Heroes Of The Week

For this week’s episode, I was fortunate enough to have been gifted all the stories by my peeps- bloggers and posse alike. So this Friday feels very much like that bodega tucked into the corner of the neighborhood. The one that’s filled with every kind of something and familiar faces that ensure the lights will stay on for a mighty long time. 

Here’s their lineup . . . . 

This first story is brought to us by Dale, who actually delivered up a two for one special. Demetrius Harvard came up zeroes after tossing construction debris onto the subway tracks at 14th Street and 8th Avenue Station in Chelsea this week. As a result, he was charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, assault and criminal trespass. These crimes caused a train derailment that could have resulted in tragedy if not for a “heroic crew” that was able to stop the train and deliver the 135 passengers on board to safety. When it comes to acts of heroism, the Big Apple’s inhabitants don’t need Spiderman’s help. They got this. 

Good Samaritan Rikien Wilder, 44, who jumped into the tracks to remove debris and detained suspect Demetrius Harvard.

And a big thank you to LA for her shout out on the train derailment story. She told me to look up Rikein Wilder for this week’s episode, and I’m glad I did. 

Wilder was on the platform when he witnessed Harvard dumping debris on the tracks. He navigated a set of stairs that led to the tracks and removed some of the debris before the train reached the station; his actions helping to prevent a derailment. He then ran upstairs to alert transit workers before returning to the platform to find Harvard at it again. This time Harvard was successful in his attempt to derail a subway car, after which Wilder gave chase and caught him, pinning him down for fifteen minutes before authorities arrived. MTA Chairman Pat Foye said our hero “exemplifies the best of New York,” and I would simply add this. Rikein Wilder exemplifies the best in all of us. 

Next up on the docket is a beauty of a get from Frank. In his words, “This nomination is so odd that it’s good. For me, no hero – but a collective that came together for something out of the ordinary.” And with all due respect to the Cincinnati Kid, Imma disagree with his assessment. Because every simple act of kindness behaves as spiritual fuel, and Lord knows we live inside a time when our tanks are in constant need of a fill up. I’ll let the video do the rest of my talking on this one. Enjoy. 

Pregnant Woman Jumps Into Ocean To Save Husband From Shark Attack

My pal Jen says we can call it a wrap when it comes to dishing up the Wife of the Year award, because Margot Dukes-Eddy has it in the bag after what she pulled off in the Florida Keys recently. Margot and her husband Andrew were enjoying a day on the water with their family when he decided to take a swim. No sooner had he moved into the water than a nine foot bull shark attached its razor sharp teeth to his shoulder. Margot dove in and was able to remove him from the water and while doctors are saying he still has a fight ahead of him, it’s almost a certainty he wouldn’t have made it out of the water alive if not for the quick actions of his wife. Who . . oh by the way, happens to be pregnant. Let’s hope these two kids will be recounting one hell of a fish story fifty years from now. 

Dak Prescott made NFL history during his amazing performance in the  Cowboys' comeback win - Blogging The Boys

Leave it to my compadre Big Papi to find his way into this week’s episode, unwittingly. He was chatting up his Dallas Cowboys recently when he made mention of Dak Prescott’s heroics on the field before segueing into the quarterback’s recent statements about mental health. And then I went to look it up and here’s an excerpt. 

“All throughout this quarantine and this offseason, I started experiencing emotions I’ve never felt before,” Prescott said. “Anxiety for the main one. And then, honestly, a couple of days before my brother passed, I would say I started experiencing depression. And to the point of, I didn’t want to work out anymore. I didn’t know necessarily what I was going through, to say the least, and hadn’t been sleeping at all.”

Depression isn’t a topic I feel quite so courageous about delving into all that often, so I appreciate someone like Prescott. Because for all the critics out there who believe that sports should stay in its lane, its guys like him who are able to shine a light on matters that have been kept in the dark for far too long. 

More than three and a half million Americans live with depression, and those numbers are rising. It does not discriminate and it is relentless. So when we hear an athlete such as Prescott open up about his own mental health issues, it might be easy for some to dismiss him as an anomaly since “he has it all” and so really, what does he have to be depressed about? 

Well, check out this list . . .

