There a first for everything

Written by Sabine Démosthènes

While I’m enjoying a big cup of tea on my train ride into the city of a thousand bells, the sun is shining brightly and it feels like a new season of hope and change is coming.

Speaking of change, or should I say of brand new beginnings, Becky Hammon is being considered for the new head coach of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. This is fantastic news! She was the first woman ever to be appointed assistant coach in the history of the NBA with The Spurs.

But, like in everything unconventional, there is some controversy about this consideration. Again, we are moving forward, but why is there is still stigma around a woman being the head coach of a national sports team?

For example, it would be great to see more men having positions like school teachers, nurses, or receptionists that are professions known for being filled more often by women. So, when a man gets this job or this career, it shouldn’t be a surprise. For me, it goes both ways. Right?!

Becky Hammon didn’t get into talks for this position straight out of college. First of all, she was a professional basketball player (yeah!) for the WNBA.

I can hear some people saying “that doesn’t mean she is qualified.” On top of that, she was the righthand woman to probably the best coach in the league for four years! She had the opportunity to learn from Gregg Popovich and that is to be taken into consideration.

For both this argument, my opinion is that when you have the best mentor and you are a born leader, why not take the plunge?

Like every head coach in the whole world, she is well equipped and she will still learn and improve.

But let’s ask the real question – I would like to get back to my example: if a male nurse was appointed to be the head nurse at one of the best hospitals in the country, and he had graduated from a graduate-level nursing program 7 years earlier, was an assistant head nurse for 4 years and the people around him saw him as a good nurse and leader, would we be having the same conversation about whether or not he is the right person for the job?

Mrs. Hammon should be considered for the top job such as the nurse regarding their gender.

Oh, I can hear voices saying “we’ve seen so many former NBA players fail as coaches.” But, why don’t we talk about the ones that have succeeded even when they were not ballers to began with…

I do believe that everyone has a chance to succeed at their ambitions.

Can’t we just help them achieve instead of throwing stones and saying, if they do fail, we told you so?

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Things that make you go hmm Part II

By Sabine Démosthènes

During last night’s game between the Cavs and the Knicks, you may have heard noises that were not exactly cheers for a particular player.

Instead, the fans were booing Travis Thompson. It was pretty obvious.

For some that may not know, Mr. Thompson is dating one of the Ms. Kardashians.

To make the situation a little more awkward, Khloé Kardashian is pregnant and Travis Thompson was being a little bit too touchy-feely with a woman that is not the mother of his child.

You can guess that his philandering nature and his indiscretions were plastered all over the web.

First thing is first. Everything that has a connection to the Kardashian’s brand will get major coverage.

Whether we like it or not, it is fact.

I’m not a fan of this Kardashian culture at all, but I do feel bad for Khloé and her having to deal with this issue before giving birth to their baby girl (Congrats!).

Oh wait, this family has the reputation of being fame-hungry… Maybe they aren’t very upset about it since they are being mentioned everywhere.

I take back what I just said, I don’t feel bad.

Mister Whisky doesn’t feel bad either

My question is should we boo players for the life they are living as civilians when they are playing?

My opinion on this matter would be no.

When you come to see a game, you come to actually see the game. You don’t go to see a game for some player’s personal life, but we were programmed (myself included) to admire and glorify these athletes. They should be good role models.

In fact, I do adhere to that thinking.

Alright, you probably think that I’m contradicting myself. You might be right, but I will explain my point.

If I don’t respect an athlete or someone else, I won’t boo them, but I will stay silent. I think being silent and indifferent has more weight than being noisy and trashy.

Throwing some garbage in a court, a ring, a soccer field is an act of disrespect. Disrespect to the other players and to the game.

Let’s be more like the Japanese in this matter: calm, collected, cheerful and respectful.

But I got a brain freeze when I realized wait a minute, they are booing because he is cheating on a Kardashian! Morally though, this family is not as white as the big snow we will be receiving this weekend in Montreal…

It’s like a double-standard type situation.

People are complaining about this family and their values and then, booing and slamming the boyfriend because of his dishonesty and fraternizing actions. But still, this family got famous because of a sex tape!

I need a drink!

I mean this kind of drink…

Hoops

Monday, March 26th, 2018; I got back into elementary school mode. I grabbed my backpack and instead of textbooks, I filled it up with camera gear. As I walked down the elementary school hallway, I realized how small the locker seemed compared to 26 years earlier. I was all excited like I was 5 years old again.

March 26th 2018 Westmount Park Elementary School

When I opened the gym door, I saw the 15th woman to become a player on one of the oldest basketball team of all time shooting hoops.

