Just a place for random rantings and ravings.....

Thursday, January 18, 2007

It's a (Black) Super Bowl Sunday

As I was growing up, I became a HUGE sports fan, and there's only one person I can credit with that- my Dad! I can remember when boxing used to come on ABC's Wild World of Sports and my dad would be right there- front and center, watching some no-name pugilist bob and weave in the hopes of one day getting a title shot in his respective weight class. Sometimes he would win, sometimes he would get his ass kicked, but my dad was right there, hoping he'd jab his way to victory. One thing I started realizing is that regardless of who was fighting, my dad would always root for the Black dude... Honestly, I really didn't think of it as anything extraordinary at the time.....

In the mid 80's, I remember going to a bowling alley with my dad and watching Philly play Boston in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals and sure enough, my dad was rooting for the 76ers. Me being the little kid trying to establish my "man"hood at the tender age of 8, rooted for Boston. It wasn't because I liked Larry Bird or those putrid green uniforms with the too short, ass huggin' mini pants. It was because that small competitive side of me wanted to beat my dad at something! He gave me whoopins on occasion (deservedly so) and I guess I felt that it was the only way I could get the best of him- without getting another whoppin for it! I think Philly won though, as my dad ALWAYS seemed to know who was going to win in the end. Hell, I don't remember...but what I DO remember is the fact that Philly had a whole lot more Black players than Boston....hmmm.

Then, Super Bowl 22 came around and MY Denver Broncos were facing the Washington Redskins. Throughout the game, I was hopelessly cheering my lackluster Donkeys like a rabid dog, but my Dad was being a "traitor" and cheering FOR the ENEMY (yes Woozie, that would be YOUR team!) This, I could not understand in the slightest bit. Hell, we lived IN Denver and my dad had called it home for 14 some odd years. How could he be cheering for the damn Redskins in the most important football game of the year?!?! I think it was THEN that it hit me...My dad wasn't rooting for the 'Skins at all, he was rooting for Doug Williams. In case you need a quick lesson in Sports History, Doug Williams is the first and ONLY Black quarterback to have won the BIG one in football and did it by royally kickin' our asses, 42-10. This in turn set aside years of racial stereotyping that said a Black QB couldn't do it. Up yours Jimmy the Greek! In fact, Williams had one of the best games in Superbowl history, but I won't go into details, THAT ass whoopin' still stings a bit.

Since then, I've found myself rooting for the Black cats too- just like my dad. It doesn't even matter what sport- golf, bowling, NASCAR, bassfishing, figure skating...you get the idea. I don't even WATCH these damn boring ass sports, but if there's a Black person competing, I'm on their side, and it seems like my whole family has joined the fray. Just to give you an idea, my grandmother didn't start watching tennis until the Williams sisters came on the scene. Now she tells ME about the matches in great detail. During the World Cup (uh, that would be soccer!) I openly hoped for all the African teams (and Trinidad) to do well. When they all got eliminated, I was hoping Ecuador would make a good run- which they did. Then they got put out so finally I settled on France because they were the one team with the most Black dudes on it. Now this may seem like a racist notion to some- but it's not. Maybe there's a bit of hypocracy involved considering my globalist point of view, but I can't help it, dammit! Here's why.

(I know this seems like it should be a WTF post, two Black dudes on ice skates and a presidential hopeful but pinch yourself, it's for REAL!)

What struck me most was the realization that each victory for a Black contender in sports, politics, medicine, and ANYTHING else has always been a metaphoric victory for ALL Black people. Just like the days when Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali (Happy Birthday Champ) were literally fighting their way to the top, each knockout was a symbolic message of hope- their victories were our victories. They made us human at a time when most of society thought of us less than human, and treated us worse. What a heavy burden! Though times have invariably changed, the uplifting feeling of pride that occurs everytime a Black person succeeds has not.

This weekend marks a possibly HUGE moment in the world of sports. For the first time in history, there could be a Black head coach in the Superbowl. Not only that, there might be TWO, Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy! Unprecedented. As I've said before, no Black coach or athlete wants to be known as a good "Black coach/athlete"- they want to be known as a GOOD COACH or ATHLETE, not separate or marginalized- just human. Hopefully, one day that will happen and ESPN won't feel compelled to use the racial marker before explaining how good someone is, but until then, I'll have my biases I suppose. Just so you know, I've never been an Indianpolis Colts fan, and I stopped liking the Bears after they released the "Fridge" way back when, but this Sunday, I'll be rooting for them both. In the event they face each other in the Super Bowl- honestly, I won't care who wins, but my heart will be with Indy (that's where my Dad is from). Don't tell Kiyotoe though...he's a Bears fan and I'll never hear the end of it!

