Green Day, AC Green, and the Greener side.

Green Day’s “I Walk Alone” plays as I sit on the windowsill next to the iron radiator in the corner of my studio apartment on an immaculate early August afternoon in Oakland, Ca .

Brainstorming … brainstorming… brainstorming: the word “Green”= Money…  Oakland A’s… Ninja turtles …  Oscar the grouch… Spinach … Apples… UNO cards… traffic lights…Green Lantern… The Green Monster in Boston … Cee-Lo Green… Famed NBA player AC Green (who was known for his work ethic on the court and his devotion to being a virgin off the court)… Green- new to something! A VIRGIN! BINGO!

 

ac-green-action-shot
ac-green-action-shot

…  I’ve agreed to participate in the “August Writing Challenge” after seeing a friend tweet about it…

” #AugustWritingChallenge is spreading. Not sure how many participants, but going to try to include all of them in the recap.”- @NateIege

(And then she gave me the rules to the #AugustWritingChallenge )

That was this morning, I’m 10 days behind- I’m green to this, but I dream of being seasoned vet when it comes to all forms of writing, so I’ve agreed to this…

Yeah, I’m sure I make like a green screen: create something never before seen…

What will come of it? I can only imagine. I saw the list of topics- and I know I work well within broad structures: give me the guidelines… and then give me freedom to color whatever color I choose in between those lines… Today’s color is OBVIOUSLY green.

Wait… Today is Friday… You really asked me to write about “green” ? On a Friday? … Knowing I’m from California… Where weed is everything but lega?… mannnnnnn… you already knew I was going to write about Green Day & AC Green…Oh and the fact that the grass is greener on the other side. (#WestSide)  Glad to be on this side of the writer’s block. I’m ready to grind.

My August Writing Challenge virginity has been broken! Let’s go!

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Walk Off Homerun! The A’S WIN!

Walk Off Homerun. The A’S WIN!

I’ve been attending A’s games since I was a little kid.

A's game...
4 time champs…

Every time I go to the A’s game, I think of the fact the movie “Angel’s In The Outfield” was partially filmed there. 1 of my many childhood memories at the park…

I recently went to my 1st A’s game by myself. Ever.  It was a “winsday”. The $2 tickets were sold out- I got duped into paying $14… It would prove to be worth every cent.

The Oakland A’s epitomize the moniker of “blue collar baseball”, year in and year out. A bunch of scrappy ballplayers with funny names and serious game; yeah, there’s always a lot of heart behind the patches on those green and gold uniforms. And this year is no different.

I’ve been a fan since the days of ICE BOX, an overweight security guard who (graciously) did the Macarena in between innings, the drummers in the bleachers who would (violently) scream “Tejada”, and although a youngster- I was even there for the bash brothers (Canseco & McGuire).

I came up after the “glory years”, if you let some of the OG’s around the Town tell it. The A’s were a powerhouse in the early to mid 70’s, as they won three world series titles. 1989 was their last title year- two years after I was born, and one year prior to my family moving from Ohio to Oakland.

They’ve had some good runs since then. The glory years of Rickey Henderson and Dennis Eckersley. The treacherous trio of Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, and a young Barry Zito- who’s curveball had a hook only to comparable to Gonzo’s nose. And the remarkable 20 game win streak of 2002.

I’ve also been there for the not so glorious days…

When Jeremy Giambi was thrown out by Derek Jeter in the playoffs, it was the direct equivalent to the Raider’s “tuck rule” game vs. the Patriots. Equally heartbreaking.

Stomper & fam.
Stomper & fam.

The story of the A’s parallels many people’s stories in this town. This city is full of families who have migrated twice over, including my own. The A’s started in Philadelphia as the “Athletic club”, then to Kansas City, and finally to Oakland. The way the team got traded around like a “white elephant”, combined with a diss from one time Giants owner (in which he called the A’s a ‘white elephant’)- lead to the A’s adopting the symbolic image of their current mascot, stomper the elephant.

The A’s moved to the city by the bay in 1968, and ever since, the connection between this city and the team has fit like a glove. (History of the A’s timeline). Currently, at the Oakland museum there is an exhibition called 1968. The exhibit highlights the Vietnam war, the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, and how the Bay was at the forefront of a number of the social and political movements of the time. Perfect time for the boys of summer to come to the Bay.

One of my best friends once spent a summer as the mascot for the Oakland A’s. I’ll never forget the day he went to volunteer at Children’s Hospital, and locked his mascot gloves in the car, along with his keys. (I have it in the personal video archive- just in case I forget).

To even out the tales of my costumed friend’s list of shinning moments- his performance in the Stomper suit at the 2008 All-Star game in New York is a video I can watch time and time again…Classic.

And of course- my 1st youtube viral video came when Stomper made an appearance at E-40’s record release party… This video was one giant step for the Hyphy movement.

