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Friday, January 30, 2009

Show Me Your TRUE Colors

A "fan" is defined as "an ardent and enthusiastic supporter of some person or activity" but then again if you don't know what a "fan" is, then you probably don't know what "ardent" means. This past weekend during the Superbowl I witnessed how many "fans" of American Football there are in Germany. I didn't really have a preference as to who I wanted to win but the 18 people in Roethlisberger Jerzees at the bar did, and he's not even German, he's Swiss. A lot of my basketball teammates favor the "west coast offense" because it's more fun to watch and decided they were pulling for Arizona. The Jets are my team so I was really just rooting for a good game. I thought I should root for a fellow AFC team since the Jets self-destructed but I thought back to all the NYJ/Pittsburgh games and I was hesitant. But then again, I couldn't really pull for Kurt Warner after what he and the rest of " best show on turf" St. Louis Rams did to the Titans in the Superbowl ten years ago. I didn't really have any ties to Tennessee except for the fact that the Steve McNair/Eddie George combination was unstoppable in Madden 2003. I guess I could have sided with Warner since he single-handily saved my Fantasy Football Team this season. But if I was basing it on fantasy, I would have to take into account that Santonio Holmes and Steve Breaston were my squad's receivers…which led me to yet another crossroad.

I decided to do what most people do in this situation and just place a bet with one of my teammates because that always seems to make things interesting. People always say "defense wins championships" so in this offensive vs. defensive battle I was confident that the Steelers would prevail. I was so confident in fact, that I decided to give my teammate the Las Vegas point spread of 6 ½. Since I lose enough money everyday after practice to my teammates during our half-court shooting contest, I decided that a better bet was getting to choose the other person's facebook profile picture for the next seven days. For those of you who are my facebook friend, that awful Superman picture I currently have up makes me think I would have rather just lost 50€.

But back to these fans, I came to the realization that the impact of sports has endless limits. Growing up in New York, and staying in-state for highschool & college I have never even thought about rooting for any other cities professional sports teams. Doing so would cause constant ridicule by my friends and classmates, and I didn't have enough going for me to lose friends based on professional sports teams. Us New Yorkers though, we have this bad reputation for turning on our teams during their rough times. Yankee fans do it, Jets fans are guilty of it and Knicks fans are probably the worst but this past weekend I got my first taste of what it's like being on the other side of the "turn."

Dan Dickau, former NBA point guard, got signed to a team in our league and had his "breakout" game against us. The team he joined was in 9th place and has a big enough budget to splurge on a high-profile name guy to get them back into playoff contention. Unfortunately for us, being in first place, and losing to the ninth place team caused a bit of a frustration in our basketball community. But what about eight-game winning streak they just broke or the fact we are still tied for second place? "Fans" would respond, "What have you done for me lately?" Although the bulk of it was in German, I was able to decipher that on "fan" forums and even in the newspaper, some people thought we needed to spend money on a big time player as well because we may not have enough skill to matchup with teams anymore. We also don't seem to play with enough "fire" to make it worthwhile for "fans" to travel long distances to watch us play.

Sure we can use that as motivation to come out harder for our next game but I can also chalk that up to the major difference between a "fan" and members of the team is that half the time, "fans" don't have any idea what really goes on. No "fans" talked about our opponents scouting us out perfectly, repeatedly hitting tough baskets at the end of the shot clock, or going on a timely run at the end of the game. I'm not trying to make excuses and this isn't a knock on any of our "fans" but rather, just a new found understanding that there are some people (coaches, teammates, dad, brother, and even management) that I can take criticism from, and some people that I cannot. We can't be bothered by what someone, whose opinion I don't necessarily respect, negatively says about us. I don't think I've ever really been a part of this kind of criticism (public media and online forums) but now that I got a little taste of it, I think I can emphasize a bit more with Eddy Curry and the Knicks than I could have in the past. But I guess you have to take the good with the bad.

What's Playing in Jason's iPod: Blu & Exile- My World Is… (Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics)

Besides sampling the beat from a classic Dells song, and making a "Superman" reference toward the end, this song is quite appropriate because in it, the rapper talks about not letting critics get him down as he attempts to make it in his rap career. Pretty cliché but distinct and unique at the same time. His style and rhyme scheme is one that stands out to me, and as I try to listen to less "mainstream" things, I can relate a little bit more to people "on their grind."

YouTube Video of the Week: Top 10 Shawn Kemp Dunks (NBA TV) – Best Individual Top 10 Ever

The other day my girlfriend asked me what inspires me? And after giving her the "correct" answer of "you do baby" I really sat and thought about it. Sometimes it's music, sometimes it's movies, sometimes it's other things…but in terms of what motivates me…it's this video. Shawn Kemp is my favorite (and arguably the best) "dunker" of all time. If I had to make a list of my favorite dunks of all time, three of them would be from this video. My favorite one is the non-travelling call on dunk#7. How the hell could he get from the half court line to the rim on one dribble?

German Phrase of the Week: Verstehts du mich? Ja oder Nein? – Do you understand me? Yes or No?

This phrase here is very important when you are in my position of trying to incorporate a lot of German language in your life, but knowing that you make mistakes constantly. Sometimes after I attempt to say something in German, I need to follow up with that question to make sure that the grammatically incorrect sentence I just tried to say is at least somewhat decipherable. I probably hear the Yes response more than the No response and therefore I am doing something right.

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