Bull Riders Call Charlotte Arena’s Political Correctness ‘BS’

bull-riderThe bull riders were ready to pack up their saddles and head off toward the sunset.  Even the world’s toughest athletes can only take so much bull***t.

For some reason Charlotte, NC is seeking the title of “Most Politically Correct City in the USA,”  and just can’t seem to stop poking itself in the eye.  This summer Charlotte found its first brush with worldwide fame – not for any positive accomplishment, but for passing a city law that allows men to use women’s rest rooms, locker rooms, or any other private facilities.  And vice versa, although I don’t understand why women would prefer the nastiness of some of the men’s rooms I have encountered.  Anyway, the city law was so stupid that the governor had to step in and overrule it with a state law before things got really crazy, like men choosing to compete in women’s sports, and lechers hanging out in the girls’ locker room at the YMCA.  As a result, the city and state are being blacklisted by politically correct entertainers, athletic event organizers, etc.  But I digress.

Last weekend the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) came to town for the Charlotte Invitational.  If you have ever watched a PBR event, you know that these are the roughest, toughest hombres in the world of sports.  Their idea of Friday night fun is climbing on top of a 2,000 pound animal named Perfect Poison that was specifically bred to be mean as a rattlesnake and tough as a . . . well, a bull – and try to stay on for 8 seconds.  And then not get stomped to death.

These are not the kind of guys who are politically correct.  In fact it would be fair to say they are pretty strong-willed, especially when it comes to love of God and country.

border-patrol-at-charlotte-pbrSo when the manager of the Spectrum Center told PBR head honcho Sean Gleason that he could not have the U.S. Customs and Border Agents present the flag before his event because they carry guns, Gleason threatened to shut down the show.

Gleason wrote on his Facebook page:

“As Federal Agents working in an official capacity, they are not allowed to ‘surrender’ their firearms to anyone, especially a security guard working at an arena in Charlotte, NC!! That included the color guard who were presenting the American flag to our fans for the anthem.  What should have been a two-minute conversation with the GM of the building turned into a 1½ hour runaround involving lawyers and the most insane arguments and reasoning I have ever heard.”

One minute before the event was to begin, the arena manager relented, allowing the Border Agents to enter the arena, albeit with a police escort.

At least half (I think a lot more) of Americans see this kind of lunacy (allowing men in womens’ rest rooms, and not allowing professional law enforcement officers to enter a building with their weapons) and wonder if the other half is drunk, crazy, evil, or all the above.  Thank God there are still some no-nonsense guys like the PBR cowboys who are willing to take a stand against this politically-correct BS.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Well the one hand hold is all you got
It’s you and the bull against the clock and a cross crowd
And once upon a spinnin’ ton
Nothin’ else you’ve ever done can pull this way

Bull Rider – Johnny Cash


Pro Athletes, Show Some Respect!

Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

I’m a big sports fan.  And a big patriot.

I know not everybody thinks it is necessary, or even appropriate, to ask thousands of fans to stand and honor the flag and our nation before a sporting event.  I have mixed emotions about it myself.   A while back I asked why US sports venues so frequently play the Canadian national anthem before an event in our country, yet you will never hear the Star Spangled Banner before a CFL (Canadian Football League) game even though many of the players (all of the best ones) are from the United States.

This week the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA championship series.  Before each game – like every professional sports event in the United States –  there was the singing of our national anthem.  I really enjoyed this year’s NBA Finals anthem presentations.  Carlos Santana played a beautiful rendition on his PRS guitar, albeit patiently condoning his wife’s pathetic attempt to accompany him on drums. The two Metallica guitarists shredded a heavy-metal version of the SSB and it was surprisingly authentic, rich, patriotic and satisfying. Marlana VanHoose, a blind and palsied 19-year old singer captivated the audience with her powerful rendition of the national anthem.

Still, I am disappointed every time I attend or watch an NBA game when most of the players look down at their shoes, showing either indifference, disrespect, or perhaps contempt for the flag, our anthem, and the nation that made each of them fabulously wealthy.  Who knows what the motivation is – they may be making a political statement, or they may just be getting focused on the game ahead.  Regardless, would it be so hard to at least look up at the flag?

The photo above is a typical NBA pre-game presentation.  My review of a different photograph taken before game 5 showed two of the twelve Golden State Warriors, David Lee and Draymond Green, standing at attention during the national anthem.  A third, James Michael McAdoo, who was brought up from the D-league and did not even get on the floor during the finals, actually placed his hand over his heart.  The other nine players stared at the floor and shuffled.

