Wednesday, April 28, 2021

THE DOWNFALL of #THEMECCA: GENTRIFICATION (PART IV)




GEN-TRI-FI-CA-TION

(according to OXFORD LANGUAGES)


"The process whereby the character of a poor urban area is changed by wealthier people moving in, improving housing, and attracting new businesses, typically displacing current inhabitants in the process."


OUR TAKE: 

 

Like with many NYC neighborhoods gentrification has created a situation where the people who built and maintained the local ethos are being “priced out” and only those that have the financial resources are able to live in the newly curated environment.  As a result, players who lack re$ources are rarely on (highly competitive) travel teams where colleges / universities will be able to offer FULL scholarship opportunities.  As a result, players that do not have to necessary resources for training, travel, etc are to a certain extent left behind.  If there is any doubt, just scan the rosters of the TOP NYC based programs and note how many ACTUALLY reside within the 5 boroughs of NYC compared to this that hail from non-NYC areas.

 


OUR SUGGESTION:

 

Programs should, like their mission statements state, provide opportunities for players who lack finances with a "$cholarship" for various tournaments. Tournaments where players will be able to showcase their abilities to college coaches throughout the country.  Granted such thinking flies in the face of "basketball capitalism", it however shades light on a major reason why during NYC's "GOLDEN ERA" - New York City was considered #TheMECCA. It was during this period of time, NYC's major programs such as The Gauchos, Riverside and others did not rely on funds from it's players instead outside funding provided aforementioned with the necessary funds to secure the best talent which attracted national exposure and other revenue sources.  We would suggest programs to look back at the past with the intention of changing the future.   

 




Friday, April 02, 2021

DIARY OF A BASKETBALL MOM (PART V)


So it’s been a while, but I’m BAAACK!



How do we understand and make sense of the downfall of a dream, a wish, or a hope? A desire that is instilled in someone by a higher power than themselves?


How do you push your child somewhere they need to go, but are too afraid to take the first step? I unfortunately don’t have the answer yet. Or do I?  This has been a rollercoaster of a ride and that is an understatement.


So my daughter has come to a place in which she contemplated quitting playing the sport that she has loved since she was 9 years old where she has invested 7 years of hard work, money, time and dedication. Like, really ready to walk away, not because she stopped loving it, but because it stopped loving her. Or rather the “theys” did.


She broke ya’ll! And I blame the system, I blame the people and I blame the “theys”!!! I sat there as a parent holding back tears of hurt, disappointment, anger and rage...I had to take a step back and listen with my heart and not with my emotions.


As I heard her reasons I waited, waited to see if she was serious, if it was real, if it was actually over.

Ultimately, when she allowed me to speak. I took a long, drawn out breath and went IN!


Trying to take myself out of the equation because as y’all know it’s HER dream not mine.

But somewhere along the journey it became mine and it became ours.


When a kid plays sports and at a high level it’s not just the kid that sacrifices, but the entire family.  Years of missed birthday parties, vacations, holidays and special occasions...


My mind says there is NO way I sacrificed this much for nothing. I will not take this lying down.


So I said..."All those people that hurt you, that mistreated you, betrayed you and dismissed you, win the minute you say that I’m done playin.  The moment you say "I don’t want to keep working, trying and fighting is the moment 'they' win and you loose."


I, then asked, "Can you honestly tell me that you would want to stop if it wasn’t for all the bullshit you’ve had to deal with?"  Then followed up with, "Do you really feel like you don’t love this game anymore? You were born for this. Your talent is natural talent. Your knowledge of the game and it’s nuances is something that CANNOT be taught!! You ARE this."


She sat quietly in her thoughts and I, impatiently waiting.


As she thought about what I said she got a call. Within that moment and that phone call she shifted her thinking and said straight out, "I want to start clean, I want to give it my all and I want to earn my place."


She made the decision to move forward.


How it will go from here, I can’t say. It’s a catch-up game at this point. But I am happy that she is willing and ready to meet herself where she is at. Learn to be humble and push in an unknown and unfamiliar direction.



As for me, I wish I could say I have no regrets, but I do.



I regret trusting



I regret not listening for the sake of being loyal



I regret not being selfish



I regret not pushing and allowing her to have too much say



I regret not taking charge



But one thing I don’t regret is the game! I have learned so much and so has she.



Ultimately we don’t know what the future brings, but we do know that we have to trust and have faith. We have to trust that her path is one that will give her the prize she has been striving for and that her position is set in stone and no one can take it away from her.



I pray that one day we can truly thank the “theys” for all the pain and all the heartache because we have learned to be stronger, wiser, more open and more humble.



And to those who are not “theys” but are “US” I say thank you! To those who support us, who believe in us, and look out for us... We see you, we love you and we hope to make you proud!!!



Mama Out! 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

THE DOWNFALL of #THEMECCA: VICIOUS CYCLE (PART III)



"Here's a thought for my revolutionary heart

Take a deeper look at history, it's there to pick apart 

See the people at the top, they get to do just what they want

'Til after while the people at the bottom finally get smart

Then they start to holla revolution, tired of living here, destitution

Fuck that looting, can you tell me what's the best solution?