15 Comments:

Blogger ambandenva2 said...

Paz,

My parents are the exact same way. I went through the same struggle that you did. That Bronco game of which you spoke, I know well. That was the year I broke my thumb by accidently slamming it into a 1989 Volvo (tank) car door and then having my mother lock the doors. I still have the jacked up nail to prove, buy I digress. My mother was going for Doug as well and she told me in so many words that if he won this would mean a lot to Black people. I have heard that my entire life and I too subscribe to it most of the time. I feel the victory, because when a Black person does something bad i.e. becomes a sniper shooter, we bear that burden. When people cross the street when they see a Black man, we bear that burden. So why can we bear some of the successes? Those moments when we defy every stereotype and hateful moment that has been heaped upon us for centuries. We have dealt with the murders of our children because they whistled at white women. We have had our fathers, uncles, brothers and cousins lynched, genitals cut off and burned because we were black. We have been raped as women because we were black. So I don't feel guilty for rooting for the black person because frankly we have put up with enough that we deserve to revel in the good stuff.

Ms. Denva

Fri Jan 19, 04:20:00 PM

 
Blogger mimi said...

I don't see anything wrong with your sports identifications;I do it unilaterally!I'm with Amb2:as a race we've had to take the good with the bad;so what we take X-TRA pride in someone of color doing well; I do it not just for sports, but TV: Golden Globes WE did very well! I was proud;does that make me racist? I don't think so. There's a difference between action and thought: do I wish someone ill who is not Black? absolutely NOT! Do I root for someone because they are Black? YES!Regardless of content or how inane, I will watch a TV show because it has at least 1 Black person as a recurring character. I also pay careful attention to the shows which consistently have Black writers, directors, affiliations,prime example Grey's Anantomy. So with the exception of you excluding Tiger Woods in your photo gallery, rather by accident or design, I Love this Post. Peace&Love, micki

Sat Jan 20, 06:05:00 AM

 
Blogger Kiyotoe said...

it's funny because we were just up here at work talking about Brokeback Mountain and how some people wouldn't watch it because of the content.

my reply was that do to who i am in regards to movies, t.v., writing, etc. that if i think it's good or quality work, then i'll watch it, regardless of "who" is in it or more relevant, who ISN'T in it.

i think the same goes for sports for me. As much as i love my Bears, if they make it to the super bowl, i'll be just as happy as if they had a white coach. But that's just me.....and afterall it is the Bears we're talking about.

Giving minorities the chance to coach and play is one thing, but whether or not they succeed or excel, won't affect whether i love or hate their respective teams (or movies/t.v. shows).

by the way, maybe if you post a little more frequently, your ish won't be three pages every time out and it won't take me three days to read it.

Damn son.

Sat Jan 20, 10:26:00 AM

 
Blogger eyechan said...

Very interesting, Paz. I do a similar thing in that I tend to cheer for the underdog, or anyone who's in the minority; especially when the sport, or the athletes I'm watching, are not so familiar to me. For instance, when I watch the NBA I will instinctively cheer for the white guys, or the European guys, or pretty much anyone who's not American; and you'll hear me say things like "go white boy!" "get up white boy!!", and when a whitey gets on a break in the open court and looks as though he's threatening to dunk, I cross my fingers and pray that he does something at least a little entertaining. But more often than not I'm left disappointed and a little embarassed because the guy has produced a dunk, if indeed he does produce one at all, which appears to have been learnt from a textbook, and is not at all flavoursome. Having said that, I don't necessarily care if their team wins or loses. I just love to see them do well, against the odds as it were.

Not sure if you've seen any Motocross, but I love James Stewart, who being black is definitely in the minority of the motocross world, though far as I can tell this hasn't hampered him at all, and he's had his fair share of wins--he only narrowly missed out on winning last years title.

Anyway, I'm beginning to ramble, so I'll leave it at that:)

Sun Jan 21, 05:16:00 AM

 
Anonymous pigeontoes said...

okay, now you know i love you, my man. but, paz, one thing struck me as a crock. yes, the seleccion in ecuador is full of black players....but you lived here! i live here! you get my updates! your beautiful girl sports the tricolor! if there were 6 brothers on the team and 10 on on the opposing team...say, france or italy you'd root for the other team?! think about it and let me know.

otherwise. i think you're right on everything else. you're talking about justice. and like ms. denva says, celebrating the success.

i think no matter who we are, we need to see ourselves--and those moments of greatness--in what we read, movies we watch, sports we see. not in everything all the time, but those images need to be there.

