Tag: raptors

No Role Modelz

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a few brushes with fame in my life. Of these celebrity encounters, one has always stuck with me, though.

At a 1994 FIBA World Basketball Championship game, when I was a kid, NBA star Toni Kukoc happened to be in the stands. This totally got me starstruck.  People were coming up to him in his seat, between breaks, so figured I’d ask him for an autograph, too.  I remember being super nervous as I got closer and closer to him. When I did get near, I didn’t get a chance to speak, unfortunately. Mr Kukoc, without looking at me, said “Get out of my face.” I couldn’t believe it…..but he then said it again! The dude he was with also told me to go away, which I quickly did.  Once the shock wore off, I can’t say that I was really upset about the incident. It was more of a disappointed, angry feeling.  However, because of that one moment, in my opinion, Mr. Kukoc (who may be a swell guy, to others) was, and always will be, a jerk.

 

Let’s now talk about the other day, when like father, like son, B had a similar  “celebrity” encounter.

It happened at a Toronto Raptors 905 NBA G-League game. B was there with his basketball teammates and their parents, which included yours truly. Midway through the game, a bunch of them noticed Fred VanVleet, point guard for the Toronto Raptors, was also in attendance. Like any 8-10 year old hoops fans, they were excited about seeing a real life NBA player. So, at halftime, one of the other dads in our group took the boys down, to meet Mr. VanVleet, and get autographs.

Now, to be fair, I didn’t see what exactly happened next. I can only go by what B and the other parents told me.  I saw the group down near where Mr. VanVleet was, and then I looked away for a bit. When I looked back, I saw the group walking towards our section, with a bunch of disappointed faces. From what I was told, Mr. VanVleet saw the team approaching, and legit turned his back on them to talk to someone else instead. A 905 representative came over as well, to tell the boys that Fred VanVleet “wasn’t available”. I guess the optics of it were savage, as one of the dads got really worked up when he saw the incident occur.

Now look, there are always two sides to every story.  For all we know, Mr. VanVleet was having a bad day, and is normally very accommodating to his young fans. It could have been a case of bad timing and miscommunication. He could possibly have been sick, and didn’t want to infect the boys with his illness. Or, maybe, he just wanted to enjoy the game, without having to interact with the general public.  In any event, why he wouldn’t be more appreciative to the ones who put him on a pedestal so he can make a comfortable living playing a freaking game?

I understand that, in our culture, we tend to idolize, romanticize and build up celebrities. Shoot, I remember last year, when B and I went to a 905 game, Mr. VanVleet was on that team, as just another guy. I don’t think he had many people looking to take selfies or get an autograph then. To go from there, to now playing a regular role on one of the best teams in the NBA, well, I’m sure a lot of stuff comes with that. It’s just like if anybody in any job works their way up to become successful. You hope that they remain decently humble and stuff doesn’t go to their head, but that’s not always the case.

Yet, who are we to judge, if the celebrities we make role models turn out not to be who we thought they were? They’re  human beings, too. They don’t owe us anything. If they want to turn their back to ignore a group of kids, in spite of how bad it might reflect on them and their employer, it’s their choice, right? Like Charles Barkley said back in the day – just because someone can dunk a basketball shouldn’t make them a role model. Just because someone played a hero in a movie doesn’t mean that they aren’t a scummy deviant once the camera stops rolling. I guess that’s on us, for buying into the facade, when the truth emerges.  With all that said,  finding out Toni Kukoc was a jerk still kind of hit me the same way as when I found out Santa Claus wasn’t real. It sucked.

Ho-Ho-Hold up! I’m not real?

Ok, rambling over.

Unlike my Kukoc experience, B’s night ended on a happy note.  At the end of the game, B’s team went down to high five the 905s as they walked off the court. Bruno Caboclo, sometime Raptor/sometime 905er, on his way out, high fived everyone, AND signed every autograph, no questions asked. The kids were pumped and had the biggest smiles when they came back to us. This made their night, including B’s, who doesn’t want me to wash his autographed shirt now!

Actions speak louder than words.  And when you’re on a pedestal, role model or not, it can go a long way in affecting how you’re perceived.
Fred VanVleet, you lost some young fans that night, bro, sorry.  Bruno Caboclo, on the other hand, gained a bunch.

 

 

When Kids Make You Feel Ancient

As a thirty-something year old dude, I’m still fairly young.  On occasion, however, thirty-something can feel like one hundred-something.

You see, it’s easy to forget that some things which are common to me, are completely foreign to my kids.  I’m sure we all remember our parents telling us stories from their adolescence, which we couldn’t relate to at all (“You paid a quarter to take the train to see a Beatles concert, and got change back? For real?!”).  Inevitably, I expected to become a dinosaur to B and J in the future, babbling on about the good ol’ days.

What I didn’t expect was for the future to come so soon!

