Adventures in Fantasy Football Pt.1/Newlywed ruminations

I have always been a casual football fan. I watch big games, I enjoy the commercials during the Super Bowl, I love to hear all the guys hooping and hollering at an interception or nasty tackle. But as a rule, I didn’t really watch the game seriously until I got married. This where the hubby has rubbed off on me.

Actually, I don’t have much of a choice. The TV is always on the NFL Network or ESPN 1 or 2. When I wake up, I hear Mike & Mike talking Donovan McNabb. When I cook dinner, I hear the merits or not of Mike Vick or the goods and bads of Tom Brady’s return to the game. I also spend many evenings talking with the hubby about his frustrations that everybody loves to hates the Patriots. It is a frustration of which he is proud. He might be the only Pats fan in this part of town, so we have many lively conversations with strangers when he wears his Boston gear during football season.

Tomorrow I’m to pick a team in the fantasy draft. I’ve selected my favorites and I confess that I don’t have the history or luxury of knowing the intimacies of each player’s lifelong accomplishments. But as I select my QB and RB, I realize that I know a lot more than I thought I did about football. As I read through the Fantasy Football magazine (! who KNEW there were mags dedicated to this stuff!!) I realize that I disagree with some of the recommended tactics of team selection. I mean, why shouldn’t you pick your QB first – especially if you’re like, No. 18 on the draft list?

The hubby is fascinated that I’ve taken this on. “Are you sure you’re gonna do it?” he asks. “Are you positive you will take this seriously?” What he doesn’t know is that I can actually hold my own in a conversation about certain teams, most notably the Pats, of which I’ve been supremely indoctrinated with facts and figures.

This post is both about FF and being a newlywed because it’s also a testament to how the hubby can add variety to the wife’s everyday activities. I’ve already got my things to do, and now I’ve added another. And you know what? I like it. It’s not work. It’s not something that I have to, or get paid to, write about. It’s a conversation starter. It’s a racial leveler. I finally understand why guys sit at the bar and act like best friends while watching a game. It’s also an unexpected, good business decision. Case in point: when I’m at the airport sitting next to someone wearing an Eagles shirt, I can rib them and we can be friends for the whole flight. And only at the end of said flight do I get a business card and realize I’m talking to a bigwig at Patron.

More women (men too) should get into this game. It’s a bit challenging for a newcomer. There’s a lot to learn and there’s a lot to watch. But for me, it’s a gigantic puzzle with 150 potential pieces that must be narrowed down to something more manageable, like a team. It’s also something that much of America participates in, this love of football.

I’ve always been at the sidelines. ANd I’m not yet fan enough to sit in 20 degree weather and watch anyone play. However, with this new FF trial, I supposed I’m on my way to being all in.

Follow me here as I write weekly on my trip down Fantasy’s lane.

Newlywed ruminations on love and finding the one

I’m soon to be wed for one year and in that one year I’ve learned that life shifts tremendously upon saying “I do.” I’ve also realized that I spent an awful lot of time talking to his friends and my friends about finding that special someone and why you get married in the first place.

Here’s the deal, we are in a new period of relationship history wherein traditional gender roles are being rewritten and people in my generation are having a difficult time navigating the changes. After all, our parents can’t help us. Our parents pretty much stuck to the man/woman division of help in the household. They don’t know what to do about kids who chose to not get married until they are 37 and then complain that they can’t have babies because they’re too old to have them.

Nowadays, a woman can become an MD and open her own practice before she finds enough time to date. She also wants a guy who is her social and economic better. (Old gender roles die hard, huh?) And the guys out there? They think they need to have three BMWs and a house before they settle down with a lady. But you know what’s wrong with all that waiting until “perfection?” You get old in the process and set in your ways. And while you’re waiting for perfection, all the imperfect people got married and became that ultimate Cosby couple within 10 years of being wed.

Consider this: Barack Obama was a misfit when he was a kid. He wasn’t cute. He wasn’t hot. He got older and tried to date the lady lawyer who was his mentor. He drove a car with a hole in the floor. And Ms. Michelle wasn’t the cute cheerleader or the  hot shot wannabe model type. They found each other before they were finished. And they allowed themselves to love each other throughout the changes of becoming finished and polished. Now they are the ultimate power couple and pretty attractive to boot.

I meet so many women who want a man who is already a hot shot attorney or a doctor. I say: what’s wrong with marrying him before he peaks?

Same for the guys out there. Why are you waiting to ask her for her hand in marriage? Just do it! It’s ok if you don’t have the downtown townhouse or the 5 carot ring. Don’t you know that married couples have far greater buying power (and far lower taxes) than singles? Married men live longer than single men. Married people earn more money than single people and therefore are closer to affording their dream house. And last, you are not as cute at 40 as you were at 30…

What are you waiting for?

