You are complicated…..
Let’s face it. Many don’t like you. Some don’t want any part of you, while others are so damn tired of your act.
Yet I defend you.
I’m glad you weren’t around when I was younger, and I feel for this generation who have been bullied and felt added peer pressure because of you.
Still, I see your good side.
Yes, you, social media, the home of often the fake, the exaggerated, and the irritating but at your core, I have a soft spot for you as you have provided a connection we wouldn’t have had before you arrived.
Think about it—how many friends would you be in contact with if it hadn’t been for social media?
Would you know their birthdays? Would your class reunions be as good? Would your overall network be as strong?
Thank you, Social Media.
You’ve even helped my business as your platforms have enabled me to promote my ideas where you never know who’s watching. You can break news faster than your predecessors, and you often make me laugh, too, so there’s that.
But most of all, it’s the relationships—childhood friends, high school buddies, lost college acquaintances, and countless connecting of the dots to those we have worked with throughout the years. I never thought I would be in my mid-fifties and be in touch with so many of the people I grew up caring about the most.
It continues to amaze me…..
An amazing example of this came to the forefront recently when I traveled to North Carolina and thought, who do I know in Wilmington, NC? I do this often with places I travel to with mixed results. This time, it was a home run. On this trip (thanks to Facebook), I was reunited with a childhood friend I hadn’t seen in over three decades, so I randomly messaged her. It was great she got right back to me, and we immediately set up a date with her husband and my girlfriend that weekend.
Old friends are the best friends—even though we agreed we hadn’t seen each other in 35 years, it was like no time had passed. It was funny our significant others were left talking to each other as we caught up on the many lost decades of news from our lives.
I’m confident this would never happen without social media. It surely wouldn’t have been as easy as it was that weekend.
Reuniting and keeping up with the favorite people of our past is a plus, and so is reaching out to new connections that social media allows. As a teacher, I have reached out to the authors of books I want my class to read along with peers in my profession I don’t know well or at all, and often they will appear as guest speakers. This couldn’t have happened as often in pre-social media.
Sure, we often get consumed with the bad—-it’s tough on our kids, we get overloaded on politics, and those who act like their lives are a Norman Rockwell portrait is annoying too. Still, I think we can agree a considerable positive is how this phenomenon has brought us all together.
That Saturday lunch in random Wilmington, North Carolina, was a friendly reminder. It was a special day I could never have experienced without modern technology—I look forward to the next random reunion.
I hope you have enjoyed the same.
Defending Social Media, the first lap in another race around the Naborhood.
THE ARNOLD DOC: Say what you want about Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it’s safe to say nobody has lived a similar life. From afar, his reputation for some may be this weight-lifting meathead, but I have always been impressed with how he has continued to re-invent himself when he could have quickly settled for less in many parts of his life.
The recent Netflix documentary on Schwarzenegger’s life was fittingly three parts as nobody had ever had the three stages this bodybuilder, actor, and eventual politician endured. An amazing journey from seven-time Mr. Olympian to Hollywood’s biggest box office draw to the 38th governor of California…..incredible.
The doc unraveled an impressive journey but proved that you can always use your acquired skills to find new careers. Ready to move on from his bodybuilding days, Arnold admitted he had five years without an offer for an acting role, yet “I was always a fanatic about preparation.” His workout mindset kept him going in pursuit of being a leading man.
I was impressed by how Schwarzenegger was never satisfied. Even after becoming one of Hollywood’s biggest leading men, he wanted more—trying comedy. A funny story in the doc had him running into famous comedic director Ivan Reitman of Stripes, Meatballs, and Ghostbusters fame in Aspen, where he said: “You’re the Ghostbusters guy. I could be a Ghostbuster.” Can’t you hear Arnold say it when you read that? Amazingly that connection led to Arnold starring in his first of many comedic roles in “Twins” with Danny Devito. Talk about beating the odds……
After years of rejection, Director James Cameron said Arnold told him in their first meeting, “I don’t want to be an actor. I want to be a star.” You gotta admire the confidence.
