High school football is generally where a gang of us realized this is a sport we love. I’ll admit, due to family circumstances, I wasn’t afforded that high school experience but I lived it with my kid. After an unexpected season, we ended up right back at Ford Field to defend our crown. As a senior, this was his last hoorah and boy did they make good.  Here’s my version of the final season as a Crusader.

I hate spring training just as much as the players.  They’ve only been off the field a couple months then it’s back to the drawing board to get ready for a new season.  This creates all types of conflicts with spring and summer vacation but you’re in it with the players because you know this is something they love to do. This summer’s heat was brutal.  I remember asking my son every day “ain’t it too hot for y’all to be out there?” (Don’t judge me these were my exact words, lol) He would look at me and say “Ma, it’s not always going to be comfortable when we play the games.” Point taken. On this particular day, I received a notification that a 911 call had been initiated from our plan. I call my son no response, I believe he was on the phone with my sister because she told me – he was okay.  So, I wait.  He walks through the door and asks “is that a hospital across the street?” No, why? “Coach Harvey passed out during the practice.  They took him to Receiving Hospital.” He comes out maybe 15 minutes later to tell me the coach has passed.  Heartbreak in the community, King High School Family and across the state.  After some swift changes, the 2016-17 season would be played in honor of DH.


The season started on point. We were halfway through the season and only 6 points were scored on us.  The defending champs were not having it this season.  They wanted to hold on to their streak and their titles.  The streak and their city championship title were lost to Cass Tech. Proven to be the manifestation of their Crusader name, they marched on to the state championship game against Walled Lake Western. I watched with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. This was my kid’s 6th time playing on the field with a 60% success rate.  The odds were in our favor but the game of football is not a gambling man. As always, I screamed and hollered as they marched up and down the field.  There was no Sports Center Hail Mary last second highlight this year.  No, the defense was on point and the team played with a lot of heart for their fallen coach. By the end of the contest, King had managed to play another shutout game a maintain their title of Division 2 State Champions.

 


This was the end for #19/#80.  The 2 seasons he decided to play high school football he won the ship. He kept telling people he wasn’t going to play in college but I know my son. It’s never been a crazy thing for him to change his mind. In the cold of December, I took my lunch watching King & Cass (who also won their Division 1 championship) parade down Woodwartherethe Spirit of Detroit.  The week wasn’t over their was a luncheon in the 2 teams honored by UAW-Ford with special guests Jim Harbaugh and Mark Dantonio. I knew the apple didn’t fall far from the tree when I saw my kid’s face on the channel 7 news. These faces are magnetic for a camera.

When the new ring comes I’ll be sure to share it. Do I think it’s over, no?  The 1st couple days he was lost without the schedule of evening practices.  We’ll see what transpires as we draw nearer to the end of his high school career and start of university life.  The jury is still out with the verdict regarding college football. As Drake said, “WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE.”

I’m sure many of you have heard of the crisis of the Detroit Public School system.  If not, catch up on part of the story.  As a parent of a current student, I was trying to find out what I could do to help.  This lead me to meet up with several people and resources to gain more information.  I was always concerned – I learned where to go for assistance.  

During the reporting of the crisis,  DPS opened their ears to the parents at several town hall meetings.  It was in these meetings that we were given information about the current state of the system, what it meant for the students and what we could do to help.  The school system set up several committees to address common concerns of the parents. These included Nutrition, Safety, Facilities, Customer Service, Supplies, Curriculum and other.  These were composed to address the complaints/concerns efficiently.  Those town hall meetings were brutal. Not because there was no order but because there was a lack parent participation.  There were parents there that knew all the ends and outs of the school system over the last 20 years.  I felt so far behind and out of the loop.  Moreover, I was determined to learn more and become active.

This lead me to the MLK PTSA meeting.  This was an experience for me. In a school that boasted some of the most successful students in Detroit, the parents were missing from this meeting as well.  It was here that I learned, my son’s school has a surplus of 400 students, has the highest man population in the state and that’s including the all boys institutions and they are trying to maintain during these difficult times.  The part that disturbed me the most about this meeting was the lack of parent participants.  Not more that six months before – I sat in this room with the parents of the football team and it was packed.  Have we systematically placed our children in one or two boxes? Sports or education.  Here is a recent meeting we had with the football team. Notice the change in attendance. I literally had to stand up after turning down a seat offer. The place was packed.


