coach wooden and me-kareem abdul-jabbar

“you like brazilian music?”

ok so, was this commonly known? i’ve read a concentration of kareem abdul-jabbar‘s books lately, and this is the first one of the bunch that he hasn’t written with a cowriter. i suppose that makes sense, as it is the most personal. the inside jackets are proof of how prolific he’s been (lately, and ever), i feel like this one must have been released within months of writings on the wall. i learn something every time that i read one of his books, and this time, the most surprising thing was when he just tries to casually drop the detail “i had just started training with bruce lee“. the most basic google search yielded this fascinating (and at times homoerotic) clip with a curious soundtrack that i won’t ever be able to unsee.

long relationships always make me cry because they are proof that people can and do choose to stick around and work things out. intentional ones infinitely more so for the work and hurt (and triumph) of these reasons.

***i am feeling the urge to interject my continued feeling that vince carter should retire here because the jersey pictures have already surfaced, and i don’t remember which basketball book it was that i learned that the first step to trading a player is to leak it in the press and see how people receive it, but i did read that, and the response has been great. i’m sad that it didn’t happen by the deadline, i mean, bruno for vc should’ve been a good trade? but they (cleveland and the nba) must have known that veteran leadership and all of they symbolism would’ve pushed this current team towards at least the nba finals…so….***

i am interested in coach books because i am inspired by people who do right because it’s the right thing to do (and sports in general because it is a secular form of witness/worship). respecting, influencing and teaching people is thankless work that may never pay big dividends because it requires those people to also do the work. it may come years later, and in strange ways, as kareem accounts many times in this book (and his others).

here are the highlights as i have pulled them:

“Being good is the payoff, athletically and spiritually. That’s why he didn’t care for sports movies in which the underdog team or player learns the hard way that winning isn’t everything, but then they go on to win at the end.” (8)

bad news bears. it’s also the reason that i dislike the fact that awards for individual merit often outshine team play (i will never get over russell westbrook‘s kick in the face of an MVP award).

“His players would graduate with grades that would give them career opportunities beyond sports. He was worried about our long-term happiness, not our win-loss record.” (23)

no kidding.

“Both of us spoke fluent basketball, a language free of emotion. He loved that shot and saw in it possibilities I hadn’t imagined.” (106)

(sky hook).

“There’s very little creativity in racism.” (133)

still.

“I tried to make the point that true patriotism is about acknowledging problems and, rather than running away from them, joining together to fix them.” (142)

amen.

“It was jazz as religion: everyone playing the same song, but adapting, improvising, harmonizing until we produced beautiful music together.” (217)

this was a really interesting point-no set plays, just lots of practice. i basically told some teenagers the same thing when i was working at the music school, “don’t be scurred, just be pre-purred”. i am almost certain that this is at least part of what’s been happening in san antonio all this time.

the other night, at the rather lacklustre celtics game, we honoured bill russell for black history month as he should be honoured and one of the images on the big screen was obama awarding him with the same award that he awarded kareem with to start this book, the same one that bush (jr) awarded to coach wooden and i got to thinking about whom, if anyone, this sitting guy will honour, since he doesn’t seem to have much regard for or interest in history or the future, and my i am truly sad that he doesn’t know the power of reading.

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save the cat! goes to the movies-blake snyder

this book is widely recognized-shoutout to su for recommending it to me. i am still reeling with gratitude for the opportunity to write a script for a dream project that is being realized, and it’s really great that i finished it. i love new forms of writing, and i’m certain that the weekly workshopping that came with writing in the city was the perfect concurrent meeting to sustain the gusto to do it. i can’t wait for the notes and next steps, and to announce more about the show as more details become available to announce.

(i’m so blessed to have such talented and hilarious friends).

i appreciate the structural guidance of the book, as well as the breakdown to a lot of impact-full films (i did put the original on library hold as well, to see how this applies to scriptwriting scriptwriting), but the one point that i am holding on to and still thinking of is this:

the evil (or terror) of the ring and the exorcist is working mothers.

mind blown*

but it’s true-when you decide to go back to work and let tv be your babysitter, you sacrifice your child. also, i’m not sure the exact storyline of the exorcist (increasingly, i’m wondering if i remember any movie that i’ve ever seen-i recently forgot the porn addiction part of love, sex and eating the bones) (but then yesterday, i also forgot that i had to dial the area code before the number and wondering why i couldn’t get through to beck taxi because i have that number memorized) i’m sure there’s a completely sensible reason on why you should never outsource childcare or seek to work outside of the home because your daughter will definitely be possessed.

this book brought be back to the truth that i took out of film studies, which is that films are a reflection of the world as it was at the moment of filming, as well as a projection of the reality of the ideal world as it was at the moment of filming. i am saddened to know that we’re back in the swing of the pendulum where our lives and choices as women are still under such scrutiny.

i am also questioning my automatic aversion to scary movies-maybe if i see them through the lens of “what imagined societal evil is this trying to combat?”, i might not be so scared.

but it is fitting that the movie that set this precedent in my brain when i was in university was the ring, a movie that scared me so much that i didn’t sleep for four days and called a sleepover with friends on either side of me to self-medicate-perhaps i truly got it after all. because the patriarchy is fucking scary.

and so, we work.