Still, there were a couple of things that irritated me a bit when I got home. One was for the umpteenth time someone telling me they wanted to help out Gompers Judo kids and then not following through and doing anything.
It's bad to stereotype, I know, but the fact is, I can't stand most people in the entertainment industry. It's their fucking JOB to pretend.
If it was 100% up to me, I wouldn't let them ever come to Gompers Middle School again. There have been so many film crews and photographers through there, all because Ronda started the program. So, now, when they want to do some show on her they show up and all say the same insincere bullshit,
"Oh, this is so great what you are doing here. We want to help."
And we never hear from them again.
That's probably why when Ronda came out to teach class a couple of months ago she refused to tell anyone in the media in advance and told people who found out about it they were NOT welcome. She said she wanted the kids to know she came for them and not a photo opp.
In five years, I will list the people who have helped out Gompers (and thank you a million)
- Sean Davila who lent us mats for THREE YEARS.
- Gary Butts who gave us mats and a crash pad.
- My sister and my mom who bought more mats and another crash pad.
- Jesse Moya from moya brand who gave the kids judo gis - and sent them a box of jackets and t-shirts for Christmas presents.
- Elizabeth, from Fight Chix who sent the kids t-shirts and personal notes of encouragement.
- The wonderful people at Welcome Mat Judo (Kenny Brink and company), who gave us t-shirts, bought dinner and showed hospitality in a hundred other ways large and small when we went to Kansas City.
- Jay from Venice Judo (my old club) who bought cases of water for the kids.
- Aimee from Xyience who sent t-shirts and energy drinks
- The equally wonderful people at Guerreros Judo Club who invited us to their practices, tournaments and picnic.
- Two people who follow me on twitter who donated money to help send the kids to Kansas City (CustomNinja and NateSmith)
- Jose Gonzalez, Jimmy Sanchez, Will Beane and Ronda, all of whom taught for free for years.
- Dave Overbury at Ogden Judo who invited us to practices and tournaments at his club.
Here is the interesting thing - NONE of these people got anything out of this. They didn't get photo opportunities, footage they used in TV shows for which they made a lot of money, nothing. This has led me to the not particularly original conclusion that there are givers and takers in this world.
The reason I say I would not like any more media at the Gompers practices is because I don't think it's good for the kids to be exposed to that kind of bullshit. They have enough experiences already with people claiming to care and disappearing in three or six months when a better job opportunity comes through or the situation just becomes too difficult for them. We don't need to add any more to it.
At first, I thought it was a good thing that media came in and said something good about the school and the neighborhood for a change.
Now, it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. When I was younger, we used to call people from the universities and non-profits "poverty pimps". They would come into the neighborhood for a week or a month and then write some grant and get money to talk about their experiences or some bullshit.
Years ago, the Director of Special Education at Turtle Mountain told researchers they couldn't do studies on the reservation on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome any more. I asked her why and she said,
"What good are they? They come out here, do their studies, write up some papers so they can get tenure and what about us? We are no more ahead of where we were before but now we're depressed because we know how bad the problem is."
It reminds me of a comment Ronda made when someone asked her about her experiences in Hollywood,
"Everyone is really nice, but, who knows? They wouldn't be very good actors if they couldn't convincingly act like they like you."
That is not the life for me. One of the Ron-tourage (our family's name for the people who have now appeared out of the woodwork and claim to be "family" to Ronda) said to me,
"Dr. De Mars, I don't think you like me."
To which I replied,
"You're right. I don't."