Besides the 253 dreams that I have had where I relive witnessing my fathers passing, one specific thing sticks out about that fateful February day in 2001. That was a very strange conversation that me and my mother had as I embraced her in the waiting room after my fathers final moments on this earth. So many thoughts were racing through my mind as I clinched my mother tightly, sadness, regret over me and my fathers lack of relationship, selfish feelings like anger because of him "waiting for me to get there" to die, I actually got lightheaded because of how many thoughts had infiltrated my dreadlocked skull. But one thing that sticks out was my mother's stoic nature, her strength, and the brief "get the fuck off of me" look that she gave me. Right when I was about to leave the hospital thinking that my mother was absolutely the toughest woman to ever live, she grabbed my arm and said, "HumanityCritic, sit down for a minute!!" I obliged her, looked in her eyes and said, "What is it Ma??" Expressing a nervous look that I had only previously seen when I joked about "marrying a black republican", she quickly uttered, "Talk to me about something, anything, I just don't want to be alone with my own thoughts!"
"OK", I said, "Do you want to hear about some girl I plan on getting to know 'biblicaly?" I guessed by her shoving her finger down her throat was a sign that that was out of the question. Then, for a reason that I couldn't even imagine, me and my mother talked about our favorite athletes of all time. As my father lay cold no more that 100 feet from us, my mother knowing that after 30 years of marriage that her husband was gone and me knowing that the possibility to repair the relationship with my father was indeed over, we waxed poetically about the greatness of Michael Jordan. I always have thought that our diversionary conversation is probably the same tactic that a death row inmate spouts out during his last hour, trying anything to get his mind off of his fate.
I bring this up because since that day my mother and I hadn't spoke about that conversation, that is until recently. As we chatted about sports and who our favorite athletes were the other day, my mother gave a huge belly laugh when I said, "This sure is a lot easier without a dead guy in the next room!!" This post is dedicated to my lovely mother..
Michael Jordan: OK, let me address 2 things immediately. 1) I know that most of you are surprised that my favorite basketball player isn't Kobe Bryant by the way I blog about him like I have a schoolgirl crush. and 2) I know this is an obvious choice, it's as predictable as saying "My favorite book is the bible!"(See High Fidelity) but it's just how I feel. Looking back on all the Bulls games I witnessed, the guy was an absolute assassin. You hear every player who say that they "play every game like their last", but Michael Jordan was the only player who I feel followed that line of thinking 100%. Me and Mike have a few things in common, a winning smile, a gambling problem, and the fact that I beat up a teammate once.(Granted, it was at the YMCA. I bet he won't call me a ball hog again!) The image of Jordan that is burned in my memory is that 1997 game against the Jazz where he was ravaged by the flu and still scored 38 points. Remember how Scottie Pippen had to physically prop him up as they both headed for the sidelines?? The "warrior" tag is always loosely thrown around these days, but if you were to call him one I would be the first to agree with you.
Michael Jordan moment: It happened last year matter of fact, I was playing in a YMCA pick up game where I was shooting the lights out. Granted, the guy who was guarding me was 65 with an extremely bad knee but that isn't my fault. This one play, as I intercepted a pass and streaked down the court uncontested I hear someone say "Dunk it!" Never mind the fact that I am under 6 feet, have never dunked a basketball in my life, and have only been able to simply touch the rim, I stuck my tongue out like Jordan with my eyes on the prize. As I approached the basket, I elevated like I had never before, grabbing the ball with two hands preparing to jam it in front of a couple scantily clad girls watching from the sidelines. As I rose I thought a few things like, "I'm really going to dunk it", "damn I hate black republicans", and "I hope one day I have a 'i humped a girl simply because I dunked a basketball' story." Suffice it to say that my world came crashing down when the ball collided with the rim, forcing my body backwards, and the result was me landing on my back in the midst of a thousand giggles. Damn, I was just trying to "Be like Mike"
Barry Bonds: I know that this guy is brash, cocky, arrogant, and an absolute prick. But to be totally honest those are the reasons why I like him, I find those good qualities for a ball player. Maybe its because I like the villain, I do openly hope the villains in crime shows get away with it(outside of pedophiles), which must also explain why I am a Kobe Bryant fan. But his physical dominance at the plate is undeniable, putting the fear of god in opposing pitchers, only a few moments later giving some lucky bastard in McCovey Cove a souvenir to keep. I know the steroid rumors, I know that a black cloud follows him around like the dirt that follows the "Pigpen" character, I even know that he admitted to using a form of steroids before. But my ideology is this, if you don't have a positive steroid test you really don't have a valid argument against him not going into the Baseball Hall of Fame asterisk free. He could have friends who are known Steroid dealers, you could give me a diagram on how his body mass expanded "so quickly" over the years, you could even give me a picture of Barry Bonds juggling steroids in front of the Balco laboratories, but without a positive test there is nothing much to be said. Some of the arguments against Bonds is valid, I know, but I think that sports writers loathe him because the last thing they want to see him do is surpass Babe Ruth's mark.
