Become a Trail Blazer not a follower

Life is an ongoing journey that many people take for granted. We live in a country where the opportunities to succeed are infinite, yet we close our eyes and walk not knowing in what direction we’re heading.  Today I’ve decided to sit, relax and let my words tell a story; why you might ask? Because I’m a leader, it’s been in my DNA since I was a child. As a soccer player I probably wasn’t the most skilled as I’ve had the opportunity to play with amazing players, my forte was being the most vocal. It wasn’t long ago when I doubted myself and my abilities to do great things in life, the exact same  things I had promised myself I would accomplish as a young boy. My biggest fear was to be that guy with a lot of talent who never made it. I wasn’t ready to be that guy, I didn’t want to be that guy, so I didn’t become that guy.

Therefore I took chances, I worked for free and sometimes I got exploited by those who said they wanted to help me in the sports  journalism world.
“Somewhere along the lines you changed, you stopped being you!!You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you that you’re no good! And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow!”
Rocky
At the end of the day, they did help me.  I gained more experience and met a lot of people that I look up to. I felt like a diamond who had been looked over several times. There’s a saying that says that when it rains it pours, that can be in both a negative and positive manner. I’m a Trail blazer creating a new path for the generations behind me. I’m not perfect, I constantly make mistakes, the difference is that I don’t allow mistakes to define who I am. Mistakes serve me as the stepping stones that will lead me to the promise land.
I was never fed with a golden spoon, I’ve had to work hard to get where I am today and I’m still not content or satisfied. There’s always room for improvement and growth. I believe in God and thank him for the opportunity to enter this competitive field where many young men like myself also seek an a chance to show their talent. All you need is one person to believe in you and the rest is up to you. You have to be able to look beyond the horizon, visualize where you would like to go and surround yourself with people that won’t allow you to give up. If you measure success by the amount of money you have, you’re yet to find true success. Love what you do and do it well should be the motto.  Three years ago when I lost my job, experienced a bad break up and had huge family issues, I adopted what today is still my motivation phrase;  I WILL MAKE IT!
I see myself doing amazing things in sports journalism and I won’t stop until I get there. I’m conscious that not everyone will like me, or my style. Nevertheless, that doesn’t change my plan. My motivation has always been to inspires my ENTIRE FAMILY and close friends. I’m not famous nor am I rich. I’m still that boy from South Central who grew up with African Americans and Latinos dreaming of one day making it in life. The older I get, the more I’m able to grasp how lucky I am to be on this earth and to have friends, siblings who care about me. Most importantly a mother  who’s been my number one fan from day one.  The person who’s sacrificed her life in order for my siblings and I to have food in our table. I don’t write for the compliments. I write because a great teacher by the name of Mr. Edwards once taught me the importance of expressing our thoughts with words. 14 years later, that advice  still resonates in my head.
“if you’re going to  be successful, you have to be willing to give up sleep!! You have to be willing to work on 3 hours of sleep 2 hours. If you really want to be successful, some days you’re going to have to stay up 3 days in a row! Because if you go to sleep, you might miss the opportunity to be successful! That’s how bad you gotta want it! Don’t Quit! You’re already in pain, might as well get a reward!!!”
How bad do you want it? I want it bad. Some of you say you want it bad but not as bad as you want to party. Like a performing enhancing drug, people want the easy and fast way. It doesn’t work that way. If you’ve made it this far, you’re interested in my thoughts and I can only hope I’ve inspired you in a small way.
There’s always light at the end of the tunnel.
Moisés Linares

Back in my day

Back in my day

Today one of the most popular lines you hear old folks saying is usually “back in my day” in reference to when they were young. Yes, times have changed and they keep changing as many of us might have noticed. While some change with time, others simply question where our society is heading. Momentarily when I sit in retrospect and remember my childhood, I recall a discipline I can hardly see other parents practice in present time.

The generations behind us have lost the morals that many of our parents implemented. What can we do? Is not breaking news to find out that many of our young generations in the United States are having children. They are having them at a rate faster than the meat industry produces meat. Children having children is what I like to call it because the truth is that having a child and raising one is a hard task. You might be asking where this topic came from, it’s indeed out of my jurisdiction.

I come from a generation of playing sports and being outdoors, hiking and playing soccer on Saturdays and Sundays. My punishments consisted of losing the privilege of playing the sport that I most love, soccer (Besides the belt.) Today I look around and see young children with on the go video games. You no longer have to be a couch potato at home, you now have the opportunity to be a potato in the car.