Kevin Love, DeMar DeRozan, Brandon Marshall, Michael Phelps, Imani Boyette, Amanda Beard, Justin Duchscherer, Allison Schmitt, Ricky Williams, Jerry West, Serena Williams, Ronda Rousey, Delonte West, Dwayne Johnson, Terry Bradshaw, Joey Votto, Ian Thorpe, Andy Baddely, Ricky Hatton, Dan Carcillo, John Kirwan, Shea Emry, Andrew Jensen, David Freese, Larry Sanders, Oliver Bone, Frank Bruno, Jack Green, Michael Yardy. 

These are just some of the names you’ll find when you go looking for famous athletes who’ve reached the pinnacle of their professions. And every single one of them battles depression on a daily basis. 

There but for the grace of God, you keep on. You find a reason to wake up and to keep up and most of all, you find a reason not to give up. But don’t tell me there’s not some kid out there who can’t learn from the experiences of these athletes. And maybe, just maybe, it becomes their lighthouse in the storm. Because when a guy like Prescott speaks up the way he did, no, it’s not about the games. 

And that’s the point. 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Brett Favre: 25 Greatest Moments of His Hall of Fame Career | Bleacher  Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

In spite of climate change, Trump attrition, social unrest and oh yeah . . a global pandemic, the NFL is getting its game on once again. There will be story-lines aplenty as we’ll have kneeling players, canned crowd noise, demonstrations and more playoff teams. Tom Brady is now retired and living in Tampa while Cam Newton will do his best Darth Maul impersonation in the hopes of keeping the Evil Empire relevant. Because of the disparity in COVID rules from state to state, some teams will host fans at limited capacity while other teams will have no fans in attendance. The silver lining in this playbook is that Philadelphia falls into the latter category. Sorry Eagles fans, but you still suck. 

And now for a special Tuesday lineup . . . 

Bella Witt, 50 Yard Challenge, Three Hills

Imma start on the positive side of the equation this week, thanks to Dale’s chime about a young lady from Alberta, Canada. 14 year old Bella Witt is going the extra yard this year, fifty times over. She’s taking on the 50 Yard Challenge, in which she will mow fifty different yards in her community. The volunteer movement was started by Rodney Smith, Jr of Huntsville, Alabama in 2015. Those who sign up can tend to their neighbors lawns in a variety of ways- from mowing them to raking leaves and even shoveling snow. The kids get a different colored t-shirt for every ten lawns they complete until they achieve their ‘black belt’ status once they’ve gone fifty strong. 

“Since COVID-19 there hasn’t been a lot to do here and I thought why not help people,” explained Witt. “There’s so much going on right now and I just want to be a blessing to people who have a hard time.”

Oh Bella, you are a blessing to us all. 

Marjorie Taylor Greene wins Georgia's 14th district runoff - AxiosOn the flip side, we have Marjorie Taylor Greene diluting the gene pool down in Georgia. The Republican is running for Congress, and she’s got a lot of Trumpian ideas at the ready. Her newest gem? A claim that forcing boys to wear masks is “emasculating”.  Never mind that more than half a million American kids have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and there’s been a 16 percent increase in these cases since mid August. 

How’s about we fit Green with a duct taped mask? 

Last week marked the nineteenth anniversary of the most devastating terror attack on US soil. So it’s worth remembering in these trying times that if we take the uniforms for granted, we do so at our own peril. The boys at the FDNY came through again recently when they tackled 53 year old Daniel Biggs; who just so happens to have a rap sheet a mile long and was intent on adding to it. As he was riding his bike along the sidewalk in Bedford Stuyvesant, Biggs decided it would be a good idea to punch a sixty year old woman in the face. Two problems: One, it’s assault. And two, he did so right in front of a firehouse. So needless to say, Biggs didn’t get very far before he was brought to the ground by New York’s Bravest. 

These guys ain’t quitting on us, and the feeling is mutual. 

Imma wrap up this special Tuesday edition with a belated tribute to a couple of legends, who gifted the world their immense talents in two different arenas. 

