MLK said, "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
The Dalai Lama said, "When ignorance is our real master, then there is no possibility of peace."
William Shakespeare said, "There is no darkness, but ignorance."
Now, let me tell you something. I believe that ignorance is straight FEAR.
Fear of the unknown. Fear of being vulnerable, fear of physical and mental injury…fear of embarrassment. What's embarrassing is KNOWINGLY being unwilling to learn.
Of all the things in life, that's the stupidest thing I've ever experienced.
I am not without ignorance, nor fear. I don't know everything, but I am one who tries to find out what I don't know. The words "I don't know" irk me to no end, probably because I needed to have answers for a lot of questions at a young age. Neither fear or ignorance create a quality of life that is both joyous or fulfilling. The only thing that creates a satisfactory life is overcoming or at least facing fears for what they are: an internal insecurity. Nobody likes that uneasy feeling, but to be overrun by it is just a sad state of affairs. It's really difficult to witness…and REALLY hard to keep my mouth shut when I see it happening.
I try to give people, ALL people, the benefit of the doubt. I've never been one to judge a person by their race, gender, sexual preference, age. (In an effort to be completely honest though, I do judge books by their covers sometimes.) If I've ever brushed you off, it's because of something YOU did or said, but never because of something you have absolutely no control over.
ALL WE CAN DO IS CONTROL OUR WORDS AND ACTIONS. THAT'S IT.
Like Lauryn Hill said, "It could all be so simple, but you'd rather make it hard."
I'm getting to the point here, promise. I usually post blogs when I can't stop thinking about something. Most people who keep up with my (seldom) works know this, and I appreciate the time you take from your life to peek into mine. Here we go:
Something happened on Sunday afternoon that really infuriated me. I keep my mouth shut for the most part, I try to be a peacekeeper. People in my family tend to be hotheads so naturally, I have always tried to balance them out. That's not to say I don't speak up when need be, I am just a person who realizes that we all to pick battles. Let me set the scene for you.
My family and I support my little sister's friends' basketball teams often. We go as a family unit to their games to cheer them on and have a good time. I don't like saying I go because I "love" the game. There are things I definitely love more than any sport, but I enjoy taking in a basketball game, absolutely. (For the record, I fancy college ball more than professional.) I love a good pass, a good pick, and especially really good assists. (Probably why John Stockton is one of my favorite athletes ever.) Now, I'm not gonna say anything more than we were in a location where the demographic is pretty well off. Our girls, not so well off. In trying to be…uhhh politically correct, I'll just say they're "diverse." Not from the ghetto, but from freaking Brentwood, California. That's hardly Compton.
Sidenote: For those of you not from the area, there's two Brentwoods. We're the one in Northern California, not Southern.
Anyway, we were late to the game and were rolling eight-deep so we grabbed the first seats we found. The crowd was not quite segregated by team, and we ended up sitting next to spectators who favored the other one. Right off the bat, I started to hear complaints of offensive fouls and lots of badmouthing about our girls. First of all, it's 8th grade basketball. It's not competitive league, it's a recreational league just so the girls can play to gain more experience for higher levels. The freaking clock doesn't even stop and the fouls are not counted personally, for chrissake. That makes no difference though, this crap wouldn't be acceptable in any league below college. My brother-in-law must've been hearing the same things, as well as my sister, and we all kind of looked at each other and decided we needed to move before we all got really pissed off. We eventually did, but definitely not after a few extra cheers for our girls right in front of them. Because that's all you're suppose to be there for-- to cheer people on, not cut them down. (Do I sense a life lesson here?)