This might be the reason why America has the largest number of obese kids in the world. Lazy parents who don’t cook and buy fast food every day which simply contributes to this epidemic. I recall my mothers stories of   walking miles for a bucket of water. It’s truly sad to see how our world keeps changing. I believe change should help us become better and not lazier.

Technology

We can’t completely blame technology for the direction we are heading in. This problem mostly occurs in the U.S. The rest of the world seems to still believe in old traditions, people still walk to most of their destinations or use public transportation. While people in the states drive to places or have things delivered. Can you blame these people for being in the group of unhealthy people in the world? There’s many reasons why we are where we are as a country. The question becomes, “Where does this begin and where does it end?”

The answer has always been simple and right in front of us, we simply choose to turn the other cheeck and pretend not see things happening. Your problem begins and ends at home. Although most of the time it only begins and it never ends, it just keeps going and progressing through future generations.

What I’m about to say is completely illegal, I don’t suggest you do any of the following to be clear. As a kid I grew up in a household where discipline and manners were the number one rule. The belt was the number one enemy at times. The belt symbolized that you had broken the rules of the house in the worse way possible. Yet my mother was never big on public exhibition. She simply gave you the look and whispered, “When we get home!” Now, many of my African American friends and Latino friends could relate to those words. When my mother was in a good mood my siblings and I would get a lecture, but we always exceeded expectation therefore we got the belt with full benefits.

My mother always said it was out of love, so she thought. My butt surely disagreed with her but I knew mom was right and I was wrong. I must admit one of the punishment I hated the most was going to the corner and getting on my knees for around an hour with my hands up in the air. That usually worked and I thought about doing things twice. I love my mother for all the things she did and has done for me. I no longer get punishments, I get lectures and life stories that I carry inside for when I have to correct my children in the future. My mother like most Latina mothers didn’t believe in “Go to your room.”  I could only imagine an answer like  “I hate you mom, you’re so not cool, I’m running away!” Those statements would have me toothless at a very young age.

Our change starts at home, it starts with us correcting our kids in a proper manner. Encouraging them to get out and play sports, getting involved with the community and socializing face to face. Yet again making smarter choices as parents and preventing our younger siblings and kids from being obese and bad behaved. I’m not super dad, but it does bother me seeing little children talk back to their parents, I wish my mother would pop out and say, “When we get home.” With the look of death she typically gave my siblings and I when we were kids. There’s too many people saying, “Where did I go wrong?” and not enough saying “Not in my watch buddy.”

No, my mother was not perfect, in all honesty there’s no perfect parent, they’ll commit mistakes and learn from them. Is our society changing? Yes. The problem is that is changing in the wrong direction. Imagine a generation of bad behaved children turning into parents and raising kids of their own, what then? There’s still time to change a lot of this. I wouldn’t be able to live in a world where parents taught their kids to shuffle instead of playing sports. “Please dear lord have mercy on us!”

Thank you for reading, please feel free to share on your favorite social media site. Follow me on Twitter: @mlinares10

World cup final

World cup final

By: Moises Linares

07/11/10

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It’s the day of the World Cup Final and all of Johannesburg is counting down the hours before the game. Fans from all over the world start making their way to Soccer City Stadium.

Massive waves of orange on one side and waves of red on the other start coming together. For a minute all you can see is a street with orange and red and nothing else.

As you walk, you can see fans from both countries carrying their flags and waving them in the air. It’s the biggest day of the tournament. South Africa will witness a new champion.

Making it inside the stadium to watch the game seems merely impossible, as you won’t find a ticket for less then one thousand dollars. For everyone without a ticket the best option is the fan fest. In this occasion I had to join the fan fest festivities.

The location I visited was next to ‘Nelson Mandela Square’ in Sandton, 20 minutes from Soccer City stadium. As I make my way to the fan fest, I meet some local kids that are heading the same way. I asked them whom they were rooting for and they answered “we just want a good game.” In the end it is what everyone wants from Spain and the Netherlands.

We enter the fan fest that is already packed with a few thousand people enjoying the concert by a band called ‘Watershed.’ To the rhythm of good music, the crowd at the festival is starting to explode in euphoria, the cheers resemble a stadium at full capacity.

In a matter of seconds, the festival is almost at capacity with close to 15 thousand people in attendance. Everyone is focused on the giant big screen Television, when all of a sudden Nelson Mandela or better-known ‘Madiba’ appears. The crowd goes nuts and thousands rise to their feet to chant his name.

