke recruited.)

At the end of the day there is this great cultural dilemma in the black community; should we expect Coach K to deviate from his own established and very successful (I will not deny his ability to win games) process of recruiting black athletes just so he can have a couple inner city hardship cases on his resume or should we accept the fact it could all be just a demographic coincidence and he is entitled to recruit who he wants long as he stays within the scope of NCAA rules and regulations in doing so.

Just as in life, sports will never be able to fully escape the racial and cultural undertones, so it may just be up to those who watch, support and play them, to perhaps change how we see things.
To many the ONLY color that matters in college hoops is the orange of the ball, the jersey of the last team standing in April and the green of the dollars being made off the backs of these “amateur” atheletes, oops did i say that…

UPDATE:
I can add another notch to the “I hate Duke” meter with them eliminating my beloved Wolverines in this years NCAA tournament, it was a hardfought game and the team showed alot of heart to be so young… NEXT TIME DOOKIES… NEXT TIME…

CIAA 2011 Recap

For those who don’t know the CIAA is a HBCU conference composed of schools in NC/VA/MD/PA and at the end of their mens & womens basketball season there is a Conference Tournament that decides who goes onto the Division II tournament. There are various events that coincide with the playing of the games. From concerts, to job fairs to parties (which is why so many people come into town). The tournament originally was based in Virginia for a long period of time but transitioned to Raleigh NC (that was where I first attended in 2005) and in 2006 transitioned to the city of Charlotte where it will be until 2014…

In past years I had the pleasure of covering the games as an on floor photographer and also going to a couple of the non-party related events (steve Harvey show, the fan experience) this year due to scheduling I focused on just the social aspect of the CI (as many call it)

and all I can say is that it was the truest essence of the GOOD BAD AND UGLY….

Good:

the one thing of the CIAA I truly love seeing are the older couples 50+ who still come into town and support their respective colleges by going to the games and some of the mature alumni events. On my way to a day party Friday I saw three separate couples around my grandparents age walking to Time Warner Arena to watch game. Also Saturday during the CIAA Championship Brunch sponsored by the charlotte alumni chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, I had the pleasure of interacting with a lot of 40+ crowd and just to overhear the stories of how long they had been coming to the CIAA and participating in events similar to ours was great…

I also think this year was the year of the Cougar. I saw so many woman between the ages of 35-45+ that were on top of their games. They were appropriately dressed handled themselves in a great way and just looked good. I know a couple of my boys went to events (mainly the AKA Pink Groove event) where they dominated the scene even over some of their younger sorors. They also are not afraid to get out there and enjoy themselves on the dancefloor. Bernadette Standis (Thelma from Good Times) was at the Saturday Night Party I covered for Six Figure Entertainment, and for someone who is 58 not only did she still look good but she was not afraid to get out on the floor and dance…
Yes there were and have always been men who come out in that same age range but being a guy I don’t pay that much attention to them. One of the hostesses at a party I was shooting said that a “sugar daddy” she met two years ago still calls her every CIAA to see what she has up.

Also this year at all the events I covered people, for the most part, were willing to take photos. Usually you find someone who is standoffish by the camera or being on the internet… It’s still hilarious to see the few people who don’t wanna be photo’d how they run to the other side of the room, uh ma’am I know what I am doing I can crop the photo to where you aren’t seen.

Shout out to all the Promoters; IV Horseman Entertainment, Six Figure Entertainment, Kappas of Charlotte whose events I covered from my vantige point all were successes, no issues or problems. The DJs were great and people looked to be enjoying themselves. Also talking to people who attended other parties they really enjoyed themselves once they got to a party

BAD:
Traffic: That’s all I kept hearing about on twitter, how traffic was so bad and things were gridlocked downtown in the epi-center. You see I said others, after finally figuring out how to maneuver through the city and being fortunate that the parties I covered friday and saturday night were on the outer part of downtown, I was able to circumvent most of it. The combination of charlotte’s funny structure of downtown (one way streets and traffic lights) in addition to people holding up traffic trying to see and be seen (the candy-painted rides were out again… the Coors, yes coors light beer, Cutlass and the lime green Charger were the highlights.

