Put Me In Coach!

Put Me In Coach!

Over the last eight years most of the people who have heard me speak about the Other Awareness Project tend to focus on what they perceive to be the “racial” aspect of the project. Even though only three of the twenty-five or so questions ask anything directly about your “racial” choice.

I feel this is because for the last 1,000 years or so, people have been trained to look at just about everything and every circumstance in a, “what does this mean for this race, or what does this mean for that race sort of way. It’s hard to keep people focused on the heart of just about any subject without someone talking about what “white” people did wrong, or what any other “race” of people needs to do.

In my project, I don’t really care what you call yourself. I’m more focused on why anyone STILL calls himself or herself ANY of the arbitrary or undefined words frequently placed before him or her to describe people? Especially, if you know the words were created to help create division and provide justification for the mistreatment of other people. The words were always used to try and retain economic advantages for the selected “chosen” few. In my opinion, the words were never used for the good of the group they were designed to represent.

Furthermore, I’m not really interested in what you think other people need to do, or change, etc. My project is focused on how you describe yourself, and then how well you support that decision using current information that is available to the majority of people. That’s why all of the ”answers” to the technical questions in the Other Awareness Project come from the Wikipedia.org website.

Not because Wikipedia is the one and only correct source for any information, but because it is the quickest place that a layperson can go and post what they believe to be is a better answer and get feedback and responses from other people. You don’t necessarily have to complete a college degree or get a PhD before you can get information that you can use to help you make better-supported decisions.

I’m also interested in how the more successful people in life see themselves, and what amount of weight they place on what other people think or say about them. Again, this project is about self-identification and ultimately about competition.

In an effort to really hone in on what I’m talking about, I have collected a few photos of sports teams in action. From the picture above of a basketball team, I hope you can see that there is obviously a game being played. Two teams are competing against each other. It’s the real thing, one team is going to win, and the other team is going to lose. Fans are watching expressing their love for their team and their dislike/hatred for the other team. This picture is of a basketball team, but in my opinion, the scenario and lessons to be learned applies to just about all sports and life situations.

In high school and college basketball, there are usually twelve people selected for a team. Five of those people will start the game and probably play a large majority of the time. That happens because they are either vastly more talented than the other players or they simply have stuck it out the longest and are seniors and juniors. Usually, these five starters will score most of the points, get most of the rebounds, and garner most of the attention and accolades. There is no question that if there is a game to be played they will be there!

Of the remaining seven players, 3-4 will probably get some playing time, usually to rest the starters, or fill in case of injury, or even to come into the game for special situations specifically suited to their talents. Again, because they are most certainly taking part and actually playing in the game, they will show up to play.

The players that remain generally don’t have a prayer of getting into the game. Unless their team is up by a lot of points or down by a lot points, they are not going to play. Even though they have gone through the same pre-season conditioning, the same weight lifting, the same running and defensive drills, etc., as everyone else has. Why do they continue to show up? What are they thinking about? How come they just don’t quit?

I like to focus on the “end of the bench” players’ cause that is what the Other Awareness Project is all about.

Because most people in the world aren’t exceptionally more physically or mentally talented than anyone else, they will most certainly at some point in their development, be one of the folks who work as hard as everyone else on the team, but will not have a prayer of getting into the real game. They will have to wait their turn, or decide to quit and do something else.

The Other Awareness Project is focused on what do you do while you are waiting and what do you do when your opportunity comes? What do you focus on when the coach FINALLY calls your number and you are going into the game for real?

Some people use their time on the bench and in practice to watch the game, study the offensive and defensive plays for their team AND the other team. Some people don’t do any of that. They sit and gripe to anyone who will listen about why the coach doesn’t like them, or why they are better than the other guy, they search the stands for their friends, do everything BUT watch and study the game and get ready for their opportunity.

They focus on everything that probably won’t help them when and if they get their chance to play in the game. They could be 100% correct about the things that are distracting them. The coach may not like them as much as another player. Maybe they should have been playing more than someone else.

So what happens when the coach FINALLY calls their number and asks them to check into the real game? Only two things can happen, you can use this time to ask or argue with the coach about why he has never put you in before. You can ask him to explain his decisions and rational for everything that has happened before. You can argue with him how if you had been playing, the team wouldn’t be behind right now. Or you could say, we are leading by so many points, why am I going in now. You can do all of the above; it is completely your right.

Or, you could rip off your warm-ups, run to the coach see what he wants you to do, then run to check in at the scorer’s table and get ready to see where you can contribute and prove your case.

The choice of how you want to use your opportunity is completely up to you!

With the Other Awareness Project, I’m not oblivious to all of the things that people want to bring up as “wrong” that have been done by any one person or “group” of people or any organization. In fact, I agree that just about every example cited was “wrong,”and is “wrong” if allowed to continue. People of all different shades of skin color have made mistakes. People of all different shades of skin color have done positive things. The continued practice of picking out some examples while overlooking other examples, either way, to support various positions was and is wrong. Once you look at things on a total time line and include all the information concerning the actions of people on the planet earth, you start to see how flimsy anyone’s position is if they try to breakdown human behavior into skin color alone. Their positions become less stable the more logic and information you add to the equation. Again, the Other Awareness Project isn’t about what you feel, It is about how well you can support the position you take using current information. And whatever part of your argument that can’t be supported or doesn’t make sense, can you leave it out, and do we need it to solve problems going forward?

So in conclusion, what I’m saying through the Other Awareness Project is you can spend all your time talking about the past and what everyone else did wrong, or you can spend your time talking about and acting upon maximizing your opportunity to succeed. It’s as simple as that. Some people will and some people won’t. It is completely your choice to decide what you are going to do when your opportunity comes along. So to bring it full circle, I don’t really care what you call yourself. My question has always been more rhetorical than inquisitive. I’m more interested in discovering the people who can go from this point forward and maximize our collective opportunities to emphasize and reinforce the methods that are in the best interests for the majority of us.

Michael James Brown


Author: otherawarenessproject

Former Director of Operations for News America Marketing, former Marketing Operations Manager for ING Advisors, former Pre-Press manager for Deluxe Check Printers. Currently self-employed and serving on the boards of non-profits in Southern California.

One thought on “Put Me In Coach!”

  1. Hi Michael, Just came across your site, and I’m really intrigued. Thought you might enjoy checking out some iPad, iPhone apps that I have made for the Race Awareness Project (www.raceawarenessproject.com). They are all about making learning about race and diversity fun and engaging and relevant. Right now, one of the apps called Guess My Race is on display at the Boston Museum of Science and the San Diego Museum of Man. Shoot me an email – would love to be in contact.

    Best, Michael

    Michael D. Baran, PhD
    Director, Cambridge Diversity Consulting

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