Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Pondering 10 – All-Time Sports Heartbreak Moments

Sports are all about emotion. Whether you are a spectator or participating, the thrill of the ride includes many peaks and valleys. Because of the clear cut result – win or loss – emotions in sports are always one of two extremes – excitement or heartbreak. Every and any individual that is a sport enthusiast has had there fair share of moments on either side of the emotional coin. In the following Pondering 10 list, yours truly will reveal the top ten moments in sports that caused tremendous heartbreak. And yes, I will admit, the following list are moments that truly effected my mood following the event. Without further adieu, my all-time sports heartbreak moments:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2011 Bucket List - #8 Finish “The Purpose Driven Life”

Imagine spending ten minutes each day, for forty days, as a way to focus and give meaning to your entire life. Tough, huh? Well, it is indeed possible, as yours truly managed to do so over the past sixty days. Yes, sixty, sorry, sometimes life just happens. However, after wanting to do so for a very long time, I managed to complete the best seller and highly regarded book, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.

After receiving the book prior to beginning college, I’ve started and stopped several times without thoroughly completing the forty chapters. As number eight on the 2011 Bucket List, yours truly finally completed it from cover to cover.

And while there are still many, many topics covered by Warren that I would like to review and get more in-depth with, the book is one that is highly recommended for all to read. Without giving away any lessons, thoughts, or questions raised throughout the forty chapters, Warren focuses on redirecting an individual’s life to the purposes God had and has for us. It will force you to realize the many meaningless worries, possessions, and focus that dominate our lives. 

The three biggest points I’ve kept with me so far – everything in life is a test, a trust, and is temporary.

Intrigued?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Facing The Inevitable Every. Single. Day.

In the wake of Japan’s recent tragedy, and the sudden occurrence of it all, we were reminded of how fast life can change, even when we attempt to prepare for such changes (Can’t Prepare For The Inevitable). Life happens, and often, it happens fast, changing everything we once knew. However, what happens when that change is linked to your mortality? What happens when the inevitable you are facing is not just a change to your life, but the end of it?
In an article yours truly read today in the New York Daily News, a couple right here in Brooklyn were diagnosed with advanced cancer within a week of one another, a man with about 60% chance of surviving the next five years, and his wife, with a 16% chance. In a twist on the life lesson we learned from the Japan earthquakes, sometimes the inevitable isn’t a sudden occurrence, but one that haunts you every awakened hour.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Heatles vs. The Phour Aces: Where Is The Hype?

DPHeatlesAcesHype

As the NBA Season nears an end, it’s safe to say that the Miami Heat’s experiment of collecting big time talent on one team has been a successful one. I know, I know, I hate the Heat, so why the fond introduction? Well, although I despise the Miami Heat due to my Knick roots, and will always be disappointed in LeBron James’ decision to take his “talents to South Beach” (Disappointment: The True Fallout From The Decision), I have to be, and will be  honest.

The trio of James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh has been entertaining, impressive, and great for the league. After all, they are a lightning rod, regardless of the outcome of the game, the self-proclaimed “Heatles” (seriously, who makes up their own nickname?) have been a fascinating story. And of course, this was also due to the hype and grandeur that ESPN has emphasized every chance they get.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Past. Present. Future. Some Guys Just Don’t Get It.

DPJustDontGetIt Some guys just don’t get it. Past, present, or future.
And that is a statement I believe to be true after reading several stories that littered our society’s news feed this week.
From the mismanagement of finances, unacceptable behavior, shocking statements, and the spoiled sense of entitlement portrayed this week, “not getting it”, is the only conclusion any normal, sane individual can come to. Unfortunately, in a world where all of these character traits are on a list with many other more, these are the types of actions that a) either propels one to fame, or b) keeps one on the front pages of newspapers and the leads of nightly news telecasts.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

