Why A Blog?
As a former newspaper sports columnist I once wrote a piece that was somewhat critical of Missouri State University’s women’s basket ball team here in Springfield, Missouri, where I live. After I had submitted the column I received a phone call the next day from a young lady in the sports department who informed me they couldn’t run the column because it was only my opinion. I explained to her that an opinion column was precisely what I had been writing for the past year. Soon after the column was rejected, I received an e-mail from the newspaper’s new executive editor letting me know that my services would no longer be needed and that I was, in effect, being fired. I think the newspaper had a fear that if they printed something that was in any way, shape or form critical of the University’s athletic program, they would lose access to the school’s sports teams and their coaches. Too bad. They were actually in a position to help the school by providing honest feed-back. So with this background in mind, I’ve decided to start off my Blog by having my rejected column appear.
Letter to Cigar Aficionado Magazine RE: Mike Tyson
I thoroughly enjoyed Geoffrey Gray’s article, “Tyson vs. King” in your February issue of cigar aficionado. Mr. Gray is an excellent writer. However, there is often more to truth than just facts. As one who has followed Mike Tyson’s career since he was a 12-year old, there were some important aspects to Mike’s life that were omitted, which I feel your readers should be made aware of. First, had Cus D’Amato lived, Mike’s life would have been entirely different. Cus was not only Mike’s mentor and father figure who adopted him, but Mike knew Cus cared about him as a human being and was always there for him to discuss his innermost thoughts. In fact, later in one of the many books written about Mike, he mentions that when Cus was alive he had someone to talk to about his feelings, but after Cus died, he just kept everything bottled-up within himself. This withholding of feelings was a form of lying that not only affected his self-esteem, but also created psychological baggage that affected his ability to focus. Mike soon found himself immersed in a negative self-image cycle and actually created negative events in his life based on how he felt about himself. This is not unlike many inner city kids who get into trouble because they have no one in their lives who genuinely cares about them and are there to listen to their issues and problems without being judgmental. In addition, Mr. Gray neglected to mention two important figures in Mike’s life: Jimmy Jacobs and Kevin Rooney. Jimmy Jacobs was Mike’s co-manager, and Kevin Rooney was his trainer. I knew Jacobs, and have interviewed Rooney. Jacobs was my son’s handball coach at a handball camp in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Rooney was the one who Mike would kiss at ringside just before every fight. Though I’m not privy to inside information, it has been speculated publicly that there was a possibility that Cus and Jimmy were gay (in fact, when Jimmy died many thought it was the result of his having contracted Aids, a fact that was kept secret from the media.) If Cus and Jimmy were gay, that would have had an important impact on Tyson’s life and could well have been the reason he, in later years, felt a need to create a “macho” image to counteract what was being written about him in various books (especially with his obvious lisp) and as a result he made a special effort to come on to women to show the media and others that he was not gay. What has happened to Mike Tyson in his career is really quite sad, and yet, the media tends to be relentless in their attacks upon him. As Mr. Gray stated, Mike is probably the foremost historian on heavyweight boxing. This came about as a result of his watching hours and hours of films supplied him by Jimmy Jacobs. (The films, by the way, were provided to Jimmy by his uncle, Ruby Jacobs, who was the referee for many of the heavyweight bouts when Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano were active in the ring.) I am pulling for Mike 100% so that justice will be done in his lawsuit with Don King. Tyson is not a bad person. But life has thrown him a curve ball and it all began with the death of Cus D’Amato.
Springfield News-Leader – August 30th, 1998 – By Marv Fremerman
BUILDING SELF-ESTEEM IS ANSWER TO PROBLEMS OF SOCIETY’S YOUTHS.
A story in a national publication indicated the DARE program isn’t working. In my opinion, it’s not working because it uses lectures, role playing and other techniques to teach children to avoid drugs and gang activity.
If one believes the Pareto Principle (80 percent of the problems are being caused by 20 percent of the youth population) then an education approach may be all right for the 80 percent but the remaining 20 percent requires more than just education. Those youths are creating the violence and drug abuse making today’s headlines. Yet most programs in this country focus on the 80 percent.
Problems we’re having with young people cannot be solved by a “quick fix.” They cannot be solved by teaching methods. Or by lectures. Or by athlete role models speaking at school assemblies. Drug abuse and gang activities are symptomatic of low self-esteem, and the building of self-esteem must come from within.
Children who are withholding (keeping their feelings bottled up inside themselves) unknowingly lower their feelings of self-worth because withholding is a form of lying; when we lie we demean ourselves and thereby lower our own self-esteem. These children require love and nurturing. That is the major appeal of gangs. Gang members love each other and provide a nurturing environment for members. At-risk youths I have worked with have made such comments as:
“No one cares about me.”
“No one will listen to my problems.”
“I have no one to turn to so I can talk about what’s bothering me.”
“There’s no hope in my life.”
“If I get arrested at least I’ll have a clean place to stay and three meals a day.”
Children who are loved, who know someone cares about them, are less likely to get involved with gangs and drugs, less likely to participate in drive-by shootings, less likely to be violent, less likely to become pregnant as teen-agers, and less likely to drop out of school.