I used to think it was to over throw oppressors

See, if we destroy the system that means we'll have less of greed

But see, it's not that simple

I got to thinking 'bout the history of human nature

While this instrumental, play

Then I realized something that made me wonder if revolution was really ever the way

Before you trip and throw a fit over these words I say

Think about this shit for second, you heard the way

The children in abusive households grow up knocking girlfriends out cold

That's called a cycle

Abused becomes the abuser and that how life go

So understand

Look at the power, but you know what power does to man

Corruption always leads us to the same shit again

So when you talk about revolution dawg, I hear just what you saying

What good is taking over, when we know what you gon' do 

The only real revolution happens right inside of you

I said

What good is taking over, when we know what you gon' do

The only real revolution happens right inside of you, brotha"


"HIGH FOR HOURS" - J.Cole (third verse)


HOT TAKE


Those NOT in "power" complain about their lack of "power" yet once in "power" many often choose NOT to do RIGHT by the masses, #theculture or even the community, instead, they essentially become who/what they wanted to replace. This creates a cycle that is NOT in the best interest of "the people" but instead largely driven by money, power or clout which favors those "in bed with the power structure”.


Although brief - this is a REAL REALITY exists within the basketball space as well as in the REAL world. 


SUGGESTION:


Granted being in "power" comes with a great of responsibility but one must NOT forget that alienating those not in "power" creates a hostile environment where NO one wins...


Saturday, February 27, 2021

THE DOWNFALL of #THEMECCA: CULTURE VULTURISM (PART II)






Hold up, enough braggin', let's talk about the baggin' (yeah)

Talk about the money, when this business they staffin' (uh huh)
We'll milk the cows but they never put a calf in (tell it)
White men run us, they don't want this kinda passion
A black woman story? They don't want this kinda rapping (talk)
They love a fantasy, they love the gun bang action (talk)

What good is a black women to them? (yeah)

Raped us and slavery, they raping us again
Only put us on TV if our titties jiggling (uh)
Jay tried to give us Tidals and we giggling at him (damn shame)
But we ain't peeped the funny shit they doing (crazy) 
Chitlin' Circuit, mom and mop's store been ruined (crazy)
'Cause we wouldn't share the profit, we was all movin'
Now it's pennies on pennies, that don't make sense do it? (dollars)
We gotta stick together more than we has been (yes we do)
Beefin' with each other while they get rich laughing (come on bruh)

Mm, that's a no no (it is)

Bust my way through like Cleo with the ammo (baow)
On my own terms, I'ma take what's mine
Singin' day after day, you can sing that line"


"CLEO" - Rapsody (third verse)


HOT TAKE: 


In effort to gain "power", "clout" and/or the ability to sit at the table with dual motivated companies (those that profit from and exploit #theculture) - members of #theculture grant unbridled access to such companies. These companies create yearly "run off events" with the sole purpose of profit while easily $waying members of #theculture with  "crumbs" or "discount codes" which again benefit the dual motivated companies. 


This behavior of looking to profit from and exploit without GIVING back is akin to #theculture planting, growing and cultivating a tree's fruit only to allow the dual motivated companies to "swoop in" and pick the tree's prize without any regard for it's soil. And sadly, over years of such "abuse" the soil will NOT be fertile for the next generation of fruit.


So here we are today!


SUGGESTION

As the "media capital of the world", #theculture should look into creating and funding their own "showcase" events while offering weekly training sessions as well as ACADEMIC progress "check-ins" for players who are "UP NEXT".  To go a step further, perhaps even offer similar events for younger aged players with the intent of participating in the national televised event as they move up in age and ability. This event would be, OF COURSE, without AAU/grassroot interference (politics) and would be organized by a committee of "invested" movers and shakers within the tapestry of #theculture. Just a thought. 

Thursday, February 04, 2021

THE DOWNFALL of #THEMECCA: "LEGACY DEVELOPMENT (PART I)


'nyc downfall 1.PNG' failed to upload.



"I'ma true King, tryna raise a new king


I wanna show him stuff , how to do things


How to ride a bike, how to tie shoe strings


How to be a man, how to treat his boo thing


Gotta have a OG, to give you that "Go 'head"


I don't blame you dudes, I blame your old head


I know all about that, my Poppa wasn't down


Poppa used to come through, Poppa doesn't now


Shoulda' protected me, but Poppa wasn't 'round


So now I got this 9, that pop-a-dozen round


Them kids grow up quick, usually grow you up too


Turn you to a big dog, that's what having pups do


Did a lot, but I know I ain't done yet


Before it goes down, I make sure that my son set"



"YOUNG OG II" by Fabolous


HOT TAKE:


In hindsight, largely due to the "Reagan-nomic" mind set of the 1980's and 1990's, many pioneers of NYC's "Golden Era" focused on their status within the eco-system and in doing so did not create a culture of "legacy development".  As result, many in "power" today are in a weird position for they are essentially "trying to figure it out" which reminds us of the old adage "building the plane while flying it" .    


