As my father withers away before my eyes, I made the mistake of checking out the news today and came upon what appears to be a train wreck of talent in the NFL. What made it so odd is I got all the last weeks news at one time, and I have the player, his agent, the GM, and the coaches messages and perspectives in a timeline.
The only thing missing was the man that was sort of the pied piper for last resorts in the NFL, the rebel himself, Al Davis.
As I watch a man gasp for air, and I hear the words coming out of Antonio browns mouth. The dichotomy and contrast are really remarkable. On one hand, you have an 84-year-old man who is coughing for a breath of air, and then you have #84, one of the most talented wide receivers to ever play the game seems to be the poster boy for the need for mandatory common sense and emotional intelligence classes in America.
This is one thing with swiss schools that I initially questioned, but in hindsight, now makes more sense. In the country, there is more of a social construct where the society is more important than the individual. The same cultural phenomenon happens in japan, but with a population that is almost 20 times the size. The Swiss schools don’t promote the talented one as fast as possible and will hold kids back if they don’t fit in socially with the others.
The opposite is true in the united states. I have lived it myself. If you have a talent, you put all your resources in exploiting it and maximizing the gains. The idea of balance or a well-rounded individual with common sense and emotional stability is not rewarded. It is the extremes that get massive rewards in the united states. Look how we have made the terms “hero” and have allowed popularity to equate or be misconstrued as talent.
Perhaps that is the irony of the Antonio brown story. The man has god-given talent, worked hard to improve it – yet, somehow seems to either been told he is bigger than the reality he is? Did his agent blow so much smoke up his derriere to get him to believe he is that wonderful? Did the coaches in college? High school? Antonio Brown is 30 + years old. He is a product of the internet sporting society, where jubilation and image/brand are given as much weight like a guy merely showing up to do the job he was hired for.
In the early days of the internet, and probably today, there was a term “f*ck you money.” it was where humans amassed so much net worth with companies that never made a dime, played the IPO, stock options, or buyout well and enriched themselves beyond their wildest dreams – many never ever making one dime of profit. Thant mentality appeals for have blinded the American consumer, as the price of tickets and merchandised authentic apparel, nutrition, and sporting goods “reality” doesn’t seem to have too many parents or kids saying, ‘why am I spending another 20% for this product? oh because someone or a league endorses it and I want to put free money into their pockets and enrich them for doing their job!”
You have to forgive a bit of my cynicism. I am on a research bender with behavioral economics and typing is like a Deja Vous moment where I am getting a refresher course in the chasm between emotion and logic.
What I do know is that a talented man who really doesn’t come across as all that intelligent on camera is now the poster boy for the league, team, agents, licensors, and all the sports reporters that are making a living off the backs of people.
It saddens me, as no one is ever going to question just how talented an athlete Antonio brown is, but just listening to him and all the nonsense to “play” the game today. I wager al Davis would probably come back from the dead and shake his head in disbelief.
“What happened to the game? It used to be the raiders were the last chance for the misfits that somehow could be molded into a good team. what happened?
What happened is the games and systems have superseded human beings. It is what bothers me about the idea of a mass scale of enterprises and operations. The reality is that unless something changes, all humans will become is fodder for the system that goes out of control.
As my father sucked down his liquid medicine to help him relax and breath, I thought about the times when I was a Pittsburgh Steeler fan, he loved his Oakland raiders and all the games we would watch. At first, I was mocked because few people remember the Steelers sort of sucked before they went on their Superbowl rampage for years. But at the same time, I am reminded how my dad a wrote to mean joe green and my brother love dick Butkus. On Christmas, we get these envelopes where inside were autographed photos of our favorite players. It didn’t cost any money, and it was not mandatory or required for those players to sign autographs for kids who admired them.
The game has and will change. Unfortunately, it hasn’t really changed for the betterment of people. Common sense and balance have given way to the imbalance in the system where a few control so much.
If you took the average American and asked them would they do a shit job for three years for $30 million? How many would have no problem doing the job, keeping their mouth shut, and retiring for the rest of their life? Now, what about being paid that money to do something one loves?
What the Antonio brown story has demonstrated is how screwed up the system is beneath the façade. I am sure the machine that is the system will all line up with the mandatory blame game to not allow the average person to see that all the money they are spending on tickets, cable fees, and official merchandise is a bit of a waste of their hard-earned money.
I still remember that old monk in the desert replying to “is it better to excel at one virtue? or have a little bit of all?”
“it is better to have a little of all as if you excel at one, you leave yourself open to pride. that is the hardest passion to cure.”
I smile when I think back to that manila envelope with the Pittsburgh Steelers logo on it. I am guessing I was 7 or 8 years old and when I opened it, there was a photo of my idol.
I remember seeing a giant thumbprint on the print and said, “wow dad, mean joe Greene really signed this!”
try that today.
I won’t worry about Antonio Brown, his agent, or another team picking him up off waivers. the allure of a ring and the financial windfall from winning is so vast today that people will do whatever it takes to, “just win baby!” (side note - tonight Antonio brown was rewarded with a 9 million dollar signing bonus and a 15 million dollar salary with the new England patriots. like I said, people don’t care about the man inside, “just win baby, win!” out of curiousity, anyone know antonio browns wunderlic score?)
it won’t matter that there is one less person watching all the hype. my Sunday will be taking care of dad and trying to keep him as comfortable as possible on the way out of this life on earth. it sort of puts it all in perspective that you can’t see when you are in the middle of the game.