Dem Pittsburgh Pirates Are Dangerously Close to…

1987–1996

1987–1996 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been trying not to write at all about our Pittsburgh Pirates. But their win over the Marlins got them to their 70th win.

70th win. In the beginning of August.

I know…breathe.

That means, you know. I’m not going to say it.

My good friend Jeff who writes about sports all the time and whose opinion on sports I trust more than nearly anyone, hasn’t even said it.

Ahh! How exciting. Living in Charlotte, I rarely hear people talk about MLB. So to see my hometown team do so well, though I barely get a chance to see the games, is awesome.

Pittsburgh needs those battlin’ Buccos.

But it’s only August, with too many games left with St. Louis, the Brewers and Cincy to make a jaded Buccos fan comfortable.

So, we’ll see. But keep it up Bucs; the city of Pittsburgh (and beyond) is behind you.

No Referees? No Games. Love Your Refs.

English: English football (soccer) referee How...

English: English football (soccer) referee Howard Webb (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have no idea what’s been going on in the world of sports recently, but it is getting out of hand. In less than a year, there have been three referee deaths in soccer, all in different parts of the world.

In December 2012, a volunteer linesman referee was beaten to death during an amateur soccer match in the Netherlands. The ref was 41 years old, while his assailants were two 15-year olds and a 16 year old; all players on the same team.

The linesman was officiating a match that his son was playing.

On April 27th, 2013, in Salt Lake city, Ricardo Portillo was assaulted while he was serving as the center ref of a match in a Hispanic soccer league. Portillo, who was 46, was punched in the face by a 17 year old player after Portillo gave the player a yellow card.

Portillo died later because of the internal injuries from being punched.

Now the craziest incident. This happened during the July 6-7th weekend. The center ref was 20yr-old Jordan Silva. He was officiating a match in Brazil when he showed 30yr-old player Josenir Abreu a red card. Abreu didn’t like it, and got in the ref’s face.

This is where it gets crazy.

Silva, the referee, pulled out a knife and stabbed the player, Abreu, which ended up killing him. The player’s family and fans captured the referee, tied him up, and when they heard that Abreu died, they tortured the ref and dismembered his body.

I’m going to need everyone to calm down.

This on-the-field violence, especially against refs, should not be tolerated. Players need to understand that without referees, they wouldn’t have a game to play. Referees instill rules. Referees instill fairness. When there is violence directed at the referee, no one wins.

Who knows why that situation in Brazil escalated so quickly. Why was the ref carrying a knife in the first place? Was he attacked before, was he given a reason to fear for his life and strike?

I’m not condoning his action. I hope no one ever has to make a decision to take someone’s life for fear of losing their own. I’m trying to figure out why the ref felt that he needed to carry one.

How can we shift the view of referees from “necessary evils” to “champions of the game”?

One group is trying. In memoriam of the referee in Salt Lake City, a group created the site, Love the Refs. The site is meant to show the world that “passion does not equal aggression.”

How true.

Being a fierce competitor does not mean that you must also wield your anger out on anyone or anything on the field. That is not how things work.

I think that sports organizations need to make an even stricter stand when it comes to violence against referees. Let players who show aggression be automatically suspended for 2-3 games. If they act on their aggression, ban from the league for that season. After that, any other infraction they are banned from the league and leagues around the area/region for life.

Or, every time an act of aggression towards the referee happens, end the game. No one wins.

Or, provide the referees with security.

In any case, the worse thing we can do, is nothing. Love the game, love your referees.

Yes, I Still Have a Blog…

Long time no see, folks.

It’s funny, once you are hired to write every day, it makes it increasingly difficult to find time to write for one’s leisure.

Yet, here we are.

First, some life events. The wedding planning is going along fine. It’s times like these when being easily pleased is quite a virtue.

Second, some work events. Things have picked up at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, with plans to continue. We are in the progress of doing some major changes. First, some background. When John and I started JDW, LLC., we wanted to plan with the end in mind. The end, being that JDW,LLC itself owns multiple business segments. In business school we learned time and time again that the best way to maintain a revenue stream is diversifying your investments.

With that being said, in the very near future, JDW: The Charlotte Agency, our marketing shop, will soon be known as The Charlotte Agency, a JDW LLC. subsidiary. The JDW logo will continue to be the brand for JDW LLC, and The Charlotte Agency will have its own specific logo, but similar branding to JDW. We are currently making our website anew with the changes in full sight.

My soccer referee gig is going quite well. I just started my coaching and private conditioning, and am working on my personal trainer certification with the hopes of starting a personal training company for couples with my wife-to-be, Mackenzie.

Third and finally, some leisure events. Believe it or not, I still have some time to spare. So I decided to start a pickup soccer group on Sportsvite, with the intention of forming it into a modest pickup league. If it continues to grow, I have plans in mind for tournaments (small and full side), rec-league play against other groups in the Charlotte area, and a youth league.

Also, I’m thinking of changing the name of the blog. Since writing for Beyond Madison Avenue, I have been able to thoroughly scratch my marketing writing itch. Therefore, “New Age Marketing” is longer a need title or avenue. I’ll still write about marketing, economics, consume behavior and the like, but I think it is time for a new name.

It has certainly been an exciting couple months, to say the least.

I know you all have been waiting for an update. I hope these 400 words have sufficed. Until next time.

Are We More Accepting, Or Do We Care Less?

My interest in the fascinating change of human behavior and societal norms continue.

2012 was an interesting year for us humans. We faced the end of the world more with curiosity than fright. Our interactions became noticeably less face-to-face and more digital. And it turns out that multi-tasking, sitting more long periods of time, and not being happy all takes time off of our lifespans.

However- coffee, turns out, is not only good for you, but can replace protein or energy drinks before a workout.

