Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Anthem Protest Discussion We Need To Have

If we want to respect our flag, our military and our founding fathers, we have to make sure that we are treating each other with the principles that our country was founded with. That “all men (and women) are created equal”; that all people are born with the right of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. If we want to honor our “one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all", then we must have this conversation.
The players that started the protest during the national anthem were doing so in order to start a conversation. While almost everybody is talking about it now, an unfortunately large percentage of those conversations are not about the issues that they're actually protesting. A lot of people are upset about players disrespecting the flag and disrespecting the military. If you listen to any of these players, they will almost unanimously talk about how they support the military and are not trying to disrespect them or the flag. These players are trying to move our great country forward to fight for racial equality and social justice. This deserves more than a dismissal because of “disrespect to the flag/military”.


So why are they protesting during the national anthem? 

Before I get into this, I have an honest question. Do you stand at home during the pre-game national anthem? I'm very curious about this, because I've never seen anybody stand at home during a national anthem. So why is it so appalling that a player on the field would take a knee? Isn't taking a knee much more respectful than sitting on your couch? In almost every religion, being on your knees is one of the most humbling positions you can be in. Why are we making these players out to be terrible people, some people even cursing and belittling their very existence because of it? To disregard these protests and even the protestors is to say that they, and their opinions, don't matter. And that is a problem.

The question of why this protest is happening during the national anthem brings me to another question. When/how would you prefer them to protest? I've heard suggestions that they should hold a press conference to talk about these issues. If they did that, how many people would it reach? I love sports, and I rarely listen to postgame interviews. Do you really think change would come out of that? This has become a conversation for people who never even watch sports, in large part because of when the protests occur. Again, a lot of those people might not be aware of what these protests are actually about. But that's where we can come in.

Protests are usually uncomfortable conversations for somebody, because it is asking for change. Changes like these don't happen overnight so we shouldn't be shocked that this has received some backlash. But I am surprised the extent to the backlash. The fact that the president of our country is more upset about black men protesting against racism and social injustice in an extremely peaceful way than he was about a group of people that wear their racism as a badge of honor proves the point of these protests.

To a few arguments against these protests

There are a few arguments that I've heard against this protest that I just had to quickly address.
  1. "If you don't like the country, you should leave."
    • This has to be one of the most un-American sentences I've ever heard. Can you imagine if some of our founding fathers or Martin Luther King Jr. had that attitude? Just because we don't think this country is perfect doesn't mean we don't appreciate it. 
  2. "They shouldn't be bringing their politics into sports."
    • I'm sorry that this is an inconvenience for you during the 2 minutes that the anthem plays, but have you considered that this isn't a political issue? Racism and social injustice are real issues that minorities in this country deal with on an every-day basis. 
  3. "These athletes should stick to sports."
    • To say that athletes should stick to sports would mean that JJ Watt should give back the $30 Million that he raised for Hurricane Harvey relief and that LeBron James should take back all of those educations that he has paid for to improve the lives of kids and their parents in the inner cities. You can't have it both ways—you can't applaud players for doing good things in the community and then chastise them for speaking their minds when their opinions differ from yours. The fact that some people expect these players to go out and perform and entertain us and then immediately have no more existence outside of that is absurd. 
  4. "Kneeling doesn't accomplish anything. Why aren't they in their communities trying to do something real?"
    • A lot of these players, in the NFL and NBA, are very involved in their community and trying to do things to improve it. Please take the time to look into how much some of these men have done for their communities.

If you don’t think black people are facing injustice in this country

Have you asked? Try starting a conversation, make some new friends, see what they have experienced, are dealing with and are worried about before you make up your mind. If you have never read Martin Luther King Jr.'s letter from a Birmingham jail, I would highly recommend it. He does a tremendous job of thoughtfully expressing his side of the events.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Kyrie’s Career Night Rescues Cavs

Post-game Analysis

By Zach Zeltman

March 13, 2015

In what Charles Barkley described as “One of the best NBA games I’ve seen in person, ever”, Kyrie Irving had a night to remember. In 47 minutes, Kyrie put up a ridiculous and efficient 57 points, shooting 62.5% from the field (20-32), 100% from 3 (7-7), and 100% from the line (10-10). He also added 5 assists, 4 steals, 3 rebounds, and only 2 turnovers in the 128-125 Overtime win for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

This impressive performance came on the road against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, who had a great defensive scheme to stop Kyrie and LeBron. Each shot Irving hit had a high degree of difficulty, most of which were either contested fadeaways or points in the paint finishing amongst the bigs. The 57 points is the most scored in the NBA this season and marks Kyrie’s second 55+ point game of the season. Doing so against the Spurs is a huge testament to how well Kyrie really played. The last time San Antonio gave up a 50+ point performance was all the way back in 1984 (Bernard King). Oh, and Kyrie is still just 22 years old. Spurs coach, Gregg Poppovich, said after the game, “Kyrie was unstoppable. He went to a new level tonight.”

The Spurs seemed to be in control the whole game, despite it being close throughout. Last year’s Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard, looked like the best player on the floor early, playing stifling defense while also impacting the game with his scoring, assisting, and rebounding. Leonard finished the game with 24 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. Tim Duncan nearly had a quiet triple double with his 18 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 blocks. Tony Parker and Danny Green also had excellent games for the Spurs, finishing with 31 and 24, respectively.

