Posts Tagged ‘football’

We are in the middle of local elections and my thoughts turn to the days when preachers, barbers and funeral directors were the community leaders because “the man” couldn’t quiet them since their money came for us.   Today, retirees should be added to that list because those on pensions are free to speak their minds and have plenty of free time to do it.

A friend from high school who is a vocal leader of the Tea Party Movement gave me the Beatles greatest hits cd a few years ago.  While listening to the lads sing “get back to where you once belonged” the other day, I thought about getting back to what my community was the 60s and before the mean-spirited approach of the ultra conservatives.

My community before the 1970s was a place of proud, deliberate people.  While we need the federal government to enforce basic human rights and to end Jim Crow, the well-intended assistance of the government when from temporary help to something debilitating.  The next crop of leaders, whose who come after the “I marched with MLK” ones, should be more life coaches than cheerleading politicians.  After elected leaders ensure that essential governmental services are functioning, they should get about the business of explaining to the people what the people should do to help themselves.  It starts with personal responsibility because “the man” and the Klan aren’t damaging my block as much as the people in the mirror.

Stats in the Albany Georgia newspaper blew me away the other day.  The president of the local technical college says that only 62% of people in my region are functionally literate.  Huh?  We spend millions on schools and teachers’ salaries but the folks can’t read.  Wait a dam minute!  We aren’t talking about advance subjects from high school like trig, chemistry and Lit.  We are talking about reading, writing and arithmetic; stuff that was supposed to be taught in the first few grades.  Of course, educators will say that home isn’t supporting the learning process and I agree on some level.  Once and for all: you can’t be the parents of K-12 kids speaking poor English around them all day. Double negatives, ending sentences with prepositions and leaving the “g” off of “ing” are simply the tip of the iceberg.


The governor should fund a program I designed while working with a welfare to work project.  The program refreshed grammar skills for adults in a few days because education is a lifelong endeavor.  Oh, there is no money for such programs but get ready for the second alarming statistic.  The new head of the Georgia department of juvenile justice says that a youth offender cost the state $91,000 a year.  What the blank!  We are spending money on the wrong people at the wrong times.


I took my nieces to a Black college football game last week.  One of the girls is a high school cheerleader who doesn’t understand football.  Let me get this right: you are cheering for an activity you don’t understand.  By the end of the game, she understood first downs, passing, rushing and the fundamentals of the sport.  We have all attended games when the cheer was “defense” while we had the ball.

Some of these elected officials are like those confused cheerleaders; they are cheering without fully understanding the situation and goals.  To me, President Obama never had a stomach for the older members of the Congressional Black Caucus for this reason.  If conservatives spent time getting to know Obama rather than tripping about Kenya, they would have learned that his conservative roots are in the Midwest.  Obama is a moderate with equal distain for the far left and the far right but most importantly, he feels that leaders should tell the people that change begins with them.

So, local elections should be the selection of those who would help Barrack Obama, Jon Huntsman, Colin Powell and Cory Booker turn the nation around with positive energy.  You hear the saying “speak truth to power” use frequently these days.  Well, the people are the power and someone need to tell them the truth about why their situation isn’t what it should be and what can be done to address it—again, the mirror.

Since football and cheering are themes in this blog post, I want to end with them.  If you can sit in a stadium for hours watching football, you can take ten minutes to go vote—vote for whomever but vote.


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Triple Option Veer

Presidential politics puts college football’s option offense in my mind.  Mixing metaphors is risk as we remember Obama/Palin with lipstick on a pig and more recently Herman Cain’s 999 with apples and oranges.  Those other candidates at the Western debate knew full well what he was saying.  State sales tax will still be there anyway on apples…whatever. I like a flat 14% income tax personally.  

While I am no expert on football, I know that the triple-option, the veer or the wishbone is the base formation that allows three running options: the fullback receiving the handoff, the quarterback side pitching to the half back or the quarterback running the ball himself.  The quarterback might also pass to a receiver.  With the new “spread” option, the quarterback is in the shotgun formation and the defense is spread because several wide receivers are used. 

In 2008, Barrack Obama was basically the quarterback of a spread, wildcat offense because we put the best player on the team at quarterback and said run fast and think on your feet. 

(Here is where the metaphors get murky and confusing.)

Today, the American voter is the quarterback, Obama is the tailback; Biden is maybe the blocking fullback; and Hillary joins Timothy Geithner as wide receivers going deep.  A sound economy is the goal line/endzone and some feel that Hillary should be quarterback.

We can stay with the current starters or put in the red-shirt (red as in Republican) freshmen who really to play.  Romney wants to be tailback while Rick Perry is a tight end who needs to block but can also catch the ball.  In from the pizza concession stand, Herman Cain could be Hershel Walker or another Marcus Dupree.  Coach Newt Gingrich knows the Xs and Os but coaches don’t suit up.