As I sat on the bench preparing my stuff, Brianna “Hoops” Green gave me a quick “Wassup!” as we exchange some funny comments on Instagram.

Hoops and The Chronicle

She is, no doubt, an influencer with 90.7 K followers on Instagram alone!

In Westmount Park Elementary School, she was greeted like a rock star. I saw the stars in some of the students’ eyes. I remember that reaction perfectly as a long time ago, I was one of those kids.

Hoops Green and the Westmount Park kids

“Hoops”, as we call her, is a Harlem Globetrotters player. She is living her dream, doing the thing she liked the most since she was four years old. On top of that, she is an inspiration, putting smiles on those sweet little faces from all around the world.

Briana ''Hoops'' Green

Since I am becoming older and not necessarily wiser, I have a preconception that young men and women in their late teens and early twenties all have this “Kardashian” attitude and selfishness.

 

Yes, I may encounter an of few of them, but I’m realizing that there is an army of inspiring young men and women that have the desire to give back to society by being a good person. Some are hoping for and working toward a better future.

One that is not about the best selfie and how many likes they get on social media, but about compassion, kindness, and hard work.

Hope Green is certainly one of them!

Westmount Park Elementary School with Brianna Green
Written by Sabine Demosthenes

Briana Green on Instagram

http://www.harlemglobetrotters.com/hoops

What’s next for Stephanie McMahon?

When you can say that one of your childhood friend and hero was in the Princess Bride movie and he is one of the most legendary wrestling figures of all time?

Andre the Giant and Stephanie McMahon

In my book, you are one of the coolest people alive!

Princess Bride

This exact same kid that grew up to be one of the great leaders of our time. During my teenage years, as a wrestling fan, I couldn’t stand the sight of her.

Because of her onscreen character of course. She played the role of a spoiled, snobby daddy’s girl so well. At that point, I was still young and couldn’t differentiate between a fictional character and the person playing the role… Now that I have grown up (now almost 35), I asked myself this question: what made me change my perception of this woman, the perception I had over all those years?

Stephanie McMahon

Yes, I grew up, but over the years, I read some interviews and saw others and I realized, my oh my, I have more in common with her than I ever could have imagined.

This woman is Stephanie McMahon.

She is the COO of the World Wrestling Entertainment.

Stephanie McMahon Leadership

Stephanie couldn’t be more different than the character she is portraying, but she does have something in common with The Million Dollar Princess.

She is ambitious!

Even since she was small, she wanted to be part of the family business.

Young Stephanie

For myself, I never really wanted to be in the family business (entertainment manager of Haitian talent), but I knew I wanted to create something parallel or inspire my father dreams. I was the little helper at the house whenever we had some theatrical rehearsal in our living room (I was the bell girl). I would listen to every business phone call that my father had, I would sometimes even go to meetings with my father. In a way, Stephanie had a similar path.

McMahon

From a young age, she was learning all the different aspects of the empire her parents had created. She couldn’t deny that wrestling would be a big part of her life.

What I have admired Stephanie over the years is the fact that she has encouraged everyone to be a good leader. Not only that, she wanted to give back too. You could see it in her genuine nature; when she met young fans or whenever she spoke about the Connor’s Cure Foundation.

Connor's Cure

That, for me, is a real leader.

Connor, our hero

Honestly, when I saw her during the Attitude Era, my eyes were rolling. But now, when I read or I see an interview, my eyes are wide open and I’m listening.

When she says she was bullied and she finds it hard sometimes to read tweets on her Tweeter feed, we are seeing the real Stephanie McMahon. I learned all of it on the Lillian Garcia Podcast. It is a must!

NOH8

McMahon is a mom. She is a woman that wants to be part of the change in our society, contributing to a revolution, not only in the square circle but in the boardroom too.

We can witness her achievements by just watching the Women’s Revolution in the WWE.

The evolution of us

The fact that she is balancing being a boss lady, a wife, a mother and a leader all at once is admirable.

What can we expect from Stephanie McMahon in 2018?

I guess this question should be answered by the one and only Stephanie McMahon herself, but I will write about what I expect from her in 2018.

I expect Stephanie to continue to bring smiles to faces, especially children. I hope when Raw comes to Montreal in a few weeks, kids from Montreal Hospitals, like Sainte-Justine Hospital (I was born there in the 80s; they saved my life as a premature baby) could maybe have one of their wishes granted from one of the WWE Superstars.

Stephanie and children

I expect her to continue making waves as a woman in an executive role. She didn’t have it easy getting to where she is now, as some people may wonder. She works hard, or even harder, as the boss’s daughter. I can relate to that.

