Men’s Basketball: #AEPlayoffs Quarterfinals: #8 Maine at #1 Albany

This past Wednesday I had the pleasure of tuning into our basketball team’s game against the Maine Black Bears. It was the first time I’d watched an Albany game in its entirety and I must say it was a good one. The Great Danes, a team that isn’t known to have bow out wins, dominated Maine throughout the entire game. Below is a play-by-play of what I observed during the short hour and a half game:

7:16 p.m. – Peter Hooley, good energy! 75 percent free throws this year. Nice!

7:17 p.m. – Commentators- stop just stop. Enough with the Aussie jokes

7:18 p.m. – Player down on Maine!

7:18 p.m. – 1st quarter. Albany ahead; 17-7.

7:20 p.m. – Evan Singletary #0…please don’t miss! *fingers crossed*

7:23 p.m. – Evan already has 11 points in the game. Hopefully he, as well as the rest of the team, keeps it up

7:23 p.m. – Nine minutes left in the game. Score 26-9 Albany

7:25 p.m. – Sanders goes for the 3….miss.

7:27 p.m. – Coach Brown calls for a 30 second timeout

7:30 p.m. – 31-14 lead for Albany.

7:30 p.m. – Albany is dominating this game.

7:31 p.m. – Will Baker, a freshman from Minneapolis, gets a 3

7:32 p.m. – #31 back in for Maine

7:38 p.m. – Albany rebounds 20-6

7:39 p.m. – Albany ahead by 20. Score: 19-39

SECOND HALF

8:00 p.m. – Albany not known for blow outs but so far it’s looking like Maine might be a blow out game

8:03 p.m. – Mike Rowley keeping the possession alive for Albany

8:03 p.m. – 24 point lead for Danes

8:04 p.m. – Bob Walsh calls for timeout

8:09 p.m. – Kevin Little pulls out the 3

8:09 p.m. – FOUL!!!

51-29 Albany.

8:10 p.m. – 15:44:00 left in the game

8:12 p.m. – Peter H. knocks down a 3!

8:12 p.m. – Random thought: I never understood why teams traded baskets… OK back to the game!

8:13 p.m. – Four steals for Sanders

8:14 p.m. – Sanders finally in the double figures

8:15 p.m. – Rowley with the offensive foul

56-32 Albany

8:15 p.m. – Foul on Mike Rowley- his third one.

8:19 p.m. – Albany takes a timeout

8:20 p.m. – Hooley took a shot he KNEW he wasn’t going to make

8:22 p.m. – 61-41 Albany with 11:28:00 minutes on the clock

8:25 p.m. – Finally seeing signs of a little tenacity for Maine

8:26 p.m. – Travel! Albany gets the ball

8:28 p.m. – 68-43 Albany

8:34 p.m. – Offensive foul on Ray Sanders. Coach takes him out the game

78-61 with 2 minutes left in the game

8:44p.m. – Reece Williams checks in

8:45p.m. – 30 seconds left

8:45p.m. – Albany holding the ball

Final Score: Albany 83 Maine 66

Are Professional Athletes Overpaid?

Growing up, children used to say they aspired to be doctors or firefighters when they grew up. Nowadays if you ask a child what they want to be more are quick to say they want to be a famous music artist or NBA player. Television, iPhones, and easy access to social media have contributed to the hype of the entertainment/sports world. Recently I learned that Alex Rodriguez, who plays for the New York Yankees, will be paid $275 million to play for the Yankees for the next 10 years. It was the most lucrative baseball contract in history. This means for the next decade, A-Rod will take home $27.5 million a year, that’s more money than most people see in their entire lifetime.

