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Archive for the tag “Hero”

Tuesday’s Thoughts: Nelson Mandela, The South African Phoenix

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gaute...

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 1998 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I admit, I do not know enough about Mr. Nelson Mandela.  As a little boy growing up in the Caribbean, Mandela’s name was second to God.  Who was this man?  I grew up hearing chants of  ‘Free Mandela!’ from Calypso singers, reggae greats and poets.  Even the legend,  Bob Marley sang about him.  Our school books talked about him.  To my ignorant mind, he was God-like.

I was told that he fought against the apartheid system that ruled his country and was imprisoned because of it. That’s all I knew.  In a nutshell.   A black man was jailed for fighting racism in his country and we wanted him freed.  The world wanted him freed.  Even the white people!  He must be a great man!  Every kid needs a hero and I had found mine.  “Free Mandela!”.  I too picked up the chant.  “End Apartheid!”  I started chanting long before I even knew what apartheid was.  It just sounded like a bad thing.  It was.

Twenty seven years after he was jailed for allegedly inciting strikes among the workers, he was finally released.  More chants and songs accompanied his freedom.  “Mandela is free! Free at last!”  He quickly picked up from where he had left off as he had unfinished business to take care of.  The system he had sacrificed most of his life for was still very much in place.  He could have disappeared into anonymity then.  No one would have accused him of cowardice but he didn’t.  He was a freedom fighter and a real freedom fighter does not quit until freedom is achieved or he is dead.

Mandela’s fight culminated in him becoming the first black President of South  Africa.  He toppled the racist regime that had governed his country for many years, exploiting the black majority with rampant racists practices.  Apartheid in South Africa was over!

I am not sure how or if Nelson Mandela changed or affected my life living in the Caribbean, oceans away from South Africa.  But what Mandela did was inspired me.  Inspired a world.  His fight for justice and equally could not be subdued even behind bars.  Twenty seven years after being locked away, he rose again like a phoenix from the ashes.  The ultimate freedom fighter.

I have always gravitated to people who stand up for what they believe it, even if it means sacrificing the things they hold dear or their very lives.  That’s why I can call Ali and Mandela my heroes.  Mandela’s legacy will always live on even after he’s gone.  South Africa and the world will always remember this great man who took on the giants and won.  Because of Nelson Mandela, South Africans could be proud of who they are.  Maybe the world on a whole became a better place because of him.  Even if so very slightly.

Soon, Nelson Mandela will be free in truer sense of the word.  The weights on his shoulder forever removed and he will finally take a much-deserved rest.

God Bless You, Nelson Mandela!  Great job!

This was originally posted back in June when Mandela was thought to be close to death.  Yesterday, Mandela was freed in every sense of the word.  Just like he was a hero in every sense of the word.  My thoughts and prayers to all his loved ones.  May his soul rest in continual peace.

Nelson Mandela – July 18 1918 – December 5 2014

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Tell Ovechkin I’m Sorry

Alexander Ovechkin

Alexander Ovechkin (Photo credit: davidkosmos)

Done? Me done? With Ovechkin? I don’t think so.  I admit, I was mad at him for his lackadaisical attitude on the ice and it drove me to write that I was done wearing his jersey in public.  I was disappointed in him as he would have been if the situation was reversed.

Soon after writing my blog, ‘Tell Ovechkin I’m Done’,  The Great 8 went on fire!  Six goals and 3 assists in the last five games!  Maybe he follows my blog…  He also got the attention of the league, so much that he was named the week’s first star!  Now that’s my boy!

I watched him play the first of back-to-back games against the Winnipeg Jets.  He was nothing like the ‘drag-my-ass-around’ Ovechkin that I saw in his first game in the city.  He had fire and purpose.   I was happy.  Welcome back sir!

When asked about his turnaround, Ovechkin had this to say:

“I just try to do my best,” Ovechkin said.

“Right now I’m scoring goals and I’m the king of the world. And a couple weeks ago I was almost in the toilet. So maybe you just forget to flush me.”

Sounds like the old Ovie I once knew!  The line ‘I’m king of the world…’ reminds me of my other hero, the great Muhammad Ali.

Good luck Ovie!  Keep on rolling and I’ll keep on wearing that jersey.  If you are not done, then I’m not done, son.

Interestingly,  Oveckin is fourth in the league for goals, (5 less than leader, Stamkos) and his total points are good enough for 10th.  Pretty decent.

Tell Ovechkin I’m Done!

P1060226I loved the guy.  He reminded me so much of my other hero, Muhammad Ali.  Brash, energetic and in-your-face type of guy.  Watching him play made my heart beat faster.  He was like a wizard with the puck.  He would do anything to get it into the opposition’s net.  He was my type of guy.  Sidney who?  That wimp couldn’t hold a candle to the Great 8, Ovie.

Then just like that, without warning, it seemed like the wheels fell off the Ovechkin train.  The first season it happened, the excuses were many.  He was playing hurt.  The team had changed to a more defensive style of hockey.  The next season with a new coach with a different system still did not get the train back on track.  Was I witnessing the premature decline of my hero?  Did he peak too soon? I didn’t know what to think.  Fast forward to present day.

About a week ago, I went to see the shell of the Great 8 play the Winnipeg Jets.  I was focused on him as I wanted to see if I could notice anything different.  I did.  Well what I saw was troubling.  As his teammates practiced, Ovie stretched.  And stretched some more.  Then he went back on the bench to take care of his laces that suddenly needed attention.  Then he came back over the boards and stretched some more.  He took a shot with no real enthusiasm then tested the boards by bumping against it.  The captain Ovechkin was the laziest man on the ice!

When his team came out to start the game, Ovechkin made a beeline for the bench and was the first and only player sitting as his teammates made a warmup lap.  (Oh, he was also the first to leave the ice after the initial warmup).  Something seemed wrong.  I had the impression that Ovie did not want to be playing hockey.  His body language screamed that he’d rather be doing something else than play hockey.  Probably rather be spending time with his tennis player girlfriend, Maria Kirilenko.  Whatever it was, it had taken an immense toll on the man many considered to be the next big thing in hockey.  Gone was the brash kid who knocked over any player who dared to stand in his way.  A couple of games ago, he attempted to throw a hip check at an opposing player entering his zone.  He then backed off at the last second and allowed the player to go in and eventually set up a goal.  The player who scored ‘the goal’ while sliding on his backside and many other highlight reel goals have left the building, folks.  The player who was considered by many, including yours truly, to be better than Crosby, is now not even worthy of tying The Kid’s laces.  Comparing him to Sidney is an insult to Crosby.  Heck, comparing him to Malkin, Hossa, and a lot of other players who are playing their hearts out night after night, is insulting.

So tell Ovechkin that I’m done.  I can no longer be seen wearing his jersey, once my prized possession.  I can be tolerate and even appreciate it if a player tries hard but fails due to lack of talent but a player who gives up on his team and his teammates, I can’t support.  I am not comfortable wearing Ovechkin’s jersey anymore.  In fact I’m done, son.

 

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