Youth Education, Sports Icons and Community Leadership

For as long as I can remember the will need to focus on college and the cultivation of a optimistic attitude has been proclaimed from the hill tops but has sadly only been embraced by a few in the trenches.

Now, it’s all about being “cool” or “hip.” It is about presenting the right “image”, about being able to impress the girls or one’s peers. It is about producing the group, about being the coolest looking player on the basketball court or football field, the dude with the snazzy haircut or braids, or gangster style tattoo, or Fubu outfit, or pricey Nike trainers, or gold chains, or rings, or saggy pants, or sports car or truck.

Of course girls aren’t immune, they also are enticed with “bribes” of great occasions and pregnancy! But it is mostly our boys – the next generation of Black males – that are in real and in some circumstances mortal danger. It may possibly be an overstatement to say that sports can be noticed as a new form of mental and physical slavery. But is it? It really is probably true to say that for the reason that it is eye-catching and associated with stardom, that sports exerts a potent influence on our youth and that in some respects its influence is insidious.

Okay you say, let’s preserve points in correct perspective. ? Just after all it really is only a game. And can we seriously offload this sports factor onto the media moguls, sports magnates or fashion homes? Accepted, they do have the energy and the influence but aren’t we the ones who willingly acquire their solutions, their services and who allow ourselves to be utilized?

As strong as the media is as seductive as the lure of immediate accomplishment by means of Nike trainers or an NBA or NFL contract could possibly appear, the reality is that most parents and youngsters are not caught up by the hype or fooled by the lies. In other words, the decision is ours. And several of us have taken a stand against the enticements of sport realizing that one particular Michael Jordan, or Venus or Serena Williams, or Tiger Woods does not an complete generation make.

The overwhelming majority of young black males who rally to the contact of the sports and style media are drawn either to basketball or football. Virtually undoubtedly these are the “coolest” sports and the black presence is clear. The couple of players who, either due to the fact of their functionality or earnings (the two generally go with each other), make it into the superstar leagues are the new emblems of success and have become the role models of every single young black male who fancies his chances and sees sports as an straightforward ticket out of the ghetto, the classroom, or the boring life dictated by these of his parents’ generation.

What I locate most worrying is the way in which the educational opportunities of quite a few young black males are seemingly being hijacked. Of course, these who make it into the skilled ranks realize the significance of a scholarship and a college education. But the stories of cooked grades and stars who can barely read or write are too real to dismiss as fantasy.

But, maybe a lot more significant even than this, is the “uncomplicated believism” that may perhaps be paralyzing or otherwise infecting our community via our youngsters. Hey, they say and think, you do not have to function too tough. Just play a small basketball. Do not worry about school. There is absolutely nothing wrong with practicing that jump shot all day at the park. Homework? What’s that?

Neglect it, who needs grades anyway? Just perform on these Harlem Globetrotter skills, slam, dunk, dribble, do not pass, drink your milk and Oreo cookies and consider of Michael Jordan’s achievement. No challenge. You happen to be gonna make it!

And my prayers are with you. But the reality is that you probably have a much better possibility of producing it to the White House and appointing an all-black cabinet as you do of becoming the next Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, or any of the other currently prime-rated basket ball stars.


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