Bottomline: Voters need options.  If something isn’t working, we need to pitch, pass or put someone else in the game.  Of course, the GOP could be the other team and they are keying on Obama because he might be all the weak Dem team has.  Check this out, we are all on the same team and penalty flags are flying everywhere. 

Ultimately, the people drive the economy and we have been weak in the weight room, weak in practice and unprepared on game day.  The developing world might be the other team and they have become the manufacturers we once were.  The game shouldn’t be decide in the press box (the media) by has-beens or never-weres….dog- gone Monday morning quarterbacks.

Oklahoma’s J.C. Watts was the sweetest option quarterback in history while Texas’s Earl Campbell and O.U. Billy Sims were the best running backs.  You never knew if Watts was running or pitching to his tailback and sometimes he pitched down field.  Former GOP Congressman Watts recently brought liberal former House Armed Services Chairman Ron Dellums into his governmental lobbying firm.  J.C. is smart enough to know that you scheme for gameday by knowing the other side or using a scout team of red-shirts.

The presidential primary is like the recruiting process and we want good red-shirts on the team because we might need to change late in the game or season if the starters aren’t producing (double-digit unemployment, four dollar gas.)

Obama is my starter but who do we need on the sidelines in waiting—Romney, Cain, Perry, Gingrich.   “Veer right…and pitch down field on two.”  


  Longtime Democrat Dellums working for Republicans

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People who skip voting this year are nuts who should be shunned.  In rural Georgia, we spend hours every Friday night at high school football games but early voting takes less time than a marching band’s halftime show.  What’s up with this one or two tubas stuff?  We had an army of tubas back in the day but today I can’t feel the bass.  In the political arena, I am hearing too much from the highs and little from the bottom (the bass or base).  We are selecting decision makers and nothing tickles off your fancy boss more than knowledge that his vote carries as much weight as yours. 

After the success of the Clinton’s presidency, Gore should have been a shoe-in if the working people they helped simply would have voted.  If you don’t vote, you have zero right to gripe and moan about governmental policy.  Hell, we should have paid attention to the process starting in the primary season because good candidates from any party should be heard. 

South Carolina GOP Rep. Bob Inglis has spent the time since his primary defeat telling it like it is. He should have spoken sooner because some of the cats about to take power are out there–really out there.  As President Obama says, they are concerned Americans and their commitment is admirable but let’s be civic.

Support reasonable candidates from both major parties because those people Inglis calls the Flame throwers are reckless.  You don’t want to win a high school football game in a dirty manner and the same should apply to elections and governing.  After winning elections, winners must then govern.


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While watching the Terrell Owens reality show on VH1, I humorously found parallels with southern congressional politics.  T.O. performs well on the football field generally but needs to remember his obligation to his coach, his team and his owner—the bosses.  Members of Congress (MOCs) work for the voters/the people; not lobbyists or future corporate employers and partners.  On the other hand, T.O. and MOCs should be mindful of their long-term career and financial goals.

If we look at the Democrats and Republicans from the South who left congress in the last twenty years, most Republicans went on to make more money or retire while many Democrats did not move forward in salary.  What’s up with that?  Democrats generally arrived at congress from previous public service or community work while GOPers came from the business or corporate world.  As smart business minds, many Republicans serve in congress with an eye on their post-congressional career moves which is not a problem because their expertise makes them great resources.  But, are their congressional actions in the best interest of their districts primarily or their future bank accounts. 

Many Democrats stay in congress as long as they can because this might be as good as it gets—which is not fair because they also have a vast wealth of knowledge and experience that should be beneficial in the private sector.  Quick—name a southern former House Democrat who went on to better things.  Harold Ford Jr. is the only one that comes to mind and he is still in politics in another way.  So, the Democrat MOCs often play it safely—that is not a bad piece of money coming into the account monthly. 

Terrell Owens has made enough money to live comfortably if he is wise.  Like MOCs, he is planning for his next income source, if not retirement. His actions during this job are setting up his next move.  Those people without lives (like me) that watched the T.O. Show debate who T.O. should date: the young bartender or the supermodel (we know this mess is as fake as a two dollar bill and so is some of the congressional theater.)  If T.O. asked me, I would state the obvious: leave both of those arm candy women alone and date Kita, his publicist. Kita is tall, brown, intelligent (University of Kentucky grad), southern, grounded, witty and lovely.  The real question is does T.O. deserve Kita.   The supermodel sista is nice but they are too much alike and the bartender is…I will leave that alone. Man, get you a southern woman and call it a day. 

This Fall, T.O. and the MOCs should remember who put them in the game and the long-term consequences of their actions.  If you are wearing a Buffalo Bills jersey, you should remember that there is no “I” in team.  If you are wearing a Democrat jersey, please remember the same—the folks with Republican jerseys already know their playbook.  Finally, if you can’t get down with your team’s game plan, become a free agent or retire.  