2011 Bucket List - #18 Compose a Song

Can I write a song? Hmm, maybe. Can I produce a song. Nope. Can I even sing? Absolutely not. Yet, I enjoy music, I enjoy the message it sends, and it’s ability to make you feel a special way, and take you back to a distinct time. With that in place, #18 on the 2011 Bucket List called for your truly to compose a song. Any song. And with very little vocal ability and about ten minutes to write a song about anything, I did just that.
Luckily for me, the song was recorded, produced, engineered, and is currently being edited by one of my good friends who happens to be a music engineer that does these type of things for a living. At this point I’m convinced, if the final product can sound somewhat easy on the ears, then not only is he a genius, but I’m convinced the music industry is that much more about image, politics, relationships, and politics than actual talent. But that rant and argument is for another day. 

Now I’m sure there are some of you who would like to hear the actual song, of course, out of sheer anticipation of much humor. The song is one that is filled with foolish lines and nonsense about a typical day of yours truly. The mini hook, “I break arms” is one that in some odd way engrained itself into me, my friend, and my tag-team partner, who happened to also drop a line on the track – literally. Her one line, “Can I get a ride?” Yeah, exactly. The entire project, based on the quality of talent we were working with, is so bad it’s hard not to keep listening.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Unity Road Writings – Wedding or Wrestlemania?

192 Days to go.

This past weekend I decided to be a little proactive in the process of putting this wedding together. After all, I’ll be very honest, if there was a meter to decipher the amount of work put into making “9.24.11” into a special day, it would read something like this – 70% Tag Team Partner, 30% yours truly. Although, my tag-team partner has very much been excited in doing much of this work, I have held my own. However, honestly, I will never be able to match the level of interest and excitement she has in coordinating it all. She is definitely on a mission. Me? Well, just tell me when we’re boarding for the honeymoon.

So yes, regardless, it is a very embarrassing ratio. However, much to my credit, I have indeed been in every decision so far. Being proactive, well, that’s another story. So with that said, this past Saturday I decided to personally deliver some “Save The Dates” to a couple of my friends.

Monday, March 14, 2011

March Madness 2011 - The Official DP Bracket

Another March, another field of college basketball teams that will look to be the last team standing. With the addition of the “First Four”, what the first four play-in games are now being billed as, the NCAA tournament will be even harder than ever to predict. Also, without a true favorite, or even a select few teams that are above the rest, the tournament should make for lots of upsets and drama – just what we all like and hope for.

And although the tournament and college basketball’s play has suffered recently with watered down play (now hides from college basketball enthusiasts), something Michael Wilbon touches on in a great article written here, the NCAA tournament , the true unpredictability and parity that college basketball has this year will make this tournament, in my opinion, one of the best of the past few years.


With that said, like everyone else, here goes our attempt at filling out a bracket…

Sunday, March 13, 2011

An Emphatic, What Is This? TNA Victory Road A Dead End

DPTNAVictoryRoad
Hopefully, you did not spend $30 on this.
TNA Victory Road 2011, was one of the worst pay-per-views I have ever witnessed put on by a professional wrestling company. Yes, it is up there with the infamous ECW December to Dismembers of the world. Victory Road had very little build-up going in, bottomed out with lackluster performances up and down the card, including possibly, the worst main event I can remember on any show, house shows included, that I have seen.

However, despite the lack of build-up, there have been many shows that have been thrown together that produced quality entertainment for the night. And despite all of the drama that surrounds the issue of the  Sting vs. Jeff Hardy main event, the issue runs deeper than the unexplainable 90 second main event. 

