First let me say to all the basketball fans out there....the NBA season is back in full effect!
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a fan of sports....period. Even if I don't follow baseball, I get excited for big games, rivalries, etc. I may not watch hockey every time it's on, but I've been to a game or two and had a great time. Since I played field hockey back in the day, I have a certain appreciation for it.
I was also on the track team - the high jump, triple jump and long jump were my events. And of course there's basketball...which was my favorite to play. I learned how to play at a very young age, and played in team sports from 6th grade to 12th grade...and I don't think I was too shabby.
Given that, I think it's safe to say I have a healthy knowledge and appreciation for the game, and I know who the great players are - past and present. So imagine my confusion when I logged into my email this morning to find notes from people cheering the Lakers and calling me a "hater" because "Kobe won."
My confusion came in the "hater" comment. I feel like I've written about this ad nauseum, so I guess today's post will be my annual "the word hater is mis/overused" rant on the blog.
It's no secret that I'm not a Kobe fan. That's not to say that I secretly plot his demise on a daily basis or wish he'd get hit by an ice cream truck - he's just not my favorite player. I don't root for him like I do the Eagles. But because some people feel that he SHOULD be my favorite player, I'm automatically labeled as a hater because he isn't. What is that about?
I have never in my life said that Kobe is a terrible basketball player. That would be crazy talk, and I'd fully expect someone to have me committed if I ever said such a thing. As a basketball fan, I am very well aware of the impossible feats he accomplishes on the court on a regular basis. His work ethic is insane. His talent is unmatched in the league today. And like the announcer said during the ring ceremony (so I heard), he could arguably be considered the best basketball player on the planet.
It doesn't pain me to say those things. I don't want to yank my tongue out for speaking such words. I've even posted his best dunks on my blog before because they are a thing of beauty to witness. I wouldn't turn down a ticket to go see the Lakers play in the Staples Center either.
I just don't have any Kobe posters on my wall, that's all.
I DID, however, have posters of Magic and Kareem on my wall as a young girl. I like the Lakers. Always have. I can appreciate the Lakers for the team that they are and the legacy they have without being a Kobe fan. Yes...it's possible folks.
But why does that make me a hater?
What I find interesting is the people who tell me that I should like Kobe - that say I should "overlook" his personal transgressions against his family or his "assholedness" and simply appreciate him as a basketball player - are some of the SAME people who have disdain for Ben Roethlisberger because they believe him to be a rapist, or Brett Favre because they think he's a creepy man who sexually harassed a woman. Can someone help me with that?
It's like we give certain players or celebrities a pass, but not others - either because they're the greatest at what they do, or because they're our favorite...so it's okay. But you can't call the QB of the Steelers Ben "Rapistberger" but then tell me to "get over" the fact that Kobe was accused of rape himself. You can't say Brett Favre is disgusting for sexting some woman because, as a married man, that's wrong, but then say "I wish people would leave Tiger Woods alone."
But I find that people are more forgiving when we're talking about the Kobe's and Tiger's of the world, if for no other reason than their talent is unmatched. But does being the best at what you do automatically mean that you are above any personal faults you may have, while others aren't simply because they're not as talented as you are? That's something I don't understand.
If a woman tells me she's not a Kobe fan because she doesn't respect him as a man because he cheated on his wife, or because she believes he's guilty of rape, then I can respect that. That's fair to me. Everyone has an issue that's personal to them, and we ALL make judgements on people whether we admit it or not. Do I think Kobe raped someone? No...but who's to say? Yes, he was acquitted, but Ben was never charged either. Then again, I don't think Mike Tyson raped anyone either...but he was convicted of it. Would we be calling him a rapist if he were Peyton Manning? Or would we think he was being set up by some trick trying to take down our beloved favorite quarterback? (...and I'm simply using him as an example...not saying that Peyton is America's quarterback...even though he is :-)
Now if that same woman, who has never watched a basketball game in her life, says she hates Kobe because he's overrated, or because he's not good...then she's crazy, a bit delusional...and can possibly be classified as a "hater." That's the difference.
I just really wish people would stop using that term if they have no idea what a "real" hater is. If I put "GO Eagles!" as my Facebook status, I shouldn't be called a "hater" in my comments section of the team they're playing against. People need to get a grip. It's called cheering for MY team, not rooting AGAINST yours. (unless it's the Cowboys...LOL...just jokes...okay, maybe not)
I say all that to say, I don't have to love Kobe in order to appreciate his skill. I'm not going to jump on the "Kobe" bandwagon if they win another championship. Did the Lakers deserve it? Yes. Did they earn it? Yes. Do I shake my head in amazement at some of the mind boggling stunts Kobe pulls on the court? Absolutely.
But I don't have to be president of his fan club to say that. And if you think I'm a hater simply because I haven't changed my profile picture to reveal the likeness of Kobe, then you're an idiot.
p.s. this is me in front of a pic in my brother-in-law's pizza shop...I liked "Young Kobe" :-)
Over the years, I've been blessed to have spent time with, befriend, love, learn from and share experiences with people who have helped me grow and inspire me everyday. They have shared words of wisdom, strengthened me with encouragement, gave me joy with a smile, comforted me with a hug, gave clarity to my visions and dreams and renewed my spirit with faith. It is through family and friends that I manage to be happy and hopeful.
These relationships work because we share our philosophies, our personal truths and an outlook that prompts us to seek something greater in all and in ourselves. Sharing a journey heartedly illuminates our lives and enriches our experiences. It keeps us moving....always evolving....ever changing.
I have been transformed by the wisdom, opinions, insights and revelations of those who have shared their journey with me. It's a blessing I long to share with you through my first ever blog. For me, writing is a reflection of my own direct experience and I look forward to all of you sharing your thoughts and experiences with me.
So...with that said....can I just say.....??? :-)