Because both of them are under the age of six, B and J don’t know about stuff  which was the norm just a few short years ago. They have no clue. Needless to say, this has resulted in some interesting experiences.

Here, lemme give you some examples:

 WE USED TO READ WHERE’S WALDO, NOT PLAY IT.

While at the mall last year, I pointed out a “Where’s Waldo” book to B. Many an hour was spent by me as a youth looking for Waldo, Wenda, the Wizard, tastefully drawn nude characters etc.  B’s response when I showed the book to him?

“Oh. you mean it’s like the video game?”

Thanks, Nintendo Wii. Thanks.

COMMERCIALS WERE MANDATORY VIEWING.

We were watching a Toronto Blue Jays game on TV a couple of months ago. When the commercials came on, B grabbed the remote and tried to fast forward through them. It didn’t work, obviously. He’s used to watching shows pre-recorded, or  “on demand”.  I had a hard time explaining why we couldn’t zip past the ads (“Regular TV? What’s that?”).

A commercial free childhood? Sheesh. Must be nice.

NO REALLY. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL WAS A LEGENDARY BASKETBALL PLAYER.

B and I  watched the NBA Slam Dunk Contest recently.  He was blown away by what the contestants in it were doing. However, one of the judges, Shaquille O’Neal, kept giving the dunkers lower scores than what B thought they deserved. It ticked him off, to the point that he angrily demanded to know what was up.  Now to me, Shaq is one of the best, most entertaining ballers ever. I happily rattled off his accolades. B’s bitter response to this ?

“Well, why does Shaq ruin everything?”

So now, to B, Shaq is just some clueless old guy who has less basketball credibility than Kevin Hart. Shaqtin’ a fool, indeed.

COMPACT DISCS AREN’T SHINY PLATES.

Ever explain to a three year old girl how the Wu-Tang Clan CD that she put her food on actually has music on it? Unfortunately, I have.

WUTANG

WU-TANG CLAN AIN’T NUTHING TA….LUNCH WIT’?

PHONES USED TO ONLY MAKE PHONE CALLS.

Ever explain to a crying three year old girl why she could only talk to Grammy on the phone, but not see her as well, because your phone doesn’t have FaceTime? Unfortunately, I have.

Ciphertac,_first_secure_cell_phone_for_US_CDMA_networks,_STU-III_compatible_-_National_Cryptologic_Museum_-_DSC07952

What do you mean you can’t FaceTime on this?

 

R.I.P. 90s BOY BANDS?

*After I showed B and J the video for ‘Everybody‘ by the Backstreet Boys*

B – Who are they?

Me – The Backstreet Boys.

B – Are they from a long time ago?

Me – Sort of. The 1990s.

B – Are they dead?

Harsh, son. Just harsh. It wasn’t even that long ago! People from that era aren’t exactly dropping like flies. Yo, if you survived the 90s, good for you, apparently.

Speaking of which….

Y2K WAS TERRIFYING. WASN’T IT?

During a Chris Jericho wrestling match, the crowd was chanting his nickname “Y2J”. B asked what it meant, and I started to explain that it was a play on words, on Y2K. I then kind of tailed off and changed the subject, because I couldn’t remember why Y2K was such a big deal. I mean, at the time, the world was supposed to end, right?

Y2K_illustration

Hmm. Actually, if you survived the 90s, good for you!

 

MY ELDERS WERE MY MAIN SOURCE FOR INFORMATION.  I BELIEVED EVERYTHING THEY SAID.

Children are inquisitive and full questions.  Looking back, I’m sure I got a lot of B.S. from adults, when I was little. If they didn’t know an answer, it would require a trip to the library, or waiting until the door-to-door encyclopedia salesman came around, or something, to find one. I’m sure it was easier to fake it, just to shut me up.

With my kids, though? If I don’t know an answer, or if they think I’m lying, they’ll make me Google it.

Sometimes it’s easy to find (“Daddy? Who’s the oldest person in the world?”).

Sometimes it’s not so easy (“Daddy? Do you remember that man in that movie? You know, THAT movie? What was his name?”).

Sometimes, it’s WTF (“Daddy? How many people have ever died falling off cliffs? They do, too, keep track of this! Look it up on your phone!”). 

Whatever the case may be, I don’t get why they have to have the facts instantly, as opposed to simply taking my word for it.

10366075_10154704653710195_6155405449846996437_n (1)

I..I can’t even. Are you dancing, Mike? Why are you doing the robot with that thing? What’s with the George The Animal Steele shirt? You realize you’re out in public, right? And you wonder why your kids don’t take you at your word?

Oh. I guess I get it now.

Anyway, you probably understand my point. The generation gap with your children can hit at any time. When it does, shoot, it can make you feel capital O Old!

That’s it for today. I think that I am going to go update my MySpace profile.

Later, y’all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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