Thursday, March 09, 2017

I have been watching sports intently for approximately 37 of the 42 years I've been on this precious Earth. The players I grew up watching are retired, dead, coaching or in someone's studio waxing poetic about what they think they know regarding the sport they've been around their entire lives. At some point towards the end of each player's playing career, the athletic prowess they had been able to summon with relative ease gradually started failing them.

The great players like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were able to diagnose the onset of the old man's disease and make adjustments not visible to the naked eye in an effort to extend their dominance. The more marginal players were helpless against the strong gravitational pull of aging---like a piece of food trying desperately to avoid the garbage disposal before succumbing to their inevitable fate and falling down the sink. Perhaps I'm being a bit morbid here, but for any athlete on any level, the loss of athleticism does indeed represent a form of death. The part of their lives which has provided joy, financial relief and mental stability is fading away, forcing them to think about phase two of their lives at an age where people in the "regular" world are just hitting their stride. That isn't an easy reality to get used to at all. Speaking of regular people...

In the past month or so, I have noticed that I am aging. The same watchful eyes that used to notice the signs of aging in my favorite athletes have turned against me, and I'm noticing things going south with me. To be fair, I'm not 50 or 60 years old which when more demonstrative declines in physical appearance start to really kick in, but that is of no consolation to me because I am starting to notice subtle things.

My hairline is starting to erode in the corners, which directly affects how low I can wear my hair. It used to be I could rock my hair at a relatively medium length with a strong shape-up. Now, either my barber has to push my hairline back to achieve that look that I'm used to (which has me looking like a crazy man) or he has to cut it extremely low, which is fine, but it means I can't wait as long in between haircuts. As a result, I have decided to re-grow my beard as a diversion. If I'm Rick Ross-ing it with the facial hair, surely no one will notice that I'm LeBron-ing it up top right?

I've also noticed that I cannot workout once or twice a week in an effort to maintain the figure that I'd like to have. I have to eat right, exercise, sleep, be positive, and even with all that I still may not lose as much weight as I did when I was younger. And if I step up the intensity of the workouts, I may lose weight at a rapid clip, but there will be hell to pay in the soreness department.

Last month at the request of one of the people I write with, I joined a 3-on-3 basketball league. Now to you the reader, 3-on-3 sounds like a relatively low impact brand of basketball, and if I'm keeping it real (is there any other way to keep it?) I too thought this would be the case---but I was dead wrong. Full court 3-on-3 basketball is a grueling affair, especially when the two other team members who are supposed to be the reserves, do not show up and I have to run for 40 minutes (there are two 20-minute halves). Last week that happened and the next morning every part of my body was sore. But it wasn't just the soreness which kicked my ass, it was the length of time it took that soreness to disappear. As I am typing this damn blog entry, my ribs, my back, my patella tendon (I googled to figure out that part of my body) and even my neck are still hella sore, and the next game is on Sunday. When I was younger, I'd be sore two days, then I was ready to roll.

Again, I'm not old, I'm not suffering any serious illnesses and to the naked eye, my appearance is the same. But I look at myself naked in the morning every day, and I'm noticing little things that make me depressed some days, I won't lie. Everyone deals with this, so I shouldn't take it personally but it is indeed an adjustment, and I thought that writing about it would make me feel better and I was wrong.

Happy Biggie Day folks.

Monday, February 27, 2017

When I was younger and an event of consequence came on the television (a Michael Jackson video, the PBS series Eyes on the Prize, or Monday Night Football) my mother and father allowed me to stay up late and watch. At the time I felt 100% entitled to watch these things on television, and I didn't even think about how much I was throwing off the rigid schedule my parents had spent time carefully crafting during my formative years. All I knew was that my program(s) was on ,and goddammit I wanted to see it.

Now that I'm an adult with a five year old child, I have much more an appreciation for what my parents did in terms of setting bedtime guidelines and deciding when to take their feet off the gas a bit. My son starts reading at 7:30, is ready for a night time shower/bath around 7:45, and he is usually in bed by 8pm. He used to attempt to put up a bit of a fight during every step of the night process, but he's resigned to his fate, and realizes he cannot change it.

Monday night was a bit different. My son was in bed by 8pm, and afterwards the wife and I prepared to eat dinner so we could watch the Oscars. Two minutes before the Oscars officially began, Robin Roberts--via the ABC broadcast--showed a tweet of Justin Timberlake and she mentioned that he was going to open up the Oscar show. Now at that point I realized that he was going to open the show with his song, "Can't Stop The Feeling" from the movie Trolls, which are Nyles's current favorite song and movie respectively. Since I knew he loved the song, I hit record and I felt good about myself, since I knew he'd watch it the next day with a smile on his face.