I love to end my post with a question, and I ask this one directly to Stephanie :

What does Stephanie McMahon expect from herself in 2018?

S. McMahon

Stephanie McMahon on Twitter

http://www.wwe.com/superstars/stephanie-mcmahon

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

The Story of 100 Aisles … Kobe Bryant

I awoke Monday morning with my typical Monday attitude : grumpy. The first thing I do in the morning, before even realizing which day it is, is read the news. 

Morning ritual

The posting on the ESPN website really woke me up. Kobe won an Oscar?! Suddenly, I was awake!! Like the smell of bacon cooking in the kitchen; my brain cells were all alive and firing on all cylinders. 

To make a story very short, I was never, not ever a Kobe Bryant Fan. Not even during my teenage years (1996 until 2000). Why wasn’t I a Kobe fan, despite finding him cute and sexy? 

One word… 

Arrogance! 

AFP TOPSHOTSBKN-NBA-FINAL-LAKERS-MAGIC S BKO USA FL

He was cocky! He wanted to emulate Michael Jordan, but even if Jordan could occaisonally be an asshole while playing, the next thing you knew, he would be a gentleman with his teammates after a game, playing poker with them. 

With Kobe, it’s a different scenario. I understand so much, Kobe being a loner as some say. And that’s okay. I’m a loner myself. But, don’t be an asshole and don’t be selfish until your last game.  

So waking up with one of the athletes that I do respect because damn the guy is one of the greatest but will he put into our face a I’m was many time a MVP player in the NBA and now, I’m a Oscar winner and his cockiness will be again in display? 

So my morning wasn’t as sunny and bright as it could have been with this news. I told myself – “Please Sab be objective on this one, maybe he does deserve this recognition. Maybe his short animated film is good. “ 

Kobe Bryant Oscar 2018

Then, I read that his film, “Dear Basketball”, is actually a short autobiography. Quickly, I wondered if he would recognize that he wasn’t always a gentleman and class act. Will his film depict that he is a man with flaws and will he acknowledge some of the awful things he did as a human being and as a man to his peers, his adversaries and to some women?  

Kobe Bryant Dear Basketball

All those questions were in my head and I couldn’t wait to watch it, but I was a little bit scared of watching it. 

Scared? Me?! How come? 

I was scared that I would like it and become more objective toward Kobe. 

Guess what?  

I truly watched his movie from an artistic point of view and not as a feminist, or with an anti-Kobe basketball fan attitude. At the end, I was happy to be more objective. 

I do have faith that we can all change for the better. 

For me, Kobe always seemed very self-conscious about his image (like one of my exes) and he wanted to be portrayed as the perfect guy. 

I always put Kobe in my ‘phony people’ box. His attitude toward the incident in July 2003, his relationship with Shaquille O’Neal (Now, they have made peace. Yeah! for the Lakers fans) but even, his last game as a NBA player was all about him and I’m sorry, but LeBron is and will always be the team player of the two of them.

LeBron James, Kobe Bryant

All of those examples made me wonder if Kobe truly would be different as a writer. 

Will he always be all about him and this perfect guy persona, with the perfect family, the perfect career and now, the perfect Oscar? 

Maybe I got a glimpse of my answer while watching his Oscar acceptance speech. I was pleasantly surprised that he was surprised and that he wanted to break this athletic dogma that says a basketball player, for example, can just dribble and shut up.  

No! 

An athlete can be as artistic, as smart and articulate as an artist, a scientist or a journalist. For that, I do applaud Kobe for pointing it out during his acceptance speech .

Now, maybe Kobe can show his vulnerability and his true self through writing and being a storyteller. I watched “Dear Basketball” and I love the narrative, the drawing and seeing this little 6 year old boy dreaming and being mesmerized by this beautiful game.

Young Kobe dreaming

You could see, even in such a short movie, the fact that he was a very dedicated student. But, I wish the short film would have shown a little bit more vulnerability. Again, it is a short animated film, but, I want to see the real Kobe. Not the perfect Kobe image. I want to read, for once, an essay about how he truly sees himself, with all the glory and with all the imperfections and mistakes he made along the way. Or, he could do it in the same pattern he did “Dear Basketball” with an animated concept. He is a very smart man and I discovered an artist inside him.  

I could write a Ph.D thesis on how complex Kobe’s character is and slowly, we would see a different Kobe. Easily, I could have gone into talking about what happened in 2003. At the height of his career, there were allegations against this young man about being stupid and not being a gentleman toward a woman. He seemed to have been remorseful, and the allegations were settled but still, I cannot forget about it and how disappointed I was, even though he wasn’t my favorite player. 