By the way, my husband and I aren’t finished and I love it. He’s in school again. I just got a huge promotion. We’re both excited about the new direction our lives are taking together. We are awesome as individuals. But together, we are definitely a greater force to reckon with.

Still Black in America

Adrienne Samuels Gibbs on the Black in America panel, Chicago, July 2009
Adrienne Samuels Gibbs on the Black in America panel, Chicago, July 2009

I recently spoke on a panel that discussed CNN’s latest docudrama of being colored in this country: Black in America 2. I sat on the panel with Cheryl Jackson, president of the Chicago Urban League and aspiring US Senator. (She wants Barack’s old spot.) Also on hand was the senior producer behind Black in America plus other community leaders. We all agreed that we have a long way to go as a people. We might have a black Disney princess and a black prez, but that’s not far enough. After all, look at those poor kids who were kicked out of the country club swimming pool this summer because they were black?

In fact, I have serious doubts about the ability or the need for the black community to come together the way it once did. In the 1900s-1980s we had a common enemy: racism/lynching/rape/murder. It was easy to understand why we had to stick together. But now we have all those enemies and 100 more. And depending on your socio-economic status, your enemy could be different than my enemy. And then you have black folks who are ashamed to be black, black folks who are homophobic, black folks who are anti-religion, black folks who are anti anyone who doesn’t believe in their religion, rich black folks who think that anyone should be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, poor black folks who think that the rich should be giving them money, wanna be hustling black folks who think its ok to sell just a little bit of weed because after all, it’s not crack. And on and on and on.. All kinds of divisions.

How are we supposed to act like one big people when we are really all so different? I’ll tell you a secret: not all black folks like each other. The kinds of folks who belong to the Links aren’t usually the kinds of folks who volunteer at the neighborhood farmer’s market.

Freedom really did set us free. We can make all kinds of choices, as to where we live, what we wear, how much we earn, what we do for a living, where we go to school, who we marry. The outcome of such choice is a better life, right? Well if that’s the case, why are we all screaming that we’ve lost community?

Is TMZ now a reliable resource? That is the question at the NABJ convention this past August

I argued that TMZ is absolutely legit at this point. However, TMZ is able to do things that other media entities cannot. What’s that you say? Well, TMZ pays its sources. And honestly, if I had, lets say, $5,000 to break off to LA ambulance drivers so that I could get pictures of a dead celeb being brought into the morgue, well then this blog would get it first too. Now, there are instances when such celeb gossip/pseudo news sites are wrong. And that’s where the consumer must be careful. Brick and mortar news operations require sources to come clean with their names, and they don’t pay for information.  So it’s up to you to decide whether you want news that’s been paid for and could therefore be tainted by the payees agenda or whether you want news that comes from the public record/people willing to go on the record.

It’s a conundrum, no?

There are many out there who would say that all media is financially compromised by the very act of taking ads. But then again, these are the same folks who want their news for free yet demand and expect for their  news organizations to continue to investigate government wrongdoing. These folks also refuse to buy subscriptions to a newspaper or magazine… Hmm.

Information really isn’t free is it? Whether a Web site bought it on the front end or you buy it on the back end, money somehow changed hands.

Hello world!

Writers write because of their adventures.

Here are a few of mine…

I am responsible for entertainment coverage. That means that, five months prior to you even hearing about the movie, I have to know what it is and when it is coming out. Why? So that I can get it covered (or not) in the pages of my employer’s magazine. So.. I heard about G.I. Joe in April. I talked with the film studio. I wanted to get it into the magazine. I assigned a Q&A with Adewale (Mr.Eko from Lost) to be written by a staffer. Said staffer wrote the piece and it got into the magazine. I recently saw G.I. Joe at the local AMC theater. It’s kind of wild to be watching a movie and realizing that you have interviewed most of the stars on the screen. (I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that.) Even more interesting though, was thinking about how I contribute to the big, grinding machine of entertainment capitalism.

I write or assign the coverage. You read the coverage. Said coverage is supplemented by action figures or cartoons or tv commercials during your favorite show. And then boom, you buy the product. That’s how it works folks.

We need the money to keep our economy churning, right? Perhaps. I often wonder how these movies would do if not for the great spin machine that pushed them out to the masses. If you didn’t see a commercial or read a review.. If they didn’t set up press previews a half a year in advance… Would you even know what to watch or what to buy? I know people claim to get most of their content and news via the internet. But the media here plays a very important role in keeping capitalism spinning ’round. If not for the CNNs and Times and Heralds and MTVS of the world, what would you really know?