By now, many of us are familiar with the term “Catfish”, coined from a movie of the same name about relationships that cross the Rubric from the internet into real life. It is now a television show on MTV where people who connected via the ‘net finally get to meet each other face-to-face. While long-distance relationships between strangers are nothing new, the prevalence and acceptance of them is, as is the sometimes serious repercussions behind their conclusions.
A few years ago, there was a Dateline story about one such internet triangle, where you had a woman using a photo of her daughter for her profile, a man using a high school photo of himself, and one real straight-up young man that resulted in tragedy. One of the things that I remembered about the story was how that despite the young man’s lack of direct involvement, how the other two “adults” were completely lost to the fantasy that they created.
In stepping back from the Manti Te’O situation, I think that one of the biggest reasons that it seemed so far-fetched is not the implausibility of a stud footballer falling for such a scam, but the general idea that most people have about high school and college, particularly star athletes. I know that from my “cup o’ coffee” with professional athletics, how uninformed some of them are about THEIR OWN SPORT. They have no real understanding about their opponents or why certain games have their historical significance in relation to the particular sport that they are in. It is not that he could not have been sucked in because he is a star football player, but that the public finds it difficult to believe because of their notion of what a star football player is.
Nebraska may get her feathers ruffled should she read this, but she will get over it. Now for a longer time than I have been blogging has she been a part of my “mindhouse”, but we will go when I started this blog near the end of ‘07. Since adults get caught up out here, the maturity factor goes out of the window, and what this comes down to is, experience and environment. When Beth made her story known and shared her “fishy” moment, I had to step back and think about why didn’t Manti know better? Could he have been that naive to have fallen for such a gambit? Why not?? The more I thought about it, them more plausible the story became. Now, I feel bad for him but not out of pity, I feel bad for him because a person he trusted let him down. Who knows what is up with Roniah Tuisasopo, but I know that he is a douche, and I also will cut Manti some slack for hanging out with the cat.
The social environment in Hawaii was one where the ethnic groups that populate the islands are often impoverished and whether that is still how things are now or not, I am sure that there still are social division that call to my mind the social strata “in the hood”, per the movie “Boyz In The Hood”. So I understand the how and the why that a creep like Roniah was in Manti’s circle of friends. From there, it is a small leap from their friendship to that of Manti and Lennay Kekua’s to that of my relationship with Nebraska, and given the number of adults between 30 and 50 that get caught up out here, I would not be surprised if someone would have thought that I would have been “catfished” once I arrived in Omaha.
In an interview with George Stephanopolos,Nev Shulman, the creator of the movie and behind the television show “Catfish”, explains that “...when you want something bad enough, and in his case, a connection to someone, you are willing to ignore a lot of red flags and to create scenario that allows you to continue to believe in”. I believe that is what happened to Manti, that he wanted to have a special relationship and he felt that this was his opportunity. What he was not able to see was the issues that afflicted his friend, nor the shady woman behind “Lennay”.
After letting go of my inherent bias and again being more objective and not projecting my experience into the situation, I think I would defend Manti Te’O and give him some slack. Now the locker room of his NFL team... ooh wee! He is going to catch it for sure when he gets to training camp!!
SPEAKING OF CATFISH...
Recently, I saw a person wearing a shirt emblazoned with the insignia of the group that sponsored the mud run that Nebraska went on last year. In a sudden fit of excitement I sent her a text asking if she would let me run with her group should they run again this year. She has not responded... nor do I really expect her to. I am only mentioning it because it was something that I did and not something that I am trying to duck and dodge.
I miss her... or I should say I miss having the possibilities in my mind of what our relationship would be like. Each day that I go out, it seems, I have a moment where I can’t believe where I am and that Omaha has been so good for me. She has every right to be proud of her hometown, and the reasons to be proud of “the big O” are uniformly positive ones.
Last weekend I was able to go and see Princess’ middle son play basketball. It was cool watching the little kids run up and down the court, not a one showing any hint of being a future hoop star, but everyone competing to the end. The “good guys” won and that made for a light-hearted ride home. Hopefully next Thursday I will be watching the youngest go through his martial art practice.
Between KT and Lexxie, with proms and trips, I will be stretched thin financially, but it is a good kind of being stretched. I am happy that they both get to do the things that I did not, with traveling and going out on social functions with their peers.
One of the trainers where I work has brought along a friend who wants to learn how to box. I have been showing him what I know and it has helped me with my own issues. Also, there is a big cat guest who wants to learn a little “1-2” as well, and I look forward to working with him, too. The experience makes me wonder what I really have to offer as a trainer... and if I did get into training, maybe it could be my niche in the field of physical fitness...
… and this segues to going to the Fort Omaha campus on Monday to talk about my financial aid situation. After all, I have to first get my degree from UNO before I get fired up about a training program of my own!!
It has been a little chilly recently, but thankfully it has not been too snowy, at least not around here. Sometimes I wonder if some of the videos of cars sliding around on ice were taken in Omaha, because I can imagine some of the hills in town being potential trouble spots for that happening in town.
Other than that... hey, I am doing very good! Being on my own means that I get to handle all of my own problems... and those are things that 99% of the time have a solution... and if a problem has a solution, then it is not a problem!! I will prolly get to “educatin’ and pontificatin’” so enough... stuff is ALWAYS on my mind!!