On April 14th, Detroit Public Schools Office of Parent and Community Engagement held a one day seminar and I was eager to attend.  Not to mention, I was the chair for the Customer Service Committee.  I had to be there to learn more, engage the parents and be supportive in their efforts.  Here we met the new interim superintendent, Alycia Meriweather.  I took several sessions during the day while linking up with several other parents of high school age students.  This was a very good exercise and I learned a great deal.  It felt like things were going to be moving in the right direction.  I had a good feeling about the steps they were taking. 

In the following days, there was more disturbing info coming out.  The teachers were on the verge of a strike after being told they would not be getting paid as agreed upon in their contracts.  “Working for Free!”  No way – we were back on the sick outs and who could blame them.  The teachers, parents and students were rallying for the right thing to be done to help this struggling district.  After 2 days, students returned to the classrooms with hopes of finishing the school year and looking forward to the summer vacation.

I’ve said my piece about DPS.  They have done a disservice to some of the students and failed the community.  A very valuable take away from the seminar was “trying to regain the trust of parents.”  This is the cornerstone of this districts revitalization.  I don’t trust them but I’m willing to fight for what is rightfully all childrens – a sufficient education, no matter where the call home.  I heart DPS because I am a product, these teachers are the soul of the city (they have not abandoned us) and the system will have to get better to draw more families and individuals into the city boundaries.  This fight won’t be over in the next 15 months – but I’m dedicated to the idea of fighting for the education of all Detroit children.

I bet you already knew the top 2 was going to have something to do with football.  It does but this time it has more to do with a player.  Education is extremely important to me.  So when I thought the BS “No Child Left Behind” program and desensitized guidance counselor were going to succeed, I knew I had to take action.  The events that happened in the pass 5 days confirmed I was not alone.

Division 1 Champions
The official close of the football season has come and gone.  We attended the banquet, broke bread with his teammates and picked up his awards.  While they celebrated, I kept my mind on what I needed to do to make sure that he achieved higher over the final months of his junior year. When my frustrations with his grades were expressed to the guidance counselor, he told me I had nothing to worry about.  Excuse my English- WHAT THE FUCK YOU MEAN?  I’m looking at the grades and the shit ain’t looking good.  It was then that I figured out why he was so calm.  As long as he continues to get Ds, he’ll graduate.  Not from this house with me as his mother.  Things had to get better before he went back for the 2nd semester. 

In a quick rant on Facebook, I expressed my disgust in his current scholastic patterns and explained how this effected the Christmas holiday for him.  A few nights prior, I let it rip in a no holds bar to his dad and stuck it in the mail for him to receive it pronto.  I was fed up to a new degree.  It kept feeling like we were running out of time and he couldn’t see it or didn’t think it was that serious.  I couldn’t wholehearted buy him gifts and he hasn’t given his best efforts in school this term. During the late night hour of Christmas Eve, a few good men spoke of helping me communicate the importance of education with him.  I appreciated the gesture and overwhelming concern.  What was I going to do to get through to him?   

December 26th the thread was revived with talks of when and where we were going to meet for this discussion.  WHAT?! They were serious about helping me.  I agreed to their terms and without giving any information about where we were going exactly, I got the kid up and ready for the conversation that could ultimately change his life.  We talked as we rode into our old next of the woods on the west side of the metro Detroit area.  As we walked into the restaurant, he was curious about our business here.  He caught a familiar face and smiled.  It was his football team’s Dr. Cecil Forbes.  I knew this would make him a little more comfortable in lieu of everything that was going on.  In addition, James Johnson, Calvin Evans and Shaka Senghor joined in for the CTJ talk.

We sat down and I opened the conversation.  Each volunteer took time to introduce their story to him and expound on the ways their lives have been impacted by their choices.  He was listening and instructed to take notes on what was being said.  I sat there and watched the chicken he ordered get cold but it never really held any interest for the 16 year-old that generally eats on sight.  He was entranced in the conversation these men were giving him. He was given an opportunity to speak and they instructed him on the manner in which he should speak to another man.  They informed him that they would be there for him to make sure he succeeded. At one point in the meeting, I broke down into tears after I explained the significance of his life.  This broke him down and pushed a more intense conversation.

I’m not here to expose everything that was discussed but I will say they got through to him.  As they prepared to end the dialogue, they exchanged numbers, pleasantries and informed him of a pending follow up.  They ordered him more chicken to take home.  I would say this is by far my most rewarding post in all of social media. (It’s even topped my Oprah tweet.). This wasn’t about me.  It had everything to do with the love of my life being this guy’s mother and the lengths I would go to for his success.