Hurt feet: That’s all I kept hearing from women “oh my feet hurt” Its funny what you women will subject yourself to for the sake of beauty. Even as a man I will say there were some shoes that were nice looking but was it worth it (and i can hear all my lady readers yell YES) By the end of the night with many of women i saw those shoes were in hand or they had the wobble legs… Ladies in the future what you may want to do is carry one of those knapsack backpacks with a pair of flip-flops/flats check it into coat check and at the end of the night switch into those, because walking the street (because for a lot of people it was a major hike due to lack of close parking) barefoot is not safe nor is it sexy… Speaking of coat check, next year ladies PLEASE make that your BFF. For those who have come to CIAA the past 3 years, we know the weather has not been at its best and we know you are determined to still wear your “get-em girl outfit” so when you buy the dress find a nice jacket/shall that you can put over it and check it… Nothing is worse than leaving out the club after sweating and having to shiver your way back to your car, its bad enough your feet will hurt don’t compound it with pneumonia of the breast because you had to be cute…

VIP: I heard so many people had issues with venues VIP set up, they paid an extra amount for admission but really didn’t get much with it. Next year do your research and find out what you get with that before you pay $80 for a party just to standing in a crowded room with other people away from the party. I will give my boy Kirk Brown from Six Figure Entertainment credit, Saturday night Good Times event, not only did you get a separate DJ, you got a full course meal (pasta/roast/3 types of chicken/veggie tray/cupcakes) but you also got an OPEN BAR… how many promoters are willing to do that… well keep them in mind for CIAA 2012… Everyone I talked to enjoyed themselves and it was as if it was a separate party.

Weather: I joked early saturday that the weatherman lied because they were calling for rain Friday but it never showed. I guess the joke was on me because it rained and poured most of saturday… I did notice that unlike with most social weekends in Charlotte people were not afraid to still come out. I did talk to a couple of people who said the malls were on jam during the afternoon and a couple were reminiscent of freaknik (not much clothing a lot of loitering) I guess God knew if the day was clear the people wouldn’t know how to act so it rained enough during the day to keep those without plans from downtown, cleared up to allow people to get to their respective parties that night and then started pouring again around 2am, I guess to tell people GO HOME…

UGLY

Dress: Dont wanna be sexist but most men keep their attire for these types of events simple: either you have the sweater/sports coat or Graphic T look which is pretty simple you can’t mess that up, but LADIES LADIES LADIES a lot of the stuff I saw this week, some of you don’t have friends who care about you… A lot of you went for the “whatever looks the craziest” look. I saw some color combinations that should be outlawed. Yes I understand many of you are trying to be fashion forward but its 2011 not 2035 some looks should be left to the video chick because they can take it off and leave it with the stylist.

The Leggins/designer tights look is a gift and a curse… while I saw a couple of women correctly pull them off and made me do a double take, I saw too many that didn’t. I even saw a grandma (50+s) out there trying to rock them… Ma’am not to be rude but leggings should NOT sag in your backside, give them back to your granddaughter.
Make sure the outfit you wear to the party is size appropriate you should not spend the entire night pulling it down on your legs or pulling it up in your breast area… It’s funny how chicks will walk around the party the entire night with the top part of their dress hanging low then when I take the picture get all critical and fuss at me. Or this is the funny one, girls take the photo look at it and then say “I look fat”, uh boo you knew that when you bought the outfit, tried it on at home, packed it, and put it on in the room but you didn’t care so why get all conscious now… I guess because the world will see the chunkiness that your girls were too shady to tell you about before. And if your girl is pregnant (well with a stomach like that I HOPE she was) either leave her home or tell her wearing a white skin-tight shirt is NOT the business

Speaking about home girls and the people you hang with… Ladies if they leave you in front of a restaurant incoherent throwing up THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS… if you are a friend of someone in this state at least take them back to the car, don’t leave them out in the public to be clowned or even worse taken advantage of by thirsty men. And if she is that gone you may have to take an L on your fun to help her out, IF she is truly your friend.

And speaking of that it leads to my last and perhaps my BIGGEST peeve of the weekend. It’s what I will call CIAA Wasted. Its bad when guys get sloppy drunk and barely know whats going on but its a damn shame when women get to that level. Know your limits… If you are regularly a one glass of wine drinker what sense does it make to come to CIAA and have 3 drinks before leaving your hotel room then get to the party and have 3 more drinks… I do know some women who can drink men under the table but that was an acquired skillset. Not to mention by Saturday night your body is probably so dehydrated from all the alcohol consumed Thursday night Friday day and Friday night. You probably have had no water and werent eating right if at all… Pointblank ladies especially if you are over 25 that ish is not cute, and truthfully what is the purpose of drinking that much?
These women irk me because as a photographer I have to personally deal with them, a guy in the party can just ignore you, but it seems like the more drunk women get the more they want to take pictures and become touchy feely. I wanted to mush at least 10 women in their face, over the course of this weekend because they; invaded my personal space their breath was horrid and they were just acting horribly. You don’t have to touch me for me to take a photo of you, and yes you do look drunk in the photo BECAUSE YOU ARE

Overall it was a decent CIAA and considering my move, this will be my last CIAA… people ask would I come back to shoot, probably not. It’s not financially worth it considering all the stress/tired moments. My body is just now recovering and I had to take today off to allow for that.