I stand as well and join in the chant of a man that has changed what this country (South Africa) is today. Chills run down my spine and I notice how big of a hero this man is to this country. Black and white united and cheering the presence of ‘Madiba’ in the biggest sporting event in the world.

After a while everyone sits down and the big game begins. It’s the moment everyone has been waiting for all week. Holland versus Spain, it’s finally here and the thousand in attendance are enjoying it to the fullest.

The anxieties start running high as each team starts creating a few clear chances to score. It was incredible to see ‘Dutch’ fans and ‘Spaniards’ sitting side-by-side enjoying the big final together. The clock starts to tick and the score remains the same and without goals. After 90 minutes we are heading to over time for the second world Cup in a row.

Everything seems to indicate we are going to witness another penalty shoot out in a final. When all of a sudden FC Barcelona star Andres Iniesta receives a ball in the box and finishes the match. A great goal and a great ending to match that will be remembered, 1-0 Spain is victorious. The country with the best football is victorious and the fan fest exploded in ecstasy when Howard Webb blew the final whistle.

There were hugs and kisses everywhere, chants of “Spain, Spain” as people jumped out of joy. History was made as Spain finally conquered their first World Cup after 19 tournaments and a lot of disappointments.

South Africa brought the best in Spain and the people loved it. The fan fest was merely a reflection of what was going on in Soccer City Stadium. Yet South Africa closed the night with a new World Cup champion and the people closed it with a lot of celebration. This marks the end of the World Cup in South Africa and the official countdown to Brazil 2014.

From Johannesburg Moises Linares signing off.

Bilbao made a statement in Old Trafford

Bilbao has taken a step closer to making history after defeating Manchester United 3-2 in Old Trafford.

In a game that will go down as one of Bilbao’s best matches in recent history, Marcelo Bielsa has begun making his mark in Europe. Sir Alex Ferguson had stated that Athletic Bilbao should not be taken lightly, but what was to come, was not seen by anyone. Experts said that Bilbao was capable of a draw or a 1-0 defeat playing away.

Nevertheless, Bielsa like the mastermind that he is, had a different idea on how to approach this match. The Argentine came in to Old Trafford determined to make history with the Spanish Club. A team that was once big in ‘La Liga’ many decades ago. Today, Bilbao and the rest of the league, live in the shadows of Barcelona and Real Madrid who dominate the table.

Wayne Rooney gave the red devils the expected 1-0 lead 22 minutes in to the match. Bilbao would find the equalizer through Spanish sensation, Fernando Llorente one minute before the end of the half. A Llorente who’s been on fire this season for Bilbao, a spectacular season many credit Bielsa for. Rumors circulating are already stating the Llorente might exit the club during the summer transfer window. The way the big striker is playing, it would be difficult to keep him at Bilbao.

Both teams went in to the break with a 1-1 draw, what was to come was surely unexpected by anyone at Old Trafford. With a 4-3-3 formation, Bilbao unleashed a wave of attacks that had United on the ropes. After searching for the second goal, Oscar de Marcos would find the back of the net to put Athletic Bilbao up 2-1. The silence in Old Trafford was inevitable. Bilbao was the better team, the team attacking, the one fighting for every single possession.

The only thing preventing Manchester United from disaster, was David de Gea, who’s performance was astounding for the red devils. United’s keeper had three saves before Bilbao’s third goal. 19 year old Iker Muniain would make it 3-1 after a defending mistake from Rafael. The game seemed to be over with a well deserve victory coming Bilbao’s way. Unlikely for the “Vascos,’ a hand ball would give United a penalty kick that gave Ferguson some optimism for the returning leg in Spain. Rooney would put the penalty kick away, in order to make it 3-2.

“It has been an unforgettable game,” said Fernando Llorente who knows Bilbao is a step closer to making history. A club who’s forgotten the taste of victory in all competitions. Bilbao has won ‘La Liga’ on 8 occasions, and the ‘Copa del Rey’ 23 different times. Although the club is currently passing through an almost 30 year drought. With the arrival of Bielsa, Bilbao has found themselves in the ‘ Copa del Rey’ final once again. Where they will meet giants Barcelona, a team they went toe to toe during the first round of the regular season.

Today Bilbao went head to head with another giant, the “Vascos” travelled to Old Trafford and stole a win from Rooney and company. Not even Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez could save United against Bielsa and his boys. Next week both teams meet again in Spain, Bilbao could start making a statement in Europe for the first time in club history.

Follow me on Twitter @mlinares10

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