Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Making a brave stand for the 'Fro

I swear falling off that bicycle and bashing my head killed my ability to write. I'm just not funny lately, and it shows when I blog. There is some medical precedent.

 I remember reading about a guy- I want to say Phineas Gage, but I'm too lazy to Google it- who somehow got an iron bar rammed through his head. Amazingly, he lived... and more amazinglyish, he was basically OK after they disbarred(?) him. It wasn't until later that people noticed his mood swings, irrational actions, and inappropriate responses to social cues.

 Although he was fine fisically (or phine physically), he got some mojo in his mental. The technical version is "frontal lobe injury," but "mojo in the mental" conveys the picture better. I forget how he ended up, but I suppose suicide would be a good guess... although I bet he didn't try shooting himself in the head.

Me? I act the same as I always have acted. All my bruises are gone, my headaches have vanished, and the doctor who did my neck surgery was amazed that I didn't screw that up. You'd think all was well... but the blogs just haven't been hitting on all cylinders.

I managed to drag hubby off to bed before the news for some fresh Staceness, and I've never been able to sleep more than 4 hours in a row since I had the girls- once you get used to waking up every few hours, it becomes habit rather quickly. I still wake up at 5 AM too, and I haven't been in a classroom since late 2004.

We all have our little habits, and mine just seem to leave me awake in the house when all else is quiet. If this were Christmas Eve, I'd most likely catch Santa dropping down my chimney... maybe smoke a joint with him, let him use the bathroom, share some wine, see that he eats something better than cookies... or even bang him, to get myself off the Naughty List. I'd imagine his stamina would be remarkable.

But no. It's just a November night during an autumn that should get all those global warming folks all worked up, even after the hurricane-free summer. I can't say I'm depressed, because I've actually been feeling pretty good lately. It's not a PMS thing, either... I actually grow Stronger during those times somehow, and I'm generally funnier in a sarcastic way when I'm crabby.

Anywho... we're the Sports Column here at, and the best way to shake off a funk is to just hop back on the horse and ride into town for supplies. It's a great big sports world out there, and there's always something to goof on.

In fact, I'm reminded of what Mencken said... "Life may not be exactly pleasant, but it is at least not dull. Heave yourself into Hell today, and you may miss, tomorrow or next day, another Scopes trial, or another War to End War, or perchance a rich and buxom widow with all her first husband's clothes. There are always more Hardings hatching. I advocate hanging on as long as possible."

In fact, nothing could stop me from bringing you the big story in Sport today:

Ben Wallace and Scott Skiles are feuding over Wallace's headband.

Wallace just signed with Chicago for like 16 billion dollars a season, and he DID ask for a list of team rules before he did... can't let "coach gets to sleep with your wife" slip by in the fine print. Either way, Ben was rocking his headband Saturday night, and Coach Skiles benched him.

Chicago is 4-9 this year, and they have bigger things to worry about than headbands. I'm saying this to both Scott and Ben. It's one of those discipline things, and Ben isn't having it. Skiles- who once fought Shaq when they played on the same team- most likely won't budge. "Business is about to pick up," as Jim Ross says.

If you've never seen Ben Wallace, a headband really isn't going to screw up his look. Ben is about 6'10", 270, and built like one of those statues you see at the MFA. He looks like he could rip your car door off with his bare hands, pull you out of it, and hurl you into the air with such force that you enter into a geosynchronous orbit over the nation of Beatdown.

Depending on whether you think that mole on her face made or ruined Cindy Crawford's look, the headband in question draws attention to/from Ben's greatest aesthetic feature... his gargantuan afro. Ben has hair that you could- no joke- hide a grapefruit in. He rocks cornrows a lot, like a giant Iverson... but he isn't afraid to play with the full Fro.

The Fro sweats a lot, and Ben likes to wear a headband to keep the sweat out of his eyes. He's not wearing Nazi regalia or anything... just a team colored headband. The coach- who is mostly bald- doesn't sympathize, and you just know it's going to come down to a man being forced to alter his natual hairdo from fear of being fined. Once that happens, things will be ugly.

 The NBA is already too far into the player wardrobes. They have a dress code that is worse than what you see at a Catholic high school. Jermaine O'Neal had to pay $5000 for wearing his wristband too far up on his arm. Kobe Bryant can't wear his pantyhose any more, and you simply can't wear a pimp suit on the bench these days unless you're willing to spend about $20,000.