But I am slowly discovering a different Kobe Bryant. 

We are discovering a man that lived his dreams to the fullest and with passion, but he may have discovered other passions that will unleash his true self. Maybe now, he will share his vulnerability, his disappointment and his mistakes, not by making a press conference, not by doing a one-on-one interview, but by writing a story. 

I’m ready to see this artist emerge with an open heart. I will watch as he crafts his new platform for showing us himself through a movie or a story. 

Yes, I’m willing to see it and be amazed by the story. 

How did a young introverted, black man grow up in Italy to became one of the greatest athletes of all time? 

Will Kobe let us discover the real Kobe Bryant? 

 Young Kobe

 https://dearbasketball.com

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

 

Habitual line stepping

As I watched The Thunders versus the Golden State Warriors this past Saturday night, Carmelo Anthony threw down his headband violently in anger after getting hit by Draymond Green, who acted like nothing happened, like usual.

At that moment, I was thinking that at some point, someone will have to set Draymond Green straight with physical force.

The same way CHARLIE MURPHY (may he rest in peace), the brother of the great Eddie Murphy, had to beat the hell out of Rick James repeatedly for messing with Eddie Murphy’s couch on purpose, for tattooing the word “Unity” on Charlie’s forehead at Club 54 and for slapping Charlie in the face at the China Club.

To be fair, Rick James had a legitimate excuse for his constant line crossing habits: heavy cocaine use.

Draymond Green has a valid excuse to some extent too. His competitiveness, combined with his high IQ for the game of Basketball and let’s be honest – his ability to get under his opponent’s skin with his trash talk, make him an indispensable player for the Golden State Warriors.

But too many times, like Rick James, Draymond will go too far and do something nonsensical like kicking opponents in the groin. His multiple flagrant fouls during the 2016 playoffs got him suspended for Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

That’s when the Cavs began their comeback, upsetting the Warriors after trailing the series 3 games to 1.

I am surprised that Draymond has not caused a major brawl yet. But another habitual line-crosser, who happens to be a well known hockey player in Montreal and the province of Quebec, certainly did.

For those who don’t know, Dale Hunter was one heck of a hockey player. He was also the personification of a habitual line-crosser.

He played for the Quebec Nordiques from 1980 to 1987.

Then, he spent the next 12 years with the Washington Capitals. He then came back to the organization that had originally drafted him, the Colorado Avalanches, who were the Quebec Nordiques.

He is currently the co-owner, president and head coach of the London Knights of the Ontario Junior League. Let me say this: this fool was unreal!

He was a crazier, old school, white version of Draymond Green (I love cross-racial comparisons by the way). As a young Habs fan, I loved to hate this man. If you have any time to waste, I suggest to you all to go on Youtube and type in the search space: Dale Hunter, cheap shots. If you like chaos as I do, Dale Hunter won’t disappoint. Enjoy!

He was the instigator of the brawl of all brawls between the Montreal Canadiens and the Quebec Nordiques, the famous Good Friday Massacre (La Bataille du Vendredi Saint, in French) on April 20, 1984. He kept taking runs at the goalie, Steve Penney, after the whistle was blown. At the end of the second period, he even fought his own brother, Mark Hunter who played for the Habs.

Imagine that!

Who can forget, in 1993, Game 6 of the first round series between the Capitals and the New York Islanders when Dale Hunter went absolutely insane.

He hit an unsuspecting Pierre Turgeon to the board after Turgeon had scored a goal and was celebrating.

You can see afterward, several Islanders going after Dale Hunter and pummelling him.

Charlie Murphy would have been proud of those guys.

Look, I do not condone the use of violence, but like Charlie Murphy educated us in the Charlie Murphy – True Hollywood Story segment from the Chappelle Show, a habitual line-crosser needs to be checked so that the line-crossing can stop.

I used those two athletes, in a way, to relive one of the greatest Dave Chappelle sketches ever: Charlie Murphy – True Hollywood Stories featuring Rick James, 14 years ago.

But, we need Draymond Green in our lives. He makes the game of basketball fun, the same way Dale Hunter made the game of hockey fun in the past, with their unique, habitual line-crossing way.

Again, Rest in Peace to you, Charlie Murphy and Rick James.

For some comic relief:

ETrue Hollywood Story Rick James and Charlie Murphy

Written by Donald Demosthenes (aka The Educated Fool and The Other Donald)

Habs vs Talent

 
Why have the Montreal Canadians failed to maximize the potential of their most gifted players for years?
 