The personal highlight reel continued this year when I was able to play audience to Oakland’s native son, and childhood friend,  Tyson Ross pitch in the big leagues for the home team. I was able to bring some of my students for a day out at the park, for the second year in a row.

I’ve been to three games this year:

  1. VS. the Boston Red Sox on the July 4th   fireworks game (on the night of July 3rd):  A’s win and a tremendous fireworks display.

    Fireworks!
    Fireworks!
  2. VS. the Detroit Tigers, on Mother’s Day: A’s lose. (I brought students to the park- some of them brought their mothers. Tickets complimentary of Tyson Ross, it was a win nonetheless.)

    Tyson and myself trading a educational t-shirt for an athletic one.
    Tyson and myself trading a educational t-shirt for an athletic one.
  3. VS. the Texas Rangers on July 18th: A walk off homerun certifies the A’s as the hottest team in the league in July.
Walk. Off. Home. Run! A's Win!
Walk. Off. Home. Run! A’s Win!

The July 18th game proved to be a gem. A pitcher’s duel through the 6th inning- a number of questionable calls, and close plays were all overshadowed by a bottom of the 9th walk off homerun.

At the end of the game, I shook the hand of the gentleman two rows over from me- I thanked him for the running commentary from the peanut gallery- his clever vulgarity was comedy throughout the entirety of the game. Baseball games bring people together- I probably would have had no other reason to speak to the shirtless white man who’s chest flesh went from Salmon to burgundy as the game progressed.  Attending the baseball game is definitely more fun now that I’m legal drinking age, and obviously my new friend/ color (colored) commentator felt the same.

As the game ended, he felt the need to express himself by giving the Texas outfields the “suck it” gesture popularized by WWF wrestler from my childhood known as X-Pac.

Suck it, Texas.
Suck it, Texas.

Not exactly “Angels in the Outfield”, but a memory from my younger days- so I’ll take it with a grain of salt and count it as life coming full circle.

My friend Jesus El: acro-dunker…dancer…on Jerry Springer?

My homeboy Jesus “Zeus” El is a fool… And that’s just the start of the attribute list…

Pen and Zeus
Pen and Zeus

That list also includes: An acro-dunking/ poetry writing/ devout Christian/ world traveling/ proud West Oaklander/ engaged man/ dancer/ community activist/ mentor/ businessman/ family man/ good friend and like I said before…A fool!!!

this train of thought is inspired by his latest video…

In this video, he very possibly trumps his video of walking on the Great Wall of China or his videos of dunking at NBA All Star games. In his most recent video: he makes an appearance on the Jerry Springer Show- and he literally clowns!!!

check the video out:

Jesus has a history of making some eye-opening media. He’s been on the cover of news papers in Asia and Mexico for international acro-dunking, he’s been on television shows such as Ripley’s “Believe it or not” and “The Best Damn Sports show” performing acro-dunking, and not that I’m jealous or anything- but he also has a picture with Beyoncé from dunking at the NBA All Star Game.

We often talk about how a person’s image in media can travel so far- while the individual can still feel confined to the place their mission started.

We’ve come a long way since first meeting in 7th grade. But two things have been consistent: his connection to Oakland, and his lack of connection to the earth- because he’s always flying off of trampolines!

We’ve come together to produce a number of videos, here are some notable 1’s…

First and foremost, here is a video from the belly of the “Hyphy Movement”. E-40’s record release party in Emeryville. This video put a lot of things on the map- including elephants going dumb …Check out the Video

And since we’re on the topic of dancing… Here is a video of one of the many turf- dancing battles we used to attend:

here is another 1 of Jesus Dancing (I didn’t make this 1- I just think its dope)

Video of  Zeus turf- dancing in Asian outfit:

And for some reason- the Oakland A’s Mascot “Stomper” dances a lot like my home boy in this clip from the mid- summer classic All Star Game in New York July 2008. hmmmm… too bad we’ll never know Stomper’s true identity (wink-wink)  Check out this video of B-Boy Stomper

We even came together to make a documentary, in which he talks about everything from acro-dunking to manhood and how everything in-between is interconnected… here is a clip from the documentary titled “He Dumb in The Air” :

There is an endless list of entertaining videos of this young man- (for more checkout his youtube page: 21Seus) each with an aura of entertainment and education, sprinkled with a sample of strong spirituality. It’s funny, we always talk about how someone’s image can travel through the media, yet that person might feel as though they haven’t gone anywhere. Looking at these videos- I can see how just how far he has come. I can see how far I have  come. The only thing I can’t see… is how much further we can go…

We have a saying: … a little something to remind us that the sky is the limit- and when we get to that height- we will have created something that will last forever…

“Meet me at the top of the pyramid bruh.”