There's a big fat racial streak through the policy. It came at a time when most NBA players are young blacks, and it was aimed right at the hip-hop look. It forgets that men in suits have done more damage to the world than every thug black teen ever, combined. It ignores the fact that Dennis Rodman could wear a dress while both looking and playing better than Chris Kaman.


I like seeing how Allen Iverson dresses on his night off. My tastes might be extreme, but I think some of the styles you used to see on NBA benches look good. I think some are horrific, but that's what happens when young men dress themselves.

Instead, we get a strictly-regimented dress code that boils down to a 50-something NYC lawyer deciding how young blacks should dress. David Stern has had a stranglehold on the NBA Commish job since he rodeMagic, Larry and Jordan to big money and marketing Heaven. His rule is unchallenged, and his word is law... he was even able to overrule a court's decision somehow in the Artest case.

His power can only be limited by David Stern... and he's set on increasing his power, right down to your socks and especially your wallet. Few players challenge him, and fewer succeed.

There's not much you can do, other than get on a plane and play in Spain for short money. Still, I'd like to see the black players speak up somehow. Imagine how funny the NBA would look if all the black guys sat out a game or ten to protest Stern's policies? Several teams- including the Celtics- wouldn't be able to put 5 guys on the floor. That's a lot of money to refund, and the owners will be looking for blood... and both player and commissioner blood will suffice.

Stern fines the players.. why shouldn't they fine him and the owners back? Sure, the NBA pulled a lot of these dudes out of the ghetto and plopped theminto a 2007 Porsche, but all these black kids make a lot of money for a lot of owners/media/business people involved in the game.

Sport used to be more blue collar. The Bruins games I went to as a kid look/sound/feel nothing like today's games. The Celtic crowd is even more drastically changed. The crowd is much more white collar, and the arenas lack soul. Most places actually have to urge the fans to cheer, via cheerleaders (good) and Jumbotron applause begging (bad).

You have to sell advertising and luxury boxes to stay in the game these days, and the corporate voice has far too much influence in the game. The NBA has been forced to cater to this, by both corporate pressure and a lawyer who gives himself too much of Michael Jordan's credit.

Stern is a fine businessman, but he's got far too much power for someone who only played on courts with judges in them. There has to be someone else who can do what he does, and that person should be working for the next NBA Commish... Allen Iverson.

Commissioner Iverson isn't as goofy as it sounds. He'd have the instant respect of every player out there. He's too rich to bribe. You'd have to work pretty hard to put together an outfit that would offend Commissioner Iverson, which means that any move he made in that area would be understandable to all parties. He also balled for 20 years, so he understands the NBA as well as any NYC 50 y/o lawyer.

 For all the dress-up David Stern wants to play with his action figures, he should always remember that the NBA was at it's commercial peak when Rodman was wearing a dress and Jordan had his wristband up around his elbow.


dpoem said...

Hey pretty lady!  Sorry to hear you're still having trouble with your head.  If you need it, I have some duct-tape.  It's good to see you writing again.  

Anyway, I finally dragged myself out of the fruit cellar where I was hiding after the unholy beating my Packers suffered at the hands of your Pats.  So, when I turned on the Monday night game, I noticed the Pack brought the weather.  Unfortunately, they seem to have only brought thirty freaking minutes worth of Lambeau weather.  

Ack.  No wonder why my state has a drinking problem.


lurkynat said...

dear Smurfette,
ah! what a wonderful entry! gerat job (drum roll!)
you are a captain of industry!
love and hugs,natalie

zbar88 said...

O just let the man wear his headband. It may be team policy but Wallace has been playing like crap so far this season. Maybe he needs the headband to actually block a shot and make a basket...

sportzassassin said...

I agree.  The NBA's biggest strength was it's style.  Whatever was hip in the NBA became hip with the people who buy things....and vice-versa.  Like you said, the NBA was at it's marketing peak when Dennis Rodman was painting his hair and MJ was tugging on his baggy shorts.  The NBA likes to display those throwback jerseys on occassion...which guys like Allen Iverson made popular.  Heck, AI was putting those mini sweatbands on his fingers...and everyone wanted to get a few of those.  

It's ironic for all this to take place since the NBA uniform is pretty much just a bunch of guys running around in underwear.