For those who want to see what I saw through my lens goto Crush Charlotte

MICHIGAN BLUES…

u-m football

Many who know me personally, know that I am one of the biggest U-M fans there is. I can remember watching games as early as 1987 but my allegiance was cemented when I went to U-M stadium in 1990 to see my beloved Wolverines play MSU in the infamous Desmond Howard trip play… I was fortunate to also celebrate in the 1997 Championship (which coincided with my freshman year at Eastern michigan University down the street) year where they would win every Saturday morning and party with the players that night…

Many of my friend ask me consistently why I didn’t attend U-M since I am such a fan of their sports programs. I never allow my allegiance to a sports team to skew my academic goals and I considered U-M as a child but got deterred by the mystic of the university pressures…

I say all this because of the recent turn of events with my fabled U-M football squad. It all began 3 years ago when Lloyd Carr stepped down as coach and opened up the university for a new change. When they hired Rich Rodriguez I was excited because I saw the success he had at WVU and figured he could do the same with a more prestigious program in U-M… Fast forward 3 years and three of the WORST seasons in U-M history. I tried to be a supporter and give excuse after excuse for as to why they never reached their potential. But after watching them lose to MSU/PSU/Wisconsin and OSU again this year I began to be fed up with the direction of the program and started to sway my feelings of him needing to leave.

Well I got my wish after the bowl game massacre and the Athletic Director David Brandon relieved him of his coaching duties. But in doing so Brandon opened a door to even more of a two great issues; 1. who would be the next coach 2. How many players would we lose due to recruiting.

Names were thrown out left and right Jim Harbaugh being the most repeated one… and truthfully I wasnt sold on him in the beginning due to how he took jabs at the program a couple of years ago in regards to their academic standards. He basically said that U-M steers its players into easier degree programs. I think that was more of a scorned person not being considered for a job he really wanted when they hired Rich Rod. But as I thought about it more, he had the potential to recruit the right players (because he had success doing it in spite of Stanford stringent academic standards) and he could unify a broken U-M faction that I believe was the major undoing to Rich Rod not being a success. My other problem stemmed from the fact he was entertaining offers from the NFL (which he ultimately took) so what would have stopped him even after being hired at U-M to still want to be like his brother John and bolt to the big leagues thus leaving U-M in a similar situation it is in now… As we see he ended up taking the money and riding off into the San Francisco sunset to coach the 49ers so off the list he went…

next up was Brady Hoke… many of you say WHO and you are not alone… Brady Hoke was a former coordinator with U-M and moved on to Ball State and San Diego State and had some success. I liked him for the fact that he brought some success to programs who had been struggling for a while and he has the ability to adapt his scheme to what he has on the roster (went from the 4-3 at BSU to the 3-3-5 at SDSU due to the caliber of player he had). He unlike Harbaugh if offered the job would be there for a loooong time because this was a desired dream destination. My ONLY issue is the fact is the question of his ability to recruit the players needed to make U-M a national power again. Would he be able to go toe to toe with someone like Tressel, Brian Kelly hell even Mike D’Antonio up at MSU; the jury is still out. So while he would be a good consolation job he wasnt my first choice.

And more recently Les Miles has resurfaced back on the radar. Initially there were overtures that he was a candidate 3 years ago but many refute it. I still believe if there would have been more serious talks he would have been the coach then and none of these problems would be around but anyways… Les has shown the ability to coach in two major conferences the vaunted SEC and the Big 12 (at oklahoma St.) he has shown the ability to recruit nationally, even though some people around this area feel he is dirty for how he negatively recruited against Lloyd Carr, but that the nature of the beast. He has the formula to beat OSU and he will unite the fractured fan base of U-M by being not only an MICHIGAN MAN but a man of success

Now there were other names quietly mentioned like Gary Patterson (my personal choice) but never had any serious consideration but going by the two candidates of Les Miles and Brady Hoke right now my mind is saying Les Miles even though I do believe Hoke will be a great coach as well (just hope he doesn’t come back to bite U-M)