Then I felt bad for being such a slave to my bedtime routine, and I decided to travel back to my youth, when my parents took the foot off the gas. I ran into my son's room, I picked him up (something I don't do too much of lately because he's heavy as hell) and I sat his happy ass in front of the television just a Justin Timberlake starting singing. Nyles danced the whole time with a huge Kool-Aid smile on his face, and he was in his own world. After the performance, I carried him back to bed, he said, "Thank you Daddy", then he went to sleep.

Mission Accomplished.

Can't Stop the Feeling is Nyles' jam! AKA the Trolls song. Dad let him stay up to see #oscars opening number.

A post shared by renitapmobley (@renitareally) on

Friday, February 24, 2017

I've been working in offices of various kinds since I was 21 years old, and during that time you meet different people who fit the same roles. There's the complainer, the hard worker, the unreasonable boss, the couples who thinks they are discreet about having sex but they aren't, the snitcher, the person who over "cc's", and of course the old(er) person who needs to retire but doesn't. I'm sure I'm missing someone but that's a good start.

Today I would like to officially induct another person into that work pantheon, and that's the condescending black woman.

Now at first glance you may ask why I felt the need to single out the black woman in this particular instance and I will be more than happy to explain. In my experience, 95 percent of the white women I work with either snub me completely or are very friendly. In fairness, about 80 percent of black women do the same. If I'm snubbed by either race of women, I mind my business and keep it moving. The condescending black woman represents about 10 percent of the black women I've worked with, and they are very calculated in their movements.

This woman will be friendly with everyone else, except me, because I'm guessing that she assumes at some point I am going to try and holler at her. I don't know that for sure, but for the life of me I can't figure out why someone who I've said nothing but "good morning" to, would consistently not the say same to me. There's a woman like that at my job right now. She speaks to everyone in the hallway, she laughs it up with white men and women, black women, old black men, and everything in between. She says good morning, she makes small talk, etc..but when we pass each other and I say good morning, I get nothing but fleeting eye contact and silence. We have mutual work friends and occasionally everyone will be joking and smiling but when she sees me, her face changes or she just disappears from the area altogether. I asked one of our mutual work friends what her f**king problem is and if she had a problem with me, and he said he had no clue, because she never said anything about me. Fair enough.

Recently, I had to go to her office for a work-related issue, and she kept cutting my sentences off, using a real condescending tone, made little to no eye contact and then she violated one of my pet peeves by asking me questions and saying thanks before I ever answered yay or nay. I started to say something, but ultimately it is about the work, not how that work is dictated to me, and I'm pretty sure if I had said something it would have been blown way out of proportion. On a side note, I probably shouldn't be blogging about this either, but f**k it, I'm like four paragraphs deep at this point, and I need to get this out.

So yesterday, I was in the work kitchen cleaning out my bowl, the condescending lady was sitting down eating her lunch, and our mutual white male friend was standing next to me discussing the trade the Washington Wizards had just made. The dude asked me about the next time I would be covering a game at the Verizon Center, and before I could answer the question, the usually condescending black woman swooped in with barrage of questions:

Oh my god, you cover the Wizards?
Who do you write for?
Have you met John Wall?
Can you get discounted tickets?

At this point I really wanted to offer her a big bowl of these, but instead I took the high road and answered all of her questions, and I emphatically told her no when the subject of tickets came up. I'm a member of the media, I'm not ticketmaster. Anyway, I saw her twice more yesterday and again this morning, and now I'm getting the red carpet treatment. I get smiles, b.s. conversations, arm touching and all of that, which is fine, because my treatment of her remains professional. But I'm still annoyed that line between her treating me like Stanley and her respecting me enough to speak, was her discovery that I did something outside of work which she could possibly benefit from.

Perhaps I should just get over myself.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Back in November my mother published a book called, "The Strawberry Room", which was a memoir of sorts which discussed her divorce from my father as well as the spiritual awakening she experienced afterwards. She had been writing it on and off for for 17 years, and she finally finished in 2016. Shortly after it was published, she told my father about it, and needless to say, he was less than pleased. He didn't like that my mother felt the need to go public about a subject he considered to be very private, and he also was worried how their mutual friends would look at him now as a result of these series of revelations.

I must admit that when I read my mother's book, it forced me to revisit moments and situations that I either a) never thought about from a women's perspective or b) did a bang-up job of blocking out completely. Reading the book made me uncomfortable, it made me sad, it made me angry and that was from the vantage point of a child having a front row seat to the demise of his parents' relationship. I can only imagine how my dad must feel knowing that his version of these events was extremely different than what was published. I love both my parents, but I have no problems admitting I love my dad just a bit more, and I felt for him once he realized this book had been written.

