about j. cross
  J. Cross was born and raised Southern, where he was, at one time, a journalist in Mississippi. He hung out in Pennsylvania for a bit, and now, he makes his home in St. Louis, Missouri. Through his essays, Cross seeks to explore meanings and to somehow make a difference that will make a difference.  
T-Mac's Blues
Imagine if T-Mac knew how to sing the blues.
I said, imagine if Tracy McGrady sang the blues.
If he could, I tell ya', that cat wouldn't never lose.
I know. I know. It's hard to feel sorry for multi-millionaires. Hard to feel bad for dudes with so much money and honey. Like, even though T-Mac's team was eliminated from the playoffs, he'll be ok. In terms of the house he lives in, the checks he banks, the car he drives, all that jazz, T-Mac'll be just fine. So we don't have to cry for him. But, then there is something else.
For now, for the sake of argument, suspend your thoughts (and envy) of those cats' with mad loot. For now, just think of T-Mac as the kind of dude that puts in hard work but can't never get a raise. The kind of dude that for some reason or another just gets held back. The kind of dude that might sing something like:
Long as I can remember, I been working overtime,
Yeah, long as I can remember, I been working overtime
But I ain't got no raise, cant got no extra dime.
Of course I recognize that for our generation of b-ball players, the dominant soundtrack is hip hop. Not the blues. But listen: what I'm making right now is what those professional counselors call "a strategic intervention." (that's kinda like what you and I would call a "break beat.") You see, hip hop isn't old and rusty enough, ain't been bruised enough to speak to the hard times a cat like T-Mac having out there in the game.
So let's chill on the hip hop tip for two seconds and apply a blues ethos to T-Mac. The blues, you know, would really let us put McGrady's hard times into context. You'd need that blues form cause it's less about the bling-bling of Manhattan and more about the muddy waters of Mississippi. The blues speaks more directly to those "better-luck-next-time black man" life lessons that T-Mac's getting every year in the playoffs.
No matter what I do, Mr. Hard Times just wont go away.
No matter what I do y'all, Mister Hard Times wont go away.
I out ran him once, but then his cousin Tough Luck was coming my way.
You see what I'm saying. That laugh-to-keep-from-crying aura that defines the blues might be the thing T-Mac needs during the off-season as he's thinking about one more of those "close-but-not-close-enough" playoff victories. Another big time let-down. He could get together with Allen Iverson and Jason Kidd and Vince Carter and certainly Grant Hill. Them cats and the blues would be so good together.
The blues would sit'em down and say "listen lil brothers, losing ain't some bad moment stone; it's a fact of life hill. Get over it." The blues would be telling'em, "you think you got it bad young bloods. Naaah. If I had yo worse day, I'd swear I was living a breezy dream. If I had yo worse day, I'd thank God for letting me live so good."
Those cats would listen, laugh, and respond to blues' call:
Unh-hunh, it ain't so good, but then it ain't so bad.
It ain't so good right now, but it ain't so bad.
We gon take a lesson from the blues and work through feelin' sad.
Yeah, they'd have a good ol time, them b-ball cats and the blues. They'd be wringing their hands tightly around pain. They'd get Ralph Ellison-like, "squeezing…a near-tragic, near-comic lyricism" from their experiences. That's what they'd do. And then perhaps…
you and I could take up T-Mac's Blues.
yeah, you and me, would join in T-Mac's Blues
If we did, I tell ya', we wouldn't never lose.
in the struggle, peace...
J Cross
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