At the end of the day all I want is for U-M football to be relevant again on the National landscape, beat little brother and kick the bucknuts out of O$U…

UPDATED:
Looks like Les Miles will be staying at LSU and thus bringing the coaching options down to only Brady Hoke… like i said he is a good guy and could work I am just ready for this nightmare to be over so they can salvage recruiting
#EPICFAIL on the part of David Brandon especially if the rumor about Les being interested if they offered him the job

Hail to the Victors

-God Bless

Must be the Money

A lot in the sports world lately has been revolving around the issue of money

joe johnson

It started back over the summer with the hectic NBA free agency period where we saw MARGINAL SUPERSTARS like Joe Johnson and Rudy Gay “convince” the Atlanta Hawks & Memphis Grizzlies respectively that they were worth Max contract Money even though neither have shown anything extraordinary in the years they have been in the NBA. Dont get me wrong I am a fan of both players and I play with both teams on NBA 2K11 on Xbox360, but both signings and a couple of others showed how desperate teams were to get ANYONE to keep pace with the Miami Heat, even if it meant overpaying…

Speaking of the Heat we also WITNESSED the union of the Miami-3
While many expected each of the three to garner Max Contracts, each took LESS money (yeah shockingly) in order to allow the Heat to sign some help in Udonis Haslem, Big Z, James Jones, Mike Miller and a couple other spacefillers, including Jerry Stackhouse who they signed for a bag of funyons and a jug of sweet tea.
LBJ,D-WADE,BOSH
I purposely chose this picture of the three because I believe as much talent and the dreaded P word (potential) Lebron has, the team still belongs to D-Wade. He has shown me that he has the desire and ability to carry a team to victory unlike Lebron while in Cleveland. Bosh to me is nothing more than a product of being on a bad team in Toronto and having to do everything but not really being good at it. But no sooner than the inked dried on each of the contracts, many NBA viewers (not sure if I want to call them fans) were ready to anoint the 2010 Miami Heat the second coming of the 95-96 72-10 Chicago Bulls. However I still believe that the NBA Championship road runs through Tinseltown and the L.A. Lakers, who have a more cohesive trio of Kobe, Gasol, and whoever else steps up on a that particular night, but that’s a later blog.

The next two money situations are currently happening in the sports world first is the beginning of Baseball free agency or as some call it the New York Yankee Financial Invitational. I am still baffled at how year in year out they are able to toss enough money at the top free agents to lure them to the big city. This year they have set their sights on hired hand Cliff Lee.

Lee has spent the past three years bouncing between Cleveland, Seattle, Philadelphia and Texas. While his 2008 season with the Indians was great (22-3 with a 2.54 era and 170K) his subsequent seasons did not scream Ace money (26-22 3.21 ERA) But ive learned that sports contracts rarely are rewarded due to the body of a players work, usually its a matter of what have you done lately, and the way Lee performed in the ALDS and ALCS he has become the primary option for the Yanks. I personally hope he doesn’t fall for the bright lights of the Big City and signs a contract anywhere but with the Yankess, but when you dealing with GM whose last name is CASHMAN you never know…

cam newton
The most troubling money story is taking place in college football. Arguably the most dynamic player this year and Heisman frontrunner Cameron Newton is mired in the middle of allegations that accuse him and his father of seeking financial payments in order to sign with Mississippi States coming out of junior college in TX (after leaving University of Florida under other controversal issues; cheating/stealing a laptop). What is confusing me is the act that while there have been speculations of it happening there is no definite confirmations, all we have is the dreaded SPECULATION, and in the sports world that is just as damaging as definite information. While there are reports that say MSU recruiters distanced themselves after the talk of money came up, the fact that Cameron’s father even suggested it makes it a potential violation. Not only if found to be true can these allegations crush his Heisman hopes, it can jeopardize Auburn’s great run to the mythical college football National Championship due to them playing a subsequently ineligible player. What makes this a compromising circumstance is that Auburn will probably not know the truth about the allegations until after the season; so do they sit Cam now until they find out the truth or do they keep playing him and believe that this is all a major misunderstanding…

While I do not believe Auburn was aware of any wrongdoings involving Cam Newton, there has always been whispers of S.E.C. teams bending/stretching/breaking rules and regulations, and if it is revealed that Mississippi State officials were aware of things going on, this could be another strike against the powerful conference.

At the end of the day regardless of what sport it is: Money Is A Major Issue