Most nights the Spurs play that well, they are going to come away with a W. Tonight was not most nights, though.

The game came down to the Spurs tremendous brand of team basketball versus two of the best players on the planet doing what they do best. Fortunately for Cleveland, Kyrie and LeBron were clicking on all cylinders, and the Cavs were able to steal a game that they really had no business winning. To complement Irving’s career night, LeBron finished with 31 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists.

A win like the Cavs got tonight over a reigning champion could continue to snowball the success that they have had lately. However, as much as this was a good team win, Cleveland settled for a high quantity of low quality shots. The good thing was that tonight the shots were going in. There will be plenty of nights, thought, that they are not as fortunate. If they Cavs and Spurs met in the Finals, Kyrie and LeBron would not be able to combine for 88 points every game.

If they have any hope in winning a championship, they are going to have to cut down the amount of 1-on-1 offense they have been getting by with and play more as a team offensively.

For tonight, the Cavs will take a win and a career night from Irving. Tim Duncan’s look after the final buzzer said it all. He stood near mid-court, motionless for a few seconds staring at Kyrie. Then he saluted to an incredible performance as he turned and walked back to the locker room.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Back into the Swing of Things

It has been quite a while since I have posted on here (before updating my newspaper articles from college). I want to start by saying thanks for reading again.. Mom. 

The last time I posted I was looking for my first job out of college. Despite being probably the last thing I ever thought I would do after obtaining a college degree, I became a car salesman. I worked at a Nissan dealership in Columbus for the last year and a half. I took the job because I was living on my own and needed to start making money. I had heard countless stories about car salesmen being the scum of the earth, so to say I was looking forward to doing this for a living would be a lie. 

I continued looking for other jobs for some time with no luck, which was frustrating to me. I know my generation often feels entitled to everything without putting in the work and earning things. I really did not think this way. But I also didn't feel like I should have such a hard time finding a job in my career field. I was as qualified as I could possibly have been leaving college. I finished school with a 3.7 GPA with a double major. I had internships every summer I was in school. I played and was captain on the basketball team. I was a leader on student government. I did work for the yearbook and the school newspaper. And I present well. So why I could not get a job in my field was beyond me. 

My first few months in the car business, I had some success and some disappointment. Then, a light bulb went on, and I started to figure out how to be successful. My increased dedication and work ethic combined with the fact that I started to learn more about the products and about sales in general led to a great year for me. I ended up selling 176 cars in 2014, which put me in second place in the dealership in sales despite having much less experience than many of the people I worked with and only a handful of cars behind the leader. I am very proud of the year I had and ended up really enjoying my time in the car business. I was consistent in both sales and customer satisfaction. 

Again, I know a lot of people have a negative connotation with car salesmen. The reason I was able to enjoy my time there so much was because Nissan North is not like most car dealerships. The people there are genuinely good. The managers are great and they do things the right way. I prided myself in my time there in being respectful of customers, being open and honest, and making sure I was doing what was in the customer's best interests. 

A little difficult to read, but I finished the year with 176 cars

This past August, I married my best friend. I met Micayla one day during college when I went to the post office to pick up a package. As soon as we met, I was very interested in her. Or I at least thought she was absolutely gorgeous and nice and intriguing. But I was still shy and didn't think I would ever have a shot. That shot came with a bit of luck and a lot of seemingly random events.

During the end of my junior year, someone asked me to apply for a student government position. I had no plans to do so previously and did not really think I would get it, but figured I might as well give it a try. I ended up getting the spot, only to find out later that this cute girl from the post office happened to be on student government as well. We talked a few times briefly that spring about campus events. I started to really like her despite the fact that I didn’t really know her. I tried to get her to play basketball with me one day right before summer, and she said yes. Then she blew me off. So during the summer I tried to forget about her so it wouldn’t be awkward when we worked together.

The student government group went on a retreat and had meetings planning events the week before school started up my senior year. We spent a good amount of time hanging out there and got to know each other a little better. At this point, I had no idea if we were just becoming friends or if she was at all interested in me. It turns out she was. A few months later, we were dating. The rest, as they say, is history. All I know is that I am the luckiest guy in the world to have Micayla as my wife. She is incredible in every way.

Our wedding was a fun day!

In January, Micayla and I moved to North Carolina, where she is attending Elon University’s Physician’s Assistant program. We are really enjoying living here, but being so far away from family and friends has been hard. Micayla has been working tirelessly on her studies and has been excelling. Meanwhile, I have been looking for a job again. And once again, I am having a very difficult time doing so, which is frustrating all over again. I have had numerous people I trust and respect help me to improve how I put myself out there. But I have not had any luck so far. I am keeping the faith that I will find something good very soon. It has not been easy, though. Recently, I have started to look into getting into coaching, as well. Although, I am uncertain if I would be able to do coaching and have time for a full time job to pay the bills while Micayla is in school. I have always loved basketball, and I miss being around the game and the teams. I loved when my dad was a coach, and I would go to practices with him and play against older guys. I am hoping I can at least get some experience on the side so that if I get into it full time, that I will have a little more experience. 

If anybody knows anybody in marketing/advertising/graphic design or in coaching in North Carolina, please let me know! Thanks.

We got to see Russell Westbrook during his ridiculous season at our first Hornets game!