Trailblazing Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson dies - REVOLT

John Thompson changed the landscape of college basketball forever. Before he got to Georgetown, the team was an also ran, having just finished out a 3-23 campaign. Within three seasons, Thompson had them in the tournament. He built a national powerhouse in the eighties, winning a national title and reigning supreme over the Big East conference. But it was the impression he made with his kids off the court that will stand the true test of time. When star center Alonzo Mourning and another player were said to be running with associates of reputed drug boss Ray Edmond, Thompson called for a face to face meeting with him in his office. At the meeting, the coach proceeded to get in Edmond’s grill, informing him he was to have no further contact with any of his players. Edmonds never did associate with another Hoyas player after that meeting. When the news of Thompson’s passing came down, his former star point guard Allen Iverson credited Thompson with saving his life. Interestingly, Thompson was supposed to have been on the United Airlines flight that crashed into the Pentagon, but his place was cancelled. He made these last nineteen years count. 

Chadwick Boseman didn't just play icons. He was one. | National News |  martinsvillebulletin.com

Whereas the inimitable Mr Thompson climbed every mountain set in front of him, there is a profound sadness to the passing of Chadwick Boseman because he had so many more mountains left to climb. In his all too brief career, Boseman wrote and directed several plays and appeared on a couple television shows before scoring a role that would put him on the map for good. 

His portrayal of Jackie Robinson in the movie 42 got the attention of Hollywood moguls and moviegoers alike. Rachel, the widow of the iconic ballplayer said watching Chadwick immerse himself in the role was like being introduced to Jackie again. And from there, the world showed up at his doorstep and Boseman was more than ready to take it for a spin. He played legends like Thurgood Marshall and superheroes like the Black Panther. He was box office magic with a screen presence that promised Oscars, as in plural. But while the world was busy gifting him the much deserved rewards of his chosen craft, life was busy taking him away from us even if we never saw it coming. In 2016, Boseman was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer. He never shared this fact with the outside world, and he kept working throughout. He starred in several more films while undergoing chemotherapy as well as multiple surgeries. But it was a race he was destined to lose when the cancer returned this year. And it doesn’t make one damn bit of sense that he’s gone before he even really got started. That forty three years becomes the end instead of another beginning. 

There’s no song I could attach to this, because truthfully I didn’t come into this post expecting it would take me here. And now it doesn’t feel right, to put these final thoughts to music. So instead, I’ll place a picture of Boseman’s visit to St. Jude’s Hospital in 2018. Right in the middle of his stoic battle, he took some time for the kids, his fans. And this picture, I don’t know why but it fills me with peace. 

Sometimes there is music in the silence. 

Inside Chadwick Boseman's Emotional Visit to St. Jude's | PEOPLE.com

Heroes Of The Week!

30 Funniest Parks and Rec Quotes of All TIme | Best Life

As we inch closer to a national election that feels as if it was written by Judd Apatow, I thought about petitioning for a recount on my last Heroes episode. And then I realized that I didn’t actually use a political theme for the post, so never mind. And for the record? I’m voting for Bobby Newport in November. I’m half serious about that, and as Bobby would say, the other half is serious too. 

So now that I’ve gone two straight Heroes episodes without having talked politics, and my reward is an actual theme to gift you this week. The lovely Dale is playing Luke Skywalker, seeing as how she sent me three heroic stories this week. While I pick up the slack for Darth Vader by supplying the zeroes. I know, shocker!

And now for this week’s lineup . . .

The Yankees And Rays Absolutely Hate Each Other And It's Fucking Awesome |  Barstool Sports

Up until this moment, the Tampa Bay Rays have been that other team in every baseball movie. They’re a monochrome curiosity that is good enough to take the champion fifteen rounds, before getting steamrolled by the closing credits. But now they have a club with a legitimate chance to win it all, and so maybe their manager Kevin Cash should start behaving as if he’s been here before. The Rays skipper got all bent out of shape after Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman threw a a hundred mile an hour missile at his player’s head. Cash and his team have every reason to be pissed, but then he went and said this . . .

“Somebody’s got to be accountable,” Cash said. “And the last thing I’ll say on this is I got a whole damn stable full of guys that throw 98 mph. Period.”

How about you make the MLB do it’s fucking job. Make sure they hold Chapman and the Yanks accountable. But an outright threat such as the one Cash threw out serves no good purpose. If he’d chosen his words wisely, the onus would be entirely on the Yankees, but Cash went minor league instead. That’s a shame. 

