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There's no such thing as Friendship in Competition

The thing about the old days…they the old days. – Slim Charles

Those are the words that were uttered by The Tall Philosopher Slim Charles from one of the greatest shows that’s ever been made, The Wire. His one quote can be used to describe just about anything we talk about, as we get up in age. I mean, think about it. Folks tend to favor the music they grew up on, the food, the times, just about anything that was a part of their childhood, or their years coming into adulthood. It’s like once we get old, everything current sucks, and we just long for the old times.

Let's face it; those times are never coming back. The best thing for us to do is charge it to the game…or get old-school radio and listen to music when it was actually good. Sorry; as you can see, there’s still some of Willie McCullough’s (old-school player from UPS) gripes in my ear about how our generation isn’t worth a damn.

Well, this is fairly evident in sports. Just take a look at a football game on Sunday or an NBA game on pretty much any night. Watch an NFL game and see somebody get tackled, and what’s the first thing that happens? The dude who tackles an offensive player sticks his hand out to help a player up. The player gives him a tap on the head, a pat on the back, or even takes his mouthpiece out to chop it up about what club they’re going to afterwards, where they can find some good catfish, a steak, some chicken, or any other nonsense that shouldn’t matter when you’re out there playing.

The last straw came for me, well in terms of making me want to write this post, when I saw Dwight Howard get fouled by Dwayne Wade the other night. Howard put his hands on Wade’s shoulders like he was giving the man a massage. Wade tried to keep a straight face, but it eventually broke, and they engaged in some banter of some kind. Sure, it should be cool, but that kind of crap pisses me off, and it makes me wish the old days were here.

Luckily, all teams haven’t been bitten by wanting to all be friends on the court. Some still hold that old-school bunker mentality where it’s us against them. Sure, you can shake hands after the game, ask about the family when the clock hits zero, but until then, friendships are gone. B-Lew calls it The Social Media Explosion. Basically, the theory is Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and all those networks have merged together and it makes it easier to interact with everyone, and, at least in the sports realm, it comes at the expense of complete and unadulterated competition. Cats would rather make Facebook photo albums or be in someone’s Top Eight on Myspace than go at it full-tilt. It’s disgusting.

Thank God we still have the Boston Celtics to remind folks that things don’t have to be this way. It’s almost ironic how all of my childhood heroes, all the ones who didn’t grow in the social media age, are all on the same team and still have the mindset of us v. them, and the mindset that we’re not boys, podnas, or friends if you’re not wearing green.

Shoot, for all we know, the Celtics still use Stay-Flo to put the crease in their clothes, still use VCRs to watch game tape, and go to a phone book when they wanna find a phone number. They probably still all have flip phones with no text messaging, no picture mail, and no GPS, either. When they want directions, they go to the gas station, and buy a map like real men, and unfold that joint across the seat! For all we know, they probably still play crossword puzzles and read the newspaper and not the online edition that’s on the computer. If it wasn’t for Boston, the league would be softer than the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, Charmin Extra Soft, a melted pack of Twix, and a bag of jelly beans that were left out in the sun on the front seat of your car.

Why do you think young guys in the league talk so greasy about Kevin Garnett? He doesn’t play Call of Duty, or do the Stanky Leg, Josephine Johnny, or any other silly-ass activities that youngsters do. When he’s out there hoopin’, he uses every old man trick in the book that anyone who ever played ball should know about. It’s only look down as bad, because enough folks on the court range anywhere from ten years younger or less than he is, and they’ve been brainwashed into thinking it's okay to hold hands and bullcorn around while they’re on the court. Some of those youngsters were in high school when KG was already a man on the court. Times are just different now.

You can be a good sport without having to be all buddy-buddy. This isn’t a ploy to make sports dirty or rougher than it has to be, but it is a plea for folks to stop trying to be each other’s friends when the goal of the game is to compete at the highest level. Players can be cool afterwards, but in between those lines, it’s on like Donkey Kong.

Be easy.
-K. Masenda
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!


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