Willing Things Into Existence

I’ve spent the last two years telling anyone who will listen that adidas is the wave. Hate to say “I told you so” but I haven’t been wrong. At all. 

Allow me to drop some straight facts backing my strongly-held belief:

  • Adidas just passed Jordan as the second-most popular sneaker brand in the United States
  • The Three Stripes’ market share in the same country has spiked to 13 percent — double than the previous year
  • The never-out-of-style Superstar shoe was the best-selling sneaker of 2016 in the United States. That feat marks the first-time in a decade a non-Swoosh shoe reigned atop. 
  • Adidas is at the forefront of current footwear trends — retros and casual-y runners — and it’s not even close.
  • Yeezy jumped over Jumpan (not a fact per se, but listen to the kids, bro!).
  • If Nike aint have Virgil, they would have nothing (not proven with data either, but “The Ten” collab is the dopest thing the Swoosh has done in days).

Now that I’ve fan boyed, let me stan even more. In a dream-come-true turn of events, I visited adidas North American Headquarters in Portland last week. It was the first stop in a week-long trip with my classmates. We stopped by a whos-who list of sporting entities — Trail Blazers, Mariners, U-Dub, and even Nike — but nothing matched adidas for me. 

The entire vibe of adidas was absolutely infectious. The work culture is anchored by three c’s — creativity, confidence, and collaboration — and it feels like a jolt of energy. The adidas brand already spoke to me on a spiritual level, but being there in person heightened it to levels I didn’t think were even possible. 

Not like I needed any more reason, but the whole experience was reaffirmation that I 100 percent belong at adidas. Maybe not now, tomorrow, next year, or even in five years. But I WILL (sorry for jocking your slogan UA) make it happen at some point.

This burning passion I have for the brand is matched only by my love of WWE. And I refuse to let that fire be extinguished.  

People a lot smarter than me have always told me to speak things into existence. To say my goals out loud and the universe would move things around in order for me to achieve it. So here it is:

My unwavering passion and relentless attitude will drive adidas to become the number-one sportswear brand in the world.

You heard it first, Constant Blog Reader, and I’m going to do everything in my power to make this happen.  

 

Rekindling La Flame (IT'S LIT!)

My first-ever dream — even before working for WWE — was to become a movie director. This was ages ago, but video and storytelling has struck a chord with me since I was a boy.

In high school, I threw myself into making videos, alongside my best friend Edgar (aka Camera Kidd). This was our escape from growing up in the middle-of-nowhere Nevada. It's pretty humbling to look back on our old YouTube channels — TheBangsurluna and Camera Kidd — just two creative kids armed with a shitty camera, Windows Movie Maker, and a raise-hell mentality. 

Some of the all-time goat moments we filmed:

Regrettably, I gave up on my passion for video-making when I took my talents to Reno for college and instead focused on newspaper writing. With the digital landscape as it is today — video dominating and writers being laid off left and right — that was a ginormous mistake in hindsight. Shoutout to my 18-year-old self for being completely clueless. 

But it’s never too late to pick up where you left off, right? And that’s exactly what I’ve done since entering the DeVos Sport Business Management program. A few months in, I took over the program’s social channels. Beyond posting dank memes, I knew video would shape my social strategy.

I began the trek back to my roots with the bare minimum — an iPhone and iMovie — filming short-form content like Super Bowl predictions, recaps with guest speakers, out-of-classroom visits, etc. What do you know, for some reason completely beyond me, these videos were actually well received by my peers and superiors. Evoking a reaction out of them, whether that be laughter or entertainment, jolted me like old times. I missed that feeling so much.

Somewhere along the way in this journey we call life, I kind of lost myself. I got away from the creator/entertainer role that’s always fulfilled me more than anything. Falling into society’s expectations does that to you. But I’m still the same kid I was way back in Elko, dreaming out loud, banging on the door. The door may be heavier nowadays, but I’m gonna break that shit down.

To do just that, I invested in myself and picked up a Sony A6500 camera recently. This is going to take my videos (and pictures) to the next level, bruh. Admittedly, I have a lot of catching up and learning to do. A ton, actually.

“The game has changed, but the players are the same!” Shoutout to anyone who got that MacGruber quote

But on the real, just like everything else I put my energy into, I’ll figure it out and do it way doper than everyone else. Everyone. Cool shit is on the horizon — and plenty of it.

Here’s a glimpse into the first project I pulled off with my new gear. I ran around shooting and editing a youth camp that was hosted by the organization where I do my graduate assistantship. 

 

Full photo galley here.

Wrestlemania 33

The week before this was undoubtedly the worst in my entire life. My uncle died unexpectedly and that’s rocked my entire family. On top of that, I’ve been crazy sick stemming from Ultra Music Festival — and even ended up in the ER for the first time ever.

But like it’s been my entire life, wrestling lifted my spirits — and, man, did I need it badly this time around as WrestleMania 33 took over my new home in Orlando. Better yet, my oldest brother, also a hardcore wrasslin’ fan like myself, came to visit with his wifey. The family time was much-needed. 

