Yemen, Phil Jackson, and I

I’ve had the opportunity to read to some pretty interesting books lately. Don’t be Afraid of the Bullets is a book about a reporter working in Yemen during the Arab spring and some other turbulent times. I guess I am interested in the Middle East since I spent a little time there. My experience was definitely forgettable; heat, mortars, and monotony don’t make for the greatest situation. Regardless, it is always interesting to see a new other country and people group.

I generally go to work and have a very comfortable existence; I guess I just have a hard time imagining life in a third world country undergoing a revolution. Right, a democracy allows everybody’s voice to be heard, but I have never felt like I genuinely contributed towards a political revolution of any kind… Well, there was my Trump vote, so I guess that’s something. But I feel like these experiences in Yemen were more blood, guts, and raw emotion than the sterilized and sanitized U.S. environment. Granted, I don’t think it’s a good idea to bomb government buildings like the Weather Underground, but these people definitely believed in their cause.

Another recent read of mine is Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior. Basically, Phil Jackson describes some of his basketball and life philosophies which are a combination of Easter Zen and Native American beliefs. Since I came of age during the reign of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, I am familiar with the triangle offense and Phil Jackson’s coaching style. I think his concept of selfless teamwork during a time of star NBA players is pretty amazing.

I have been around the game of basketball for most of my life. My skills did not take me much past high school, but I still enjoy playing and watching basketball occasionally. I guess I am a fan of genuine, no-frills basketball. It seems like so often when I watch the NBA or college, there is so little game action and too much advertising and analysis. No longer is it the Boston Garden; it is now the TD Ameritrade Center. Where are the true rivalries? It seems like corporate America has taken away some of the heart, soul, and grit of the game. I think teams and players genuinely despised each other in the past… the Knicks and Reggie Miller, Celtics and Lakers. I guess I just don’t see this level of passion anymore, and have slowly developed less of an interest in the sport.