The salary of professional athletes has always been a hot topic on public forums. While we do enjoy watching our favorite teams play during the sports seasons, most feel that athletes salaries are ridiculously high while other figures in our community who hold far more important jobs are extremely underpaid. The money athletes are being paid would be money better spent on education or paying teachers or people who impact our lives or the community. Firefighters, policemen, and soldiers go through extensive training and put their lives in danger every day for the sake of protecting us and our country yet the average salary for each of those occupations isn’t even a fourth of what an NBA player makes in one year. The military protects our country, which ultimately helps our economy in a much bigger way than athletes or team owners do. However, the salary of a high ranked sergeant in the Army is just over $66,000. Teachers may not help our economy directly, but they educate our youth which, in a few years, will be affecting the economy in huge ways. The president of the United States has an annual salary of $400,000; why does the man with the most important job in the world make far less than Kobe Bryant? A doctor goes through years of medical school, is faced with thousands of dollars of debt once they’re done with school, only to make less than the rookie bench warmer in the NFL.

Unfortunately, athletes are paid by the owners of their respected teams, not by the government. This means that even if we cut their salaries, it wouldn’t benefit the general public at all; it would just mean more money in the owner’s pockets. Even though I think professional athletes are overpaid, it doesn’t matter. No amount of letters to the NBA heads or protest pages will change that. However, better question for us to ask is, are professional athletes over/under taxed? Once we consider the take home pay after taxes minus the additional costs associated with this lifestyle spread over a lifetime, we can decide whether or not this is an appropriate salary. After much consideration, it is my belief that it’s still a ludicrous amount to pay one individual.

My Interview with An Athlete

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of interviewing a rising basketball star who brought his talents from Virginia, to New York, and is now overseas playing for our country.

Interviewee: Dallis Joyner

Sport: Basketball

Age: 24

Weight: 248lbs

Height: 6’8

Where are you from?

Norfolk, Virginia.

How long have you been playing basketball?

I’ve been playing ball since I was six years old. We had like, a little basketball hoop outside of my house so growing up we used to always be outside.

Who was your biggest influence growing up?

Michael Jordan and high school basketball coach, Tyran Matthews.

Was your family supportive of your decision to play professional basketball or did they have other dreams for you?

No they always thought basketball was my ticket out the bad environment I grew up in, they always rooted for me, always attended my games even if it meant traveling from Virginia to long island where I attended Stony Brook University.

Besides basketball, what are some of your other interests?

Well I make music in my spare time, I write poetry but it comes off as music or rap lyrics. I like trying new foods and exploring different cities and restaurants.

What do you plan to do after you retire from playing basketball?

Good question, I haven’t thought that far yet. Hopefully I’ll be established enough to take care of my family. Actually I might pursue teaching as well. If I can make a difference in these kids world like some of my teachers did then that’s something I’d want to do.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Still overseas, hopefully on a different team. Right now I’m in Israel.

What is your biggest accomplishment in your sports?

Getting my team into the NCAA tournaments at Stony Brook. I made the winning shot in 2012 that got my team into the tournament.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?

I try to get a lot of sleep in my rest time, that’s how people overwork themselves and end up tired. I’m always the first in the gym and the last to leave; I allow that extra work out time so that I can allow my body that time to rest outside the gym.

What would be your ultimate achievement?

Starting a youth program in my hometown that promotes sports as well as homework help and show them there are more opportunities for them outside of Norfolk.

How do you set your goals?

I tend to always make my goals are realistic, I set more near goals and everything else will fall into place in the future. I always try to push myself to be better at what I do so if I score 10 points in one game I want to score 12 in the next.

What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?

My biggest challenge was tackling everything that was going on at school and with my team at Stony Brook as well as trying to keep everything with my family together while being more than seven hours away. My family depended on me a lot to be the one to financially support them on top of other personal issues we were going through.

What is your diet like?

I eat everything but lately I’ve been into juicing and eating more seafood.

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?

Keep God first and everything else will fall into place.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I’ve always looked up to people that set the bar high like NBA top scorers like Michael Jordan.

Anything else you’d like to share?

