Opinion: In The Hands of Man
“Everything is good as it leaves the hands of the Author of things; everything degenerates in the hands of man.” From a simple statement grows a strong opinion about the state of athletics and our places as fans. The pressure of winning is intense; more now than ever. Coaches are paid exorbitant amounts of money to do just that; win. And we cheer for them to win. We hope that whatever it takes to win is legitimate enough to not cause real trouble. And when we roll in the mud with hogs, we are bound to get some dirt under our nails. Everything degenerates in the hands of man.
Breaking Down Match-Ups
Each week during the season, I will take the time to break down the match-ups at each position group for both the Ducks and their opponent. A unique look at which team has the edge at each position as well as an overall preview of the match-ups.
Every week I will bring new feature articles for the reader to get to know the Duck Empire just a little better. The Duck Empire is vast and complex, these stories will bring you inside the lives of other Duck fans.
We are always working to bring you breaking news and exclusive stories. The Other Side of Duck was the only Oregon member to interview Lache Seastrunk after his transfer. We are working on future exclusive stories and will work non-stop to bring you the very latest news.
The Other Side Of Duck
We are here to bring you a side of Duck sports that no one else brings. There are two sides to every story, our goal is to bring you the side of the story less discussed. In addition, we will continue to provide more content than responses to other stories. Original content, exclusive interviews, strong opinions and feature articles.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Coming out of the closet.
This is a trend in athletics that has caught many off guard, some not so much. One thing is for sure, though, that the announcements of high profile players that they are gay has stirred plenty of debate and commentary across the board. Some are for the announcements, some against.
Then, as I was driving home Thursday night, I asked myself about my own motives in those protestations. I wondered aloud if the issue is not the sexuality itself, but how we on the receiving end of the message perceive its intent.
Yes, these are football (and basketball) players and all that should matter is their performance on the field. But then a strange question popped into my head, and the answer I gave myself showed me why my initial thoughts were simply wrong. I did not get it, and neither do most.
When Brent Musberger became fascinated, almost creepily, with A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend at the time, we were not offended by her picture. In fact, most ‘red-blooded’ American men secretly agreed with Musburger; she was very beautiful. The football fans, that inner Neanderthal inside us all would have also called her “hot.” It’s what most men watching thought.
In other articles inside Sports Illustrated and other sports journals, many times a question is asked about the players celebrity crush. No one winces at the answers. No one says “I don’t care” — they do care and they read and determine what kind of “taste” the player has in women. What if a player said “Well, I think Justin Timberlake is hot, he’s my celebrity crush?”
Honestly, you know what would happen. False protestations voiced everywhere we can imagine that ‘we don’t care about that stuff.’ Well, we do.
Further compounding the issue surrounding sexuality in football especially is the level of machismo that is a part of the football culture. It is thicker than Alabama mud. When Jonathan Martin exposed the harassment that had been directed at him, some were appalled, but a majority of people secretly, some more publicly, ridiculed Martin for not being “tough” he was not being a “man.” He was called a “sissy” by plenty of people. As children growing up, anyone who was not able to throw well was said to ‘throw like a girl’ and was also called a sissy. Being ‘feminine’ had no place on the football field.
I would like to say that the people talking about Martin in such mannerisms were the minority, or the uneducated, or just simpleton fans. Unfortunately, this attitude extended not only to his own team mates but his own coaches, his own management in the Dolphins front office. Think about those terms for a minute and let them sink in. His “manhood” was questioned. Even worse, commentators versed in sports programming were mimicking these thoughts. They perpetuated the stereotypes. Some of the same commentators who now applaud these announcements ridiculed Martin’s ‘manhood’ last year.
So much of football is wrapped in a misogynistic stereotype of masculinity that it becomes difficult to unravel what is necessary to compete on the field and what is left over from a different time.
When the Eagles’ Riley Cooper dropped a specific derogatory racial epithet last summer, he was roundly criticized as he should have been — his actions and words were despicable. Had he used that language on a consistent basis during practice, in the manner which he used it (derogatorily), there would have been hell to pay in the locker room.
Now think about a different word. “Faggot.” It is a constant in many places, especially in the locker room. If you are gay, this word is just as demeaning, just as derogatory as any racial epithet. A constant reminder that you, as a gay man in that locker room, are not worthy.
Sam, Jason Collins and now Chip Sarafin are speaking out, not because they want you to care about their sexuality, but because they want you to no longer care about sexuality at all. No longer should they have to hide in corners keeping their lives a secret, afraid of what people will think.
The culture inside locker rooms has been far too offensive for far too long. These announcements are not about sexuality; they are about a changing world, a changing demographic. The sports world has stuck to the past with the concept of tradition for many years. Change of any type in sports is fought tooth and nail by traditionalists. But football and sports are changing.
I once thought that I did not care about the sexuality of players. I was wrong. I applaud these men for their courage. They are tired of the negativity. For football players who happen to be gay, it’s not about sexuality, it is about dignity. They have reclaimed their own dignity and now have opened up the world for everyone to reclaim theirs.
Friday, August 15, 2014
that much I already knew. I know where the final sequence occurs (not revealing it here, though!) and I have the concept for this person opposite the protagonist (Brian), but I have still yet to decide the exact nature of their relationship...