I guess I’ll take the good with the bad.

And now, with the start of 2013, it seems that our perception of attractiveness (as well as the attempt to be attractive) is changing.

According to the NPD Group, a group specializing in consumer research, the number of people dieting has been decreasing at a sharp rate. This year, 20% of adults said they were on a diet, compared to 31% percent in 1991. In 2012, 23% of women said they were on a diet, compared to 34% in 1992.

During a time when obesity is considered a “disease: in America, the decreasing amount of people dieting is interesting. But the study continues.

The study looked at- and rightfully so- about people being overweight and attractive. In 2012, only 23% of people said that people who are not overweight look a lot more attractive. In 1985, 55% of people thought so (mind you, “overweight” in 1985 would be much different than the “overweight” of 2012. Likewise, being in shape in 1985 would be different than its counterpart).

Yet, as the study continues to point out, there are 50 million Americans on a diet, with 27% of them are on it for more than a year. Up from 22% in 2004.

These facts go back to the question raised in the title, are people just becoming more comfortable with the fact that people will be overweight? Is the paradigm shifting?

Too early to tell.

As the waistbands get bigger in America, looks like our perception lens changes with it.

 

Respect Your Roots

“Remember where you come from.”

That phrase carries a lot to it. As we go on in our lives, it is easy to be lost in the present, and in the future. We see that all around us. People are worried about where they are going to be 5 years down the road in their career, where they will live, when a good time to buy a house, all the way to the trivial, if their sports team is going to win, to catching episodes from their favorite show, to being on time to a recreational game.

And that’s okay.

How fortunate are we that we don’t have to worry about shelter. About being thirsty. About getting from Point A to Point B.

About being free.

The title of the this post “respect your roots”, has many meanings to me. It helps me appreciate history. It helps me examine how I got to where I am today. I wish I could say that I got here all by myself, but history would tell a different story.

Example: I have been catching up on Charlotte history, and in the early 1800’s, over 30% of Charlotte’s (sometimes known as Charlotte Town back then) population were slaves.

Or “bonded people,” as the historical account recounts.

Now, Charlotte has one of the biggest African-American populations in the U.S. (top 10). And here I am, free, in my fourth year co-owning a small business (with a white guy) and getting married (to a white girl).

Respect my roots, I will.

I enjoy history because it gives a flavor to the present and future. It helps us see what’s been done, and what we can do to either repeat it, or correct it. We can look at our families, the organizations we are a part of, and see how all of them have grown out from their roots.

History isn’t abstract, as some people think. Second to learning first-hand, history is the best way to learn, discern, and think.

Let us all remember to respect our roots. It’s a history lesson worth more than we think.

If Society Celebrates Winners, You Can’t Criticize the Method

Recently, a college student by the name of Jack Taylor, scored 138 points in a basketball game, the most points in a single college game.

Many people, the majority, marveled at the stats. He was money from the 3pt range and when given 108 chances to make a basket, chances are one is going to rack up the points.

After the initial shock of the shear amount of points and attempts went over those paying attention, the “holier than thou” commentators began to run their mouths.

None more than the author of the article linked above, Mr. Mills- an opinion contributor to CNN.

Mills is a recent author of a book that talks about America’s rise to superpower status. I haven’t read it, but if my studies of human psyche proves correct, then his argument against Mills must be similar to the American Superpower story.

Resources. Opportunity. Esteem.

Let’s face it: we live in an environment that celebrates winners and shuns losers. No matter if it is in business, love, friendships, boardgames, sports, politics, or otherwise, or society likes winners.

It is only a recent development that our society is beginning to care in which manner, winners win.

Fairness, in other words.

Let’s play a game. Let’s say that you were presented two options. The first one being that your team would win a game big, and you would be the primary reason why your team won. The second option being that your team won, but you were just a part of it. Neither option has a down side. You win either way. Which one would who choose?

It’s our nature to want to be the hero. And society reinforces it by celebrating unreal activities and deeds by individuals. So of course, if a talented young player has the opportunity to do something special, why wouldn’t he take the chance? For fairness sake? Please.

As people, athletes, authors, move around using their resources to be looked up at as heroes and experts, you cannot possibly expect me to criticize this kid for wanting to have a special night.

I’d blame society.

Social Anxiety Disorder: Why it Matters

Understanding the way people operate (or inability to) doesn’t not only help people in marketing and advertising. No, it also helps people understand how a culture or society interacts. Consumer (or in this case, social) behavior provides glances into our human psyche. It provides us a reasoning for the method behind the “madness”, meaning our seemingly predictable irrational behavior.

Like the saying, “the only thing you can predict is unpredictability”, the only thing we know for sure about common sense is that it is anything but common.

For example, as our society continues to become less face-to-face, we have dawned a new age of anxiety issues, off line and online. The latest (that I have seen) is called S.A.D., or Social Anxiety Disorder. Not to be confused with shyness, Internet Usage Disorder (IUD) or just being weird.

Obviously.

I stumbled onto this new disorder from a writer for Brain Magazine, where she talks about her plight with the social phobia.

The writer notes how “anxiety disorders are characterized by extreme mental discomfort with social settings.” And she goes into the technical parts of where in the brain scientists believe anxiety formulates. Most importantly, anxiety disorders disrupt and misinterpret information that impacts attention, memory, judgement and the ability to decipher information coming from oneself and others.

Basically, the ability to recall, and communicate.

This is serious. The ability to communicate thoughts and feelings is crucial to our social fabric. Those who do not and can not are dependent on those willing to help them, else they face de facto excommunication.

I’m not implying that the rise of online communities and social networks and gaming is the direct cause, but all of them are certainly elements.

Social Anxiety Disorder matters because it is proof that our society is losing its ability to communicate. As SAD develops, the more worried we should be.