People always say its cliché to “Follow your dreams, do what you love to do, etc” like you can’t do that and that your dreams aren’t realistic but I’m living proof that you can achieve those dreams. I came from a bad background, never had anything given to me except for my talent, been arrested, never thought I’d even go to college when I was younger, and look where I am now. If you want to do something in life don’t ever let anyone deter you from that, not family, not friends, and trust me there will be people that tell you you’re crazy for having that dream but don’t ever listen to them.

5 People I Associate Myself With

Kenneth Dodson– Kenneth Dodson is a 51- year old retired NYPD officer who currently resides in Suffern, NY with his fiancée, their two dogs, Kobe and Bo, and Kenneth’s teenaged son from his previous marriage. This man also happens to be my father and has been the definition of the perfect parent for as long as I can remember. Growing up in the same household with someone who serves as role model to me there was a new lesson to learn every day. Because of his influence I was able to successfully navigate in the world and know exactly what kind of parent I want to be when I get older.

156347_178279268864854_6866438_n(3)Nicole Dodson– Nicole Dodson is a 51- year- old event planner who currently resides in Hillcrest, NY with her two daughters. Besides the fact that she’s my mother, she’s also one of the most compassionate and fun people to be around. My mother can instantly make someone who’s having the worst day feel better and is always willing to put her family before herself. These are all golden and rare qualities to possess but for this reason alone, I choose to always keep her very close to me.

Dominique Dodson– Dominique Dodson is a 25-year-old aspiring criminal psychologist who began her studies at SUNY Cortland. After graduating she took up employment working with mentally challenged adults and is now a social worker as she completes her degree at NYU. Dominique is an ambitious young lady who has been a role model to me and shows that you can always get back on the right track no matter how many mistakes you made.

kjKenneth Dodson Jr. – Kenneth Jr., or as I call him KJ is my extremely athletic little brother who is currently in middle school. In addition to being a star athlete on his school’s baseball team he has also remained on honor roll for several years straight. While most would become arrogant, KJ continues to be a humble young kid who would rather hang out with his family or play Xbox instead of being worried about parties and being “cool”.

gramsieAnna Boutelle– Anna Boutelle is a 77-year-old retired grandmother of five. She worked as a school prinicipal for most of her career before retiring at the age of 65. She now resides in Riverdale, NY with her husband Allen. Anna is a very loving and sweet person who goes above and beyond for her children and grandchildren, because of this she’s remained as one of the closest people to me.

What I Read This Week- Chelsea Handler calls Instagram sexist for taking down her topless photo

For years audiences have enjoyed the, often crude, humor of comedian Chelsea Handler. Recently she posted a topless picture mocking Russian president Vladimir Putin. Just minutes after posting the picture Instagram workers deleted it stating Handler violated their terms and conditions. She responded by stating Instagram is sexist and shortly after deleted her account with them.

calm down

While I do agree that men and women should have equal rights, I think Handler made one mistake in her fight with Instagram. She stated that her first amendment rights were violated however the First Amendment doesn’t state you can say anything you want to say. The 1st Amendment protects you from your government censoring you. Unfortunately Facebook owns Instagram, not the American government.

A woman should have the right to choose how she represents her body — and should make that choice based on personal desire and not a fear of how people will react to her or how society will judge her. Handler personally stated what she is doing is NOT arguing woman’s rights but she is arguing the cites censorship of what she is allowed to post on their site which they have rules and policies in place that she agreed to when she registered to be on the site. My advice to her as well as anyone else who has been censored by any social network should read their terms and conditions before creating a profile. There shouldn’t be anything wrong with women showing a part of their body, but there is nothing illegal about what Instagram is doing. They are a private company who has their own guidelines, therefore, they can do what they want. The 1st Amendment protects you from the government not from private companies.

