Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Embarrassment at LSU

The Story

I've been following this story very closely since it began, and quite frankly, it makes me want to puke.  Allegedly, senior quarterback Jordan Jefferson, and several other players broke a 10:30pm curfew imposed by head coach Les Miles, and went out to a bar, called Shady's, on a Thursday night, a popular night to go out among LSU students.  Apparently, at around 2am, the time in which the bars in Baton Rouge are required to close, LSU football players, including Jordan Jefferson, blocked the exit of the parking lot at Shady's to prevent a particular truck from leaving.  The individual driving the truck honked at the players in an effort to get them to move.  Apparently, the players didn't.  Then a brutal fight ensued.  It is alleged that the individual was pulled out of the truck and kicked in the head several times by a number of LSU football players, including Jefferson.  Apparently, three other individuals were involved in the fight and sustained minor injuries.  I don't know details of the fight.  I simply know generalities, and what is being reported, and it is enough to make me embarrassed to be an LSU alum.

I am embarrassed because the senior starting quarterback was heavily involved.  He shouldn't have been out in the first place.  As a senior and a four year starter, he, of all people, should set the tone as a leader through his example.  It's one thing for a sophomore backup linebacker to break curfew to go out.  It's different when one is the starting quarterback, and all eyes are on that individual as the face of the team.  Jefferson, of all people, should have set the example, honored the coach's curfew, and stayed home.  As the starting quarterback, and might I add, a struggling one, he, of all people, should have a greater understanding of what he stands to lose.

I am embarrassed because the players did not move when the individual honked.  I'm sure that more was said by the driver of the truck than a simple honk to provoke the players, and I am sure that there is more to the story than the simple parking lot exit, or lack thereof.  Despite all that may have happened to provoke the players, if they would have moved when the driver honked, then nothing would have happened.

I am embarrassed that the players were fighting with common students.  These football players are finely tuned athletes trained to beat their opponent in a physical contact sport requiring strength, speed, and endurance.  These players are considerably larger and stronger than average nonathletes.  There is no reason that they should be fighting for that simple reason.  What honor is there in beating up the small, weak, and untrained?  The players should have understood their place as athletes, and walked away.  It's already established that they can beat up anybody.  Why prove it?  The only thing it will do is cause people to look upon them with contempt, and respect them less.

Number four ranked LSU is less than two weeks away from the biggest season opener in the history of the program against the number three ranked Oregon Ducks.  This year's version of the LSU Tigers are thought to be contenders for a national championship.  The players involved should have considered that when breaking curfew, not allowing a truck to exit a parking lot, and beating average idiots senseless.  Now, apparently, those who were injured are pressing charges, and jail time is a possibility.  Is proving one's manhood, in the form of physical violence, worth it?      


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Slight Feeling of Homesickness

It has just hit me.  I miss home.  Sometimes you feel drawn to certain things, and sometimes certain things cause you to discover your true emotions.  And nothing is as effective in doing so as a song.   I have over 32 gigs of music in my Itunes, and when I am relaxing at my apartment, I enjoy putting it on shuffle.  Many times, I will hear a song from a familiar artist for the first time.  And many times, I will hear a song that I love that I haven't heard in a long time, and upon hearing that song, it will take on an entirely different meaning.  And that just happened with this song (He begins playing at 1:30.)

Don't get me wrong.  I love it here in Korea.  I haven't grown tired of the food, and probably never will.  My city is in a breathtaking sea of mountains.  The women here are absolutely gorgeous.  The people are indescribably kind, and always tell me that I am handsome.  I have a wonderful job.  My apartment is comfortable.  I have made a lot of good friends.  I have a church home here beyond anything I could have expected.

But despite all of that, I am beginning miss home.  I would kill to eat a gyro with hummus, and french fries.  A shrimp po-boy, a large medium rare ribeye, and some red beans and rice would be nice also.  Football season will begin in a matter of weeks, and I am as excited about it as ever, but I will have to stay up in the middle of the night to catch LSU and the Saints.  I enjoy talking about it, but nobody seems to be interested in it here.  Whenever I find somebody who shares a similar interest, it's like taking a huge breath after holding it under water for a long period of time.  I miss driving.  Walking is nice, but sometimes I feel out of place doing so.  I know the exact point where I will begin to sweat on my daily fifteen-minute walk to school.  And I do so profusely.  I miss having a dryer.  Hanging clothes to dry is inconvenient, and it stretches the elastics.  I bought fabric softener for the first time, and I am unsure if I am using it correctly, so there is a chance that I could be wasting my money.

I just learned to read in Korean, but I do it on an elementary level.  I am able to read menus fairly well, and I am beginning to learn my students' Korean names.   The most common family names in my school are 김 (Kim), 박 (Park), 정 (Jeong), and 이 (Lee, pronounced 'ee').  Reading has been a great help, but the language barrier is still a source of stress.  It's extremely stressful to mime a gesture to somebody who has no clue as to what you are trying to convey, especially when you need something, or you are trying to tell them something important.  And I feel like an idiot when I tirelessly do what amounts to waving my arms in the face of somebody who speaks an unfamiliar language.  Before moving to Korea, I've always thought my hand gestures were good, and that I was prepared.  I've always done well in Charades and Guesstures with my friends back home, but apparently, Koreans have never played it.   Miming has only been consistently effective in causing Koreans to shake their heads while giving me a weird look.

Here in Korea, they have what is called K-pop.  I pride myself in my taste in music, and the fact that I am able to remain oblivious to all that is popular and horrid, but remaining oblivious to K-pop is impossible.  It's everywhere, and the songs are all extremely catchy, and when you are not careful, you will find yourself singing them.  Whenever I do so, I usually go to the bathroom and drink Listerine.  K-pop goes against everything I stand for musically.  I'll give you an idea of what I am up against.  You'll get the full effect if you play all of the videos at the same time.  Some of you may actually like it.

Don't get me wrong, I love Korea.  And for all of you potential teachers who are on the fence, don't allow this to discourage you.  Korea is awesome.  It's simply human nature to miss home.  And I am beginning to do so at the moment.