#42 stealing home wasn't just another play. smith and carlos weren't just olympic medalists. sports, like anything else, are still life...and therefore still political.

much love.

Sun Jan 21, 06:50:00 AM

 
Blogger paz y amor said...

Ambs- That sniper thing was a doozy wasn't it! I guess we have to take the bad with the good as well.

Mimi- I hate to admit it since I'm not a big TV person, but I LOVE some Grey's Anatomy and I watch it religiously. Aside from the fact that it's actually a really good show, the main draw for me is the fact that the most intelligent/tormented roles are played by Black folks AND the creator is Black. Amazing.

Kiyotoe- How can you complain about the length of my post when your comment was a post in itself! Good point though- I'd be the same way if the Broncos were in the Bears position right now.

Eye- I always root for the underdog too- as I always feel better after seeing the underdog pull out an unpredictable win. I've been watchin a lot of EPL and I always root for whoever is playing against ManU- only because they're atop the board. SHIT! they just scored. By the way, "flavorsome" is my new word of the month!

P-toes- What I was focusing on in the post was favortism with regard to racial identity. My bias towards Ecuador was based in part from the time I spent there, and my continuous connection (thru you and Risa) but ANOTHER part of my bias was also rooted in the numbers of Black players on the squad. It wasn't just one or the other. Of COURSE I was rooting for Ecuador from the beginning- and not JUST because of the Black dudes on the team. Even if they had no Black players and if England had 5 (which I think it did)- I would have rooted for them. I realized thought about including my time in Ecuador as a cause for my bias but that seemed like an extraneous detail. Anyway thanks for keeping my honest and on my (p)toes!

Sun Jan 21, 10:59:00 AM

 
Blogger Woozie said...

Oh yeah, XXII...what was the score again? I mean, I mean, I know the Redskins won, but I just can't remember the score! It was 42-something Washington, but that something is eluding me, was it a close game? Could you tell me the again man? :)

And your heart is gonna be with the Colts? Get off my internets...lest you be mauled by a BEAR!

Sun Jan 21, 04:19:00 PM

 
Anonymous Estif said...

Congratulations Yah, you got your wish, an all black coached superbowl. I too rooted for these coaches to make it, because they are good people and great coaches, who you hope can be part of the history you are witnessing. Hopefully it will be history, and you can one day tell your daughter about how it was once a big deal for a black man to coach an NFL team. Just like you may tell her how you rooted for Shawn Moore, the third string quarterback for the Broncos over a Colorado legend.

Also on the same day, a black coach was hired for what may be the most sought after coaching position in the game, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Purveyors of "The Rooney Rule," the team apparently didn't consider hem a serious candidate until he blew them away at the interview. A seat at the table turned out to be the head seat. Now the question is, when the Steelers play the Falcons, will you root for the black coach or the black quaterback?

Mon Jan 22, 07:04:00 AM

 
Blogger paz y amor said...

Woozie: I see you were the type of little kid to steal the money out of someone's pocket after they got hit by a car! I had nightmares about that ass kickin' we got at the hands of YOUR stinking squad. Revenge will be sweet!

Estif: I've had a hard time latching on to the Falcons, Hawks, Thrashers AND Braves since coming to the ATL. I don't know why- maybe CAU traumatized me. I'd be rooting for the Steelers in the event they played the Falcons, but I LIKE the Steelers so that's not a fair one.

Mon Jan 22, 09:50:00 AM

 
Blogger My Marrakech said...

What a great and thoughtful post. As an Iranian American growing up in America, we were often discriminated against. I can't tell you how many hostage jokes I have heard. Or the humility felt when my mother was pulled over b/c she was driving a Mercedes and the police assumed that it couldn't have been hers.

Wed Jan 31, 12:15:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole concept to ..excuse me .."black pride" only serves (in my views) to propagate the negative elements of racial issues.

We're all as equal as we're going to get. The people claiming otherwise are todays racists.

Sun Feb 04, 07:32:00 PM

 
Blogger eyechan said...

Don't tell me your on hiatus too?

Sat Feb 24, 11:54:00 AM

 
Blogger paz y amor said...

Not really, just stunted. I've got a pot on the stove though, it'll be ready soon!

Sun Feb 25, 03:50:00 PM

 
Blogger Woozie said...

Are we talking to a corpse here?

Mon Feb 26, 07:22:00 AM

 
Blogger paz y amor said...

Nope but the next post) is about one! (partly)

Mon Feb 26, 05:03:00 PM

 

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