Slacktivism in Social Media

Social media is defined as the democratization of content and a shift in the role that made humans in the process of reading and disseminating information. Gone are the days where we as humans mainly communicate with others through physical interaction. Today’s young adults live a life caught between two worlds: the physical world of human interaction and the digital universe that sits just a mouse click away. This is an age in which entire relationships are formed over online digital platforms, and a single person’s opinion can be broadcasted worldwide in a matter of seconds. Lately, the freedom of expression that social media has given young adults has triggered interesting behavior among users of such social media platforms as Facebook and Twitter. The term “slacktivism” was created in 1995 by Dwight Ozard and Fred Clark. It is defined as an expression of doing something in support of an issue or cause that requires minimal personal effort, and is now used to describe this new behavior; where everyday activists broadcast their different causes to the Web to gain exposure and support, and users believe they’ve done their part to support the cause by commenting or tweeting about it. Every day, hundreds of new pages or videos are created and shared on Facebook and Twitter and passive online supporters are quick to hit the ‘like’ button, but is that really enough? The question that is raised today is; can social media activism have a tangible effect on real problems?

It’s easy to notice the change in how our generation communicates with one another in comparison to older generations. My parents grew up in an era where the primary source of interaction was with each other in person or over the phone; nowadays that level of physical interaction has been greatly reduced. Social media networking sites has changed the way in which we communicate and the interaction we obtain face-to-face.

With the lack of physical interaction, it becomes increasingly difficult to truly get to know a person which leaves us with the question of; how do we find out more about on another? We create an opinion about who a person may be based on their digital profile. Some examples of this would be your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter profile. And much like when you fill a house with furniture that reflects your style, one will fill their digital profile with elements that they believe make up who they are. Everything from the decorative colors you use to the pages that you follow or ‘like’ is indicative of the person you are. People use digital profiles to bring awareness and support to a cause however some of us take a more passive route to show support for the causes we believe in. Our digital effort gives us a false sense of feeling very useful and important but in essence we have zero social impact. It takes nothing to join yet another Facebook group so we click “yes” without even blinking, but the truth is that it may distract us from helping the same cause in more productive ways. Our efforts to lend a helping hand to the cause ends there instead of getting out in the world and really making a change.

I’m sure everyone in America is privy to a recent trend in the media called the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. If not, I can easily sum it up by saying one will pour a bucket of ice water on themselves after nominating other people to do the same challenge; most choose a few friends to participate. The deal was: if nominated you had 24 hours to complete the challenge or donate $100. However this exchange quickly evaded most people. Pouring ice water over one’s head hardly begins the journey to benefit this cause on top of organizations dedicated to researching a cure for this disease not receiving extra funding. The purpose of the ice bucket challenge was to bring awareness to ALS, a disease that didn’t receive much recognition in comparison to other diseases such as Breast Cancer. Ultimately this goal was achieved; it had people who never heard of ALS prior to this year finally becoming aware of it. It quickly became popular in the media once celebrities started participating and nominated other influential people. However, bringing only awareness to a cause is half the battle. What really makes a difference are fund raising events, just talking about an issue isn’t enough anymore.

als

So again I ask; can social media activism have a tangible effect on real problems? To that I’d have to say NO. Social media helps bring awareness of an issue but I don’t believe any actual changes occur even with awareness. Out of one million people who believe in the same cause, only a handful will actually dedicate the time and effort to help. Others think they did their part by reading a clip of information about it.

What I Read This Week: Study Finds Online Daters Marry Less, Break up More

There is striking evidence to suggest that the web is causing social change. Traditionally, women might have had one or two serious relationships before settling down; today we are encouraged to date lots of people in a quest to find the “perfect partner.” With social networks today, we are only a click away from meeting people from all different backgrounds located hundreds or even thousands of miles from us. This is the first time in history humans are as easily accessible as they are now. Because of this it’s left men and women on a never-ending hunt for the perfect partner, thinking they’re only a few dates from finding The One.
With an unlimited number of other people on offer through the internet, there’s little incentive for people to work at maintaining a relationship if things get tough. Nowadays, people can are more likely to leave a failing relationship because it’s much easier to get back in the dating game and meet new people with common interests as you. With this comes a downside though, with the cloak of anonymity the net provides, it’s never been easier to be unfaithful.
The internet has now raised the question of “Where do I stop?” In our parent’s generation, people met a partner and accepted they wouldn’t be perfect in every aspect, certain flaws were overlooked if they were an all-around good match. But internet dating is like a chocolate box that never stops giving. These websites ask for your preferences on height, weight, hair color and even eye color and immediately filter out those that don’t fulfill your standards. In the real world, a person is a package and you might not care that their eyes are brown instead of your preferred green color, but online you cross off people for the shallowest reasons. This new trend has made us as a society a lot more judgmental.

