I want to thank Nike, for reminding me where I stand in the pecking order of life. I am a lame ass blogger with absolutely no cache. I needed that little reminder and this past weekend Nike was able to give me the kick in the pants I needed.
I want to say shame on you to people like Lauren Kaminsky, Marathon Dan and the rest of you who have helped make this one of the most successful blogs on Chicagonow! How dare you have faith in me, or help spread the word that endurance sports are a healthy way to live your life! Working hard, believing in yourself is a bunch of crap. If it wasn't for Nike, I would still believe all that garbage, but luckily they showed me the light and helped me realize that I am more or less nothing and so is this blog.
Thankfully they helped instill that message into my 10 year old daughters mind as well. God forbid she grows up thinking hard work, good grades and determination will get you anywhere. It's much more important to be a silicon enhanced fly girl, poured into a skin tight dress, or an overly tanned club boy in a $2000 suit. That's what truly matters.
You see, my daughter turned 10 this year. She has all A's on her report card, volunteers her time and has dealt with the arrival of her baby brother like a champ. As a reward, I told her we could take a "Daddy daughter trip" anywhere in the United States together. She picked Los Angeles. We planned to see Disney, hike in the mountains, look for the cast of High School Musical, swim and play. Perfect 10 year old fun.
Right before we left, I received an invite to attend a Nike Basketball event in LA, for the roll out of Kobe Bryant's new shoe, hosted by George Lopez. My daughter could care less about Kobe Bryant, Nike or George Lopez, however, I am Latin and have always tried to show her positive people in our community, so I "daddy insisted." I understood that there was an outside chance that we would never get close to either, but we were on the VIP list and in town, so why not try?
Hopefully we would be able to meet George, talk to him, get a picture and have a mini-life lesson at the same time. If we did get to talk to Kobe, it would make for a cool article about technology in sports etc. It didn't happen. None of it, but that's not the part that brought me back to reality.
It didn't bother me that there was a misscommunication between me and the Nike basketball people. For some silly reason thought they were as professional and helpful as the Nike Running folks. I thought we were invited to a media event, where there was a possibility of meeting Kobe and George. It was in fact an event at a theater that was a cattle call of clamoring fans, waving foam fingers and in their best Laker garb. I found out too late, an event not suitable for a 10 year old girl.
I researched questions for both celebes. and so did my daughter, but it became clear quickly that we were never going to get close to either, so we switched to Plan B, enjoy the event, as is, we were on an adventure together and that's what truly mattered. This is where the folks from Nike were so helpful in hammering home the life lessons that both my daughter and I needed to be more clear on.
We arrived at the given time, but were pushed from line to line by pissy PR people, sporting headsets and sending the very clear message that we were a nuisance to them and not on one list or another. Which of course is the job of the PR person, to make you feel out of place and uncomfortable, isn't it? Despite being bounced around for about 20 minutes we found a place to park our car and walk to the theater. Oops, a funny side note, as we did park the car, one of the Nike people said to another loud enough for my daughter to hear "who does this guy think he is, Jay Mariotti, what a jerk." Amen, so grateful that my daughter was able to hear that her dad isn't as important or as good as a writer as Jay, rather just a jerk that blogs. How fortunate I was for them to teach her that lesson for me.
Back to our walk to the theater. There were dozens of Nike PR people and staffers lining the sidewalk waiting for VIP's to arrive, playing with their IPhones and looking important, because they are. As we tried to make our way through them, they were again kind enough to remind us that we don't deserve to be on the sidewalk with such important people and shoved my 10 year old into the street and traffic. As we all know, a celebutants and their entourage are much more important than the safety of a little girl. What money has she inherited, what clubs can she get into, how many times has she been to re-hab! Not important at all.
We made our way through the crowd and got our wrist bands and despite everything, a huge smile was on my daughters face, we were walking the "purple carpet," she was excited to be apart of this fun event and to be there with her dad. She skipped down the purple carpet, the local paparazzi turned their cameras toward her and in in an instant another great lesson was learned, a bouncer put his arms out, shoved my daughter and announced that this line was for very, very important people and not for us. She, we were stunned! How had we lived so long without realizing that it's cool to push around little girls?
The lesson we learned was much more real life.
If you are an uneducated athlete, who likes to flirt with lawlessness, but can sink an outside jump shot and dunk from the free throw line, or an athlete who has a problem with a few of the commandments, but can drop a 15 foot putt and smash a 400 yard drive, life is a bowl of cherries, the world is your oyster.
Don't study, don't play by the rules, don't be nice, because if you do, you will be shoved into traffic and pushed aside.
It's easy to blame this on Kobe or George, but they had nothing to do
with this. I would like to say that Nike as a whole is an organization
of rude jerks, but that's not true, the people I deal with in the
endurance sports world are great to us. The local Nike PR person is
great, she checked in with me to see what had happened, I have yet to
hear from the person who started this mess. I am used to being
snubbed, I am a seasoned journalist with 22 years of experience, I have
been kicked out of much classier joints that that media debacle. Not
getting an interview with a spoiled A Lister is a part of the industry, ask anyone who tried to talk to MJ on a bad night.
My wife warned me if I wrote about all these great lessons, I
would make Nike mad, which gave me pause, but then made me realize, who
cares? It's not our job to make brands happy, it's the other way
around. It's fun to suck up to celebs. and athletes, but maybe they
are missing the big picture? It's the little boys and girls who were
waiting in line to catch a glimpse of their hero who are going to beg
their parents to drop 100 plus bucks on their new shoes. Maybe they
should worry less about what the silicone set thinks and kiss up to the
PB & J crowd. It's much more important that people like Kobe and
his posse sport free kicks, than lets say, kids in Haiti. Really, what
could they do for the brand, they are homeless, without a dime and have
never been accused of rape or adultery.
Long enough story short, my daughter burst into tears and we left. As
we walked away towards Hollywood and The Walk of Fame, she looked down
at the name of an actress and asked "who is that daddy?" " I have no idea honey," I replied, " but I bet you at one time they were really important, now nobody can remember who they are."
Congrats Nike, you just did it.
Tomorrow this blog returns to what it should be about, training and racing.