Brothers Gonna Work it Out

Happy 35th Birthday Tob!

Sometimes people don't understand my relationship with my friends. They don't realize that as my mom's oldest and my dad not always being there the way I needed him to be, my friends became like big brothers to me and being the baby of the bunch, they've always looked after me like a little brother.I'm not sure if I ever told them how much their friendships have meant to me through the years. It doesn't seem masculine for Black men to express their love for one another, unless it's an extremely vulnerable moment after copious amounts of liquor have been consumed, but I love my boys! Yeah, our manhood puts seats between us when out in public and the cool pose is always in full e-f-f-e-c-t, but the love has been felt through the years.

I suppose it's just the way Black male socialize, there's rules to the way we communicate and relate to one another, that aren't always the healthiest, but it's us. True, we must evolve, grow, adapt, or whatever to fit within the social constructs of this great land, but there are intrinsic values of our upbringing that makes us unique. I learned many life lessons on the block, in the barbershop and as I got older, the bar.

But there was no place that taught me more about brotherhood than the basketball court. That's where my core group of childhood friends came of age and that's where our bond was cemented, because we learned to depend on one another there and it carried throughout our lives and even as we've grown our separate ways, there's the link created by that time that ties us together. That area protected by two rims has birthed the best of friendships and taught lessons we've carried to college, brought into our families and through the world with us. Maybe they aren't always the best of lessons, because I picked up a lot of bad habits along the way, but the camaraderie created on the court has just been the way Black men have done it since Dr. James Naismith invented the game.

That's why it trips me out when I hear Black men talk about playing golf, because I'm really not sure where that comes from, I guess it's the Tiger Woods factor. Golf and the country clubs where it's played have always been restrictive and by rule, exclusive of a certain class of people, i.e. folks that look like me. Those clubs have been a metaphoric divisor between the races and I'm starting to believe that by the upswing of brothers on the links, they believe those lines have been erased and we've made it. Have we really gone that far in this space and time or is this a vision in our minds? Even Barack Obama gets 10 together to run a full.

I look at it as another status symbol, right in line with a Mercedes-Benz, living in a gated community and having a White woman, the type of things that are contrary to what we've been taught in the community, minus the Benz. That type of behavior is learned through corporate America and the media and not consistent with what your mama taught you. If you're a golf playing brother, cool, I hope that's the most you've assimilated, but give me four of my homies, a ball, and a concrete slice of heaven, cuz we've got next!

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