My Monday night's are usually pretty regimented.
Typically, I get on the first thing smoking leaving from my 9 to 5 to my place of residence. When I get home, food is quickly prepared, libation is poured and the 50-inch Hoshitoshi is turned on. Monday Night Football will be watched. NBA League Pass will be viewed during intermissions of the football. WWE Monday Night Raw is watched on the DVR following football and basketball. This is what life is like as a nerdy sports fan who also spends a bit too much time watching the wrasslin'. It's a privilege that I'm afforded to wallow in.
On this last Monday night. I watched no football. (Even though technically two games were on.) I watched no basketball. I watched no wrasslin'. What I did do, is sit in the house with some food acquired via a food truck, and watched the news. I had Ferguson on my mind.
I'm not going to spend time lamenting as to why Michael Brown deserved better, or why Darren Wilson deserves worse, or why St. Louis is just a microcasm of America. You've probably been inundated with the media spending countless hours preaching from moral high grounds, reporting on the people's reactions post-non-indictment and generally getting on your nerves. I turned off the television hours ago.
In Oakland, I listened to the helicopters hover over my neighborhood for hours, keeping a watchful eye of the people in my community who had come together and were simply fed up. I called my mother, and listened to her tell stories of her personal experiences in dealing with "Johnny Law" (her words) in Oklahoma and some of the "bullshit" (her words) senior members of my family dealt with in their day. I looked at my text messages, emails, social media accounts and anything else that served as a conduit of communication with the people and everything I digested was one part sadness and one part disgust.
My worlds were all synchronized around Ferguson, as anger and sorrow weighed on me.
The worst feeling I've ever had in my life is one of helplessness. I remember having to guard my boy Antoine in basketball practice one time. Antoine's 6'9" and I'm 6'1". For the next 15 minutes of my life, regardless of my effort, hustle and even borderline dirty tactics, Antoine dismantled me. I felt sick to my stomach. I can remember having my apartment broken into and having my valuables taken from me. With the cops nowhere to be found and having my personal space violated, I felt sick to my stomach. Watching the prosecutor dole out blame on everyone from the 24-hour news cycle, to social media, to the eye-witnesses as to why a white police officer could get off killing another black kid for the umpteenth time, completely killed my vibe. I felt sick to my stomach.
I woke up Tuesday morning thinking about the privileges I have in my life. The fact that I have a chance to pursue a dream of living a life that revolves around sports, digital media and eating chicken wings seems extremely absurd. That's the life I'm choosing to live. For Michael Brown, Oscar Grant and other young black kids in the wrong place at the wrong time, they never got that chance to make a choice.
Eddie Maisonet is the founder and editor emeritus of The Sports Fan Journal. Currently, he serves as an associate editor for ESPN.com. He is an unabashed Russell Westbrook and Barry Switzer apologist, owns over 100 fitteds and snapbacks, and lives by Reggie Jackson’s famous quote, “I am the straw that stirs the drink.”