Why The NBA Is Better Than The NCAA Tournament


***The Champ’s latest at EBONY discusses why he prefers the pro game to the college game***

Like millions of other sports fans, I spent countless hours following and/or watching the first couple rounds of the NCAA tournament last weekend. And, like much of the tournament-following country, I found myself falling in love with Florida Gulf Coast University, a school that managed to pull off major upsets against both Georgetown University and San Diego State University, schools heavily favored to beat them.

If there was ever a story that encapsulated the true essence of March Madness, it would be their emergence, a tiny school in the middle of Florida that didn’t even exist two decades ago. This—the idea of every team, whether from Texas or Transylvania Tech, having a legitimate chance at their One Shining Moment—is what makes the tournament so compelling, so unpredictable, so variable, and so fun.

And it’s exactly why I’d choose the NBA over college basketball in a heartbeat

Read more at EBONY.com

The Digital Dating Era Isn’t All Bad


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(The Champ’s latest at Ebony explains why some of the hang-wringing over “the death of courtship” may be overblown.) Now, I’m not here today to necessarily dispute the findings and first-hand accounts found in each of the recent articles decrying the death of … Continue reading

On Fear, Love, and Loneliness

(The Champ’s latest at EBONY touches on why dying alone is a fear many of us share)

At a friend’s request, I attended a birthday party at a Veteran’s hospital a few weekends ago. The party was for her great uncle—a resident there—and we celebrated his 85th birthday with some cake, dancing, and pictures in one of the hospital’s common areas. After a couple hours or so, we walked him back to his room, said our goodbyes, and left.

After leaving, my friend noticed that I seemed a bit down—odd, considering that we just left a birthday party. She asked me what was wrong, and after stonewalling her for a couple minutes, I finally let it out.

That was my first time in a veteran’s hospital. And, I was not prepared for what I was going to see.

I knew veteran’s hospitals existed. My late grandfather actually worked in one for over 30 years. I also knew that many of these hospitals are populated with mentally and physically disabled men who either have families and loved ones who don’t have the financial means to take care of them or just don’t have anybody at all. But, knowing they exist and actually visiting the hospital and seeing these men in the final stages of their lives are two separate things.

That it’s located in a secluded part of the city, hidden by trees, engulfed by hills, and adjacent to a youth detention center doesn’t seem accidental. It is, by every definition of the term, “out of the way,” and while it is presumptuous to say this, I couldn’t help but think that the majority of men (and women) there were placed there to be out of our collective way.

Seeing and thinking about this upset me. And, this is when I thought about my parents.

Read more at EBONY.com

‘I Stopped Telling Women to Smile (and You Should, Too)’

I never quite understood it when women—relatives, friends, co-workers, etc—complained about men asking them to smile. “You can’t have it both ways,” I’d argue. “You can’t complain about men not approaching you, but also be annoyed with men suggesting that you should try and look more pleasant.” Plus, what the hell is wrong with smiling? I guess it could be slightly annoying to hear a request like that all of the time, but how effed up do you have to be to be consistently mad at someone asking you to smile? It’s not like these dudes are asking for women to tap dance nude, or even for phone numbers. A smile is a simple, natural, positive act, and I was annoyed with them for being annoyed by the request.

This all changed one day when, well, just let me tell the story.

“On the bright side, I still hate my job.”

This last statement served as a culmination for a ten minute long speech/exhale/rant/stream of consciousness delivered to me during lunch with a friend (“Nicki”). She was having the awfullest out of awful weeks, and instead of biting into the ceaser salad sitting in front of her, she used a third of the precious half hour we had to eat to purge. I couldn’t help but laugh at the last statement—a sign that, despite her bad week, her sense of humor was still intact.

Before I continue, I need to give a bit more background about this friend. We initially met each other through my girlfriend at the time (They were line sisters), and we grew to be friends over the span of that relationship, bonding over the same hate for Kobe Bryant. Since we both worked near downtown, we’d occasionally meet for lunch. Also, Nicki is very good-looking. So good-looking that there was never a time when we were together where men didn’t either give me the subtle head nod of impressededness or try to sneak peeks (or slip numbers) when they thought I wasn’t paying attention.

Why does this matter? Well, she got an emergency call during lunch and had to run out. We said our goodbyes, she walked out, and I could see her through the restaurant’s window, waiting for a bus across the street. I didn’t ask what the call was about, but it obviously upset her even more. As she stood there, her face sullen, her body language anxious, it finally dawned on me.

After hearing Nicki tell me the details of her awful week, watching her take a phone call that somehow made things even worse, and seeing her wait for a bus, clearly upset, it angered me knowing there was a good chance some guy would notice this beautiful woman—depressed for various reasons—and politely (but insistently) demand that she put a smile on her face

Read more at Ebony.com

Around The VSB World

As some of you may already be aware of, I’ve been working for Ebony.com for eight months now. My official title there is “contributing editor,” a job that consists of, well, editing and contributing. The contributing consists of me writing two to four original pieces there per week. My latest — “The Curious Case of The Man-Less “Meet Market” — looks at why men never seem to show up at these ubiquitous dating/relationship panels and events.

As a person who has been both a panelist and a moderator at many of these types of events, I can tell you that hypothetical woman’s rhetorical question is not hyperbole. Whether I was sitting on a panel in New York City or D.C. or moderating a discussion in Pittsburgh, every time I’ve been on stage and looked at the audience, I’ve noticed a mass of women’s faces with a couple guys sprinkled in here and there, specks of pepper in a bowl of salt. (At one show, the numbers seemed so skewed that I actually started counting people in the rows in front of me to see if the actual number reflected what I was seeing. By the time I reached 100, I had counted 86 women and 14 men.)

You can see the rest at Ebony.com 

I’m also continuing to do my weekly live chats at Madame Noire. Last week presented a change of pace, though, as one of the editors there wanted me to give my thoughts about how Kim Kardashian is able to consistently pull so many “high-status” men despite her public sexual past. I obliged.

As far as Panama, he’s still doing his thing as the “Girl’s BFF” at Guyspeak. Check out his advice to a woman who’s man won’t divorce his wife. (Yes, you read that correctly)

I really think the answer to this comes down to being a man versus being a woman. Like, I understand your argument. I truly do. I just think that its asking a lot for a man to part with his life’s work just to show you that he loves you. Now, from a business standpoint, he knows the rules, you get a divorce, if you live in a community property state, things get split down the middle. At some point, a divorce will happen. However, his wife isn’t interested in a divorce? That is odd to me

Also, if you haven’t listened to his segment on THE BLAQOUT SHOW every Wednesday at 8pm, what the hell are you doing with your life?

No one on Earth is exactly sure what Liz is doing, but we do know that it involves Moguldom Media, the church, and atomic bombs.

Very Smart Singles seems to be humming along and shit. Remember, if you are interested in us posting your profile, please email us at contact@verysmartbrothas.com with your name, location, a short bio, and a high-resolution picture.

Lastly, we have two major projects going on right now, one of which we’ll definitely shed more light on next week. Both should be pretty entertaining, and both will need your help to succeed. I know that’s cryptic as hell, but it’s Friday and, well, it’s Friday.

Anyway, people of VSB.com, what’s going on in your worlds right now?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)