Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The "N" Word: How a Simple Suffix Seperates

Hello. Greetings. Hi. How's it going? What's going on dude? What up nigga?

Huh? Come again?

Yeah, that's right, "What up nigga?"

That statement alone has caused you, the reader, into a social shift into acceptance, defiance, a feeling of uncomfortableness, and other mixed bags of emotions. Nonetheless, whatever it may be, that very word, whether used in a greeting, statement or salutation, causes an uneasiness in relationships, and social well-being.

However, it is a word that is used commonly in today's society. It's a word similar to the racial slur and hateful word of "nigger" which is used amongst friends, family, and confidants. It is practiced amongst many, as it is part of the hip-culture which embodies what America is today. It's use, as common as "dude, and "son" leaves the mouths of many youth today. Afterall, it's a universal term right?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Dome Pondering Classic - "Living Life Uphill: The Battle of America's Inner City Children"

A recent discussion with a close and loved one over different surroundings and upbringings reminded me of this piece. After searching through the vault, it was found, and a post was inevitable. The long read (And I mean long) was written in 2003 for a introductory writing course. So without any further due, here it is...

Living Life Uphill: The Battle of America's Inner City Children

Manifesto
Throughout history, there have been many forms of life and culture. Dating as far back as the origin of this great nation, many have lead different lives. From those that made their living in the open plains farming to the others who manned factories and industrialization plants in the cities, life has given everyone different cards to play with. Nonetheless, everyone worked with what they had to make life and society better for the entire population. People were people. No matter where they grew up, or resided, a man from the outskirts of Chicago was looked at the same as a man from the mid-west. However, over the years, certain stereotypes began to settle in about different people and their background or residency.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Stories of the First Half & Wishes for the Latter.

Homerun Derby Done. All-Star Game completed.

We are now ready to engage in the most important stretch of the Major League Baseball schedule - the second half. With the second half comes pennant races, creative trades and do or die series with rivaled division opponents. The second half of the season is gearing up to be an exciting one. However, before we look forward, here are my top ten stories from the first half of the season.

10. Delmon Young Throws Bat - Wow! No words can express Delmon Young's actions. The footage of this action was one never seen before as the bat thumped off the umpire's chest. There's a line seperating actions of how far to voice your opinion on the officiating of any game, but Young crossed that line and then some. Very foolish move on his part as a prized prospect in the Devil Ray's organization. Due to his actions, he got dealt with. Young recieved a 50 game suspension handed down by MLB and a ruined reputation.

9. Joe Mauer Becomes Difficult Out - .378 avg.- 7HR -45 RBI - .446 OBP - .535 SLG%. Joe Mauer has been on a tear this year hitting everything that is thrown at him. His ability to drive every pitch for a hit has helped the Minnesota Twins make run at the divisions top two dogs in the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers.

8. Public Reaction to A-Rod - It's no secret how the media and New York fans have treated A-rod during the first half. For a guy that has been nothing but politically correct, timid, and humble throughout his career, the boos and jeers had to get to A-Rod's psychy. Nonethless, the whole hype of him not being "clutch" is a rather fixture of creation by the media looking to stir the pot on a story. A-Rod hit over .350 with runners in scoring position in the first half. Yes, he did have a tough time with the slump, but who doesn't experience that? A-Rod's the prime example of a succesfull, easy going guy that is criticized for no apparent reason. We complain so much about today's athletes not being roll models. Yet, when we finally get one, we try to tear him down. The oh so powerful media outlet.

7. Albert Pujols Domination - .316 avg. - 29HR - 76 RBI- .435 OBP - .703 SLG%. All with missing a month of action due to injury. Enough said. Simply Dominating.

6. Central Divisions - The NL Central has been home to many surprises in baseball. Although the Cards are currently still the kings of the division, many clubs such as the Reds, Brewers, and Astros remain in contention. On the other hand, the AL Central has been baseball's best division thus far sporting the league's two best teams and the quickly rising Twins right behind them.

5. Struggling Angels - Although they are only 2.5 games out of first place, the struggling Angels have opened the door in the AL West. Usual powerhouses in the division, the Angels have struggled in every way possible this year, mainly with a poor offense.

4. Bonds passes Ruth - This one was years in the making, and it finally happened. As subdued as it was, it was nonetheless, an event that baseball fans will have in their minds forever. Although the road to 715 was slow due to Bonds' injuries and lack of preperation in Spring Training, homerun 716 in San Francisco off of Brian Moehler will always be remembered.

3. Yankees Banged Up - Injuries to the New York Yankees has killed what could've been a very forceful offensive machine this season. The Yankees had the potential to possibly score 1,000 runs this season. Despite the injuries, notably Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui, the Yanks have managed to stay within 3 games of the first place Boston Red Sox.

2. New York Mets - At 53-26, they were expected to be good this year. It's just hard to believe that the Mets are finally good. With one of the most exciting teams in all of baseball, the Mets are slowly pushing the Yankees off the backpages of the New York City newspapers.