If there is any doubt of this reality ask yourself these three questions. “Who succeeded your favorite program once “the old head” decided to “moved on” then “Who did your favorite program “groom” to take over once he/she decided to transition to another “basketball lane” and finally "Who, of the forefather's have a proverbial "family tree" within the current eco-system?".


Being a "gatekeeper" should not be a singular generational topic, instead each "gatekeeper" should place a few youngsters under their wing and mold him/her to be able to carry on "tradition", create and maintain a system of checks and balances, as well as maintain and grow a self serving ecosystem that is not dependent of one person.  Sadly, although the "forefathers" created the BLUEPRINT they did not provide the necessary "carpenters" needed to build from their BLUEPRINT.   As a result, the "powers" of today mostly driven by money, clout and fame, have created a "WILD Wild West" landscape.  This "new frontier" has all but completely shredded the highly successful BLUEPRINT created by NYC's "forefathers".  


It is time to hold many of the current self proclaimed "gatekeepers" aka ADULTS accountable for NOT following the trail blazed by the forefathers at the same time hold the forefathers accountable for not providing a culture of (business) mentorship for the new generation.  




Monday, January 18, 2021

DIARY OF A BASKETBALL MOM (PART IV)




So since my last post, a lot has changed but to be honest I am in shock of how many others can relate to the reality of this “reality show” we call youth sports.

Anyway, back to it. 

My kid’s journey was filled with lots of ups and lots of downs. We learned a lot but also failed a lot too. I guess that is just part of the process and makes it all the more interesting. The most difficult part for me though, was seeing how, not the kids, but the adults would be so quick to tear down children and use them as pawns for their own personal gains and agendas.


Seeing my kid go from having fun and feeling confident in herself, to crying and feeling as though she did not want to play anymore, sent me to places mother’s should not have to go emotionally and spiritually...


I will say this! People are very lucky that I am not as crazy as some other parents!!!


Mama bears and papa bears out there know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. In the end all of it is a learning experience and an opportunity for growth.


We finished off her the first couple years with another level of understanding of how “the game” is played. We did what we could do to put her in a position to grow and get better, but the mental exhaustion was still too much.


As she got older and entered High school we chose to focus on that and try to let go of AAU for the moment. It took a lot for her confidence to return and it was a slow process.


What I realized needed to be done was a complete removal from the politics, the bullshit and the negative energy.


So we took a time out. I let her be a kid, have fun. Workout less, and have more free time.


I found trainers that focused on QUALITY over quantity. Genuine, caring, positive trainers that began to help her build her confidence.


People came to me to share how they felt she had been an amazing kid and a quality player. I shared all positive feedback with her.


I let her know that if people who have seen you from young and have watched your progress can see that you have potential, you have to believe it’s real.


Her confidence and game began to grow and her focus shifted.


She began to play “in the moment” and realized that her body could do things that she didn’t think it could.


She began to implement what she was learning and focused on “HER” style of play!


Our journey is not completely over, but it is at a pivotal stage. It’s make or break time for her and we will continue to follow the new path carved out for us.


It is still difficult not to allow social media hype and politics to creep in, but truly we understand that nothing is promised and all we can do is walk the path laid out and leave it ALL on the court at any given moment.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

THE DOWNFALL of #THEMECCA: "DIVIDE ET IMPERA" (PART 0)


Since most of my n****s won't ever work together
You run a check up but they never give you leverage
No red hat, don't Michael and Prince me and Ye
They separate you when you got Michael and Prince's DNA, uh


"What's FREE" MEEK MILL featuring Rick Ross and JayZ



HOT TAKE:


Although today a few of NYC's grassroot programs are under leadership of people FROM and OF #theculture, historically speaking, many were NOT.  Despite their intentions majority still operate from a vantage point different from #theculture as a whole.  


It is a known fact that youth basketball is a highly competitive and equally volatile space where artificial "beef" is created in an effort to serve a means to an end.  


We have seen it without seeing it, program A (MJ)and program B (Prince) both of whom are FROM and OF #theculture via their "coaches" aka infantry soldiers look to recruit a player for their respective teams. This goes on for some time and as a result program "employees" grow a pseudo "hatred" towards each other.  


This faux division merely serves as a distraction that is by most accounts fueled and flamed by "he say/she say" childish banter. This tactic seems to pit "employees" against each other and such division only intensifies the moment money, sneaker sponsored gear, and perceived clout are involved, but not for the "faces" of the programs but rather for the program's OWNERS.


So essentially MJ (program A) and Prince (program B) are butting heads over rumors, hearsay and half-truths.  This in of itself, is a classic case of "DIVIDE and CONQUER"and program's executive leader$hip thrive off of such dysfunctional

behaviors.


Imagine if "opposing" programs FROM and OF #theculture decided to WORK together as opposed to "fight" each other better yet, imagine a MJ and Prince collaboration.  



WOW.


Such a relationship would threaten many who profit from #theculture. And as pointed out in another song by Shawn Carter "Nobody wins when the family feuds."



#carryon




#crabsinthebarrel

#stockholmsyndrome

#willielynchsyndrome

#meritoriousmanumissionact