Like any responsible homeowner, Dave Phoxe of Salt Lake City, Utah does what he can to keep his home and family safe from harm. He installed a security camera that syncs to his phone, alerting him to any uninvited guests who make the scene. So when he discovered that a little kid was using his driveway as a racetrack, he could have stormed outside and told the kid to scram. But Phoxe had a better idea. And so he made his driveway into a racetrack, drawing a lane that zigged and zagged to a finish line. Something tells me he’s got one hell of an encore for the kids who play on his lawn when he’s an old man. 

Clay Higgins says on Facebook that armed demonstrators 'won't walk away'  from Louisiana protests | News | theadvocate.com

Congratulations to Clay Higgins, the U.S. Representative out of Louisiana’s third district for taking the prize as biggest asshole of the week. No easy task these days, and yet Higgins makes it look easy with commentary that would make a serial killer wince. 

Higgins hopped on Facebook this week (This is what’s called foreshadowing) and proceeded to shit his feelings into the virtual world. His topic of conversation in this instance were the armed protesters showing up across his state. And for those of you with an allergy to ass hats with Rambo fetishes, you might want to move on to the next story, because the following is a sample of his rant. 

“I’d drop any 10 of you where you stand,” Higgins began, before continuing with “Nothing personal. We just eliminate the threat. We don’t care what color you are. We don’t care if you’re left or right. if you show up like this, if We recognize threat…you won’t walk away.”

I mean, where do I begin? Okay, maybe with an observation that goes something like this: Old Clay wasn’t posting shit like this on FB when white kids in PBR caps were walking through Wal-Marts fully armed. So yanno what I always say . . . there is that. 

Tom Seaver, greatest Met ever, dead at 75

Okay, so I lied. Imma dish up a tribute to an all time great who was a hero to every Queens kid back in the days of bell-bottom jeans and 8-track players. Tom Seaver blessed the game of baseball in myriad ways over a career that spanned three decades and five cities. He won 311 games to the tune of a 2.86 ERA in that space of time. He snagged Rookie of the Year honors in 1967 and was the ace of the Miracle Mets World Series team in ’69. He was a Cy Young winner three times over, an All Star twelves times and he pitched a no hitter as a member of the Cincinnati Reds in 1978. But as a man, he contributed even more than that. He was an ambassador whose grace, wisdom and experience has left a lasting impression on the game he loved. They really don’t write them like Tom anymore. 

Okay, for this last story Imma do things a little differently and just let author Shaka Senghor take us home. In his words. Because I could not have said it any better than he did on his Facebook post.

Last Friday night I was standing outside of a barbershop in Cincinnati, Oh,with a small group of mostly black men, when this officer walked over to a group of us. He looked around curiously and said “I don’t see a car blocking an intersection” while shaking his head. I asked him what was he talking about. He said someone called and reported that we had a car blocking the intersection. He paused for a minute and shook his head again. In that moment we both nodded and acknowledged what had just happened. Someone basically saw our group and made a false report. I asked him how long he had been on the job and he said 10 months. He asked what we were doing at the barbershop and so told him about the barbershop challenge Men of Courage and Ford Fund has sponsored. I asked if he wanted to come inside. He said he wanted to, but didn’t want to spoil the fun with his presence. Again we both nodded and acknowledged the reality of distrust between the community and police officers. I offered to take him inside so he could meet the owners and establish a relationship. I told him that someone has to take the first step to healing these relationships. He said he wanted to, but was unsure of what the reaction would be. I told him it would be cool and that Jerome Bettis and a host of other amazing people were inside. He lit up like a light bulb and said “No way The Bus is in there”, with a kid like smile. I said hold on, I’ll grab him and have him come out. Jerome Bettis came out and the officer stood there with his mouth agape before saying “if my dad was still alive he would be so excited, because you were his favorite player”. We all stopped and sat in the moment before they went on to take a selfie together. It was one of those moments that reminded me of our humaneness, our frailties and our similarities. In that moment we were all just men navigating the world without the mask we are taught and trained to wear. I could have taken my offense to the call out on the officer and accused him of being a racist cop. He could have believed the caller and acted based on stereotypes about black men in groups. But we chose to just see each other and talk like humans. It’s ultimately a decision we can all make. When he lit up like a kid at seeing his dad’s sports hero, I saw a little boy and the uniform no longer mattered. We can collectively choose to see beyond the uniforms we all wear.

It’s not easy and there is a lot of work to be done, but if we can at least start seeing each other, I believe things will get better.