Is it terrible to cap off an already terrible show with such controversy? Of course. The only match worth watching on this pay-per-view was AJ Styles (never has a bad match) and Matt Hardy. Yet, what Jeff Hardy pulled tonight was grounds for termination. Outright and complete termination. Regardless of his name, star power and/or fan base.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Slavery: 100 Years Ago, and Yes, Still An Issue…

DPFreedomProject
Courtesy: CNN.com
In the year 2011, it is crazy to believe that slavery and other forms of “ownership” exists in the world. Here in American, such an idea is a reminder of a past that this nation prefers to forget, however, the reality is, it is part of the progression (and still is) that this country has made. Slavery is a  social hurdle that needed to be leaped in order for this nation to understand the differences between us all, and of course, the ignorance and outright evil that mankind is capable of.
Now with over a century removed from slavery in our own land, the concept seems about as ancient and outdated as any hundred years can make something feel. As an American, and one that realizes that such activity did exist in the past in other countries, it was shocking to read about CNN’s “Freedom Project” series this past week on the issue of slavery, and it’s current relevance, and prevalence, throughout the world.
The form of sex trafficking, and how it has now become a bigger and sadly, a more profitable, industry than that of drugs and narcotics was one that raises eyebrows. Right under our noses and directly off our streets around the world, women, and now men as well, are being kidnapped of all ages, sometimes as young as eight years old, are kidnapped and held against their will. These men and women, and sadly, boys and girls, are shipped, traded, pawned, and enslaved to work for those that have captured them. The industry, which barely raises red flags due to the difficulty of finding those who are being trafficked, and the ability to trade and transfer people rather than illegal substances, is much reason for its growth. Currently, markets in Europe are leaders, and yes, such travesties are occurring right here in the United States.
Another form of slavery which really grabbed my attention in the current project is the form of slavery we are all familiar with, the uncut, uneducated, rule-by-fear, working for a master type of slavery. The series revealed story, after story, after story, of people around the world who are currently under slavery, with very limited education, few rights, no freedom, and even a lesser chance of escaping. The horror-filled stories that include torture, ridiculous forms of child labor, rape, and terror, all surround the type of control placed upon people who have no idea of the reason for their slavery. For some, the biggest tragedy is their unawareness that slavery is illegal in their country, however, due to their lack education and most of all, their fear will never know so, or will know how to escape it.
The series which you can check out here, is very highly recommended, and one that every individual ought to take some time to make themselves aware of. Freedom is often something we here in America take for granted when the smallest and most minuscule of liberties are at debate, however, we often forget, despite the 100 years that has gone by, slavery in our world still exists. And it exists in many, many, many different forms.
“Enslave the liberty of but one human being and the liberties of the world are put in peril.”
-William Lloyd Garrison

Friday, March 11, 2011

Can’t Prepare For The Inevitable

Courtesy of CNN.com It seems not too long ago the world stopped in horror as we watched the horrific state that became the Republic of Haiti following a devastating earthquake. Then we did it again with Chile, and one more time with the floods and mudslides in Pakistan. Again, on March 11th, 2011, we stop and looked on as Japan was not just ravaged by a 8.9 magnitude earthquake, but a 6.6 aftershock, as well as developing tsunamis off it’s shores that now leaves the nation a complete wreck. 

As more and more is revealed, such as the rising death tolls, continuing collapsing buildings, and the warning of leaked nuclear and radioactive material, the external dangers continue to present themselves. And with surrounding tsunamis that have formed from the massive earthquakes, assistance, aid, and recovery will be delayed.

Monday, March 07, 2011

The Unity Road Writings – The Unknown Road

201 Days to go. 

Often, I find myself clicking the “random pondering” link here at the DP and reading a post from the past. Doing so always makes for an interesting read as I am able to see what type of mindset, feeling, or thought process I had during that time. Whether it be a personal post, a poem, or thoughts on sports, wrestling, or the current times, the DP is also collection of different checkpoints in this race we called life. 

One of my favorite posts to look back on are the California Chronicles written in late 2009. The series is always an interesting read to look back on, because of where, when, and how it was written, and the way the experience helped in changing me. 

With that said, as the days continue until, in the words of the legendary Ric Flair, “walk that aisle, style, and profile” (Ok maybe not to that extent), I wanted to place these thoughts in a series where I could not just express my feelings, but also share them with you, my audience, and hopefully, one day look back upon them as I do the Chronicles.

