Diary 71 (A few good men)

The goal of a good man should be to unlock himself. The admiration of a man should be found in the quality of his mind, and true competitiveness is not chasing money, it is chasing ideas.

I played in the NFL for a few years and am not ashamed to admit that I was a mediocre player the entire time. That wasn’t because I was lazy or didn’t work hard, but at the end of the day other players were simply more talented. Looking back I’m actually glad that was the case. It allowed me to escape with my soul intact.

Please understand that this post is not being written out of a jaded spirit but a fulfilled one. I am writing this because I feel like it is my responsibility to do so before another child looks at an athlete in a helmet blindly thinking, “There is my hero. I want to be like him.”

To the child looking to the NFL athlete as a hero please let me assure you that you can be so much more. To my former teammates, current friends, and other athletes, you can be so much more as well.

This is my NFL experience. These are my honest words.

“Money is meant to be wasted.”

“It’s not technically cheating because I never kissed her on the mouth. We just had sex.”

“They can’t cut me, they pay me too much.”

“I’ll show up when I want.”

“It’s not my job to be a role model, it’s my job to play well.”

Real men don’t say things like that, nor do heroes. But those are a few of the things I heard daily while not only playing in college but in the NFL as well.

At times all the madness began to sound normal to me and often even appealing, and that began to scare me. To be honest it was terrifying to see my soul changing into something that I knew was not correct, and soon I began to hate myself. I became disgusted at what I was becoming. I became condescending and arrogant, and didn’t give a shit about anyone other than myself and me keeping my job.

Deep down I knew I was a good person, but it quickly became quite obvious to me that being a good person doesn’t matter in a den of wolves, so I became a good wolf, but a wolf nonetheless.

Art helped me keep my soul intact during all of this, so it became my escape. Art became my freedom, and that is why all of my art is signed with “free”.

It saved me.

This is not me bashing the NFL either. I’m thankful for what the league taught me, and I’m thankful for the opportunity that it provided. This is me telling the truth about what many people worship on Sundays, and what many athletes strive to become. The purpose of a man is to become a good man, not an NFL player, and sadly most NFL players are not good men, or men at all.

With that being said, there are players I do admire and stay in contact with to this day and probably will the rest of my life.

They are the family men, and good husbands. They are the real heroes, but very rarely are they the superstars. Typically they are the ones who lose their jobs over a missed block or dropped pass, while players who should be on jail blocks get a free pass.

Since walking away from football I have seen first hand how hard it is to break away from the three letters “N”, “F” and, ”L”. Not because I couldn’t walk away but because it’s been hard for people who worship it to understand why someone actually would.

Simply put, I was never cut out to be an NFL player and that should have never been my goal to begin with because honestly it never was.

When I was young a teacher asked me what I wanted to be and I said that I wanted to be an artist. She looked me in the eyes and told me to pick something more realistic, so I said I wanted to be a football player.

She told me to pick something else because both were unrealistic. So I made both my goals, and I have done both.

What I have learned is that most people worship things that they shouldn’t simply because they are not chasing something that they should.

Don’t worship unless you are in the process of chasing. And once you begin to tirelessly chase, your life becomes worship.

I want to chase. I want to worship. I want to be unlocked.

In my eyes that is what heroes do, and in my eyes that is what good men do.

Take the NFL off the pedestal.

Stop worshipping it.

It is just three letters filled with a den of wolves chasing a dollar, and a few good men.

 

Baron

Posted 3 weeks ago

 

Diary 70 (I live for you)

I am an artist that once played football, but I was an artist first.

We all were.

Art cannot be art unless it demands remembrance. Unless a thing can create a memory it is not art, but a thing. Even in the instance that a thing is remembered, the painting, the food, the song, the words, whatever it is someone makes is still not the art, but the fact that it was remembered. Without you, art is not real, and without others your art can never be born. Your art is you, but not for you.

Leave beautiful memories and you have left glorious art, and of this we are all capable, but only when we make art for others. The things made only for the artist’s pleasure will be forgotten and die when they do, and once the last memory of that person fades, then they never even existed. But immortality is being remembered, and in remembrance you can still work to inspire beyond the veil of death.

That is art. That is legacy. And that is what we all are capable of. To work so hard that even when we are gone our work still works.

People make things, but artists make art. People are able to call the things they make true, but artists have the ability to make things that are true. We all are artists, wrapped in suits of flesh that vary in size, shape, gender and color. Even the way we are assorted as a species is how a painting is created. A painting is simply various shapes, sizes, colors, and materials that together create something worthy of remembrance. A painting that only consists of one shape, size, color, and material it simply a thing, and Art is the difference.

“Human” is our species, and what we are but that is not who we are, we are more than that. We are art, and we are artists. Simply being human makes you no better than a rock. Rocks exist and so do you. But strive to be an artist that leaves art, and you are a diamond. It is not what you do, or who you are that is valuable, it is if those things are remembered.