1. Detroit Tigers - By far, the most surprising story of the year. The Tigers gout out to a hot start and haven't lead up yet. At 59-29, the Tigers are geared for the post-season. Something Tiger fans have long awaited.

Now with the second half slated to begin soon, here are ten things I hope to see in the second half of the season...

1. Yanks Re-Group - Being able to see the Yankees get Sheffield and Matsui, and yes, even you Mr. Pavano back would be exciting to see. Their is unbelievable potential for the Yankees true roster, and not only as a Yankee fan, but as a baseball fan, would it add to an already exciting MLB season.

2. Bonds and Griffey Return to Norm - These two have meant so much to baseball over the past ten years. To be able to watch both men return to old form for atleast half of a season would be great for baseball. Especially with both being on teams that are still in the playoff hunt, a discovery of the fountain of youth would be a blast from the past.

3. New Collective Bargaining Agreement- With the new deal set to expire in December, MLB and the Major League Player's Association need to agree on a new CBA to prevent another strike. With the game at an all-time high, the need to agree on all the key issues to keep the game moving ahead is vital.

4. Playoff Contention - This year MLB is beginning to see the fruits of the labor from the 2002 CBA. With revenue sharing, teams are now able to compete and contend for the World Series. This year, every division except for the NL East is still open. As the baseball season kicks off the second half and hopefully, down the stretch,it would be nice to see all the teams stay close, making September exciting. Everyone wins, with exciting September baseball.

5. More Young Talent - The first half we have seen a display of various young talents throughout the league. It almost seems that every team in MLB has one or two young talents that is exciting. Even the New York Yankees, who has been known in the past to trade away young talent, have a few. Hoepfully, the young talent stays hot, and during september call ups, we'll see more.

6. Coverage of Jose Canseco Stops - Hopefully, ESPN will stop showing footage of Canseco's comeback on Sportscenter and Baseball tonight. He's a guy that is self-indulgent and it is just another one of his sick plots to put himself in the spotlight. Let's move on and not give Canseco any attention. As he hasn't done anything positive for the sport that has made him who he is.

7. Healthy Peter Gammons - This is simple. No peter Gammons, means baseball during the trade deadline is boring. It's definately an emty void without Gammons bringing those uncanny statistics and hot news to us every night. Get Well Peter.

8. Royals and Pirates Prepare - The Pirates and Royals stink. Period. Hoepfully, they will use this time to improve themselves and to prepare for next year.

9. Good Post-Season & World Series - Baseball has had some really good post-seasons and another one wouldn't hurt. An exciting month of October is the only way to cap off what has been a tremendous start to the 2006 campaign. Let's just hope the National League representative can show up in the Fall Classic.

10. Yankees World Series Title - Well, I did say I was a fan. It's been too long. Go Yanks!

Enjoy the second half of the season.

Imagination - The missing Piece of the American Pie

"Cheating Death. Stealing Life". The catchy and trademark title of the Eddie Guerrero autobiography is one that is worth a read. The autobiography, ofcourse about the wrestler himself, is a story that is full of despair, struggle, triumph and life lessons that sets it apart from many other wrestling autobiographies on the market. After completing it, one has to ponder about the world of professional wrestling and its true relations with society over the past and into the future.

Professional wrestling has been around since 1901. Many historical records date back to the early 1900's and some even dwindles further back. It was derived ofcourse, from the art of greco roman wrestling, thus evolving into much more than a struggle between two men. From the bounds of amatuer wrestling as it is called today, grew professional wrestling, a stigma which captured the attention of those seeking much more than a mat and a scoreboard. The wrestling business quickly caught on in North America, where many territorial organizations and groups brought professional wrestling locally to their respective areas.

As the business grew, and interest reached new heights, the business took another step, going national with many promotions such as the World Wide Wrestling Federation (Which has now become World Wrestling Entertainment), the American Wrestling Association (AWA) and the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). Then came wrestling's biggest boom in the mid to late 90's with competitve World Wrestling Enetertainment (Then WWF) and World Championship Wrestling. At this time, over ten million fans each monday night tuned into wrestling to watch both company's flagship shows, Nitro and Raw. The two shows aired head to head, and were geared for a ratings war, which lasted many years. During this time, Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) also became a hit on the east coast gaining a cult-like audience. The wave didn't stop there. Many of the Mexican promotions were hot as well, such as the AAA, and the EMLL were doing great business. Wrestling has evolved greatly throughout the century, and has definately become part of the American culture.


Today, professional wrestling is not as in- demand as it once was in the late 90's, but it continues to flourish behind the support of the die hards. Nonethless, the average wrestling fan is able to tune into wrestling programming four nights a week! With Total Nonstop Action (TNA) and the WWE providing that kind of entertainment, the average wrestling fan can't help but be more than satisified.

However, professional wrestling continues to be the victim of sheer criticism and jokes throughout American culture. Many refuse to watch it and take shots at it because of of their claim that it is "fake" or because it is "goofy" or just flat out ridiculous. Their explanations to describe reasons for not watching it or giving it a chance is filled with a redundant echos of a failed imagination.