Friday, March 04, 2011

The Pondering 10 – All-Time Animated Cartoons

Every individual enjoyed cartoons as a child. While today’s youth may not have many options, or even care for cartoons, for generations in the past, cartoons provided many hours of laughter, memories, and overall entertainment. In the following Pondering 10 list, yours truly will name my all-time favorite cartoons. This list is by far the hardest list compiled hear on the DP due to the enormous amount of cartoons that were great, as well as putting together a profound and honest list based on quality and interest. In doing so, I have left out such cartoons such as Family Guy and King of The Hill, as these are more connected to the present time rather than childhood memories. Also, please keep in mind, the following cartoons have must be noted as an honorable mention: Duck Tales, Goof Troop, The Jetsons, Thundercats, Darkwing Duck, Tale Spin, Gargoyles, Batman, Pinky and the Brain, Speed Racer, Doug, Garfield, Bobby’s World, Sonic The Hedgehog, Ghostbusters, Tailspin, Captain Planet, Biker Mice From Mars, and Rockos Modern Life. With that said, I’m sure the debate, shock, and agreement will follow with the Pondering 10: All Time Animated Cartoons.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Integrity At All Cost

DPBrandonDaviesBYU “Let the kid play!”

“Are you serious?”

“Let the kids be kids!”

These were  some of the statements made in regards to the recent story of Bringham Young University basketball star, Brandon Davies, who has been dismissed due to violating the school’s honor code. Davies, the leading rebounder for a BYU team that is a viable contender to win the NCAA championship, was dismissed for having premarital sex with his girlfriend, a clear violation of the Mormon University’s honor code. Following the decision, the school is receiving much public criticism and backlash for its handling of the situation and for ruining a chance at a national championship.

However, one has to applaud the decision of BYU for remaining committed to it’s moral standards, which are in-line with it’s religious beliefs. NCAA athletics often have the false facade of being competition that is about “the sport, not the money” or “students playing for the love of the game”. While that is true, behind that false white bronco of a belief we often indulge in, collegiate sports at the elite level is often more corrupt and unethical than any form of athletics.

In an age where the business of television dollars drives the NCAA’s decisions, BYU’s gutsy call of character and faith over winning stands in the face of the “must-win” culture that is in college hoops. From the coaching scandals, illegal recruiting, academic-fixing, and lack od discipline, universities are placing winning and athletics at a higher priority than ever before.

What is also interesting, is to see where universities of religious foundations such as St. Johns, Notre Dame, and others are when it comes to their students violating simple character and moral principles. The same win at all cost mentality for such schools have also become the norm.

And let’s be honest, for those that are drinking the Kool-Aid and making Davies into a victim because of the BYU “tyrant-dictatorship” decision, let’s not forget, Davies understood the rules and guidelines of the honor code before he attended the university.

And most importantly, he accepted their scholarship under those terms.

In other words, he took their money and broke the agreement they made.

This is a lesson Davies may have never learned at any other college, university, or institution in the nation.

So yes, while BYU sacrificed a once in a generation opportunity at a national title, in the end, BYU protected the most important quality in it’s decision to dismiss Davies – the integrity of the school.

A quality that cannot be earned through winning.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

What The Heck…Even Auto-tune Can’t Help Kardashian

DPKardashianMusicReview What the heck is this?
Thus, was my initial reaction after listening to Kim Kardashian’s latest single, “Jam”. The song, leaked today, reeks of auto-tune, something I’ve touched on in the past that will eventually be the downfall of pure music as we know it (Auto-tune.Lyrics. Quality: The Falling Standards of Music). The song, sung by Kardashian, of course, and shockingly produced by hit-maker, The Dream, cannot be describe in any other way than simply, awful. There is no other way to put it, to sugar coat it, or even to find anything nice other than to say, at least she tried. 

What continues to baffle me is the opportunity that is there for anyone with connections to jump into the music industry. After all, let me throw it out there before it becomes the five hundred pound gorilla in the room, I have no idea why Kim Kardashian is popular? Why is America so enamored with the entire family and their reality show? I’ll admit it, I will never – ever – understand that.