It’s approaching a year since I’ve been away from the game of football, and I have grown more in this year than I have my entire life. I think that’s because I stopped focusing on growing my own life, and simply to grow life.

An ego is a dangerous thing when left untamed.

Football created my ego, and Art has tamed it. Football made me competitive so now I competitively work to tame my ego while learning how to do so from my art. Tame your ego and whatever you touch becomes art, because it is done for others to remember you by. The quickest way to sabotage your destiny is to pack your ego along for the journey.

Right now I’m on a jet headed to Dallas to have an art show and wouldn’t want to be any other place in the universe. But 5 years ago I would have wanted to be a pro bowl NFL player, and if you would have put both on a scale and asked me to choose one my ego would have not picked Art.

As I was flying out of Latrobe PA where I took part in three NFL training camps with the Steelers I couldn’t help but smile. It was fitting because the most glorious thing that has ever happened to me was my plan being altered in the form of an injury when I tore my ACL. It was the last play of the last practice before my first NFL game. As I was being carted off the field I made a decision instead of a plan, because there is a big difference between decisions and plans. You can make decisions to formulate a plan, but it’s a dangerous thing to start with the plan and negate decisions. My decision was to force a metamorphosis of my adversity, and allow it to become something beautiful even if I didn’t know what it would transform into at the time. Decisions make time irrelevant while plans are bound by time. Time is not meant to enslave people to their plans, but motivate and push people to make correct decisions so they don’t have to plan life out and can live it. You do not have to be bound by time if your decisions are pure. Egos make plans, but art is a decision.

As I flew over Saint Vincent I looked down over my past, present, and future. Because in one perfect magical moment when I shredded my ACL, everything I would become, became and because of that injury Art found me. When I was a kid all I wanted to be was an artist. I’m thankful art chased me down in Latrobe and tore my ACL.

So don’t praise my paintings or my words or anything else I make for that matter. Praise what adversity can do for a man. My life has been full of it, and through it I am able to leave an existence that matters. Be encouraged if your life is not normal, it means that you are equipped to never have to live a normal one. People who live normal lives typically wish for an unusual one, but if your life is already unusual do not wish for a normal life, simply strive to make pure decisions.

Love adversity, and make good decisions because that is what the staircase to forever consists of.

I look at things a lot differently now. I’ve realized that my goals were never goals but Gods. They were the pinnacles of achievement that motivated me with the idea of being able to say I ‘made’ it. Ironically now I would rather help someone else reach their destiny, because if I can do that their destiny is also mine.

Art has showed me there is no pinnacle to anything, only improvement. Competition is not the ability to become a certain thing with a title. Competition is the skill of becoming simply to become more.

Set a pinnacle and you are a slave to it. Walk the steps and you are boundless.

I want to be boundless.

So my goal is not to reach anything, my goal is to walk the steps that lead up, and that go on forever. There is no pinnacle for me. Where you die on the steps, is where you die on the steps, and it is your final say in how you lived life. Setting goals without the ability to make pure decisions is like worshipping a God that is as lazy as you are, because that’s exactly what you’ve created.

We are not meant to worship a pinnacle, we are meant to walk steps. Art taught me this.

I think the greatest responsibility an artist has is to use their time in silence to sit, think, learn and then share what they learn. Because that is art.

My paintings need me to make them, but my art needs you to remember them. Because of this I’ve learned the greatest power is serving those that will remember you. I am the product of other people’s art, and my art is you. Everything I learn I want you to know, everything I make I want you to see, and everything I become I want you to remember. My name is Baron Batch and I used to play football for your enjoyment, but I was an artist first.

Now I am boundless and my life is yours to enjoy.

I live for you.

 

Baron

Posted 3 months ago

 

(Diary 69) A Profession is calling

Failure and losing are not the same. Fear is found in the ability to lose, and because of this Men are always hesitant to start, even when they know their current state can only be improved upon. Men fear what they are unsure of. Because without starting losing does not exist and the dead heart cannot be broken. Because of this a man would rather sit in shackles with a dead heart, while in his mind exists the thought to simply get up and leave.

But with his first step comes uncertainty.

With the first step also comes the ability to fall.

Failure is proof that we are in motion. What we learn from failing dictates what direction the motion moves.

Failure always cause some form pain or discomfort if you were committed to what you failed.

Being committed to what you fail allows failure to be one of the most powerful things our species has. It allows a man to see that it wasn’t the thing that failed him, but he that failed the thing. Because he didn’t reach the goal, didn’t lessen the goal. The goal is still spotless and perfect, but he simply failed to touch it. Not the other way around.

It is easy to blame the goal for failing us, when that goal is our elder.

