Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Invictus ("Unconquered")

I was all prepared to talk about spring beautification and finding the physical beauty in myself. But recent circumstances require an emergency post......

This is only a test. Had this been an actual emergency....well, you would have some shit on your hands.

So for any of you who follow sports, I'm sure you know about the Philadelphia 76ers releasing Allen Iverson from the team again. Citing " . . . we have come to the conclusion that he will not return . . ." (please see

In addition, the media have addressed personal issues with the illness of his daughter as well as his estranged wife filing for divorce. Unfortunately, it seems that his 14- year career in basketball may have ended with minimal fanfare at best.

If anyone remotely follows basketball and Iverson's career, you will know that he lived as hard as he played. The scrappy and relentless attitude that he carried on the hardwood was exhibited both on and off the field. And, if you also know anything about the Philly nightlife scene, Iverson was, no...IS, a tenacious participant in its more colorful activities.

Stories have surfaced about a chronic drinking problem and his numerous bans from casinos in Detroit and Atlantic City respectively. Climactically, a culmination of bad decisions and honoring a hard living street code have led to a breaking point for Iverson.

Now, I'm no analyst/journalist and I'm not trying to get my Soledad O'Brien/Stephen A. at the expense of Allen Iverson's life. Nevertheless, there is a cautionary tale here boys and girls that cannot be overlooked.

At some point, everyone has to man up (and woman up) and admit when shit ain't workin'. It comes a time when the testament of a man (or woman) isn't in the options he's given, but the choices that he makes. Whether its re-prioritizing your life or decisively making changes, these things cannot come about without accountability and making a commitment to someone other than yourself.

Iverson, like so many men growing up in urban metropolises across the country, live by a street code that says being a man requires an unreasonable hardness and upholding unwavering loyalty to family, the homies, and the streets - even to your own detriment. But the question I beg you good people to consider is this - has honoring this street code afforded anyone with a quality of life where they have lived comfortably? (Let's see...TI? Umm no....Lil' Kim? Nope, nope....Lil' Wayne? Not so much....Biggie/Tupac....haha, please....Martha Stewart? I just wanted to see if y'all were following me)

Recently, I have been reading the books, The Pact and The Bond by Drs. Davis, Jenkins and Hunt. One of the things that make them "friends in my head" is that at some point they made self-assessments about the ill-fated paths they were headed towards. Following these so-called street codes were landing them in legal trouble as well as facing life altering consequences. There is nothing more admirable than a man saying the decisions I am making aren't good ones and I am suffering for them. The Drs. mentioned that choosing to fully participate in school and committing to living upstanding lives was a harder challenge than any street code that can be placed on them.

I know what you guys are thinking. T-Gyrl, what the hell is the point of this rant? You switching up the box for the bottle now? Well, here it is folks:

Fellas - Allen Iverson, the Drs. are you. Change the vocational variables and their distractions, vices, truths and choices could very well be yours. I don't purport to know what it takes to be a man or to fully understand the barriers that get in the way of you having good lives. Nevertheless, I do know that anything worth having requires some level of sacrifice and commitment. Whether its higher education or even a monogamous relationship, just wanting it isn't the same as going after it. Holding yourself responsible to its success or destruction is key. And I wonder, the homies who edict these so-called code of street ethics that people live by, if given the same opportunities for success as someone like Iverson, would they actually choose the homies or the streets over a fighting chance at a big life? (Don't agree with me? Remember when Nino Brown sold out Kareem in New Jack City? Same difference...)

Ladies - These are the men you are picking from or committed to. Turning a blind eye to the plight of these men doesn't help them make better decisions, nor does it bring them any closer to you. Yeah, yeah....I hear you all talking this let a man be a man stuff. However, part of that action requires us women holding a mirror up to these men and reminding them that they are making poor choices with love and respect. Being cognizant that despite the poor choices, there is a scared boy who is trying to make major decisions with limited resources. Be courageous to say what's uncomfortable and be tender, not to denigrate him or yourself in the process.

So I hope that Allen Iverson, and any other man whose going through times like these, find the peace of mind they seek. But it probably won't come without some honesty on the parts of themselves and the people around them. (Because that's the real street code that a man lives by...)

'Til Next Time,
~ T-Gyrl


  1. Check you've made a good point and I hope people take it to heart. Many a man has been brought down by the inability to let go of the things that held them down when they were younger.

  2. Always on point.. excellent :-)

  3. Sis!! I'm taking notes and don't worry, I will apply lessons learned accordingly! LOL Really strong piece. Thank you.