Here are the guaranteed contracts of these nine players:

  • Klay Thompson – $72 million
  • Andrew Bogut – $36 million
  • Andre Igoudala – $35 million
  • Stephen Curry – $34 million
  • Shaun Livingston – $14 million
  • Harrison Barnes – $7 million
  • Mareese Speights – $4 million
  • Festus Ezeli – $3 million
  • Leandro Barbosa – $1.5 million

Yes, I have mixed emotions about the coerced patriotism at every major league sporting event.  I question whether it is sincere patriotism or pandering.  Especially after learning that NFL teams, despite the outrageous money players and owners make, actually charged taxpayers millions of dollars for the “privilege” of having our service branches perform flag ceremonies before games.

The decision whether to present a patriotic moment before a game is, to my thinking, up to the home team and the league.  If they wish to do so, based on honest intentions, I’m good with that.  If not, I have no complaint.

The NBA has chosen to have a patriotic ceremony before each game.  And it seems to me that the nine employees listed above, and the hundreds or thousands of other professional athletes who earn millions of dollars playing a game they love in front of people who pay their salaries and pay for their arenas with tax dollars, could at least show a little respect to the country to whom they owe their success.

James Michael McAdoo, you didn’t even get to touch the game ball in the finals.  But I salute you, above and beyond all the other NBA Champion Golden State Warriors.  By showing respect to our country, you are more than just a Warrior – you are a Patriot.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Find out what it means to me!
Take care, TCB!

Respect – Aretha Franklin

A young and slender Aretha belts it out!

And here is my very own cover!

Our Nation Nearly Committed Suicide

Today is Independence Day. It typically brings to mind the bravery and wisdom of the founding fathers of our nation, and rightfully so.

But today I am mindful of the bravery and wisdom of the men who fought and died to preserve our nation at a time when its future was hanging by a thread.

Hospital-Field-Civil-WarYou might know that 700,000 American men died in the Civil War.  You probably have heard anecdotes about how ugly and brutal the battles were.  As I grow older I am more somberly aware of the toll the war took on our nation and its people.  I recently viewed the movie “Lincoln”, and it was sobering, to say the least.

While there weren’t a lot of battle scenes in that movie, I was reminded of an old question for which I never sought the answer:  why do cannonballs explode when they hit the ground in movie war scenes?  Isn’t a cannonball just a solid ball of steel or iron?

So I did a little research, and learned:  don’t believe everything you see in the movies.

The Civil War was called “the last of the ancient wars and the first of the modern wars”, because the military tactics included old-fashioned cannon, muskets, and close-rank troop formations as well as new innovations in guns and cartridges, iron-clad ships, and advanced ordnance.

Old-style cannonballs were solid balls of metal, 3″ to 6″ in diameter, that could be fired as far as a mile.  Obviously a cannonball can knock down a wall or sink a ship.  For anti-personnel purposes, cannon were fired into columns or masses of troops at a low trajectory, and would bounce along a deadly path with gruesome effect.  A typical cannon shot could blast through up to forty men, knocking off arms, legs and heads as it passed, with no warning.  Imagine the fear it lodged in the gut of a young soldier.

Just before the onset of the war, a British Army officer named Henry Schrapnel invented an even more efficient artillery weapon.  He called it “spherical case” ammunition – a hollow cannon ball filled with lead shot and a timed explosive that would cause it to explode above ground, blasting lethal projectiles in every direction.   His name defines the deadly metal pieces engineered into bombs and shells even today.

As I learn more about the ugliness of war and its place in our U.S. history, I reflect on the patriotism, honor, and bravery that our ancestors carried into battle.  Not just those who fought the British and forged our great nation, but also those who stepped up to save the union at a time when it nearly committed suicide, and the healing that God makes possible between seemingly intractable enemies.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Well, he was just 18, proud and brave,
But a Yankee laid him in his grave.
I swear by the blood below my feet,
You can’t raise a Caine back up
When it’s in defeat.

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down – the Band

RIP – Levon Helm

American Patriotism – born 7/4/1776, died 11/6/2012

graveyardAmerican Patriotism died on November 6, 2012, after a long battle with complications of liberalism.