After all, professional wrestling is all about the imagination.

Now it is no secret that wrestling has had its times of trials. However, it's nothing that isn't comparable to what has, or is happening in society today. Many call professional wrestling programming stupid, edgy, graphic and not suitable for children. Yet, we tell our kids to turn off what is merely a version of good vs. evil so they can tune into an episode of the Real World? We cry out chants of "Steroids!" when a wrestlers walks out, yet most of the athletes in America's four major sports, uses them as well. We shake our heads in shame, as we wonder how ridiculous the current segment is, yet millions of viewers accepted shows like Joe Millionaire and Who wants to marry a Millionaire?
Theres a double standard.

In no means, am I defending professional wrestling for its shaky past, present or future, nor am I attempting to recruit future fans of the sport (Whether its a sport or not is a topic in itself). However, I do feel that professional wrestling has a bigger foundation in American culture than is percieved. The typical American knows the likes of a Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin and many more. They're not just fads that happened, these are names that in some way shape or form has influenced us as children or in our currrent state. How cool was saying your prayers and taking vitamins when Hogan did? How many kids shouted sayings created by The Rock? How many people know what a clothesline is? Ever hear of Andre the Giant? The sheer fact that you, the reader, know the answer to atleast one of those questions proves professional wrestling's influence.

Believe it or not, wrestling is part of our society. Yet, only few understand its true concept.

Wrestling. It's a concept so delusional, so fixed on illusions and creativity that it confuses many. It's a world full of grown men with characters, personalities and personas, beating one another in front of thousands of fans.

How can this be accepted?

Imagination. It's all about the imagination. The ability to free your mind and allow yourself to live in another world. Wrestling does that. It creates a world where something as wacky as an evil clown can fight a former police offiicer. A place where the ring becomes a courtroom, where all problems are hashed out. A place where evil bosses get their due, and the good prevails. A place where for the time being, life's problems aren't as important.

Wrestlers know this. They're trained for this. It's their job to guide you in this world.

Their in-ring work tells a story. Of two men, doing battle in a ring. The entire match, with different ups and downs. Teasing victory, defeat, cheating and courage. Expressing emotion. Displaying athleticism. Showing cooperation and most importantly, putting on a show.

Some say that it is fake and that "They teach you how to fall".

To quote the legendary announcer, Jim Ross, "Yes, you can teach someone how to fall. But you can't teach them how to take the pain from the fall." Wrestlers sustain serious injuries. From pull muscles, to broken bones, to paralysis, to even some as serious as life threatening. Their work is the epitome of cooperation, as the two wrestlers must work in unisance to put on a good match for those in attendance and for those watching at home. Their work sometimes resembles artwork that cannot be duplicated.

They are also people. People with families. Families they do not see when on the road for 350 days of the year, traveling to entertain us, and defending their trade from the less imaginitive. They are men that put their bodies on the line each and every night to relieve us and give us that world away from reality.

Yet, some of this has no meaning. Many still overlook all of these aspects in regards to the wrestling business. Their inability to understand the essence of professional wrestling and why there is such a passion from the fans lie in the fact that some just do not have an imagination. The inability to release reality, and to allow yourself to become wrapped up in in a product so far-fetched, so over the top, so creatively demanding, that it causes a rejection in this fantasy world. The fact that doubters aren't creatively intapped enough to suspend reality for a few moments, causes there ignorance against a trade that is meant to expand the imagination.

Afterall, there is a reason why amatuer wrestling isn't as popular as professional wrestling.

Despite the unbelievers and critics of the phenomenon, wrestling continues to be a force. The WWE continutes to be a profitable, public sharing company making millions annually, with many other up and coming promotions following on the same path. It's been here for over a century, and whether or not our mainstream culture refuses to admit it, whether critics ultimately deny it, and whether closet fans choose not to defend it, professional wrestling was, is, and will always be part of American society.

A man like Eddie Guerrero, who grew up molded into the wrestling industry. His father, Gory Guerrero, and his brothers, Chavo, Mando, and Hector were all wrestlers. He gave the wrestling business his life. He spent everyday since he was seventeen, performing and enertaining the thousands of fans that filled the arena on a given night. He was a true professional. His character, his wrestling ability, and his charimsa captured the attention of many whenever he walked through a curtain into an arena, or through a television screen. He was one of those people, that helped remove our sense of reality and took us away. Eddie stretched our imagination to new heights.

Although, wrestling remains on the outside of total acceptance within our culture, and within the entire core of our society, it is alright. For now the American pie does not include professional wrestling. However, for those of us that understand the business, the art, the entertainment and most of all, the imagination that is professional wrestling - we are content.

And to the people such as Eddie Guerrero that help makes this weird twisted world a possibility for us every week, I thank you. Whether it be for ten, thirty or sixty minutes, our imaginations were stretched that much more.

Eddie Guerrero 1967-2005