Schwarzenegger’s run at politics was as improbable as acting, where jumping into the California gubernatorial race at the last minute, he leaned on his bodybuilding and acting skills when prepping for debates. “I did exactly what I did in bodybuilding. I was thinking, how can I derail them psychologically.” Arnold admitted he had much to learn about policy and made up for it by asking for help. “I had my comedy writers write up some jokes, so whenever I didn’t know the issues very well, I would use the jokes.” Fake it till you make it…..
He’s still active on many issues he pushed for as governor, and Arnold addressed the mistakes he has made in his personal life. This doc had it all, just like Schwarzenegger’s life—-never dull.
GREAT SPEECH: I’m a sucker for a motivational speech; this time of year always delivers differently. With the annual Baseball and Football Hall of Speech ceremonies, I love the variety of tributes that outline these players’ journeys, where everyone chooses a different approach. There is no right way to do it, which makes it interesting.
In this year’s baseball speeches from Cooperstown, I thought inductee Scott Rolen took a unique approach. He didn’t mention one ex-teammate, coach, or executive during his speech. It was all about the fans and especially his family. I’ve never seen that, but it was refreshing and said much about Rolen.
He started the speech by giving a shoutout to his teenage son’s baseball team, “The Indiana Bulls.” Still, he then focused on heartfelt tributes to his family providing great stories and complements from his wife, his kids, brother and sister, and especially his parents. Rolen said the highlight of his career wasn’t a game-winning home run in the playoffs; it was when his parents drove overnight from Florida (because his Mom didn’t like to fly) and made it to his major league debut with the Phillies.
He talked about his first day in kindergarten. He told his Mom, “Everyone was nice, but I think I’ll just stay home and practice baseball.”
Rolen mentioned his Dad was a man of few words, but before a big high school all-star game, when he lacked confidence, he asked his son, “What can you do?” After he told them, he said, “Do that then.” A mindset this Hall of Famer carried with him his whole career.
The speech was different than any I had ever heard from an athlete where. Rolen concluded he doesn’t know much about the current baseball analytics involving exit velocity, launch angles, and spin rates. His main takeaways were what he learned from his parents. “Thank you, excuse me, and I’m sorry.”
A refreshing speech indeed.
NOBODY ASKED ME….BUT : If NFL Films is on board, count me in. Most years, I love Hard Knocks. Their outstanding “A Football Life series produced for the NFL Network is a must-see, and now they hit another homerun with its “Quarterback” series on Netflix.
Sports journalism is all about access, and this series further proves how valuable it can be. The episodes focus on three quarterbacks who agree to give a unique and revealing behind-the-scenes look at their lives on and off the field. You have NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes, former Falcons starter, now Eagles backup Marcus Mariota and Vikings veteran QB Kirk Cousins, who I found the most likable.
Mahomes is great and seems fun to be around, but Cousins was different. I liked that he takes every Tuesday off during the season to spend with his family solely and even takes time for himself. I appreciated how he often goes to the local Barnes and Noble to clear his head. (I thought I was the only one who did that?) It was great to see how Cousins thoughtfully answered fan mail and how he rationally confronted the critics of his reputation for not winning prime-time games.
I also loved how Cousins isn’t afraid to put himself out there, as seen by his last-minute “NFL Honors” singing performance of his own “Tom Brady” themed “Since He’s Been Gone” in front of the song’s originator Kelly Clarkson—great stuff!
Series like “Quarterback” make us all learn about these athletes more as people—glad they are re-upping for year two—-I’ll be rooting for Cousins this fall.
EXTRA POINT: Another salute to the versatile Darius Rucker, who I recently saw for the first time this summer. I love his versatility—he sang his country hits but through in a lot of “Hootie” along with the unexpected combo of “John Cougar Mellencamp, TLC and wait for it..a remake of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity.” Well done…….
UNTIL NEXT BLOG,
PHOTO CREDITS: Leremy/Dreamstime.com, INC Magazine, Netflix, The Joplin Globe, Yahoo Sports & Redbird Rants