One person's thoughts may change the world
I got cut. Me, software developer, database integrator, and football coach. Me, cut, not even given a chance to make the scout team. They wouldn’t even let me be a water boy. Just cut. Dang, I evaluate football players all of the time. I evaluate database engineers for the opportunity to have worked on a team with me. I’ve hired and worked with different programmers, software developers, but me, after a quick evaluation was cut. I use the software application Hudl and markup and write-up play-by-play in almost each game we’ve had this season. I’ve even written my own book “In the Waters of My Mind”, to which they didn’t know of, nor would have taken the time to read to give myself even more insight of my writing style and insight to sports, life, religion, social interaction of people, and life experiences. But that would have not swayed them in their decision either. I dare not call myself a writer, even though I’ve blogged and have a few followers who read my stuff, they didn’t give me their rubber stamp, so I’m not allowed that privilege. I’ve even gone as far a written the screenplay to my book, to which was new territory for me, and probably needs a re-write, to which I’m working on, but, at least I’ve tried to get it out there, errors and all. I recently had a friend who is a playwright who gave it his critical eye, and said it wasn’t bad but just needs a tighter voice, so I feel good about that. Even by writing this opt-ed, I will probably be black listed, banned for life from them, daring to criticize their 15% walk-on acceptance rate, I was sort of like Rudy trying out to make the Notre Dame team, without even allow an opportunity to work my way in to the trenches for my one grand opportunity to make a tackle with a few second left to be carried off the football field. Such dreams, being allowed to share with a larger audience slayed and neutered, and in some ways emasculated. I applied for a position in the writer program at the Bleacher Report. They summarily rejected me… sniff sniff.
Dang, did I use the “E” word there? Whew that was kind harsh right? Reminds me of a scene from Miami Vice, who describes a serial killer who was on the warpath after being emasculated. Ouch, it even hurts to say it. I assure you I am not, literally or physically. Hey by the way, I was recently told in a thrilling moment in life, “Don’t Move!”, to which I responded, “Why?”, in a marathon session that could have easily caused a nuclear explosion. ‘I’ll leave that to your imagination as to what was taking place and what position. OK anyway…. It’s so easy to poke at the high and mighty once they don’t let you in. I have a large audience to express my sorrow, those silent 85%ers who go on with their miserable lives after being thrown over the draw bridge, not being able to be let into the overlord’s castle. They still seek entry, so they stay silent and try again. I wish you luck my friends. Hey, that’s even bigger than the 47%er’s who won’t vote for Mitt because they are lazy and want the government to pay their way by the way, so that’s a big crowd. I choose this direction because my experiences force me to. I’ve been in the game for a while and know I’ve never gotten through the door in conventional means. I’m the outlier who never wanted to be in the mainstream anyway. But I wanted to tow the line because I think at times I need to get into the mainstream and stop being such a free-thinker of going it on my own. Buzzzzzz, wrong answer…
It all start with a manual typewriter, and a mouse. More than a generation shift in technology. I first learned to type on a typewriter similar to that one in the picture minus the mouse, from the greatest typist on the planet, my mother. When she typed, she was a machine. Fast, quick, hitting that manual return and continuing on like no tomorrow. My sister was next, following in the same tradition, quick, nimble, but not as fast, but still fast. In fact, when I began to learn, she forced me to work on the manual first before going electric, “Manual typewriters made your fingers strong”, she once told me. She was right, you must have good and strong manual dexterity to type as fast and accurate as she did. I practice by writing poetry that I had already written, sending it off to any young lady I was dating at the time. They were impressed but, I found writing by hand was the key to winning a woman’s heart back then. But I kept writing, all of the time. I took my first typing class by happen stance. A millage didn’t pass in the Detroit Public Schools in 1977. So instead of a drafting class that was cut out, my counselor assigned me a typing class to fill my schedule up. I sucked at first because I was so fast at typing that the electric could hardly keep up with my strokes. It seemed so easy for me that I almost preferred a manual typewriter. My first job into the information age was on an Apple III with a 10 megabyte hard drive back in 1983. I was the news archivist for the Newsroom at a local television station that was an affiliate of Post Newsweek. One of the major requirements was – could you type.
Not only was the requirement of could you type, but, could you tell a visual newscast that was searchable with key words, describing VO – voice overs and SOT – Sound On Tape. The key was, could I write the story legible, and fast, the visual story, to which I did. Now I took this position because at the time I was a computer science major at Wayne State University. In my computer science 203 class, it was a lecture full of about 300 students. Two sections, which added up to 600 student. I then started adding the number of students up, which was another two sections of 600 kids at the University of Michigan, 400*3 at Michigan state University, 300*3 at Western Michigan University, and so on. These were a large number of kids vying for a small finite number of internships over the summer. Those internships required a high G.P.A. to which I was just an average student. Not looking good “Timmy”. You have to change the game somehow as well as level the playing field. “Ah ha, eureka, I got it”, I said to myself. I’ll gain work experience another way which would even the score for me. Get in through the back door. Find another way, to which I did. I maximized my opportunity with minimal efforts by taking a position and adding my computer knowledge and know how to it. Created new databases. Created different reports. Got a better understanding of the database essentials I was working with. The rest is history. The position paved the way for my first full-time position as a programmer in the business world. Started two different companies, and have been going nonstop ever since.