online-dating-funny-love-animation

Link to the article:

http://mashable.com/2014/09/28/online-daters-study/

Why Brandscaping Works

griffin family

Last night’s premiere episode of Family Guy was a huge hit, as expected by the show’s producers. The successful collaboration of the two brands resulted in a 74% increase in the season premiere episode over last year’s premiere and gave the show its highest 18-49 ratings in almost four years.  In all, the crossover episode in which the Griffin clan makes a visit to Springfield and interacts with the Simpson family was a HUGE hit.

homer and peter

Now here you have two widely popular animated series that have a very similar following, coming together to create an even more successful event. Many brands today are hesitant to join forces with other for fear that it may take away business, instead, smart business owners might want to reconsider and actually go into business with other companies: the key is it has to be a “  hot dog and bun” kind of relationship. That means, the two products or brands coming together cannot be each other’s competitors.  Instead it should be seen as benefiting the consumer to use both products as opposed to one without the other.

In this instance, each brand, Family Guy and The Simpsons, have a reputation for having crude yet hilarious comedic dialogue so of course their audiences would want to watch these two powerhouses come together.

Bottomline: Collaboration is GOOD.

A Question of Humanity

On September 26, 2014 I had the pleasure of going to a drag show in NYC at a restaurant called Lips. Their original location used to be on Banks Street, located in the Chelsea region of Manhattan but they have since relocated to East 56th Street. And it is a good thing they did. I am not sure how great business is year round, but from the turn out of the crowd on this particular night, my guess is that they are doing quite fine in that department. The restaurant featured beautiful chandeliers and disco balls that hung over diners as they ate and the décor was very feminine. By that I mean, the majority of the colors used on the chairs, walls, and tables were “girly” colors such as hot pink, red, deep purples, etc. I arrived by myself but didn’t find feel too alone or out of place. Partly because the tables within the restaurant were so close together it was almost as if I was sitting in on another party; but mostly because the entire staff was very warm and friendly. Did I mention everyone was in drag this night? The waiters, hostesses, and bartenders were all in complete drag. Halfway through my meal, the performance began. A man donning a platinum blonde wig, gold outfit, and sky scraper heels began singing a song, all the while the waiters/waitresses are still going around serving the crowd. The crowd was very into the performance, especially once the songstress came into the crowd and gave a few brief lap dances. Everyone seemed very at ease in this environment, a reaction most people part of the LGBTQ community don’t receive outside of places like Lips where you are free to be yourself.
As much as I enjoyed myself this night, on the way home I began really contemplating the struggles gay men, lesbians, and even transgender people have to face on a daily basis. For starters, we need to realize the difference between being a gay man and a drag queen. A drag queen is a male who dresses up in women’s clothes for the purpose of entertainment or it could simply be because he/she truly is a transvestite. I have found that not as many people today are aware of this difference, as they often wrongfully lump the two of them together. I feel that it is unfair people within this community don’t get the proper titles they identify with. We just automatically refer to them as “homosexuals” or “trannies”. These are derogatory terms that hold just as much pain behind them as calling an African American person a “nigger”. I decided that this was a much more interesting topic to me than any other so therefore I looked a little deeper into the subject.
Heterosexuality has been the norm in the United States since the beginning of time. Now in today’s society those in the LBGTQ community are still discriminated against. They are still a population with little rights, even though they have been around longer than we think. The negative stereotypes that ensue with “coming out of the closet” are that that individual is seen as being evil, mentally ill, unnatural, infected with the AIDS virus, confused, contagious, pedophiles, sexually abused as a child, sinners, etc. These negative attitudes have had such a negative impact on individuals of the lesbian and gay community. In an article about Americans perceptions towards gay and lesbians most citizens, about 70% of those surveyed expressed negative attitudes toward gays and lesbians believing that they were harmful to American life. This shows us there is still a problem with the way America views, and treats the gay and lesbian community. Gay men and lesbians are being treated differently because of their sexual orientation, something they cannot change. Most African Americans will face acts of oppression because of the color of their skin, and other minorities are discriminated against because people feel they are a threat to the availability of jobs in America, each of these groups are oppressed because of societies norms. In today’s society the LGBTQ community is viewed as being inferior and not a part of the social “norm”. But who are we to judge and determine what the social norm is? Whose decision was it that heterosexuality had to be that norm?