Never stop fighting for your kids. Moms never give up on your sons. I thank these four men for slowing down to talk to mine within 48 hrs of my cry. You are my brothers and I love you all for loving me and passing that love on to him. I’m optimistic that together we can and will inspire the changes needed for SUCCESS! 🙂

My Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have already made the announcement about the Division 2 State Football Champions.  The Crusaders pulled off the perfect season with hard work, a sense of team/family and the support of the community.  On our second run at Ford Field this season, we put on a fine show for the people.  This post will feature some of my images I captured from the pre-season to the final catch.  Get ready for a special treat.

Here’s a recap of our victory at Ford Field from MHSAA.

I didn’t get the official MHSAA Championship program. Maybe I can snag one online, in any event here is my shrine to a perfect playoff season.

Every Game

 

CONGRATS DETROIT MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. VARSITY CRUSADERS!!! 


The autumn winds have been a welcomed event and I’m going to bring you up to speed.  I’ve adjusted, recognized and featured on The Edge.  When I’m away from you there’s traditionally a great deal going on.  It’s only been a little over a month yet I don’t know where to start.  Bare with me if I start rambling but something tells me you won’t leave until I get to the end of the story.  Let’s get right into this leg of the journey.

At the end of September, I got a call on my desk phone.  It was the recruiter about the job I interviewed for a few weeks prior.  While holding back my excitement and a few gratuitous tears, I was offered the position and I accepted.  It seemed like things were starting to look a lot better in this very moment.  I couldn’t tell anyone because the process wasn’t complete.  It was hard trying to hold it in but I had to tell my day 1 friends that started at this company with me.  On October 5th, I was transferred to my new workstation and gained a new perspective of the company I was hired into.  Over the pass few weeks, I’ve been trying to get my area in order and adjust to my new responsibilities.  The 1st week was the hardest because I kinda missed tweeting at customers but as time went on I recognized it was time for me to do something different.

Meanwhile, during this time the Mista requested some time alone and I really didn’t know how to process this.  Why would he need time away from me?  What could I have done wrong?  So many questions were running through my head but I had to remember something that I determined earlier this year.  As long as we follow our own rules, who can can judge us if we fail.  The questions ceased and I went on enjoying this time in my life and getting reacquainted with my “me time.”  I like the time I have with myself.  Some time ago, I resolved I would probably never get married and started becoming comfortable with that.  Of course I’ve considered it since being with him but I can’t let go of the idea that it may not happen.  After a solid month, we reconnected on our own terms.

I haven’t mentioned the FOOTBALL!  That’s right if you follow me on Instagram (@bmisunderstood) you already know the kid plays for the Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School varsity team. We’re still enjoying an #undefeated season after the controversy.  Some of you got the story from my Periscope and the news. Check it out.

http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/students-parents-pack-meeting-to-overturn-detroit-king-forfeit/35935402

Division 1 Champions

The decision was overturned with suspensions of players involved and we went on to get the W against Cass Tech at Ford Field.  Last week we defeated U of D Jesuit and are scheduled to play Wyandotte this weekend.  This has been an exciting season and I’d like to think it’s destiny.  If you all remember, the kid use to wear the number 19 when he played for the West Side Steelers in PAL.  He holds number 80.  We both observed the relation on the day he got his number. 19 – 80, the year I was born.  I’ve been to every game and with this photo in my back pocket.

1980

I’ll keep you posted on our results.  LET’S GO CRUSADERS!!!

In the background, the kid went to the homecoming in a throwback look from the 90s.  This picture does him no justice.  He wore a Coogi sweater, Levi’s and Clark’s wallabees. I didn’t even have to argue with him about it this year.  However, I did call my friend, Marv Neal, to give light on the significance of the Clark’s (thanks 😉 for the assist).  So, I think he’s growing up a bit.  True to my thrifty heart, I purchased the sweater on eBay.  Let’s give acknowledgement to the high top fade or Bart Simpson as the NEW kids call it.  I think he looked rather nice.

Homecoming

A doctor’s visit for my annual exam deemed unnecessary until they told me I have a Vitamin D deficiency.  How the hell do you get that?  Here’s what I found may have been my cause:

Researchers have also noted that vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in adults of all ages who always wear sun protection (which blocks vitamin D production) or limit their outdoor activities.1 People with increased skin pigmentation (such as those whose ancestors are from Africa, the Middle East, or India) are also at risk, as are the elderly.

