Archive for the ‘ Life ’ Category

Facebook: The Nature of the Beast

I, once a strong-willed man, caved. I reactivated my facebook.

I know what you are thinking, I never thought I would either. Most of my friends can tell you, I was very stubborn in my rejection of the popular social media site. I had no problem reminding people, “I don’t have facebook.”

That, however, is in the past now. As much as I did not want to, I rejoined facebook because of what my time away from it told me. I lost touch with a lot of people…a lot of people. I did not intend to, but without that constant blip of status updates and photos, I simply forgot about people. It does not mean that I meant or wanted to, I just did.

I made it a goal this year, kind of a New Year’s resolution, to pay more attention to news. After all, being a journalism major essentially requires you to be in touch with what is going on in the world.

For the most part, I think I have done a good job. I will remember articles that I have read, videos I have watched and the like during everyday conversation with folks. But it dawned upon me last week that I was not in touch with the news that should matter most to me: The news of my friends and family.

It was not until last week when I realized the “media” aspect of social media. I realized I had been going about facebook all wrong. When I was young and stupid (i.e. two weeks ago), I despised the idea of facebook because I did not want “everybody” knowing so much about me. I did not want my information easily accessible on the Internet, despite having nothing to hide, mind you.

Then I realized that American journalists have fought for transparency since the origination of this country. What I was doing by removing myself from public view was eliminating transparency.

As journalists, we are the representatives of the public and we, therefore, become public figures in doing so. That realization made me go back to facebook.

Does this mean I am going to post everything I do on the Internet? Not in a million years. Even public figures need privacy. But I see this return to mainstream society as a way to reconnect with the people closest to me and the content they produce.

This brand of news is that on which I should be educated the most.

Signs of Age

Steve Nash before Thursday's game against the Spurs. This is perhaps Nash's last time playing for the Phoenix Suns as his contract is up at the end of the season. (Getty)

I’m old.

Not extremely old, but I’m getting there. Here I am, a 20-year-old college student almost two years into a journalism degree and compensating for lack of athletic ability with writing skills.

You know how I know I’m old? I am most likely losing my childhood idol tonight.

I knew I would eventually reach the point where my favorite athletes began retiring and championship-chasing toward the end of their career. Now I know the players going into their respective halls of fame. Soon enough I’ll remember vivid details of watching those players do what they did best. I’ll know exactly why they are entering the hall rather than just pretending I do from reading books and watching YouTube highlight reels.

Steve Nash is one of those players. I cannot say that I have been a Nash fan since he entered the league. I was all of four years old and some change when he entered the league. I only became an avid Phoenix Suns fan when I saw Stephon Marbury donning the then new orange alternate uniforms in an early-2000s issue of SLAM Magazine. Being from Cincinnati, there was not a team too close for me to really attach to. I had my pick.

It was around that time when sports truly began to mean something to me. I was exploring the world of video games and remembering which players played on which team, who had what skills, etc.

I remember Amar’e Stoudemire’s rookie season with the Suns. I would get upset because, while Stoudemire enjoyed a season in which he won the Rookie of the Year award in 2002-’03, video-game Amar’e was awful. Shame on me for thinking video games could be realistic.

While Stoudemire was my first love with Phoenix, Nash quickly stole the spotlight. I could not get enough of watching Nash play. His charisma, vision and quickness was is something to behold. It captivated me.

I tried to craft my game to be like his. Up until last year, I even grew my hair to look like his (sorry, Mom).

That’s something almost every boy and young man goes through, that idolatry of a particular athlete. Nash was that athlete for me.

So Wednesday night when I was watching the Suns play the Jazz I kept thinking tomorrow could be the last time I watch Steve Nash play basketball in a Suns uniform.

Although it will most likely benefit the Suns basketball-wise to move on from the Nash era, focus on rebuilding and enjoy the lottery pick they were granted with Wednesday’s loss, I wanted them to win. I wanted the Suns in the playoffs. It is against all common sense to say that Phoenix would be better served to lose in the first round to the Spurs than to get an earlier pick to sure up their future, but I didn’t care.

I didn’t want the Nash era to end.

Today, as I proudly wore my Suns cap around campus after last night’s loss, I thought. All I could think today was tonight I will probably be watching my favorite athlete of all time play his final game with my favorite team…and it means nothing.

The Spurs clinched the top seed in the West. The Suns are eliminated from the playoffs. What does this game mean?

As much as I want to watch Steve Nash end his Suns career dazzling the crowd as only he can, fighting for the team’s life, I know that this game against the Spurs is meaningless.

It’s difficult for a fan to deal with. I didn’t have a problem with Albert Pujols leaving the Cardinals because the last memory I had of him with my team was exactly what I mentioned: him fighting for his team’s life. (Luckily, the memory ended up being a World Series victory, something I will never forget.)

So I have tried to find meaning for this game. Yes, the final score and end result will mean nothing at the end of the day. But I want to remember a win. I want to remember Nash being Nash. I want to remember this game and remember it as one of my favorite memories of my favorite athlete: Steve Nash’s last game as a Phoenix Sun.

Of course, it is not a sure thing that he will leave Phoenix next season. All signs point to yes, but there is a chance he will stay. I’m not holding out hope. The Suns could possibly have room to sign a maximum contract player or two and keep Nash. But, once again, I won’t hold out hope.