Wow, that Apple III such an ancient machine now. But, the experience on that drove me to want to know more was what kind of industry the Jobs, Wozniak, Gates, Ellison and other were trying to create back then. They didn’t know themselves but they knew they were on to something big. So I kept at it, educating myself in computer science, and kept up my writing skills. When I got my first programming position, I quickly discovered my first inequity. I was technically skilled but not business savvy. I could write-up proposals but needed it a once over by my boss. My first taste of this was a proposal he wanted to move to a Novell network from the Corvus network we were working on that I was administrating. After printing it and placing it on his desk, it came back with all kinds of markups, to which I was ashamed. But, he said something to me I’ll never forget, “This was a great proposal, it just needed to by tidied up. I’m terrible at writing anything but I can spot things that need to be fix. Fix it and this thing will fly”. That’s all I needed to know, a vote of confidence that my idea was sound, just needed a second pair of eyes. I did this all the while of writing code in BASIC, Pascal, DB2, DBIII, Delphi, Visual Basic, PL/1, COBOL, C, C++, Java…etc.. Oh, I had to include those old machines as well….
I’ve owned all these machines in different phases in my life, and most of them were portable when portable wasn’t even vogue. Once again, I had to say on the bleeding edge, trying to push myself further in to technology of writing code, expressing myself by writing, starting different computer companies, etc….
Now you’re probably saying, oh you’re just a geek who has aspirations to be a writer. And, of all things a sports writer? On the most premier sports writing blog on the planet? You think you’re good enough? So do others, including those who have been trained in the fine arts of writing and some of the most prestigious universities in the country. How in the world do you think that you, Database Systems Architect has anything significant to say about sports that anyone would want to read? You can hardly create a sentence within our strict guidelines!
How dare you go through the history of computing, and somehow make the connection that because you have sooooooo much experience on all of these ancient devices that somehow gives you insight on writing for our captive audience? Please….How dare I? Quentin Tarantino dropped out of high school and worked in a video store before writing his first screenplay. Hey I have hoop dreams too!
But I did have my blogs. Many blogs, not as many as I use to have blogs, but yet still my blogs. Blogs on sports, race, politics, social agenda, current events and more. I was willing to give you the lowdown on what and how I think, things I share to the public, and things that I have an opinion on. I shared my coaching experiences, my thoughts on the great sport of football and also its issues at times. I’ve shown some consistency minus the gaps of when I coach, kinda hard to focus when your trying to convince a 2-7 team that they can play above their minimal talents.
OK so let me take you to… Hamtramck Park. You know, good Ole Roesink field at Hamtramck Park right? Back in the day, I played little league football at this field. It was a very large field and the stadium, to which I had no idea of the significant and historical things to do with baseball. Because Hamtramck was a Polish community, they were not treated on a fair and equitable basis, and they welcomed the Detroit Stars baseball team to play on this field. In fact, this field’s significance and location, which was close to Black Bottom, a neighborhood that contained the vast majority of African-Americans and well as Jewish immigrants in the City of Detroit. The field/stadium was built in 1929, right before the depression by John Roesink. The very first night game in the city of Detroit was played by the Detroit Stars vs the Kansas City Monarchs who traveled with their own portable lighting system, which attracted 10,000 fans. Night games were a significant Depression era draw, which equated to revenue. This stadium saw the likes of Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige, Turkey Stearans. I wish I had know that back then during the 70s when I played football there. But by then the stadium had fallen in disrepair, the field was still of excellent quality, and a lot of baseball was still being played on there but the stadium itself was condemned, and served only for pigeon nests and stair running by my little league team. I wish I knew the grounds I had run my laps on back in the day had more significance that what I thought of it back then, I use to hate those laps. There is now a group raising money to help restore the stadium.
But finally, I’ve written a book as well. An autobiographical from 1967 to 1990, all 420 pages of it. Starts the same year of the Detroit riots, as well as the same year my father purchased his store on Broadstreet and Elmhurst. Tumultuous year in the city of Detroit, yet our store survived the looting and burning, and thrived. Unfortunately he was shot and killed there on November 29th, 1973. I look back on it now and it’s amazing my family and I went through all of that and somehow made it through all of that. But it’s much more than about the store. It’s about my older brother and his struggles and his eventual death. It contains my small sports story as well. My mother whom is still alive and worked hard to keep her family together. It about my sister who went through all of that with me as well and thrives today as a school principal. Then there is me, the youngest, whom observed it all and them some. Had to endure many thing but thrived though it all as well. Had to practically save my family, and had to dig myself up out of many of the transgressions of my brother. Had to practically raise myself from the age of 12 when my father died. Next to my mother, football taught me so many life lesson that it allow me to coach some of those same values I’ve learned back in the day. Yea, you’re right Bleacher Report, I’m not your type, I don’t have what it takes, I’m an 85%er, in there world. But as I’ve always said in the beginning of this blog, conventional means has never quite been my style, so I’ll just keep on blogging… and this is #51.
Peace Mickey Fickey…