Let me also include that my normal dairy intake is not what it use to be considering I’m not as local to the products I trust from Meijer.  So they gave me a prescription and I’ve started to make that journey to purchase the groceries I love which can assist me in turning this thing around.  Don’t worry about me, I’ll be just fine.  Other than that, I’m healthy as can be and headed back to the gym.  Yes, we’ve been through this gym break-ation (Comes from my new addiction to Wendy Williams, lol) before.  However, I never internalized the importance of the gym in my life.  Working out helps my attitude about myself and it’s helps me release tension.  My body feels like I was in one helluva fight after the first couple days but I’m determined to stick with it.

This will require a whole post of its own but I wanted to be let you all know.  This natural thing is almost at the end of my rope.  My mindset – I’m fidgeting with this hair everyday, back and forth with the idea of a sew-in and do not want to damage it.  It’s getting very exhausting and I need a change.  Yes, I’m coming up to year 3 of the 4 year promise. At this time though, I’m over it.  I’ve made an appointment for next Friday with Maya Mitchell and will follow-up on what happened.

I believe those are all the highlights.  If I think of anything else you should know, I’ll be sure to inform you. At any rate, I hope you all are well and smiling! 🙂

Oh yeah! You didn’t think the countdown would feature a dog, a new love interest and my first born would be left out! Shame on you! He floated up from his position last year into the top 2. That’s monumental to match the type of year he’s had.

It all started with him passing the test to get in the MSAT program at Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School. It escalated to a near perfect season playing within the PAL organization for the West Side Steelers. The summit was out playing the Tigers to take the 2013 PAL Division A championship home this year!

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The entry into your freshman year of high school is exciting enough. Try telling the kids they have to be there for 2 weeks during summer break and see if their eyes don’t roll or jaws puff from frustration at the requirement. Then he had to be in uniform as well! What the freaking heck?!? We complied and finished the summer transitioning prep just fine. All of this was running concurrent with the everyday football practices. Talk about wearing a person down and leaving a massive carbon footprint. We managed considering this was his last year of eligibility for the program.

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The 1st day of school came and as always the kid was fly – even in the plainest school uniform know to man. The epic black pants & white shirts. He was bound to make his mark at his new school. After school and work we joined the rat race or snail sail to our next destination. The Mackenzie field for practice.

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Due to the fluctuations in my scheduling I missed some of the critical games. Moreover I attended when I could and cheered as if Joe Flacco & Jacoby Jones were on the field… You all know I’m a Ravens fan! Lol It surely would not have been possible without the consistent assistance of my mom, sister & #19’s godmother. We weathered all possible conditions set by Mother Nature! We rose to take it all this year.

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During the 1st semester, the kid learned that he needed to adjust to make his education a priority again. I understood that the anxiety of winning the championship was high in the beginning if the school year. Some of the things he comes home and tell me are riotous! I recently asked him if he liked the school any better now. He said “I do! I’m more use to it now!”

Before we know it we’ll be discussing prom & college selection. In the mean time let’s hit these books hard to better our chances for scholarship money!! I’m a proud parent of a MLK High School student! 😉

Black & Gold Forever!!!

So, I explained to you all that my scheduled was filled with what – FOOTBALL.  That’s right, my son’s decision to play football within the Detroit PAL organization, which took up the better part of our Spring & Summer is OVER!!! No more practices, equipment hauling and all day Saturday games.  But if you’re unfamiliar with the program the West Side Steelers swept the competition in the playoffs and made it to the Big Game at the home of the Detroit Lions’ Ford Field.  Here is a small review of a good starting season I enjoyed along with him….

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As you can tell I’m very proud of him and made the most of it.  Football was the one sport I didn’t want him to play but I relished in every moment.  The cheering, screaming but most importantly I enjoyed watching him create a bond with his teammates.  I made the most out of the experience and watched my son mature a little bit more.  These pictures were all taken from my Instagram (I do apologize for the quality, if it’s bothering you.)  As you see in that pic from the Ford Field game, I had wised up and packed my favorite snack.. Guacamole and Hint of Lime Tostitos 🙂  On the sadder side the WSS did not win the championship game.  Moreover, they made it and my son is making preparation for next season.

I thought he’d take it rough but I was surprised by his demeanor and simple request of “Chilli Cheese Fries” (Detroit staple, lol) He placed his trophy on the dresser when we arrived home and began thinking about our next move – the High School Placement Exam… Through it all we’re still smiling and happy preparing for the next year. 🙂