The Plastic Gate: Thoughts About Last Night’s Pacers/Wizards Game, Celebrity Worship & Extreme Poverty

America’s entertainers (professional athletes, musicians, actors/actresses) are a version of British royalty; I’m convinced of this.

After the game, Joe and I went down to the family and friends guest area to slap hands with David West and the other Pacers players. There’s a small, 3 foot high plastic gate there that separates invited guests from the players, it forms something like a receiving line. I never really questioned the gate before, but Joe’s reaction to it made me think about it while waiting for David to exit the locker room. (Joe is extremely observant and analytical, his eye for symbolism is more keen than most.) The gate was grungy and flimsy. Several of us joked about it collapsing under our weight (about 50 people were leaning on it while waiting for the Pacers). But when the players began exiting the locker room, I noticed something different…for the first time since attending David’s away games, I saw the players physically moving the gate aside so that they could really hug and slap hands with their families and friends before boarding the bus. This was rather symbolic, like a rejection of the perceived hierarchy that this grungy, filthy gate imposed. Paul George and Rasual Butler took the time to talk to us at length. (lol Paul promised me again that they would beat the Heat) Rasual asked me to take a picture of he and his brother. Roy appeared happy and jovial while laughing, hugging and joking with friends. Lance made it a point to acknowledge everyone, whether he knew them or not. (Lol he said he remembered me from the Portland game, but I don’t think he really did David spoke highly of me when introducing me to two of his close friends. There was a warmth there that again rejected the notion that they are in fact deserving of some kind of worship, i.e. the gate was pushed aside.

It’s always good to see David, he’s an intelligent, thoughtful and overall great dude outside of being a gifted professional athlete. He and Lesley West make it a point to stay grounded and the two of them give back to their communities in countless ways. I am proud that they are a part of my family.

After some introductions and goodbyes, Joe and I immediately exited the arena and passed 2 homeless men wrapped in tattered blankets. They were both hemmed up against the Verizon Center’s walls, so close yet so painfully far from more wealth than most of us will ever see in a lifetime. So close, yet so disgustingly far from the meager wealth I’ve managed to accumulate in the past few years. We’d stood in the midst of hundreds of millions of dollars and horrific, rock bottom poverty within seconds. What a tragic irony…

For Richard Sherman: A Sermon On Centerfield

I pledge allegiance
to the fans of the
united states of america
and to the hypocrisy
for which we stand,
one scoreboard
under a mob
with trash talk
and concussions for all.

as american as apple pie
football is religion

with its’ opening day kick-off christmas
and superbowl like easter’s resurrection
all praise ye saints of hard hits
and sacred pig skin ritual

communion of cold beers
like lombardi’s blood
may the barbecued wings represent the flesh
of your team’s turnover on the 1 yard line
with 10 seconds to go

lift up the name of sacrifice
to the grid iron gods on high

on this day
let there be wins
as all sins are forgiven

let there be gatorade and fist pumps
let there be pensive glares
let there be chartreuse sewn in the veins of navy blue
let there be unlimited spitting on sidelines
let there be coaching, headsets, grunts
x’s and o’s
let there be limbs bent unholy
let there be prayer
let there be martyrs carried away on carts
let there be thumbs up
let there be monumental cheer
let there be more carnage before the next commercial
let there be billion dollar stadium measured in decibels

(oh thank you grid iron god for the twelfth man)

let there be owners peering through binoculars
in their billionaire boxes
let there be high definition replays of the play
with the sickening crunch
let there be missed tackles face masks sacks for a loss
intentional grounding
let there be trapezius muscles
bruised battered clenched
let there be a numbing from needles

let there be halftime analysis
let there be calls for “aggression believing harder hitting
he better hit him in the mouth too much time in the pocket”

let there be sideline expletives antics
tantrums towels twisting turning pile-ups
fuck the refs
let there be blown calls
let there be electric electricity
let there be power
fire works
red faced fans in extreme
sleet cold snow rain
let there be 3rd and forever
let there be tip in the end zone interception

but not you.

ye though thou made play of the game
play of thou lifetime

not you

ye may not shout
nor smile
not wince
nor seek glory
not embody confidence
nor jeer
nor pounce
nor commit cocky personal foul
even after the game is over
not celebrate
when asked opinion by interviewer
not release guttural outburst

at this,
your mountaintop
at this your pinnacle
at this your moment inside end zone
as your heart pumps
one thousand beats per second

ye compton
ye archetypical black male threat
ye gladiator
ye passion for bloodsport
ye exception (or not)
ye second in high school class (or not)
ye standford grad (or not)
ye young melanin man

without wrap sheet
without shit. damn. fuck.
without pistol or murderous intention

not you, Richard Sherman.


© 2014, B. Sharise Moore