Saturday morning at Wrestlecon has to be one of the happiest moments of my life and that’s not hyperbole. For non-wrassling fans, Wrestlecon is a giant wrestling convention that brings together the most diehard fans with past, present, and future wrestling stars. It was pure bliss.

My brother and I got to shoot the shit with all the wrasslers we grew up watching and imitating — Kevin Nash, Rob Van Dam, Billy Gunn, Eric Bischoff, John Morrison, Sting, Gillberg, and so many more. 

Biggest Wrestlecon highlights:

  • Bischoff calling Vince Russo a “fucking douchebag.” 
  • The always-relaxed RVD lecturing us on his disdain for schedules. Mr. Monday Night is a free spirit — commitments be dammed. 
  • The jobber Brooklyn Brawler begging my brother to give him $20 for a picture. Know your role and shut your mouth, jabroni!
  • Me and my brother spitting game at Melena, who looks a lot different than she did 10 years ago with MNM.   

As for WrestleMania itself, it was a thrill ride — albeit a super long seven-hour one. This is now the third Mania I’ve attended, the other two being 28 and 31, and all three have been off the charts. But if for whatever reason I had to rank them from most enjoyable to least — it goes 28, 31, and then 33. 

But that’s no shade to 33. I mean, the Hardy Boys return in the ladder match was an all-time great surprise. Brock Lesnar suplexing Goldberg to hell and back was fun, too. And seeing Undertaker — perhaps the biggest legend in WWE history — ride off into the sunset, that was a special, albeit heart-tugging, moment. 

I'm seriously making WrestleMania weekend an annual vacation for me here on out. Few things compare to it. New Orleans, I'm coming for you next year!

Walden: Life In The Woods

“Chased the good life my whole life long. Look back on my life and my life gone.” — Yeezy in Welcome To Heartbreak

Today is weird. A giant snow blizzard sweeping across the north delayed my #NYCSpringBreak2k17 trip an entire day. So I’ve spent this extra day of down time self-reflecting. In summary, life is crazy.

While giving my website a face lift, I stumbled across my old site. There’s not much to see, but it’s a small capsule of my state of mind as a 19-year-old. The page’s theme layout hasn’t aged well, but screams CM Punk-y to me, which makes sense because this was at the height of my fandom. Moreover, there are three articles on there I wrote in my JOUR 207 class with Ben Holden — still one of my GOAT professors.

I was actually blown away how good the articles were. To preface, I was 100-percent dialed in on writing during this period. My focus was laser-like. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever been zoned in on a goal as much as I was then. A career in sports journalism felt like my destiny and my work reflected that.  The Ken Shamrock piece is probably one of the best stories I’ve ever penned — and if I remember correctly, was the only 100 percent Holden gave out to a student that semester (even the video I made for it has north of 10k views). The other two articles, while lacking some key sources, are pretty well-written, too.

When looking at my writing career arc, late 2012 to early 2013 was my peak. It’s weird, though. I kept writing long after and still do to this day. But why was I at my best so early? The only explanation I have is that focus I had. I mean, I dedicated my whole life to writing during that stretch — skipping parties and everything. My passion for writing was at a fever pitch.

That passion is what I’m missing nowadays. I’m doing a lot of dope shit — MBA classes, running two social media accounts for large organizations, writing on the side, trying to open a shoe-selling business, etc. But none of them give me a fire like writing did at the time. Will I ever replicate that burning passion?

I hope so, but I don’t know. In my Management course, we took a Big Five personality test. Unlike the DISC or Myers Briggs test, the former test is more supported by data. The test measures you on five key traits — openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. I received scores on all five, but my highest — perfect score, actually — came in openness. This trait measures how inventive and curious you are, which apparently I am to the max.

Some key characteristics of people that score high on openness is non-conforming, playful, philosophical, creative, less religious, more liberal, cope well with change. I check each one of those boxes.  I’m 24 years old now, but I feel I’m barely getting a good grasp of who I am. I still have ways to go, but my self awareness has definitely gone up recently.

Above all, I’m passionately curious about life. That dead-set personality I had as a 19-year-old is buried in the back of my mind. Nowadays, the thought of finding one career, one chick, one city to chase for the rest of my life saps my energy. The only thing worth pursuing is new experiences to help me understand life and myself more.

With that, my focus is like a rollercoaster. One day I’ll be glued in on figuring out how to use a bot to buy Yeezys, the next I’m digging through research on moon landing conspiracy theories. I don’t know if my lack of focus is a curse or blessing. On one hand, I know how beneficial it is to truly be a master at something. But that’s just not me. I hate being boxed in. I want to know a little bit about everything.

If I can back track a bit, it’s crazy how much my life has changed in the five years between my old website and now. I look back on 19-year-old me and I don’t even recognize that dude. My taste in clothes, chicks, music has changed ten-fold. I live across the country. My outlook on the life has totally flipped. I look back at the old Eric and all I have to say is kill self.

I guess that’s what we call progress, though. Seeing the 180-degree changes excites me about the future. In another five years, I’m going to be looking at this blog post and probably think the same thing. The future is so exciting, dude. Bring it!