Quest for the Concords…

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone… The Christmas holiday season is a time where many people purchase gifts for loved ones and sometimes even themselves. According to the National Retail Foundation it is said that Americans will spend an upwards of 465.5 billion dollars in 2011 shopping which is a 2.8% increase from last year. On December 23, 2011 millions of people not only across the nation but the world reveled in  the release of the Iconic  Air Jordan XI shoe known to sneakerheads as the “Concords.” The past three years Jordan Brand has previously released other colors of this same styled shoe; the “Cool Gray” and the “Space Jam,” and while there was anticipation for the release of those shoes, neither compared to the release of the Concords. The release date of the shoe has been known since the summer, and shortly after many of those who desired to purchase the shoe began to plot on their approach for acquiring them. Generally there are two ways shoes are purchased; by going to the local retailer to purchase them or visiting the website of the same retailers so as to avoid the hassle. Under normal circumstances there wouldn’t be a problem for someone to use either of these outlets to purchase their shoes and be safe. However when it comes to limited or popular releases like the Concord shoe (and Jordans are not the only shoes people camp out for), many knew they would have to be very strategic to get them.

Once I caught wind of the release I made up in my mind that these would be my Christmas gift to myself. The $180 sticker price, while high to a lot of people, is not that far off from other popular shoes like the Foamposits ($200+) the LeBron’s ($170) and Kobe Bryant ($180). Yes there are plenty other brands and styles of gym shoes/sneakers that are less expensive but ask a female that has a REAL Louis Vuitton, Gucci or Tory Burch purse would a less costly purse had been sufficient, and they probably would say yes but  it’s about the brand. I have heard many people take issue with spending that much for a pair of shoes but I look at some of the shoes I have in my collection, which include a pair of Air Jordan XI in a different color that I have had since 2001 that are in still good condition, so if you take care of them they can and will last a long time. Now I am against purchasing these shoes for young children who have yet to develop an appreciation for clothing, but to each his/her own.

Blacks werent the only ones camping out for them

But back to my quest for the Concords, I initially thought about trying the “order online” route but I recalled the horror stories that many of my sneakerhead friends discussed in regards to ordering shoes that were just as popular online. From the website crashing and not allowing you to purchase, to you making the purchase but getting an email from the website stating that the order never went through. So I decided to try the campout route, where I would go to a local mall and sit outside until they opened the doors. Little did I know, the mall security had given out tickets to those interested in purchasing the shoes earlier that day, around the same time I had gone to the mall to scope out the scene and talk to a couple of guys that work in the shoe stores I frequent. So when I got back to the mall around 11pm for the Midnight release, there was a nice crowd of around 50-75 people already huddled around. I assumed that Footlocker would have an ample amount to satisfy this crowd so I was not worried. However right as the clock struck 12AM the dropped the ticket bomb on a lot of us and I began to get nervous. But after hearing that they only gave out 40 tickets, and me being close to the door, I became confident in being able to get them… SIKE… shortly after letting the 40 ticket holders get their shoes they pulled down the gate and sent many of us home empty-handed. The next morning I tried another store but had my hopes crushed again because this retailer, who was a private owned store, sold many of their allotment of shoes during the previous two weeks so I trudged home disappointed.

Now many are probably asking why would I go through all of this for a pair of shoes… Simply put because this was an item I really wanted. When it comes to things we want we will subject ourselves to things that to other people deem over the top. Some women will sit in a salon for hours for hairstyles that last only a couple of days then do it again in a couple of weeks which in the grand scheme equates purchasing these same “overpriced” shoes monthly. I also know people who will sit outside in line for Black Friday sales, stood in lines longer and under worse conditions to get tickets for concerts and we all  have seen images of college students who will miss class to eat sleep and chill in tents just to get access to tickets for bowl games or premium seats versus a heated rival. During my college days I will admit to have “camped-out” for the PS2 and actually missed a quiz but luckily begged my professor to let me retake it. I also stood in line for concerts and will never forget the frenzy behind the Kappa Thanksgiving Party at St. Andrews where if you weren’t in line at 9pm for a party that really didn’t get hype until 11pm you didn’t get in.

Fans of the Group Panic attack

Texas A&M fans camping for Cotton bowl tickets

I wonder what Best Buy had on sale?

Upon getting over my disappointment I got home to find out about the craziness that ensued throughout the nation. Recounts of pandemonium, fights and robberies were littered all over the internet and on the news (it even made ESPN.) Someone went as far as to create a fake death of a young teenager in the DC/Maryland area.

someone has too much time on their hands

While the drama that took place in many urban areas across the nation is unfortunate, please do not be blinded by the BS that is being perpetuated here. It’s ironic that any other time we take Fox News with a grain of salt especially it comes to politics, but with this story their perceptions are legit. Also now that there is evidence that the death in DC is a hoax, I havent seen ANY media outlet update the story or send a retraction for covering something that was false. It’s shameful that  the media knows how divided we as a black community are and will use it against us. Violence during Black Friday shopping isn’t given this much coverage because white America doesn’t care, but they realize that since much of our social acceptance is tied to our stuff and things they know it will be a heated topic of conversation where many will never understand the person on the other side of the argument.

I have seen it all in regards to jokes & comments about those who have purchased the Concords, and yes I’ll agree that if your bills aren’t paid and you skimping out on other responsibilities as an adult, you shouldn’t be able to partake of any luxuries but that goes beyond purchasing sneakers/gym shoes. But changing this mindset of having the latest toy and “keep up with the Jones” goes way beyond what is happening now. Just like we are pre-disposed to health issues because of genetics, we also acquire mentalities and thought-processes from the DNA of our parents and ancestors. Many believe this “gotta ball” mentality is something new but it’s not, I believe we can trace these desires back to when we were African kings and queens. Look at historical accounts of how our ancestors cherished stuff and things, C’mon, they had extravagant tombs and pyramids constructed for the “ballers” of their times. Even look at present day African tribes, while they may not use a Benz or extravagant homes to show status they have their own unique way of showing who is the top of the heap, whether its colorful face paint or necklaces. So we first must realize this ball out mindset and how you treat money did not just recently evolve,  so you may need to sit down with your parents and even grandparents to see how they spent their money and compare habits to really see how much of a curse this is. I am currently doing a 18 week financial stewardship class through my church and we are using the  book Jesus on Money by Larry Burkett;  it has  helped all of us in the class face issues head on so that our bad financial habits aren’t transferred to our children or grandchildren.

So while all of this started as a quest for a pair of shoes, it has opened my eyes to so much more, and while I still wish I had gotten them I’m glad for the life lessons the journey taught me.

Advertisements

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