This is a question I am always asking myself.
 
In the 80s, I was too young and dumb to fully understand why Guy Lafleur decided to hang up his skates on November 26, 1984.
Guy Lafleur 10
 
I remember asking my dad why the Flower, as we called him, decided to retire so suddenly. His answer was blunt. He said it in his French Canadian/Haitian accent: he is done, he doesn’t have it anymore.
 
You can’t blame my dad for his opinion at the time. Guy Lafleur was having a miserable season,only scoring two goals and three assists after 19 games, failing to realize that the real culprit of hisstruggles was Jacques Lemaire‘s defensive system.  His ice-time had been reduced and he was asked to play a more defense-oriented game.
We cannot blame Jacques Lemaire though.
At that moment, The Habs finally got past the second round of the playoffs after years of getting bounced out of the playoffs early. This had happened four straight years in a row, despite having some great regular seasons. Jacques Lemaire had something to do with it.
But his system, known as the TRAP, was a bad fit for a free-spirited, creative player like Guy Lafleur. The system was made for more disciplined and defensive, responsible players like another Guy…
Guy Carbonneau Canadiens de MontréalGuy Carbonneau
Guy Carbonneau.
 
If you have followed The Habs for the past three decades, you’ll know either one of these twoscenarios happened frequently:
 
Scenario 1:
A homegrown talent struggling to perform constantly with The Habs only to flourish with another team. I’m thinking of John LeClair and if The Habs are not careful this time around, Alex Galchenyuk will be the latest example.
John LeClair
 
Speaking of John LeClair, I remember years ago when Randy Tieman, the longtime sportscaster on the Montreal scene was sharing a conversation he had with John Leclair on his radio show, TEAM690 (Now TSN690).
randy and joey.jpg
LeClair said the difference in playing for The Habs versus the Flyers was his main focus, which was to backcheck and make sure he did not miss his defensive assignments.
 
As soon as he joined the Flyers, they inserted him immediately, along with Eric Lindros and Mikael Renberg. They were told to: Be yourself, go in front of the net and be big and strong, go in front of the net and wreak havoc.
 
The rest is history. John LeClair reached his immense potential by producing three straight 50 goal seasons, plus two straight 40 goal seasonsduring the dead puck era. When you hear his name, you immediately think of the Legion of Doom. Not the famous Wrestling tag-team of course, but one of the most famous lines in the history of hockey, the Line of Lindros-Leclair-Renberg.
Eric Lindros and John LeClair
 
 
Scenario 2:
With a desperate need for offense, The Montreal Canadiens made a big trade to acquire an extremely talented player, hoping to fix the team’s problem scoring goals; only for that same player to be criticized by the media for a lack of production and to be marginalized by the organization because of the player deficiencies in the defensive part of the game. 
 
Remember Pierre Turgeon?
SP Turg.HR
He came as a number one centre from the New York Islanders when he was acquired in return for Kirk Muller.
Teammates
He finished his stay with the Habs on the the third line, not even playing centre. He basically got the Galchenyuk treatment, even before Alex Galchenyuk. We must thank Mario Tremblay with a pinch of sarcasm.

Alex GalchenyukPierre T

 
Similarly, this past summer, the Habs sacrificed their best prospect, Mikhail Sergachev, to acquire the playmaking winger named Jonathan Drouin, who for some reason is now the team’s number one centre, hoping to boost the team’s offensive output.
Mikhail Sergachev
 
For now, it seems the experiment failed miserably this season. I somewhat disagreed with the trade at the time. But, it would be criminal to put all the blame on the shoulders of Jonathan Drouin.
Jonathan Drouin
Max Pacioretty did criticize Julien’s system a couple times in front of the media in an attempt to explain the team’s failure to generate much offense.
 
A lot of fans and members of the media are clamoring for a major rebuild of the team after this season. I don’t disagree with that sentiment.
 
But, what The Habs really need is a culture change. A culture that will allow players like Jonathan Drouin and Alex Galchenyuk to become an offensive force.
A culture that will embrace players like P.K. Subban instead chasing him out of Montreal for reasons that have nothing to do with hockey.
2011 Heritage Classic - Montreal Canadiens Practice
A culture that will seek greatness at all costs.
 
It’s time to bring back the spirit of the Flying Frenchman.
A spirit that left the Montreal Canadiens when the organization gave Guy Lafleur no choice but to quit the sport he loved way too prematurely.
Guy Lafleur by Mike Oulton
 
Your Educated Fool!
Written by Donald Demosthenes