The Flow Zone

Greetings BonesBallers from “The Flow Zone”

Do you believe in life after death? I hope so, cause TV stars, sports stars, acting legends, naked celebrities, and whole political systems are living and dying in record numbers as we speak.  Careers going up and down. Young stars like Diem Brown dying too soon (I know – for you non-MTV freaks you’re saying, “Who’s Diem Brown?”) Jim Carrey maybe trying to come back to career life in dumb and dumber.  (Who said his career was dead?)

All ideas about any “truth” in human life are subjectively true/false questions on the “Why are you here?” exam.) Derrick Rose’s entire body is day-to-day, as they say in the sports world when the team really needs a star to play and they want to give the fans hope. Actually, Derrick seems to have let that Rah-Rah, All-for-the-Team attitude die, as he’s thinking long-term about not ending up a 40-year-old cripple by taking one more surgery for the team. (Of all the nerve!!)

Will Bill Cosby’s career survive rape allegations or will his career as one of our most revered funny men die a worse death than he can ever imagine? The Cos seemed to be Teflon, having emerged unscathed from previous scandals with his unrelenting lecture to the Black community to get it’s act together intact, which needless to say, Black folk did not find funny but took seriously – in terms of saying – “You may have given millions to Spelman College but don’t be telling me I’m dead unless I get an education and then still won’t be able to get a job paying more than minimum wage!” Moral of the story: no matter who you are, no matter what amount of good you do – we build em up and we tear em down! Will the Cos get another job?

But wait!! They say the job market is coming back to life after being dead for at least 5 or 6 years. Could there be life after death for the job market? Well maybe, but first we have to find the “job killers” and bring them to justice. Oh no! The justice system died again!! But wait! Kim Kardasian just brought her (pause) career back to life with full frontal and “back-al” nudity. (Good job Kim???) Kim is the only celebrity whose career will never die since she has a spiritual selfie book coming out called The Immortal Me!!  If we all could just take a selfie of ourselves that would really tell us who we are -wouldn’t we find some kind of eternal connection between the oneness of the reality and the illusion of ourselves and all the other selfies? And rather than die, would we realize that with that selfie, we are immortal too? Life after death! Yea!!! Finally. Pop culture gets spiritual. Yea???

BonesBallers are all into this hope, this dream that our physical selves are just a pile of bones. We, like everyone else, have this “need’ to transcend the limits of a body that lives and/or dies, and daily we search for the answer to the question,  “Who sells and why buy that kind of need?”

But in the Flow Zone, where we try to live as much as possible, we know it’s all a game and just like all the great ones we watch do amazing things – the ones who want the ball when the game is on the line – we work at being out of our minds (in a good way) and seeing the game slow down, seeing the taking and making of our shot in life becoming easier as the stakes seem to get higher and higher.

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Higher- Faster- Stronger

higher faster and stronger in sportsWe ex-professional athletes, after being away from the game for many years, enjoy reminiscing about how it was, “back in the day.” No cell phones, no exploding scoreboards, team first not me first and no scandals. That was the norm. Young people today however, see the fast pace of our tech-driven, facebook-social landscape as very normal and exciting. It’s “everything now” 24/7.

The sports world has it’s own version of “everything now,” as athletes strive for Higher-Faster-Stronger performance goals. Scandals, for the most part, enhance popularity.

As everything speeds up, toughens up and leaps exponentially ahead, the social and sports psychologists continue to opine that the “everything now” attitude leads to alienation, loneliness, fierce global competition and produces universal disillusion, not to mention an ever-increasing focus on the question, “Why Am I Here?”

As a BonesBaller, I say everybody calm down and get into what we call ”The Need” –“the need to get beyond the limits of a body that could break or die.” It’s normal.

BonesBallers ask, “Who would sell- who would buy that kind of need?” Now that’s the question we really want answered.” Because a BonesBaller sees life as a constant game of Higher- Faster- Stronger but ¬¬– we play that game on our own terms, focused on our personal goals. Manufactured needs get rejected

Today, we present Kim Spradlin as our Higher- Faster- Stronger obsession survivor. In fact, for those who may not know, Kim was just named the “Survivor One World“ million dollar prize winner! Jeff Probst, in his “post – game” interview, praised Kim as one of the best contestants ever – but her win left him a little flat. Kim was just too normal.

A quietly distraught Jeff somehow got the words out and said, “I actually think Kim is in the top grouping of winners. She was great at the social game. So many faces and great at reading a situation and equally good at stopping a disaster before it starts. The challenge with Kim is she is not as dynamic – ie, she’s normal. She did it all without raising any fuss at all and so though one of the nicest and most well rounded players, she may be less remembered than others.”

Jeff is saying that regular old normal is not good enough. “Where’s your edge Kim?” he’s asking. In his view she did not help the ratings as much as an outsider, an anarchist, someone who was totally disruptive but touched a nerve. The “winners” we want to cheer today, whether we love or hate them, touch a psychological nerve in us that says, “I’m so tired of being normal.”
Barry Orms

The Olympics are coming. The Olympics are the ultimate expression of our universal need to transcend “normal.” The entire premise of the Olympics is that someone can and will reach “Higher-Faster-Stronger” than anyone in history.

The same holds for the NBA playoffs. Lebron James and Kobe Bryant are on individual quests this year to somehow surpass Michael Jordan’s six NBA championships. They feel that will make them the greatest NBA player of all time.

We BonesBallers know that the quest not be normal has always been there and is now at a fever pitch. Kim, please allow us to see you as a BonesBaller. You took it “beyond a body that would break or die.” You did it your way and still won.

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Sports as Emotional Therapy

We tend to think about sports as solely a form of entertainment, whether it be playing them or watching them. This perspective, however, fails to account for another role sports can fulfill for us: the role of an emotional outlet.

Stress, fear, anxiety, and anger tend to be regular parts of our lives, but sports can help manage and deal with these emotions. The irony of the topic of sports and emotion is that sports can induce all of these intense emotions during game-play, but also have the ability to reduce these same emotions from our day to day lives.

Nowadays, our culture has driven us to express our private matters to the public. We see our friends posting messages on Facebook about how stressed out they are or how they are so ticked off. Expressing your emotions publicly is fine but, for more intense circumstances, posting is not the way to go.

I think there is a much better way to blow off some steam. I know that when I turn on my computer or call a friend to vent, it ends up taking about an hour. I might feel better after venting, but oftentimes I just feel worse. We often are stressed because of a deadline, and wasting time online talking about stress usually does not help resolve the problem.

When used correctly, sports can be a soothing experience. When stress takes over, I go and find a basketball hoop. All of the stresses and worries of the world seem to be put on the backburner during the session. Even spending ten minutes doing this relaxes me and allows me to deal with my daily challenges.

We often overlook how useful and important these therapeutic breaks can be to our mental health. Turning ten minutes of stress into ten minutes of distressing can change a person’s outlook and mood for the rest of the day. Sounds like a great way to spend some time.

So the next time you are complaining about stress or are overwhelmed emotionally don’t go wasting your time dwelling on it. Go play the game you love and let it work wonders.

Written by Hollen O’Kelley
Edited by Sarah Gross

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