For those who follow the norms they will be rewarded and accepted, but shall you go against these norms you will be punished and rejected by the majority of your peers. The ongoing debate about whether gay and lesbians are born gay or if they are influenced by their environment is one I don’t understand. Those on the nurture side would argue that a gay individual learns their sexual orientation through interaction with peers and society. However, after watching several documentaries on the topic it is blatantly obvious that a five year-old cannot determine his/her sexual orientation because they aren’t even aware of what that is at their age! They just know what they are attracted to and what they feel, neither of which can be influenced by other people.

These negative perceptions affect the lesbian and gay community in many ways. They are still viewed as individuals with a mental disorder, and thought to have been the cause of the AIDS outbreak. Individuals might not understand how this affects people of this community, but many gay and lesbian individuals feel helpless and lonely with nowhere to go and no one to talk to about feelings of being discriminated against or mistreated. Fortunately, homosexuality is more widely accepted than it was 30 years ago. However this community still has a long battle ahead of them, and they are constantly losing more and more people every day as a result of the abuse some face after revealing their sexual orientation. Many adolescents start to believe these perceptions about themselves if they do not have a support system during these trivial times. They are faced with the difficult choice of being ridiculed and rejected by their peers, or to persevere through these obstacles and still lead a fulfilling life. Unfortunately, young people who experience the emotional and sometimes physical abuse that ensues with them “coming out” to their peers choose suicide or social isolation as a means to avoid the mistreatment.thinkprogress-homeless-lgbt

SOCIAL MEDIA AT DIFFERENT AGES

fml-grandma-computer

 

Stacey Leandre, 23, is a former student of the university and dished just how much she’s involved with social media. “My friends forced me to make a Facebook but I SO against it until sophomore year of college. I finally gave in.” Many young people, including myself, are a lot more reluctant to make a profile for the latest social media site than one would imagine. A huge reason I kept my Facebook as long as I did was because I loved seeing updates on my family members that I don’t get to see or talk to often and vice versa. It’s sad to say but the reason I even created a Twitter was because it was required of me by a past professor, she would have us tweet a minimum of twice a week about the class or anything pertaining to the topic we were reviewing that week. In Stacey’s case it was never required of her from an authority figure, but instead peer pressure from her friends. “Apparently having a Facebook isn’t good enough anymore, now they keep asking that I make an Instagram or something. I was proud to even get Snapchat, that’s enough for me right now.”

But then you have other young people like Kelsey Huntington, 21, who are social media savvy and quick to jump on the latest trend. “Right now I have Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and a Vine account. But I only really use Instagram, the others I barely check except for Vine because they actually have funny stuff on there.”

To find someone who was the polar opposite of Kelsey and other I went to an elderly woman whose name is Anna Boutelle, 77. “We bought our grandchildren those things for Christmas or birthdays but I don’t know how to even use the Nook my kids got me last year.” When I asked Mrs. Boutelle what social media sites she was on her response was, “Facebook is where I see all my friends and family.”