Born in 1776, in the thirteen colonies of the United States of America, Patriotism was a major contributor to the rapid growth and success of the nation.  Because of Patriotism, citizens sacrificed for their country, and took great pride in their joint accomplishments.  The United States became a beacon for democracy, personal freedom, and opportunity and led the world in economic and technological advances.   Over the course of his life, American Patriotism caused millions of proud US men and women to join the fight to save other nations from tyranny.

In Patriotism’s declining years, the concept of “fairness”, where all citizens shared in the work and cost of running a nation, as well as the rewards, was replaced by a culture in which a shrinking group of workers was expected to take full responsibility for the welfare of everyone else.

On December 5, Detroit city councilwoman and former mayor JoAnn Watson presented the eulogy at Patriotism’s funeral.  She spoke eloquently on behalf of the liberals of the United States, extolling their leader, President Obama, to take money from those who have earned it, and give it to those who have not, merely because they voted for him.

“Our people in an overwhelming way supported the re-election of this president and there ought to be a quid pro quo and you ought to exercise leadership on that . . .  After the election of Jimmy Carter, the honorable Coleman Alexander Young, he went to Washington, D.C. He came home with some bacon,” said Watson. “That’s what you do.”

Patriotism is survived by Shameless Greed, Selfish Laziness, and Blissful Ignorance.  He was preceded in death by Personal Dignity, Christian Values and Responsible Media.

The monument reads,

American Patriotism
1776 – 2012
“Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You
Ask What You Can Do For Your Country” – JFK

Aside from a group of veterans, the funeral was sparsely attended, and prayer was not allowed.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side
“Kathy, I’m lost,” I said, though I knew she was sleeping
I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all gone to look for America

America – Simon and Garfunkle

I Pledge Allegiance – to the Maple Leaf?

Saskatchewan RoughridersMy son and I are big CFL (Canadian Football League) fans.  We make the long drive from our Montana home to Regina, SK for a game every summer, and listen to our beloved Roughriders on the web.

The Rider fans are amazing – they paint the town green for every home game.  They yell and scream and guzzle Molson Canadian beer, and wear watermelons on their heads.  It’s about as fun a football atmosphere as you could want (well, except for the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium).  And the Canadian rules make for a fast and furious game of football (“He’s at the fifty!  the fifty-five!  and down at the 53-yard line!”)

But that’s not what this blog is aboot (Canadian for “about”), eh?

Whenever we attend a Canadian football game, or listen on the internet, I can’t help but notice that they always play O Canada, the Canadian national anthem, but then never play the Star Spangled Banner.   Never.  The same is true at a Canadian hockey game, baseball game, or any other public event.  They never recognize the US.

By rule, 19 of the 42 players on any CFL team are from the United States.  Obviously, there are not that many good Canadian native football players.  The best players are all from the US, as are the coaches.  Canadians love their football, but it is an American game.  Still, there is never any recognition of the United States at any CFL game.  No flag.  No national anthem. Nothing.  It’s all about Canada.

Now, I don’t have a problem with this.  Really.  It’s their country, it’s their league, they are very patriotic about it, and more power to them.  The Canadian fans welcome my son and I as a curiosity, and frankly as “football experts from the States, eh?”  Our celebrity status is very cool, just like that great Canadian beer.

What I don’t understand is this:  last weekend my band played music for three nights at the fantastic rodeo weekend in Augusta, MT, and we enjoyed watching the rodeo on Sunday.  In addition to the athletic prowess and the terrific Western atmosphere, there was a lot of pageantry and patriotism.  As far as I know, there were no Canadian participants in the event.  There may have been a couple of Canadian spectators.  Still, the rodeo officials made a big deal of riding the Canadian maple leaf flag around the arena, and playing O Canada before our national anthem.


Even stranger than that, about HALF of the spectators stood there with hands over their hearts for the Canadian anthem!  Like they were pledging allegiance to Canada!


Here in Lewistown we have local drag races on summer weekends.  What a great American event!  Vintage American Chevies and Fords,  classic Beach Boys music – it just doesn’t get better.  So why the heck do we have to listen to O Canada before our own precious Star Spangled Banner?  I mean, I like Bachman Turner Overdrive as well as the next guy, but hey!  This is American Drag Racing!

I don’t think the Canucks need to pay homage to the US at their events.  But I also don’t think “O Canada” is required at ours.

Tom Balek, Rockin’ On the Right Side

American Woman, Stay Away from Me! – the Guess Who