I’ll take tonight’s game against the Spurs to remember why Nash became my favorite player and such an important part of my life. He is a role model to me. I’ll forever remember the great memories I built watching him play every time I look at that picture of him on my wall.

I just wish I weren’t so old.

Ohio v. Buffalo, Part II: My Nose is Still Running

Remember yesterday when I gushed about the joys of covering baseball at Bob Wren Stadium at Ohio University? All of that goes away when it’s 45 degrees outside and you have to pee the whole time but are too embarrassed to ask where the bathroom is.

After Ohio handled Buffalo Saturday, I realized that I have a conditional love for covering baseball.

I do realize also that this is just part of the reason I love what I do, the unpredictability. It’s difficult to think that one day I could perhaps be paid to watch sports. Like Dick Vitale says, “It’s like stealing money.”

To robbery,

–BP

Ohio v. Buffalo: Reaction

Yesterday, I covered Ohio baseball’s win over Buffalo.

I enjoy covering baseball at Bob Wren Stadium. It’s a fun and lighthearted atmosphere for warm summer nights like something you would see out of a Chevrolet commercial.

The open-air press box is great for enjoying the baseball atmosphere while still being able to do the job right. However, as I am learning this morning, open-air press boxes may not be my best friend in the near future as we dive headfirst into allergy season.

I hope they’re keeping my seat warm at the Convo.

Warm regards,

–BP

Athens Half Empty (or Half Full?)

I thought this picture was interesting. A place typically busy and bustling makes for fun photos when deserted like this. For those who don’t go to Ohio University, this was taken from atop the Baker University Center (with my ancient cellphone), a place with typically high traffic. However, with so many students gone for Easter weekend, the town of Athens was left fairly empty. It’s not often you get a chance to see such busy places like this completely empty, so I thought it appropriate to capture the moment.

Peace be with you,

–BP

Election 2012: Voting Strategy

In an election report by Peter Alexander on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, Alexander noted that Mitt Romney attacked President Obama 12 times by name in a matter of 18 minutes during a campaign speech.

Here lies one of the problems with the upcoming election and many of the past few elections. Attacking the opponent tells the voters nothing about the candidate. All voters hear is what the other person did or did not do rather than what the candidate did, is doing and will do.

James Madison warned against an uneducated public from his early days in Washington. With candidates taking shots back and forth, focusing on the failures of their opponents, what is left with the voters? Rather than knowing and understanding the successes and achievements of the candidates, voters are left scratching their heads at the candidates’ failures.

Voters are left to decide on which candidate they dislike the least rather than who they can relate to the most. Candidates are playing not to lose instead of playing to win.

Another issue is the perpetuation of the two-party system. Again, relating back to history, George Washington warned that the two-party system would be the ruin of American government.

Tying into the uneducated public, people are voting simply for an “R” or a “D” instead of the candidate to whom they best relate. There isn’t an election report to be found that does not begin with the word “republican” or “democrat” in the first five words outside the reporter’s introduction. As long as political parties are shoved down peoples’ throats, the United States will not have a true democracy. People don’t vote for what or who they agree with, but for the party with which they identify.

Americans will see current problems continue if they do not know who or what they are voting for. It takes an educated public with a filter for political parties and their agendas to yield positive election results. Americans being active in their government and understanding how it works will dig the United States out of this hole. An educated and unbiased public will prevail.

I haven’t jumped on the political train since high school. I wrote about politics for my school paper, but entered a state of political apathy for the past few years.

Now, in an election year, I have decided to take initiative and become more involved in government. I want to know what’s going on. I haven’t voted once since I earned the right and that’s a shame.

Therefore, I’m developing this new political strategy, as you just read, that ties back to some of my favorite tenants of American government that I learned in my AP US History class senior year. I’m going to get involved.

People want to say that they don’t have a voice in American government. Turns out we do, but we’re just not using it right. Let’s change that together.

Peace be with you,

–BP

Becoming a Part of the Madness

I am still a believer in live sporting events. People sometimes say, “Why go to the game when you can enjoy it from the comfort of your home?” I remembered last night why I dislike that saying. There is truly nothing like being there.

March Madness is arguably the most exciting two four weeks in sports. Even those who did not watch a single minute of college basketball all season long tune in to see the chaos. It’s exciting to see so many great stories unfold within mere minutes of each other. March Madness is great.

I have forever enjoyed the NCAA Tournament on television, but I have never experienced such joy in watching basketball than Sunday night when I saw my school bust into the Sweet Sixteen against all odds. There is truly nothing like being there.

It ties back to the piece I wrote this week about the Cinderella stories. When you’re there you become invested in the stories and the games. Bracket challenges fade into the abstract. The games become more enjoyable.

Go experience March Madness in person. It may not be this year or next year or the year after that, but take one year and go. Grab a friend or friends and go. Find your favorite team, stand up and cheer (for old Ohio if it tickles your fancy). At the game you don’t just witness history, you become a part of it.

Spontaneous trips are the best. I’ll be in St. Louis Friday to watch Ohio take a shot at North Carolina. Gotta see it live.

Peace be with you,

–BP