Now, I could understand if what the opposing audience was saying was true and justified. They'd still be saying it rudely, and I'd still be irritated, but I could take that if it were the case. It undeniably wasn't, it was all in bad taste and they just sounded so IGNORANT. Every time we shot the ball, a man would say, "NOPE!" Every time there was any contact at all, a woman would say, "That's CHARGING! Are we watching the same game, Ref?!" Basically, they were accusing the girls of playing dirty. I'll be the first to admit that it was a little sloppy at times, but definitely not intentional. I'll also be the first to admit that some of the girls have tempers and let their emotions get the best of them, but definitely not to the point where they're gonna go all Ron Artest (Oh my bad, Metta World Peace!) or Latrell Sprewell on somebody. That was the difference between Brentwood girls and these parents: they're not stupid…and they are still learning how to face adversity. Which is exactly what this was.
So, we moved. Alllllllllllllll the way to the other side of the bleachers. I sat down next to a woman with a few super cute kids and smiled. My sister and the rest of the family went up and mixed in with the crowd. Wouldn't you know it, the comments continued. And continued. AND CONTINUED. These people were deliberately cheering when our girls would get fouled or injured. Like, literally "woohoo"-ed when their girls would play hell of unsportmanslike. My little buddy, Mon, literally got SLAPPED in the face while bringing the ball downcourt, it was an obvious foul, the refs called nothing, and a bunch of dumbass parents STOOD UP and CHEERED.
By this time, my sister and bro-in-law had had it. They both spoke up calmly about certain calls, explaining the rules, etc. and were met with standoffish comments. My sister eventually said in so many words to not comment on the game if you didn't understand it. It escalated into the woman accusing my bro-in-law of threatening her when NOTHING even close was insinuated. She even mentioned calling the cops on him. This was obviously a woman who was used to being able to say whatever the hell she wanted. What the hell was she so afraid of? My sister (who is 5'2" lol) played along and made them feel incredibly stupid by shoveling her children away from the crazy lady and her fellow delusional parents. She turned the tables and acted like they were the dangerous ones. (And they were in fact, dangerous. People like that are TOXIC.) I looked up at my sister, looked at the lady, shrugged my shoulders cuz I knew it was over, and cheered my little homies on.
What kind of parents act this way? And raise their kids to act this way? All joking aside, this gravely baffled me. Parents like that create the never ending cycle of assholes in this world.
It ended there. Long story long, the Brentwood girls beat the other team pretty badly. And with every single one of the odds against them. The losing families cleared out really quickly afterwards with their tails between their legs. And rightly so. It's just so incredibly sad that this kind of stuff still occurs. What pisses me off the most is that our girls will never be on the same initial level as some others, and I'm not just talking about basketball. Even though it's not talent they lack, definitely not that at all. It's sickening, really.
My family and I talked afterwards about kid's sports etiquette. Family and friends go to these events to cheer their team on, encourage them, and help them keep their head in the game. We even cheer on the other team if they make a good play. You'd never hear any of that negative nonsense come out of my mouth. I know better. And so did those parents cheering for injuries, which makes it so much worse. I mean, I'm not a saint in the slightest, but I know when to hold my tongue. In fact, the only thing I said to one of my little sister's besties, Jamesha, after the game was that she played really, really well and that the only foul that I saw that was legitimate was when she was half a second late posting up. Of course, I wasn't on the court, but it was pretty obvious who one of the refs was favoring. He was a dick, too, but for the same reasons everyone else was acting dickish. He told Jay that he was going to T her up next time she acted out. Absolutely ridiculous. You're not refereeing the WNBA, asshole.
POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT. That's like friggin Child Education 101. Geez, you'd think people would pick up a damn book. I'm sure they had enough money to go out and buy one that taught them how to act in situations with people "like me."
My sister summed it up best, "I just wanted to say, 'BITCH, I SHOP AT WHOLE FOODS, TOO!"
If Jay, Mon, or any of the ballers read this:
Good job, girls. That was for sure a job well done. I'm sorry for cussing! You know that's inappropriate! ;P If you take nothing else from this, know that you should always keep your head high and smiling. Especially when you know it'll piss someone off. :)
See? It's not that hard to say a few encouraging words. SHEESH!