It Is Better To Give Than Receive

The SEVEN
4 December 2013

I.  Take It Off…Take It All Off

If you happen to be a friend of Jacoby Ellsbury, you may want to give him a razor this holiday season, something the bearded Red Sox center fielder will not re-gift after signing a free-agent deal with the no facial hair-allowed New York Yankees. Then again, if you’re not a friend of his, no worries; the tabloid-dubbed “Ellsbury Dough Boy” will likely be able to afford one on his own as the checks come in from his 7-year, $153 million dollar deal.

I would imagine that this news went over like coal in the stocking for Brett Gardner, the incumbent Yankee starting center fielder who had just finally cracked the starting lineup for good this season.

II.  Chicago Fire

For fans of the NBA and great basketball – and, of course, the Chicago Bulls – it is tragic that Derrick Rose is out for the season yet again.  One can only hope that come next season Rose will be able to resume his great career strengthened and injury-free for years to come.

Unfortunately the Bulls, still an outstanding defensive team, have even more of a fire to put out than they would have had they retained the services of Nate Robinson, who performed such a large role in Rose’s absence last season. Super Nate may be the most under-appreciated player in the game, a fact that was never more on display than on the night of January 1st, 2010 when, as a member of the New York Knicks, he came off the bench (to which the then-coach Mike D’Antoni had him inexplicably glued for fourteen games) to score 41 points and lead his team to victory.

III.  Are You Kidding?

Nothing against the Portland Trail Blazers, a team with several talented players that may have not reached the levels that some expected the past few years, but how many people would have thought that after approximately 20% of the season, Robin Lopez’s team would be playing much better than that of his twin Brook?  Because of their 5-13 start, Brook’s Nets are taking major hits in the media, there was turmoil on the bench between head coach Jason Kidd and now-demoted lead assistant coach Lawrence Frank, and the players are uncertain as to how to pull it together. 

Funny what a difference a few weeks can make…I would almost bet that half of the folks who are trashing the Nets now may have been calling Bill de Blasio on election night to ask where in Brooklyn the championship parade would be held.

IV.  Nowhere To Go But Up

Some of those same people snickered at James Dolan’s pre-season declaration that the Knicks were championship-team material – but no one expected them to be sporting the worst record in the league on Thursday – which they could be by the time they meet the Nets in the Battle for the Bottom.

This said, their December schedule may be the Christmas present coach Mike Woodson needs:

12/5 – @Nets
12/6 – Orlando (6-12)
12/8 – Boston (8-12)
12/10 – @ Cleveland (5-12)
12/11 – Chicago (7-9, still reeling from loss of Rose)
12/13 – @ Boston
12/14 – Atlanta (9-10)
12/16 – Washington (9-9)
12/18 – @ Milwaukee (3-14)
12/21 – Memphis
12/23 – @ Orlando
12/25 – OKC (13-3)
12/27 – Toronto (6-11)
12/28 – @ Toronto

Fourteen games – of which it is not inconceivable for them to win ten, losing only at Toronto and Boston, and at home to Memphis and OKC.  Such a performance this month would catapult them – with a 13-17 record – back into the thick of Eastern Conference competition, and might earn Woodson a coach of the month trophy…or at least save his job. 

V.  Get Well, Derrick

To anyone wishing or planning to send a get well card to Derrick Rose, take heart; by virtue of being an NBA player, and by virtue of the fact that Bulls management has a stake in getting him back on the court as soon as possible, Rose has access to the best medical care money can buy.  If he did not have that kind of access to care, Bulls fans especially would complain about the length of time his return is taking, and wonder why he did not get better treatment.  

Why, then, is it not imperative for everyone – not just superstar hoopsters – to have that type of access to care?  Why are the “Foxes” and (Republican/Tea Party) Friends so almost gleeful at the less-than perfect Obamacare website…which has, by most indication, been largely rebooted and repaired?  Could it be that anything to tarnish and bring down this President – even if it harms the country – is good in their eyes?

VI.  It’s Over

No, because racism ended.  At least according to a tweet from the Republican National Committee:

 – Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in ending racism.

After getting slammed on Twitter with a hashtag of #racismendedwhen generating some hilarious responses, the RNC walked it back to “her role in fighting to end racism.” Still, the first sentiment is that which they would have you believe – and if that is the case, then no, calling Obama un-American, demanding his birth certificate a million times, and every other ludicrous thing they have done since January 20th, 2009 (when Republican leaders met and strategized on how to obstruct everything Obama attempted to do) were not racist at all.

VII.  Giving Tuesday

First there was Black Friday, then Small Business Saturday, then Cyber Monday.  Now they have been joined by Giving Tuesday, which was yesterday.

In the spirit of giving, here are a few worthy organizations to give a little something to during this holiday season:

Mt. Pleasant Christian Academy International, New York, New York.
A small private school with a great record of sending underprivileged youth to colleges and universities. 

Harlem School of the Arts, New York, New York.
A beacon of light in cultural education in the Harlem community for 50 years.

Food for Friends, Rahway, NJ.
Don’t get it twisted…the stock market is higher than ever under President Obama (that’s right, Rush/Ted Cruz/Hannity), but some of our neighbors are still hungry and homeless.

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