Saturday, July 18, 2009

Strike !!!

Hitting a baseball is said to be one of the most difficult acts in sports.
But if we examine the philosophy behind hitting a pitch, we see similarities with how one should approach life.

Hitters like Jr. are able to hit balls that are thrown at various speeds, at difficult angles and over different parts of the plate.
Being able to adapt to the pitch enables such hitters to take control of any situation.

If we use the baseball metaphor as it relates to race, gender, sexual orientation or whatever - we can formulate a process on the best way to deal with each group's problems.
Many bloggers and social commentators have dismissed Obama's recent speeches at the NAACP and in Africa as empty rhetoric, pandering to his audience or as just trying to maintain his white base.

But Obama was (is) right.
Many people wait for that perfect pitch at a perfect speed at their perfect place over the plate at the perfect time of day before making any effort.
Many become angry when a pitch is thrown too low, too fast or is anywhere beyond their strike (comfort) zone.
But one could swing at such a pitch or one could wait for a better pitch.
The results from each decision will be determined by one's acquired abilities and knowledge of their opponents tendencies.
This is just part of the game.

Often, when I hear cries of racism, the people complaining should have never been up to bat in the Bigs in the first place.
For many, their game is still single or double "A".
The Majors require more talent and skill.
These complaints diminish the credibility of complaints of real discrimination and oppression.

The most common complaint among the educated is that they are cheated out of their desired position in life because they are (fill in the "oppressed" blank).
While their assumptions may be true - it may also be true that they lacked the game required to fully take advantage of their opportunities.
It may also be true that they are trying to play a position for which they did not prepare.
(As when an outfielder is trying to be a pitcher.)
It may also be true that each team already has enough skilled players to fill their slots within their lineup.
(Kind of like a company, city or state having enough communications majors but lacking enough engineers.)

So, if one lacks the skill to be the best (adding an incentive to displace those already in the current lineup), and the backup slots are already full - you're not being discriminated against, the team just doesn't need you at this time.

Some people complain that they are overwhelmed by the conditions of the game.
This is what happened with the NBA players trying to compete in International tournaments.
The more talented and skilled NBA ballers failed to understand the nuances of the similar, but slightly different, International game.
While the NBA ballers were use to playing a more one-on-one street style - their International counterparts were playing team ball (and winning).

This is what happens when someone is trained to only hit fastballs.
A curve ball or slider will limit their ability to perform at the Major League level.
This is also what happens when someone is trained only in the ways of the streets.
While they may be use to doing well when things are flying hard and fast - a more controlled pitch becomes harder to hit.
This is not racism.
This is one failing to fully develop their abilities to be able to possess a complete set of game skills.

But what of those who aren't playing in the Majors?
What of those who are still growing or who've reached their peak at less than Big League levels?
That's just life.
Does an uneducated janitor working for an hourly wage deserve to be compensated as much as the highly educated Dean of Students?
Does the guy stuck in the minors expect the Nike endorsement deal?
No. He understands that he lacks the skills to generate the salary and perks of the Big League players.
But somehow, when it comes to race, gender and other issues, this understanding gets lost.

When Obama said "No excuses" - what he really meant for us was not to "strike out looking".
He doesn't want us to settle for a walk.
He is saying for us to have our games at such a complete and dominant level as to diminishes the effectiveness of a low pitch or a slider or a curve ball.
What he was saying was for us to do the work (get our 10,000 hours of practice) to be able to compete at the Major league level (and to receive to salary and perks that go along with that).
He wasn't saying that all the pitches were going to be high and over the center of the plate - but that we should be prepared to hit them anyway.


FreeMan said...

I agree! There is a lot of ground to cover before racism is a viable excuse for failure. Someone has given the weak an out and they run to it and shout it from the mountaintops. In fact they have made it popular culture and are now influencing the ones who can make it to the majors.

The issue that supports opression is that natural shake out of things. I was talking to a friend who is from El Salvador and I said in your country there are Salvadorian people running the government right? There are salvadorian engineers right? I said there are lazy salvadorians right? He said yes, so I said if we agree that if all things are fair every race has a certain group that will rise above the rest? He said yes!

I said so when you see 20 million Blacks, millions of mexicans, and asians and the only people who run things are white then something is obviously wrong! Because in their absence these people run their own countries, water departments engineering firms, and tv stations.

So I agree there are a lot who are mentally and physically unable but the lack of representation in the USA is not because the ones who are here are just all dumb. Now that's impossible!

uglyblackjohn said...

@ FreeMan - I just finnished doing 2 weeks of painting on elderly people's homes.

The kids who were helping me were amazed at the waste by some of the people.
They couldn't understand why people bought big screen TVs but had holes in their floors. They found it odd that people would have a leaking roof but managed to go out to eat most nights.

And these were KIDS from the same neighborhoods.
When I asked them why they wasted their money on Air Force Ones, they went silent.
When they asked what they should be spending their money on - "Air Force Ones", I replied.

They'd already bought and paid for their school supplies, now they're working on paying for their school clothes.
(They'd taken care of their needs, now they could get some of their wants.)

But when kids see the foolishness - adults are just effing up.

FreeMan said...

To me it's just people emulating popular culture but never assess where they really are. The whole wasting of money to so called live it up without taking care of the base is indicative of the USA in general.

The kids get it worse because they have parents who are trying to cover the fact that they are poor by buying them expensive clothing. What I think shocks most people is that after they leave their mother the world is a lot harder to survive in and most just give up. They never had the work ethic nor the guidance to see how to build.

There is a real disconnect going on in most people minds. It's like someone has sold them that life is easy and someone will fill in the blanks. We hide the harshness of the world to our kids and thus they are ill-prepared for it tomorrow.

Indra Maghavan said...

Sure he says no excuses. But where is his proposal to end affirmative action set asides? Look at his SCOTUS pick: she supported the case of blatant discrimination against the high testing Whites who took the fireman test! His mouth is one place, but his actions are elsewhere.

uglyblackjohn said...

@ Indra - That's (Sotomayor)just one case.
Everybody practices A-A in favor of their sub-group at some point in their lives.
Obama is just trying to make sure the the beneficiaries are not limited to one group.