When I first watched the video of the show y’all put together, I was looking at it strictly from a flow and dunks-made standpoint. I noticed the transitions. I noticed the focus y’all had toward the camera and how you were directing the camera man so he captured what needed captured and avoided what didn’t. I was studying the equipment, the mat set-up, the run y’all had, the ways you landed on the mat. I was also evaluating whether the speaking parts would fit for the type of event we were contributing to - things like: would it work for kids and also work for adults. Would it work for boys and men, would it work for girls and women. My heart sank when Jason missed the mat on the finale and it appeared he was injured only to be reassured by Rich that sometimes things like that happen. Overall my impression was that it would work for the purpose we need it for.
When I watched it again, it was with less of a critical eye. I found myself smiling when y’all smiled. I got excited when y’all were pumped. I could feel the fun y’all were having, it was like a bunch of mini-shows within the show. Guy’s back drop to pop up to tumbling pass with harlem shake and the 3 synchronized back flips after the floor-flairs had me nodding my head in approval. The way y’all played to the camera. The looks, the suggestions, the luring me into the fun. I lost it on that straddle side dunk finish on Airborn and my heart raced as the suspense of the 5 man built to the climactic ending.
As I was texting Andrae at the church a little information about how you guys came to be the best option for what they were looking for, I found myself sharing with him what y’all have gone through the last 3-1/2 months. From the first week of the initial culture shock and the preparation to be show-ready to the suspension of the show and the frustration of waiting for the lockdown to lift; from the strange food you were offered to the strange looks you were given; from the missing of families and the losses and near losses, to the missing of paydays; from the recent 1960’s style discrimination to the continuing uncertainty.
And then I watched the video again as best I could through watery eyes.
The sheer joy and passion and connection that y’all displayed in spite of what you’ve been through was all I could focus on.
What gives y’all the right to be so giving at a time when you need to be given to?
What gives y’all the right to share such powerful energy when this interminable waiting game is draining so much of yours?
What gives y’all the right to provide hope when the light at the end of the tunnel is still so dim?
I am convinced that the answer to the above questions resides in the journey that each of you individually have been on your entire lives. We can only give, share and provide what we have in our inventory. We can only give, share and provide what we ourselves can access from the stores of our being.
You were made for this time to give when what you really need is to receive.
You were made for this time to share energy when what you really need is to be refueled.
You were made for this time to provide hope in the midst of uncertainty when what you really need is to be hugged and reassured yourselves.
You were made for this!
I thought about the fact that the men who end up viewing this video, as they tune into the church’s digital gathering, are probably experiencing some major challenges. It’s been tough here for many. Even though the participants of the Man Chef group don’t know your story like I do, I am confident they will feel your spirit and receive what you set out to share with them.
Brah, Y’all have power that remains UNTAPPED. Imagine what’s possible if it is harnessed and bundled and targeted and unleashed.
I salute y’all.
Thanks for the ride.
This story is still being written.
Stay strong and stand tall.