Thursday, March 8, 2012

Obligatory Jeremy Lin Post

After a very long lay off I've decided that I needed to start writing again not only for the sake of a creative outlet, but also because writing emails at work probably doesn't qualify as journalistic or educational. It's really ironic that growing up in school a lot of kids perceive writing and reading as a chore or a means to an end to get a good grade. I definitely saw it that way and can remember that more often than not I saw it as a necessary evil to get good grades and keep my parents off of my back about school. What I find interesting about that is what were my reasons for even caring about it? Why didn't I just blow off school and play video games constantly like I really wanted to? Was it because of fear of my parents scolding me? A personal expectation to get good grades so I could go to college?

Having a chance to grow up in college and even more so after, I've been able to reflect on a lot of questions like this and begin to gain a better understanding of just why things are the way they are. The answer to my question about why I even cared about school goes back to two interconnected ideas; parenting and culture. I don't think I'm alone as an Asian-American when I say that growing up education was one of if not the most important thing in our lives. I know that Asians are not the only culture that experience this and its very prevalent in some other cultures, but I can only speak from my own experience and I know that its something that was very relevant. Growing up I always felt like I had a certain expectation of myself to get good grades in school, so that I could go to a good college, so I could get a good job and so on. However the good grades were only the product of the larger values I was taught like humility and working hard. While I see it in my own family I've also come to realize it applies in a much broader sense to most other Asian-Americans I grew up with.

When the Jeremy Lin craze first hit the scene it really hit home hard as a big sports fan and growing up Asian-American in the Bay Area. For a while I didn't really know how I felt about it when people asked me and was just taking everything in. I read a lot of articles and posts that came about as a result that all dealt with Asian-Americans' place in society and their perception created by the media. One of the most interesting things about Jeremy Lin that I appreciate most is simply how normal he is.
I remember hearing an interview Jeremy did at one point where he talked about how education always came first with his family and thinking about the similarities in my own upbringing. I don't think Asian-Americans could have asked for a better representation in Jeremy as someone who achieved so much success and doing it the 'right way', meaning through the same values that were stressed in every Asian-American household: humility and hard work. Jeremy's success and instant stardom led to an outpouring of a lot of repressed opinions and feelings in many Asian-Americans simply for the fact that talking about 'Asian-Americanism' in pop-culture was unprecedented. While I didn't completely agree with everything I read, many Asian-Americans expressed some bottled up opinions about the biases that Asian-American's face. His story and the attention it has received gave me and a lot of the Asian-American community a voice and I think it inspired for a lot of people a sense of community to open up dialogue that hadn't existed prior. More than anything I think Jeremy Lin's story has been great because while it has been instrumental in drumming up some refreshing social commentary that questions cultural dispositions, when you take a step back, you can fully appreciate his story and its ability to transcend just the racial and cultural discussions as a story about perseverance overcoming biases.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dealing with the Success of your Team

Congratulations to the Giants. I couldn't have dreamed that this team could have done this, this year back in Spring Training when our leadoff hitter was Aaron Rowand and the biggest glimmer of hope beyond our great pitching staff, which was never in doubt- was Pablo Sandoval having another great year after batting a breakout .330 (that turned out well).

As happy as I've been throughout these playoffs and watching the Giants win the World Series!!!! (Still surreal to me) It has been especially hard for me to see just how crowded the Giants bandwagon has become over the last couple months. I can only ask myself, where were these fans before the playoffs? In 2008-2009 when the only thing we had to root for in September was Lincecum winning the Cy Young? Hell, what about 2006 when our #1 starter was Matt Morris? And that's only 4 years ago...

I know this can easily come off as bitter and condescending so I will try to be careful how I word this. I cannot put into words how happy I am for the team and I have lived and breathed them for years. But I cannot help but be upset a bit about trying to cope with all of the "fans" who have conveniently shown up.

This should absolutely be the high point as a fan of the team. And I know that as a sports fan if you want to see your team succeed, dealing with fair-weather and some out-right fake fans is absolutely something you will have to deal with. I guess dealing with that and coming to accept it is all you can really do. At the end of the day your love for the team, if you really are a fan, should trump the annoyance of logging onto facebook and seeing your wall flooded with status updates from people who didn't know who Madison Bumgarner was before the All-Star break.

Instead what anyone else in my situation should be enjoying, is how much more you savor this World Series win. Following a team through its ups and downs, and to see them reach the pinnacle of their sport is absolutely surreal and rewarding. To have followed this team for so long, and reflecting on when Matt Herges was the closer for your team and your best hitter at one point was Pedro Feliz... only to see the team draft players like Posey and Bumgarner after watching them in the CWS and watching them contribute on the biggest stage for your team... there's nothing better as a fan.

Really, at the end of the day when the team you loves wins it all.. nothing else should matter. It shouldn't matter what anyone else says or how many quotes they spit out from the latest ESPN article about Buster Posey they read last week. In the end its about you and your team and nothing anyone else says or does should ever influence that.

So, to you other true Giants fans out there- Congratulations, its about damn time.

To you other true fans of other franchises, not named the Lakers or Yankees, I will leave you with this...