But I also have to admit my mother's book and my father's subsequent bad reaction had me extremely gun shy about doing any additional blogging on this here site. Since 2006 I have discussed some deeply personal details about my life, my family, my friends and others and I really don't know how it affected those close to me. I've shown my parents selected entries, my brother has read it, and my close friends have definitely seen it, but I've never taken the time to ask them how they truly feel about some of the more personal things I've written about. So I just stopped writing for a little over four months, and I fully expected to shut this blog shit down completely.

But tonight I watched an episode of the hit show "This Is Us"--a show which makes me cry every time I watch it I might add--and I decided that I was ready to resume my writings. The episode involved a son fulfilling the wishes of his dying father, and they spent a strong 48 hours together before the father died. Now my thoughts aren't quite as morbid as that episode, but I did think about my sons (who are 19 and 5 respectively) reading this blog after I'm gone, and I'd want this blog to fill in all the details that our conversations and experiences could not. Yes this blog only represents certain periods of my life, but I still think they could glean plenty of useful information from it.

Again, I don't plan on exiting this Earth any time soon, but my plan isn't up to me, it is up to the "Hugh Hefner on High". In the interim, I promise to keep writing as I've been doing on and off for 11 years. That's ok right?

Monday, October 17, 2016

When I picked up my son up from aftercare on Friday afternoon, the woman in charge pulled me aside and informed me that she had to speak to my son about hitting folks. Apparently while all the kids were outside, Nyles got a little handsy and hit this kid a few times. I told her thank you and my son and I walked back to the car. Once we got back to the car, I asked him what happened and he said that a kid had hit him twice on the playground and he was retaliating. I told him that was no excuse and then I politely reminded him of the rules of engagement where fighting is concerned: No hitting unless someone hits you, then you hit them as hard as you can, and go tell the teacher what happened. No exceptions. He said he understood.

My wife cringes when she hears me say that to Nyles, but that advice is absolutely necessary in the mean streets of Pre-Kindergarten and aftercare. I've seen firsthand how kids around that age just hit people randomly and they keep going if they don't get a sufficient amount of resistance. I also know that the adults in charge rarely see the kid who hits first, just the one who keeps retalitating. So I figured the best thing for Nyles to do in those situations is to retaliate, get his money's worth with the hit(s) while doing so, and then tell the teacher: a)yes, I hit the kid b) I deserve whatever punishment you hand down, but c)he definitely hit me first. Who knows how well this will work, but I'd like to give it a try. I can't have the aftercare and Pre-K staff thinking my son is a troublemaker.

So this morning before I left Nyles in the classroom, we had a brief meeting by his cubby and I reminded him of the rules where hitting involved. The conversation went like this:

Me (whispering): So no hitting right?

Nyles (also whispering): Right daddy

Me: And if someone hits you, what do you do?

Nyles (at the top of his lungs): HIT THEM BACK!

Me (still whispering): Please whisper man. And after you hit them what do you do?

Nyles: (back on the whispering wagon): Tell the teacher.

I did not know that Nyles's teacher was within earshot, but when I turned around, she was standing over there laughing uncontrollably. I gave her the background story about what happened in aftercare, I asked her if Nyles had ever hit anyone in class (he hasn't thank god), and asked if she was ok with the advice I had given my son. She said yes she understood but her face told a different story. She'll get over it though, I can't have my son turning into some punching bag. Once he gets a smart mouth like his dad, he won't have to hit anymore...hopefully.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

I lost a friend of mine from high shcool yesterday at the age of 43. I use friend loosely because we were cool on FB, but we never messaged one another and we haven't had an actual face-to-face conversation since 1991, when I was a junior and he was a senior. But as my wife said, during one snapshot in my life, this dude and I were cool. We'd see each other in the hallway, and he'd make fun of me, I'd make fun of him, and that was our dynamic. For a short period of time, we even played on the same basketball team. I was the point guard, he was the power forward--although football was really his sport. He left two kids and a wife behind. He was leaving messages on Facebook on Monday night, he got up to to work on Tuesday morning, went to get breakfast with his co-workers, and died right there at breakfast. The shit is just heartbreaking man. But life (not his) allegedly goes on right?

Rod Temperton also passed away yesterday at the age of 66. You can explore his resume here.

Here's one of my favorite songs of his. If I could sing, I'd sing it to my wife:

Monday, October 03, 2016

As my main man Sabin told me while we were still in college, there is no sexier way to start a song, than the way Toni Braxton did it here: