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Offline Pack93z  
#1 Posted : Monday, July 1, 2013 10:28:35 AM(UTC)
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I don't often agree with Whitlock and his over the top takes.. even here it is somewhat mixed. But there is no doubt about it, he probably is the one writer that can put it out there.

Firestorm of backlash to begin in 3... 2...

Quote:
Hernandez a case whose time has come


It would be a mistake to dismiss the monstrous allegations facing Aaron Hernandez as an aberration that says nothing about American sports and American society.

Aaron Hernandez, the 23-year-old former Patriots tight end who police claim orchestrated an execution, is, if the allegations are true, a natural byproduct of a culture pervasively diseased by corruption.

He is, in my eyes, a symbol that popular culture has installed Tony Soprano as America’s most celebrated and revered icon above Joe Montana.

Let me explain. For nearly two decades, I’ve been writing columns detailing the impact on the sports world of popular culture’s glamorization of prison/gangster/hip-hop culture.

There was a time when mythologized caricatures of Babe Ruth, Joe Louis, Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron and Johnny Unitas were the most important influencers of American culture. There was nothing cooler and more respected than being a red-white-and-blue sports star. Movie stars and singers wanted to be in the company of America’s best and bravest athletes. Celebrities mimicked celebrity athletes.

Athletic culture trumped Hollywood culture.

This is no longer the case. Jay-Z, a rapper who glorifies his former life as a drug dealer, has far more cultural influence than LeBron James. Jay-Z is this generation’s Joe D, and Beyonce is Marilyn Monroe.

Al Capone is a bigger deal than Babe Ruth.

Aaron Hernandez is a reflection of where we are as a society. Like Allen Iverson and an endless plethora of fatherless and directionless modern athletes since the end of Michael Jordan’s reign, Hernandez saw his athletic gifts as a platform to represent where he was from, not where he hoped to go.


This is what a 40-year drug war, mass incarceration, a steady stream of Mafia movies, three decades of gangster rap and two decades of reality TV have wrought: athletes who covet the rebellious and marketable gangster persona.

Hernandez is the most extreme example. He apparently moonlighted as a professional football player while perfecting his role as Christopher Moltisanti, Tony Soprano’s boneheaded nephew.

But we should not be shocked that a professional athlete possibly crossed the line into sociopathic killer. The unhealthy side effects of drug prohibition and popular culture have made murderous drug dealers respected members of American society. Random, murderous violence and the people who commit those crimes have been normalized in America, thanks in large part to popular culture.

We all loved and respected Tony Soprano. This is why James Gandolfini’s death was such a big story. We did not know Gandolfini. We knew Tony. To some degree, we all wanted to be Big T.

I am not surprised to learn that a 23-year-old professional athlete covered in tattoos is linked to several violent acts, including “accidently” shooting a man in the face. Modern athletes carry guns. They do drugs. They mimic rappers and gangster pop-culture icons.

Athletes want street cred, and they costume themselves in whatever is necessary to get it. Nike, Reebok, Adidas, etc., were the first to recognize the importance of authentic street cred when it came selling product to American youth.

There was a financial incentive for Allen Iverson not to evolve beyond his Tupac Shakur imitation.

It was only a matter of time before some athlete was accused of imitating Tony Soprano. The gangster influence in our society is that strong.

Aaron Hernandez is not Rae Carruth or O.J. Simpson. Carruth and Simpson were accused of committing crimes of passion, emotion and greed. They had motives. Hernandez is being described by police as simply violent, volatile and dangerous. He’s Joe Pesci’s character in the movie “Casino.”

This is not written to suggest that athletes of the previous generation were angels and choir boys. They weren’t. It’s written to argue that athletes of the previous generations belonged to an athletic culture that sat atop American pop culture. There was no incentive for Hank Aaron to acquire street cred. He was the gold standard.

Jay-Z is the new gold standard. The whole sports world played along with Jigga Man’s charade of NBA ownership. Now Kevin Durant and other athletes are flocking to Hova’s sports agency. An unrepentant, flamboyant former drug dealer has the White House, President Obama-stamped seal of approval.

Proving we learn nothing from our history, drug prohibition has legitimized the drug dealer the same way alcohol prohibition legitimized bootleggers (Joseph Kennedy). You let corrupt people make enough money and eventually they’ll use their wealth, power and influence to bait others into participating in and rationalizing their corrupt actions.

Bad is good in today’s society. Walter White and Marlo Stanfield are heroes. Incarcerating people for profit is a legitimate form of business. It’s this cesspool that allowed Aaron Hernandez to hide out in the open.

Hernandez did not hide who he was. He reportedly threatened Wes Welker. Matt Light, a former Patriot, made it clear in a newspaper interview he could easily see Hernandez’s character flaws. A dozen NFL franchises took him off their draft boards based on their investigation of his behavior at Florida.

When he stood in chains before a judge at his arraignment, in a white T-shirt and his arms decorated in ink, Hernandez did not look out of place. Guilty or innocent, he looked like someone who had prepared for this moment. He didn’t look like an athlete. He looked like an ex-con.

Like nearly everything else in this society, athlete culture has been hijacked by mass incarceration and the pervasive gangster culture it has produced. Mindless rebellion is not a part of sports culture. Sports culture is steeped in patriotism and the ideals and values we claim make this the greatest country in the world. It’s not by accident the national anthem is played before every sporting event.

Rappers and musicians are rebels. They look normal in prison tattoos and white Ts.

We can no longer distinguish bad from good. We no longer even aspire to be good; it has considerably less value. That’s what Aaron Hernandez represents, to me. Popular culture has so eroded the symbolic core principles at the root of America’s love affair with sports that many modern athletes believe their allegiance to gangster culture takes precedence over their allegiance to the sports culture that made them rich and famous.

Aaron Hernandez wanted to be Christopher Moltisanti more than he wanted to be Kellen Winslow. Sounds crazy until you look around and see there are 1,000 times more aspiring Kim Kardashians than Hillary Clintons.
I think when there's enough will and aggression, there's no shortage of talent either.

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Offline texaspackerbacker  
#2 Posted : Monday, July 1, 2013 10:52:31 AM(UTC)
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Uh No ......... You and/or the article are wrong. This Hernandez thing IS just an ABERRATION. I would take nothing away from the BADNESS of his crimes - assuming the allegations are basically true, but it is not and should not be an indictment of anybody or anything beyond his evil self.

Athletes? Hell No - I would guess there is a MUCH lower crime rate - known and unknown - among them, if not for reasons of morality, at least because they have so much to live for and so much to lose.

Hispanic Athletes? No evidence of any pattern of badness

Hispanics in General? No causation of being Hispanic to his crimes except the gang thing which should be condemned, but certainly is not limited to Hispanics

The American Culture? Come On! You said yourself, this writer is often "over the top"; Well, the crap he spewed is a great example of that. Yeah, all those influences are out there, but to really believe that Americans in any significant numbers are idiotic enough to succumb to emulating whatever bad icon or influence you want to pick is kinda ridiculous.

More than anything else, this Hernandez case is likely just another in a long long line of bad people killing bad people. In general, life, people, America are all pretty safe and secure from THIS kind of thing IF they just have the good sense - as the huge majority do - to avoid bad things like drugs and bad people like gangs - and it ain't that hard. And lest anybody pounce on my saying how safe and secure we are, terrorism is a whole other thing and a whole other discussion, and what I say here shouldn't be applied to that.
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Offline OlHoss1884  
#3 Posted : Monday, July 1, 2013 10:57:44 AM(UTC)
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Since the disillusionment with Americans with their institutions that began in the 60's, there has always been and will always be a culture of people embracing the "anti". The difference between someone who is frustrated or disillusioned and someone who becomes a serious thug has a lot to do with how they, the individual are raised and the choices they make as individuals. The are always more productive ways to protest, and other paths to follow where you can be a non-conformist, or to conform to a group that isn't so self-destructive. As culture has changed over the last 50 years, it isn't like there has been no help available, no outreach, no opportunity for an Aaron Hernandez. Hell, the NFL itself has been holding the rookie symposium for the last dozen years specifically to prevent people from following in the footsteps of a Ray Lewis or Pacman Jones.

Author and mythology expert Joseph Campbell once said a big problem in today's world is that the people least equipped to create their own mythology...their own rules and value system, are the ones most often doing it. i.e. young people in the gang culture. While I think all of us have a certain sympathy for someone who falls into a bad crowd folling the death of his father, I don't think society itself is the least to blame when for many years an Aaron Hernandez had a support system and people reaching out to him to offer him a new way of life, and he pissed it all away because he was unwilling to compromise his "values" for the sake of making a better life for himself and those who he values.

Without having to do a 180 on who we are it IS possible to check our egos at the door to an extent and ask ourselves what kind of end we can expect if we follow the path we are on and whether some change is in order. It goes the same for an Aaron Henandez as it does for someone who joins a gang or sells drugs. Maybe you've got the life you want for now but even he great Al Capone's life was effectively over before he hit 40.
"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits" --Albert Einstein
Offline DakotaT  
#4 Posted : Monday, July 1, 2013 11:00:00 AM(UTC)
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I agree with Numbnuts, but I also recognize that our great and wonderful USA is a very violent country. Hernandez has only himself to blame and needs to take accountability. Instead of spending all his money on attorneys, he should just plead out and take care of his loved ones with whatever money is left.
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Offline texaspackerbacker  
#5 Posted : Monday, July 1, 2013 12:38:10 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: DakotaT Go to Quoted Post
I agree with Numbnuts, but I also recognize that our great and wonderful USA is a very violent country. Hernandez has only himself to blame and needs to take accountability. Instead of spending all his money on attorneys, he should just plead out and take care of his loved ones with whatever money is left.


I will make the huge leap to assuming by "numbnuts" you mean me hahahaha. That means we agreed on something twice in the same day. WOW, the earth must have jumped out of its orbit or something.

Just the same, I congratulate you for not automatically indicting America and good normal Americans.

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Offline DakotaT  
#6 Posted : Monday, July 1, 2013 5:40:24 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: texaspackerbacker Go to Quoted Post
I will make the huge leap to assuming by "numbnuts" you mean me hahahaha. That means we agreed on something twice in the same day. WOW, the earth must have jumped out of its orbit or something.

Just the same, I congratulate you for not automatically indicting America and good normal Americans.



I'd agree with you more if you weren't such a social caveman.

I never said people in America aren't accountable for their actions. My beef is the incredible uneven playing field we play on.
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Offline dfosterf  
#7 Posted : Monday, July 1, 2013 6:54:53 PM(UTC)
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Just wake up in the morning and do the right thing that day,

It's not that hard, and you will feel good the next morning you wake up.

Not much interested in modern societal norms, as they are flawed, and getting worse by the day. I rag on the Christians sometimes, but I habla that which they seek amongst themselves (laymen, attendees) and our fellow man... they bring an anchor of decency to the table.

Edited by user Monday, July 1, 2013 7:24:05 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Offline TheKanataThrilla  
#8 Posted : Monday, July 1, 2013 8:12:42 PM(UTC)
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I may not totally agree with the article but I do find that the statement "Hernandez saw his athletic gifts as a platform to represent where he was from, not where he hoped to go." has had a very significant truth in my opinion when it comes to many of these athletes.


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Offline texaspackerbacker  
#9 Posted : Monday, July 1, 2013 9:42:22 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: TheKanataThrilla Go to Quoted Post
I may not totally agree with the article but I do find that the statement "Hernandez saw his athletic gifts as a platform to represent where he was from, not where he hoped to go." has had a very significant truth in my opinion when it comes to many of these athletes.



That may well be true with regard to Hernandez, but it says nothing about a pattern of such thought and behavior by athletes.

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Offline texaspackerbacker  
#10 Posted : Monday, July 1, 2013 9:58:08 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: dfosterf Go to Quoted Post
Just wake up in the morning and do the right thing that day,

It's not that hard, and you will feel good the next morning you wake up.

Not much interested in modern societal norms, as they are flawed, and getting worse by the day. I rag on the Christians sometimes, but I habla that which they seek amongst themselves (laymen, attendees) and our fellow man... they bring an anchor of decency to the table.


Sorry, Gunny, but I have to take what amounts to a devil's advocate position here. Actually, I see your post as a little bit contradictory. You come out in favor of "getting up in the morning and doing the right thing" and Christian morals being that "anchor of decency", yet you are dismissive of "modern societal norms" which basically are the same thing.

Some of my early arguments were with my mother - she always was telling me to do "the right thing", and I used to say "who decides what's 'the right thing'?". When I get up in the morning, I'm already thinking of ways to beat the system. Dakota hates the rich, but he doesn't do anything but whine and rant. I PROUDLY do all I can to cheat the cheaters - government, big business, insurance, finance and credit companies - the assholes and assholic institutions which MAKE the playing field unlevel for good normal Joe Sixpack-type Americans. Sorry if my attitude is offensive or disappointing to anybody, but I just have never been able to get over having an US v. THEM/ Defy Authority kind of mentality. To me, THAT is "right".
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Offline OlHoss1884  
#11 Posted : Tuesday, July 2, 2013 12:16:27 AM(UTC)
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Maybe we're all wrong and it was the Blue Cotton Candy flavored Bubblicious that created Aaron Hernandez. He'd have been fine if he had been chawing grape bubble yum like any REAL American
"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits" --Albert Einstein
Offline texaspackerbacker  
#12 Posted : Tuesday, July 2, 2013 4:09:50 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: OlHoss1884 Go to Quoted Post
Maybe we're all wrong and it was the Blue Cotton Candy flavored Bubblicious that created Aaron Hernandez. He'd have been fine if he had been chawing grape bubble yum like any REAL American


Is that "grape" as in Johnny Jolly brand grape juice flavored?

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Offline Pack93z  
#13 Posted : Tuesday, July 2, 2013 5:26:51 AM(UTC)
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Of course America isn't liable for Hernandez's actions... every person makes their own choices in life. He is no different in that.

But the underlying point made in the article is simply this, it could be strongly argued that athletes are no longer the driving force in youths life today. It is not about the crime rate among athletes or stereotyping a tatted up athlete.

It is that hollyweird and the thug culture propped up by musics of several genres relates better to youth than sports figures. Where things like street cred and swag has over powered measures like ERA, RBI, YPC and Passer ratings.

And it is not like Hollyweird and music has increased its draw, it is the sports athletes, or should I say sports in general, are becoming more and more about the money and rules than about the actual competition they are designed to be based upon. And honestly it is that motivating factor that is helping drive it out of the focus because less and less parents can actually afford to take kids to a ball game.. or want to because the fan behavior (another societal issue). You can watch a game on the tele... but nothing.. I mean nothing is like catching a game in person.

Where I connect to the article is here.. sports is about humility, sportsmanship and abiding by the rules of competition.. it is about losing and winning with grace and pushing oneself to grow as a complete person.

The human race is better with sports as a tool to help teach our youth.. and a simple walk through the halls of our high school (yes even here in the sticks) you see more kids connecting to 50 cent and Snoop Dogg (or the favor of the month) than you see a group of kids talking about Verlander performance on a Sunday afternoon in Tiger Stadium throwing a 1 hitter and questioning the scoring on that lone hit.

My point.. America is transforming in my opinion.. one in which Justin Beiber's actions in his neighborhood draw more attention than actions upon a field someplace in America.

And why.. I have my opinion.. on in which directly relates to the parenting skills or/and effort of of today's society. We are as a whole more of a me first society than a society as a whole.. and that carries over into families as well. We are consumers and takers ... living on fiscal and societal credit from decades past.. regardless of the thought we are too big to fail.. sooner or later all credit runs out.

I might be wrong.. but it is how I view the direction of this country from 30,000 feet.
I think when there's enough will and aggression, there's no shortage of talent either.

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Offline texaspackerbacker  
#14 Posted : Tuesday, July 2, 2013 7:08:16 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Pack93z Go to Quoted Post
Of course America isn't liable for Hernandez's actions... every person makes their own choices in life. He is no different in that.

But the underlying point made in the article is simply this, it could be strongly argued that athletes are no longer the driving force in youths life today. It is not about the crime rate among athletes or stereotyping a tatted up athlete.

It is that hollyweird and the thug culture propped up by musics of several genres relates better to youth than sports figures. Where things like street cred and swag has over powered measures like ERA, RBI, YPC and Passer ratings.

And it is not like Hollyweird and music has increased its draw, it is the sports athletes, or should I say sports in general, are becoming more and more about the money and rules than about the actual competition they are designed to be based upon. And honestly it is that motivating factor that is helping drive it out of the focus because less and less parents can actually afford to take kids to a ball game.. or want to because the fan behavior (another societal issue). You can watch a game on the tele... but nothing.. I mean nothing is like catching a game in person.

Where I connect to the article is here.. sports is about humility, sportsmanship and abiding by the rules of competition.. it is about losing and winning with grace and pushing oneself to grow as a complete person.

The human race is better with sports as a tool to help teach our youth.. and a simple walk through the halls of our high school (yes even here in the sticks) you see more kids connecting to 50 cent and Snoop Dogg (or the favor of the month) than you see a group of kids talking about Verlander performance on a Sunday afternoon in Tiger Stadium throwing a 1 hitter and questioning the scoring on that lone hit.

My point.. America is transforming in my opinion.. one in which Justin Beiber's actions in his neighborhood draw more attention than actions upon a field someplace in America.

And why.. I have my opinion.. on in which directly relates to the parenting skills or/and effort of of today's society. We are as a whole more of a me first society than a society as a whole.. and that carries over into families as well. We are consumers and takers ... living on fiscal and societal credit from decades past.. regardless of the thought we are too big to fail.. sooner or later all credit runs out.

I might be wrong.. but it is how I view the direction of this country from 30,000 feet.


Pack93, I have a lot of respect for you, but the fact is, there is so much in your post that I just strongly disagree with.

I don't think kids EVER saw athletes as the "driving force" in their lives. I was a kid when Eddie Matthews, Henry Aaron, and Warren Spahn were big, and a teenager when Starr, Hornung, Taylor, Nitschke, etc. were kings, and neither I nor anybody I knew ever said or thought "I want to be like them". We just lived our own lives, as kids now do and did in all the years in between.

Just as an aside, I probably hate tattoos as much as anybody my age, but they no longer are automatically a sign of badness - not among athletes or even regular people. My own son sheepishly told me he got one on each bicep hahaha - an American flag and a Philippine flag to reflect his being half and half. After I beat the crap out of him ....... just kidding hahaha. Actually, I complimented him on his choice.

Actually, I think Hollywood or modern music is increasing "its draw" on young people - in the popularity sense anyway, although I don't think there is much of any emulating going on there either. The influence on them is NOT from the stuff you mention, but from far more subtle and (IMO) sinister forces - the educational community and the news media - both of which are so disgustingly saturated with leftward bias. THAT, not behavior of athletes or poor pathetic Justin Bieber or Paris Hilton or whoever, is the reason we see the badness - cultural changes away from traditional morality, etc., and even in that, the kind of "thug culture" like with Hernandez is very rare. It's more like "loosening of morals" hahahaha - disturbing but ultimately not life or society threatening.

I don't know what kind of a hoity-toity society you grew up in hahahaha in terms of gentility in sports, but neither now nor in the past have I observed very much "humility, sportsmanship and abiding by the rules of competition.. it is about losing and winning with grace and pushing oneself to grow as a complete person". It's all about winning - fairly if possible, but winning - both in person and in pro sports. I suppose grace and sportsmanship are there, but they are and always have been secondary. Ask any kid hahahaha whether that kid is age 6 or age 66.

I think parenting and "family values" are still a factor, but "family values" basically means the values of the family - what the parents are, the kids become - for better or worse.

As for that "consumers and takers" thing, hell yeah! For that as well as my take on your "credit will run out" thing, see my post in the "Centrist" thread, as well as numerous others on the topic - in the spirit of not repeating it one more time here hahahaha - recalling that you were one of those who got kinda "old ladyish" about that sort of thing.
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Offline Pack93z  
#15 Posted : Tuesday, July 2, 2013 8:33:28 AM(UTC)
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I guess I need to quantify all statements.... lol.. of course the main driving force in a child's life should be the parents or whomever fills that role.

But growing up and interactions with my 14 son and his friends, and the age group in central Wisconsin today. There is a small group that talk about sports with a passion.. but more so, it is one artist or another that drives the conversation.. or video games, lol.

When I grew up and now occasionally coaching a number of sports now (ages 7 to 16), no it isn't just about winning or losing. First it is about teaching fundamentals, from stance to arm angles to footwork and situational play. Then it is about sportsmanship and learning how to win and losing with humility. Sure competition and "winning" is important, but it is truly rare for an athlete not to experience loss. It is how you deal with loss, manage it and grow from it that is important both in sports and more importantly life.

Sure in pro ball or even college today.. winning is everything.. but at the high school and below level.. it is about growth, teaching and showing them how to apply the lessons learned in sports to life.

Each season I coach, I share my story and how I made it through the physical and non physical part, and why I take the approach I do.

Make no mistake, I want to win.. and we drive to win.. but within the framework of sportsmanship. Te me.. that is what the essence of sports is about.. and why year after year I become more and more distanced by the pro brands of sports.. every now and then you see glimpses of the roots of sports.. but more often than not it is money and whining ass punks crying about one thing or another on the field of play. From Lebron James to Aaron Rodgers.. every call is not going to go your way.. deal with it and carry on. Tim Duncan to me displays that constantly.. Barry Sanders did. Scott Rolen did.

And in terms of the world I grew up in.. hell yeah sports was what we talked about in school.. and I was usually behind the curve as I lived on a farm and sporting events were secondary to daily life. But when I went outside.. it was to play hoops or ball.. when at school the topics were sports driven.

Maybe that is not the norm.. but in the same small town decades later.. sports are not king.. some jackass with his pants around his knees with a mic in their hand. Or some dumpster fire of a musician or actor/actress is.. or the latest call of duty game.

Old fashion or not.. it is how I viewed the world growing up.. and think many a child still does. Just not the same percentage as once was.
I think when there's enough will and aggression, there's no shortage of talent either.

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