Barry Bonds Moment: It was a few months ago when I was at bat, playing in a local league. I walked up to the plate, gave the pitcher an intense look, and adjusted my forearm pads before stepping into the batting box. As I crowded the plate and got into my home run stance, the catcher looked up at me and said, "What is up with all the pads and crowding the plate, this is slow pitch softball you asshole!!"
Dan Marino: When I was a kid watching Dan Marino, I sure wanted to be a quarterback in the worst way. Seeing him perform last minute comebacks, throwing absolute missiles down the field so hard that it looked like he was purposely trying to throw his arm out of the socket, he was the greatest thing since internet porn in my opinion. I know, he didn't win a Superbowl so that tarnishes his career to many people, not to me, because if you know anything about those dolphin's teams you'd know that those defenses sucked worse a hooker with bad teeth. But sadly, as I watched Dan perform open heart surgey on defensive backs, I knew that I could never be like Mr. Marino. One, the whole him being white thing, and two, me throwing like a teenage girl in a blizzard.
Dan Marino moment: The one thing that has gotten better with time concerning yours truly is my arm strength. Not only that, at the ripe age of 32 I have finally mastered the art of throwing a perfect spiral. So last year, when I was playing a light game of pick up football with my ex-girlfriend, her friends and their boyfriends, I was designated all time quarterback. I must have completed my first 20 passes, I was on fire, to the point that I had a undeniable swagger about me. I don't know what came over me, but when Melissa(a girl on my team) was wide open, it was if I was locked in. As she giggled at the fun she was having, waiting for my pass on the side of the field, I planted my feet and let one go. The next thing I know I hear a *thud* as the ball ricocheted off of Melissa's chest, causing her arms to flail everywhere, and her ending up on the ground writhing in pain calling me "an asshole" repeatedly. I guess she wasn't invited to the "gun show"..
Walter Payton: I'm sorry, no disrespect to Emmit Smith, but Water Payton is still the greatest rusher of all time regardless of who holds the all time yards record. If Water had some of the same offensive lines that Emmit had, the record would be as unapproachable as Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak. As a kid, watching Walter steam roll defenders like nobodies business, the mere force of his running attack was pure poetry. I remember seeing a television segment on Payton's off season regiment of running steep hills to increase his conditioning. So, because I was an impressionable kid, I did the same during the summer months to get me in shape for the plethora of school sports that I played.(It didn't help my sports career, but I found it easier chasing down future throat-chop victims in a school hallways) I never admitted this to anyone, but I actually cried during the 85 Superbowl when Payton failed to get a touchdown.
Walter Payton moment: A Decade ago, at the height of my cannabis influenced years, I played football with some college friends of mine. I was the running back, and after a few yards I was hit so hard that it spun me around, but I shook it off and kept running. As I ran I stiff armed defenders, stepped on people, and made sure my legs kept driving as I punished anyone who dared tackle me.(I think I actually punched a few folks) The problem was, after I was hit it spun me in the wrong direction, and the people that I was "punishing" were my own teammates. Just proof that weed and playing a little pigskin don't mix.