We don’t know how to help each other


Written by Gregory Meriweather


What can be said when the biggest news in the 14th largest city in the US is a fight between two girls’ high school basketball teams?  The news has become so huge that ESPN W has it featured on their page. The images are distasteful, and display a picture that would cause one to call these young ladies common hoods, thugs or criminals.

But isn’t it the job of the media to tell a juicy story that makes you come to some sort of conclusion?  Yes, we have social media, we have cameras, we have phones to take pictures and share videos, but does that mean perception is reality?   My answer to that question is NO!  Reality is reality.  Perception to me is lazy man and woman language.  Perception to me means that you are afraid, or too lazy to take the next step to find out what is real.

Before writing this, I could not seem to go to sleep last night, because my mind went beyond the fight.  My mind went back to that angry kid who lived on 21st street, that had a father who abused his mother, and some nights when food was limited, or nights when the lights were turned off, or the furnace was bad so the gas man turned off the gas. I thought about still going to school every single day, and not missing a day.  Were there days when I was mad at the world? Absolutely, but I found a place that was therapeutic, and that place was a basketball court.

When I stepped on that court, I let it all loose. Did it take the pain away?  Well for a small period of time, it did. I was able to use that game to get me out of a place that brought me so much pain. For the people who don’t know what it takes to be a student-athlete, understand that it is not an easy task at all.  Generally, you are practicing when people are doing homework.  You have games on nights when your friends are hanging out.  You have the responsibility of maintaining a good image, even when things are not going well in your personal life.

Well if no one else will say it, I will…WE MADE A MISTAKE.  We made a mistake for looking down on these children instead of finding out the problems off the court.  We made a mistake for comparing these student-athletes to the common thugs that roam the halls wreaking havoc on teachers, and students alike.  We made a mistake for not providing these young ladies an avenue to say that they’re sorry for this terrible altercation.

We are upset about our precious daughters being on the court throwing punches, and stomping as if they were Ronda “Roudy” Rousey.  I do believe that these young ladies should be penalized for their infractions, but to take the entire season is a bit much in my most humbled opinion. 

What will these young ladies do now that their season is over?  What will their days look like if playing basketball kept them from being home by themselves for a long period of time?  What about that person who does not have siblings and the team has become family? What about the senior who may have been on the verge of getting out of the turmoil of the neighborhood? What about me?  What about the kid who went home to abuse, stomach rumblings, and no heat or lights?   

Who will become pregnant?  Who will be sexually assaulted?  Who will die?  Turning the lights off and putting the chains on the door may be simple to some, but to me, this is more than just a game.  This may have been a big brawl to some, but to me it was an old school fight that we televised. Now the adults have to take the position to do some preventative maintenance (to prevent further damage), and help teach a lesson that builds these young ladies back up. Rehab these ladies. Don’t let this be a death sentence for them.  My heart is hurting for them, because I truly understand that hurting people, hurt people. 

There is a lot of self-righteousness floating around these days, especially in the Black community.  Let me say this, “You didn’t get caught!” I can bet a dollar to a thousand that you did something that could have ruined you, if placed in the right eyes or hands. I reached out to a lot of people to help bring these young ladies together, and the response to come to their aid has been repulsive. I have even had people who know some of the parents, who have informed me that the parents are just giving up on the situation. We need to learn how to help our people when they are down, because if we don’t learn how, we are just a wrong as any young lady kicking her opponent while she is on the ground. Kicking a man or woman while he/she is down is not just a literal term. 

How many of these young ladies have you kicked now that they are down??

hugs (1)



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