So this idea hits me, he is going to ask her if they are on a date, if they have been dating the entire time... and her response will be along the lines of this:
Does it matter? I mean, all of our lives, we have tried to compartmentalize our relationships with people. I feel like that has made my relationships less than full. I put each person in a box and say 'this is you, you fit here' and that traps them.
What if my brother could have been my best friend? But instead of turning to him based on some pre-defined relation, I turned elsewhere.
What if I label this a date? Will that change the tone of our discussion? Will you look at me differently? Of course it will, and of course you will, because now you will see me in a small box; trapped inside the corners of your own minds definition of what 'date' means.
I want to explore the world without relationship definitons. The old way clearly did not work for me and I don't think it worked well for you either. You trapped everyone into a box inside your mind and you wouldn't let them escape that pre-defined role you had imagined them filling.
What if your conception of that relationship is wrong? And who tells you it is wrong. By shoving people into a corner like that you not only imprison them, you imprison yourself. There is no growth in your understanding of yourself or others.
On the other hand, if you open up, stop categorizing people by some pre-defined ideal set by a society we both agree is broken, if you do this, and you begin to explore the world without all those little boxes constraining your mind and your spirit, maybe, just maybe, your relationship with the world will grow in a way you could not have imagined. Maybe all that loneliness you have felt for so long will escape when you open the boxes.
Are we on a date? Well, that depends on how you classify date. Stop letting a a definition decide your actions. Act as your will dictates not as your mind. Free yourself from life as a 'jack-in-the-box' and learn to run free. Stop. Be."
Monday, August 11, 2014
To clue you in, conflict cannot all be resolved in just a few chapters... and there cannot be too simple of a "epiphany" so, there has to be a girl come along that seems right, but is not...
There will be more journeys... the protagonist already took one small excursion, I am planning at least two MAJOR excursions and a move to a new city...
Their tortured soul, though, has made the world a better place. Duality creates so many questions with so few answers. Why is it that the tortured soul brings so much joy to the world around them, yet cannot find joy themselves? That is a question that cannot be answered in this life.
Enjoy what they gave us. Hope they find the peace in the after-life they could not find on Earth. But know this, the artist give their tortured souls so the world might be a better place, even if only for the briefest of moments.
You see, there are a lot of Facebook friends for me, many of whom friend requested me due to the writing... which is all good and I don't mind at all... and I have followed along through all of the ups and downs of some of them... the truth is definittely stranger than fiction on occasion!
Well, as I was reading one day, it hit me that there is a particular person whom I do not know that is the perfect, and I mean PERFECT inspiration behind a new character. I would never reveal this person's name, but the history will be deep and textured and will provide the perfect creative challenge to the protagonist!
The words written are gold. Not as they are written, but as I see them changed in the story.
For me that is exaggerated by also being a power lifter who is unwilling to give up being in shape and the fact that I write three articles a week covering sports. Suddenly there is hardly any time left.
Because of this, my time has to really be used wisely. Today I wrote during the first part of my lunch...w as able to get 1000 words to the story. I also decided I need to take my notepad everywhere. There are ideas I have not yet incorporated that I can plug in later, and new ideas are always popping up... being able to jot them down is important.
I have also found that this stream of consciousness stuff can be a big time blessing in disguise. Yes. You are going to bare YOUR soul a little. But when you can train yourself to write AS THE CHARACTER, then you are going to see some amazing things come out.
Don't worry about grammar or punctuation; syntax or tense, simply let your fingers pound out some words and then you can go back through it to see if it makes any sense. And, guess what? It probably will, and you will think it is some of the best stuff you have ever written.
Writing is art. To think that we can plan every facet of it, takes away the art. If I wanted to write formulaic books, I could. But that is just paint by numbers. I don't want to be that guy. I cannot paint a picture with oil, but I think I can do so with words.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Despite these quick visions of a person, they do not represent us in our entirety. They are but small glimpses at a piece of us.
At the end of a piece of fiction, we should be spent mentally, having exhausted ourselves of every ounce of our internal being. Yet, when we put pen to paper once again, that spirit is refreshed anew. All that we put to paper prior is behind us while what we begin to put down the next time around begins the cycle all over again.
Like life, there is a circle of consciousness in writing. There is no way we can create a character, a story, without incorporating some small piece of our soul. Finding a way to do so without permanently losing that soul is much trickier.
I often wonder if this is why writers such as Salinger struggle to make further inroads into their own consciousness. Sometimes, at the end of a project, we come to the dark realization that we have given everything we have; we are spent. With nothing further to give to a particular endeavor, in this case, art, we simply seek other endeavors.
I hope when I get to the end of this project, I have more inside me; I hope that muse comes back with a vengeance and a force never before seen.
Friday, August 8, 2014
I find that it stimulates my mind; creates a new flow of my mind. I want the protagonist character of Brian Jefferson to grow and develop organically. If I try to focus solely on the book and the characters, I think I will lose that organic spontaneity.
I want there to be changes; differences, directions I did not pre plan. I have already made some big time changes in the development of the character and I hope to get inspired with other changes later. I cannot do that if all I do is keep a singular laser like focus on one direction.
“Not sure that balls is what it takes. This started because I had nowhere to go, and no one with whom to make the trip. I simply got behind the wheel of my car and started driving,” I confided. Not even sure I was confiding in this man. I was unsure of myself and talking about this only exaggerated those doubts. Nonetheless, there I was, practically baring my soul to some stranger in a gas station.