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Legendary University of Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant had to know that his team would eventually get/need Black players and that the Tide faithful would not have it.  Supposedly, Coach Bryant colluded with University of Southern California’s John McKay to pit their teams against each other.  Bryant knew what would happen; USC Sam “Bam” Cunningham would run all over the place and in time coach Bryant’s famous hat would not be the only thing black and white in the Tide’s locker room. 

I have been troubled for some time about our mounting debt with China..Red China…Communist China…Forrest Gump from Coach Bryant’s Crimson Tide played them in ping pong China. What is going on here?  We are borrowing money from China to spend in Iraq and Afghanistan and to stimulate our economy, which took a nose-dive when Wall Street ran amuck without federal oversight.   

Today, every citizen is an expert on everything and all of the politicians and leaders are clueless.  Despite what we see on T.V. news and the Internet, I don’t believe that.   Maybe America’s economic experts are “colluding” with Chinese leaders to ensure mutual cooperation with this crazy debt—similar to coaches Bryant and McKay.  Is the new Cold War actually a Cold Cash War since you can’t get your money if we vaporize each other in a nuclear nightmare.  In south Georgia, an old saying goes, “as long as I owe you, you will never go broke.” 

An older saying from Shakespeare’s Polonius in Hamlet advised, “Neither a borrower, nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend.”  I heard that at my Black college in class but in the dorm I heard dude say to his friend, “Do you want to pay me my money or do I need to take it out your a….”  There is definitely a benefit to be exposed to various people and cultures and I hope our “situation” with China goes well.

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Mortgaging our kids’ fiscal futures is a concern but a bigger issue should be the drive of the kids in the developing world (Latin America, Asia, Eastern Europe) compared to the average American teen if you read Thomas L. Friedman’s The World Is Flat.  While there are excepts, many teens in our community have the entitlement mentality that First Lady Michelle Obama and her mother refuse to allow the Obama girls to develop.  Our children have funky dispositions and I can’t stand them as far as I can throw them.  Can I throw them?

So, I am playing tennis with a former basketball coach at the high school yesterday and the football team is going through drills.  Evidently, the coaches worked with the younger players first, then took the underclassmen pass the tennis courts to the practice field.  For the next hour, I heard about a dozen players who appeared to be around ninth grade used the worst language in front of the gym as loudly as they could—s, a, mf, b, d, p and n-gger.  Not my business, don’t speak to other people’s children, my name is West, I am not in that mess.  Then I started to place the blame for this unacceptable behavior: the kids themselves, parents, lower grade teachers, church, family, DNA, lack of oxygen in the birth canal, was not whipped like we were.  Spare the rob…spare the rob.

While I was no angel at that age, I respected women, children and older people during public conversations.  We would change the language or say salty things quietly.  Since I can’t give up on the youth because they are my classmates’ kids or sometimes grandkids, I employed the glare technique to no avail.  For all the years I was respectful, I intend on enjoy the same reverence.  As coaches’ wives and children walked past them, the ugliness continued without pause.  I had enough after hearing part of the talk that would make a drunken sailor blush and said, “Fellows, would you please watch your language.”  The ringleaders laughed and I decided that I would be at their games in the fall so I can watch decent kids put them on their behinds every time the ball is snapped. 

In recent years, our high school sports teams have looked good on paper but lacked the character and focus to win state championships.  Champions are made between the ears and coaches can’t be blame if they start with youth without strong moral fiber and will.  I really don’t think I was upset at the kids as much as the parents who failed to prepare them for life—they are being raised by music videos.  It pains me to say that those kids had the mentality and social skills of fourth graders and the okay kids were being negatively influenced by the worst ones.  Here’s the fun part.  As the coach walked back to the gym, the loudmouths got nervous when thinking that we were going to rat them out.  Of course, I sung like a jaybird, which might have been a mistake because the little homies could be “connected.”  

I don’t have the answer but someone needs to figure something out soon because today’s kuckleheads or tomorrow’s inmates/fathers—talk about your vicious circle.  But, those coaches are well-intended professionals and you don’t measure an operation by who comes into the program; you notice the quality of the products who finish.  Of those loudmouths, only a few will be with the team in the fall.  Some folks can’t take discipline. 

In education, teachers who can’t reach the youth should admit failure and allow someone else the opportunity to get the job done because the consequences of failure are bigger threats to America’s future than the Taliban. 

While I won’t say it, some friends think the answer starts with encouraging less than bright people to refrain from populating the nation with idiots.  We have all been riding in a car and saw rough-looking teens courting and someone said, “let’s hope they don’t have a child because that gene pool is polluted.”  I can see it in their eyes; a disconnect from a functioning value system and the inability to determine appropriate social behavior.  What’s sad is that many will ended up in shackles like the ones we worked hard to throw off.  I can’t watch that happen. 

To end on a positive note, it feels good when a young adult stops me and say thanks for trying to talk some sense into his head during his teen years.  I say no problem, it is the least I can do since folks talked to me during my teen years and if you get really rich buy me a pontoon boat.

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