Monday, March 23, 2009
It's about teamwork
There is something most people don't know about me. I'm shy. I really am, you probably can't tell from my writing. I have to get really comfortable around someone and then they say "Geez, when we met you was so shy now you don't shut up." I admit, after I am comfy I talk, get sarcastic and say dumb things for self entertainment. My aunt once said, "I never knew you was funny."
I was like "What? You grew up around me and never knew the charm??" Just teasing, but for real, I am shy. I used to know answers at school and never raised my hand, never turned in my paper first, I was just always shy and didn't like to show off, writing is easier. In fact I used to always be picked to go to the spelling contest at Porcupine School every year and I always chose written, until one year my 4th grade teacher who hated me and was so mean said I had to enter the oral division. I was so mad. I hate speaking publicly but I made it to second place. I will forever hate the 3 letter word that took me out to that little witch that smiled when I spelled gem;J-E-M. My shyness and fear of public speaking followed me in college when I had to give a presentation in a classroom of like 40. The presentation was on what was important in our lives and it was a women's college, and every girl there cried when speaking about boyfriends at home and whatnot. I was 30 years old amongst all these 18 and 19 year old chicks, so I let them think that my presentation made me cry when really I cried over the fear of speaking publicly. (I was shaking, yo.)
Anyway I only meant to write about how it is to be Lakota and just confessed what a wuss I am, although if it icomes down to the written word, I am Jedi-like. I just thought of these thoughts the other day after a conversation with one of my inspirations for writing. My mom. She was saying she had watched the Crusaders on SDPBS website, since she is in Oklahoma, and she had mentioned hearing one of the broadcasters talk about our reservation and what a basketball oriented area the reservation is. We then went to talk about how kids around here will play in their backyards, on the streets and anywhere they can put up a basketball goal. Many times there will be no net, but these little kids will all be playing and talking about the local high school players as if they are NBA players, pretending to be them. I remembered that when I was younger, not that I was ever at all athletic (Although I have an outstanding record at rock,paper,scissors.) I remembered other kids on the playground pretending they were high school players from the early 80's and then when I was in high school, I remembered them pretending to be some of my classmates. Basketball is not only a passion here but it also teaches our youth a way of life as a Lakota.
That's what it comes down to. My mom reminded me of that when she mentioned that about the broadcaster saying that our reservation was basketball oriented. She said, " It's not just basketball, it's our way of life. It always has been."
We discussed it further and she had mentioned a familiar scenario with me. She said that when she used to go to Parent Teacher conferences with my younger brothers and sisters the teachers used to tell her "Your kids are quiet, well behaved, but they never raise their hand, yet if I call on them, they always know the answer. Why do you think they won't raise their hand?" I had heard that before at the various schools my kids had gone to off the reservations. My mom simply told her "Even though my kid didn't grow up on the reservation and around their people, they still carry the values. They are not about excelling as an individual, they are more into helping each every individual out as one team."
We discussed how this affected us today and back in the day. Even though it seems that as parents, we don't pass this down, it must be instilled in us from generations before. Our lives are like long ago, we support one another, or we know that we are supposed to. We had to help each other, work together, as a people to even survive. This trait has somehow survived throughout the generations, we are not about ourselves as an individual, but we are about us as a people...as Lakota.
And that is why all the legendary basketball teams in the state are from the Pine Ridge Reservation.
As a Lakota people, let's never lose that.