The Game: Who are the Players and Who’s Getting Played?

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By Robert Lilly | August 1, 2009

When I think of a game I think of an organized activity of play that is done on a field, with coaches, team owners, and referees on the sidelines that enforce the rules of play. Some players are on the field and others are on the sidelines waiting for their chance to get on the field. According to the Fifth Edition of Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, a game is considered: 1) Sport of any kind, fun. 4) A contest, physical or mental, according to set rules, undertaken for amusement or for a stake. 6) An animal or animals pursued or taken in hunting; also, the flesh of game animals considered as food. Similarly, in colloquial terms, or street parlance, the Game, on its surface may not state these things directly it does convey the ideas associated with the street life and all its varied hustles and cons. There can, therefore, be seen the presence of an allegory or similitude between its street and dictionary usage. In my mind, as I write, I can see the many once smug faces of countless brothers and others who thought they were so hip, slick and cool. They had the cars, the sound systems and the pockets full of money and they imagined themselves “game tight.” Some thought they were invincible; others were simply dupes or followers who had gotten caught up in all the hype and glitz that came with being close to others who were living high on the hog. Reality eventually struck and their house of cards would tumble down. This message is to this group of persons the so-called “players”. I ask the question, are you playing a game in which you are the sport? Are you the thing, the animal that is hunted and prized? Every time, I see one of these newspaper headlines about a drug bust or a murder arrest and we have had a number of them lately, I am reminded of these trophy heads hung on walls by big game hunters. The mug shots, photos taken only of the neck and head of an arrested suspect for a crime, haunt me at night. Faces- of persons I once knew personally, who not too long ago were smiling and grinning with mouths filled with gold teeth, made by Paul Wall are now staring forward, with eyes wide and stunned, at the camera of the unseen photographer who snaps the image of their bodiless heads. When these brothers were on the streets you couldn’t talk to them, they wouldn’t listen; they were just too full of themselves. Their blaring sound systems must have dulled their hearing and caused them to become both deaf and dumb and blind to the facts that were right before their eyes to see. I mean, if they could have seen they should have seen that most people who adopt such a life-no death-style eventually end their lives in either one of three places, jails, institutions or the grave yard. Oh! But how they were baaallinnn!-out of control, mind you.Let us go back and re-examine another element of Webster’s definition of the word: game. This time around I emphasize some key words that I would like for us to consider. Game: A contest, physical or mental, according to set rules, undertaken for amusement or for a stake. To all of you who consider yourselves as players in this sport, it is because you are ignorant you are the losers. You are ignorant because you are struggling for the victory of the wrong team. You consider yourselves as having joined a winning team when you got ‘put on the set’ or jumped into your gang. You thought yourselves wise when you learned the science of ‘whipping’ up dope to ‘bake cookies’ as a ‘dough boy’. You smiled when you acquired your first ‘tool’, yet never in your life have you been to a shooting range to master the skill of shooting targets and the proof of that is that when you use your ‘tool’ the innocent die! And in your wake you don’t build but rather you leave destruction. You are fools because you don’t even know the set rules of play for the game you so hold dear to your heart when you scream aloud to the world, “This is who I am! I am a hustler!” Imagine going to a Dallas Cowboys game and seeing all the players come out onto the field with New York Yankee baseball uniforms on getting onto the football field. Ludicrous, I know. However, that, to me, is the equivalent of what some of us do when we enter this so-called game we proclaim to be players of. We need to stop and ask ourselves what is really at stake in this contest. The stake is the prize up for grabs in any contest or competition. What is going to be lost or gained depending on which side I join? This is the question I have had to wrestle with as I have worked hard to change the course of my life. And so will you, if you are to do the same in yours.Do you stand to gain freedom when you become a dope dealer or a gangster? Do you believe you are going to make yourself or your family any safer when you engage in criminal acts such as carrying concealed and unlicensed weapons you don’t even know how to properly use? Are our children going to respect us more because our dress code consists of starched and pressed Dickey khakis and red or blue house shoes made in China and purchased at the mall or at the Korean store where the Afro products are peddled? The obvious answer is hell no! In fact, what we stand to lose is all the above freedom, family and self-respect. Yet some of us won’t learn until we catch that one charge that can’t be scrubbed off with any kind of detergent soap . That is exactly what dirty living and filthy money brings us- the stain of a condemned status as prisoner # so-and-so. Are you really getting played all the while thinking you are a player? If so, the easy solution is to quit the team you signed up for and join the other side, the side that is winning. You may ask, “What side is that?” It is the side that the detectives are not looking for. I came by here today to tell you that in the big picture when it is all said and done – Crime doesn’t pay and freedom costs, player!