A doctor’s ability to heal. An artists to create. A musician to play music, a chef to cook and provide.

Those are a few of many Professions, and because of professions we have goals.

We name the Profession with a title, but the nature of a Profession is much older than both. And the nature of a Professions is what beckons a man to chase, so for every job title that is created there will always be a man to fill it that is groomed perfectly. But the moment a man stops chasing the nature of a Profession and instead the title of it, a Profession is no longer welcome, and a Job is born.

Man was created and employed by Profession, and was never meant to chase a job, but simply know his Profession, because this is what called him to do his job, but more importantly to know it.

Jobs do not control the power to call a man to risk it all and possibly fail. Only a Profession does. A job can tell a man it can pay him more money so that he can use the money to feed his family, but a Profession simply tells the man he is to feed his family, because money truly does nothing for a Profession, only the employee. Because of this the Profession is made to be older than currency. So a purpose will always supersede a job.

Failure is a clear sign you have what it takes to succeed. By staking your attack at freedom and going to battle, you have what it takes. By truly and deeply committing to something and failing it, you are reminded that your heart was involved.

Because you failed, you can succeed. Your heart is not dead, and while it hurts it is reminding you of something.

It is reminding you that your profession is calling.

 

Posted 4 months ago

 

(Diary 68) The Thinking Cap

The most selfless thing a person can do for another is to remove his or her own ego in order to allow an individual to think and decide upon a truth. 

In a dark forest a soldier frantically swings his sword at the blackness in self-defense.  Because of the uncomfortable feeling of what he cannot see he creates an invisible enemy.

In the midst of his uncertainty, the soldier creates fear. Because the soldier knows the military advantage of having visual superiority. He knows how dangerous it is to be at the mercy of someone else’s superior vision, only because he knows what he too is capable of, but more importantly what he would be thinking in the position of strategic advantage.

The soldier’s nature makes him powerful, but he fears his nature, so he creates an enemy.

He cannot see anything around him. In the deep black that engulfs him he can only hear one other thing besides his frantic heavy breathing. His ears twitch with fearful panic. Detecting every movement he crouches in defense.

With every thought of what he is capable of doing for survival his invisible enemy grows closer.

His nature makes him powerful, his power makes him fearful, and his fear creates his enemy.

His enemy is now real. It is breathing and has hands and feet. It is willing to kill to survive.

It too is fearful, but only of the soldier because it is his offspring.

Elders are made to be respected in reverence. Because out of their existence ours is validated, and from their knowledge ours is tested, because they came before us.

Like a child respects their parents, our fear bows in reverence to us because we are its originator.

In the dark forest sweat drips from the soldiers brow. He jumps and lashes out at the darkness when he hears a sound.

An owl hoots two words through the dark.

Thinking cap, thinking cap, thinking cap, hoots the owl. But those words are foreign to the soldier; he has never heard them before.

He does not know what the owl is telling him.

Thinking cap, the owl hoots louder. “Thinking cap!”

Seeing that the soldier can’t understand him, the owl flies down from his lofty perch. Into the darkness the owl flies. He realizes his words don’t matter without the soldier so he comes down.

The owl is made to watch over the soldier; his job is to direct him not to his sword but to his helmet, a helmet that the soldier took off because he did not see any other enemies, he was his only company.

But the helmet was never meant to defend the soldier from being attacked by the creatures in the dark; the helmets purpose was to protect the soldier from himself.

Once he lost his mind, he found his nature.

The owl circles around the fearful soldier hooting the only two words that the soldier has never heard.

Thinking cap.

The owl is persistent because he sees the current state of the soldier based upon his lack of equipment, and his only purpose is to guide. The owl can see his lost helmet. He sees that while fighting his fear the soldier is blinded.

For the soldier to stop fighting his invisible enemy he must realize that he is at war with himself, and to see this he must have on his thinking cap.

The owl knows that the soldier defeating the enemy is all that matters, because that is the only way the soldier can ever truly live without fear, to conquer himself.

So the owl comes down.

It perches on the top of the soldier’s helmet. Atop the thinking cap he sits.

And then he hoots, knowing what is coming to him. He knows that death is on the way. And with a swift blow the owl is dead.

The soldier’s sword strikes his own helmet, sending a reverberation through his hands and as if awoken from death itself he is able to see clearly, He quickly puts his helmet back on and the darkness is lifted. Then he takes his first breath as a free man, able to leave his sword and pick up his helmet, a helmet simply to protect him from himself.

As he stares down at the tiny dead owl he feels a surge of power. He feels strong. He feels bold and he feels courageous. He does not weep for the owl. He rejoices for it. He falls to his knees and says thank you, but not because the owl had simply given his life, but because the owl died for the truth.

And because of the Truth, the soldier was freed.

Blessings,

Baron

 

Posted 5 months ago