King-Sized Bits?

That’s a dichotomy.

King-sized means … well, big. Bits are small. There’s a lot of space in between, which leaves plenty of room for just about everything under the sun.

And that’s exactly what "King-Sized Bits," a new, three-times-a-week series that debuts today on TheSuburbanite.com, will be about.

Everything.

Well, almost everything.

I’m not going to do much on politics. You get plenty of that – probably too much of that – already from a multitude of sources. Opinions are like elbows. Everybody’s got one, on everything. But my dear mother used to warn me all the time about discussing politics and religion, and she was right. Those topics are too personal, controversial and, as we’ve learned recently, extremely divisive. I don’t want to add to that Grand Canyon-like divide, so I’m going to refrain from elbowing you with what I think about conservatives, liberals and moderates, and believers, non-believers and semi-believers.

That’s not the purpose of anything affiliated with a weekly newspaper. It just isn’t. I’ll leave that for the big guys.

And anyway, you come to The Suburbanite – both online and in print – for other reasons. I want – and need – to focus on those things and offer opinion, perspective or just thoughts about them, whether they be serious or light-hearted, happy or sad, positive or problematical, or a combination thereof.

The only way I’ll discuss politics and religion – and I might from time to time -- is if there are interesting, thought-provoking and timely angles that can be told in an unbiased way. And I do mean unbiased.

For instance, many people have for years bemoaned the fact that politics have gotten too political. That is, it isn’t like it was back in the day when, following the intentions of our forefathers, an ordinary person such as a farmer could get off his plow, put down his shovel and take his turn at serving in some kind of government office and then come back home and immerse himself again in soybeans and corn once his term is over.

But we’ve got a businessman and reality TV star as president in Donald Trump, and a businesswoman, American media proprietor, talk show host, actress and producer in Oprah Winfrey who, some have been saying recently, might be ready to challenge him should he run again.

So in kind of a roundabout way, haven’t we swerved back to the beginning, so to speak, by bringing non-traditional candidates – those who are not career politicians – into the political arena?

That’s as political as ‘m ever going to get.

There now, that didn’t tick off anyone, did it?

But perhaps it made you think, you found it interesting and you think it’s timely. If that’s the case, then I’ve hit the target with my very first salvo. It’s exactly what I want to do with this series. If I don’t, then you won’t read it.

Three mornings each week – on Monday with something coming out of what occurred over the weekend, or will be happening early in the week, on Wednesday with something of a mid-week flavor and on Friday with something that closes the week and/or fast-forwards into the weekend – "King-Sized Bits" will be a relatively quick read covering local, regional, national and even international topics that have an immediacy to them and touch our readers in some way, shape or form, either personally, intellectually or emotionally. I want to give you something to chew on as you head out the door and start your day.

Polarizing Patriots

The New England Patriots have won games and titles at a historic rate in a variety of different categories over the last nearly two decades, even sometimes when their victories defy logic, such as in last year’s Super Bowl against the Atlanta Falcons and much more recently in the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In both instances, they appeared to be so helplessly out of it that they were given up for dead. Yet, somehow, some way, against all odds, they were able to resuscitate themselves and prevail.

But despite all that, the Patriots will never be able to win over some people.

Indeed, for every person whose jaw drops in awe over what the Pats have done – and may do again when they play the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl on Sunday – there is someone else whose jaw tightens in disgust.

As Cleveland Browns longtime left tackle Joe Thomas, the future Pro Football Hall of Famer, so aptly put it recently, the Patriots are the most polarizing team in sports.

He’s exactly right. I totally get all the respect and admiration the Patriots receive – that is as it should be – but what I don’t get is all the angst.

Perhaps you don’t like the Patriots because you’re from New York and you hate anything and everything from Boston, your arch-rival city.

Perhaps you don’t like former Browns head coach Bill Belichick, who has that same job with the Patriots, because he isn’t exactly the most cheery guy you’ll ever see.

Perhaps you don’t like Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, because he seemingly has it all in that he’s handsome, he’s married to a supermodel and he’s got more money than anyone could spend in 10 lifetimes.

But think about this for a minute: this is the greatest country in the world. We got that way because we value being the best, not second-best – that’s for losers – but rather the very best.

And we’re getting to see the very best – not just now, but for all-time.

The Patriots have been greater than any team in pro football history, and they have done it for a longer period of time (17 seasons, dating all the way back to 2001) than any team ever. This is not supposed to happen. The NFL is set up so that it is nearly impossible for teams to succeed to any extent much more than three or four years in a row. It is set up so that most of the clubs finish 9-7, 8-8 or 7-9, see-sawing to one side or the other of mediocrity.

Belichick was, in essence, fired following the 1995 season, not getting the chance to go to Baltimore with the original Browns franchise when it left Cleveland. And early in his second season in New England, he was close to getting fired again. Yet he figured it out and transformed himself into the greatest coach ever. What he’s done has far outdistanced the accomplishments of all the greats such as Lombardi, Brown, Halas, Noll, Landry and Walsh.

And by the truest measure – wins and championships – Brady is by far the top quarterback ever. He plays his best on the biggest stages.

This is the gold standard of teams, coaches and quarterbacks all together in one place at one time.

We have been so influenced by what I call the two-inning syndrome – everybody gets a chance to play, we don’t keep score and they all take home participation trophies – that we can’t appreciate greatness the likes of which we may never see again.

And that’s a shame.

Hometown LeBron

I asked a friend what he thought.

Though he’s not from Northeast Ohio – or anywhere in the state, for that matter – he’s a big fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and particularly of LeBron James. As such, I knew I could value his opinion – that it would mean something in this instance.

"You’re right," he said. "It’s really cool."

"That’s what I figured you’d say," I replied.

What am I talking about?

A 22-second video currently on cantonrep.com, The Repository’s website, of Cavs star LeBron James sitting in the stands at Jackson High School watching a recent Federal League girls basketball game between the Jackson Polar Bears and McKinley Bulldogs. He’s in the corner of the bleachers laughing and joking with fans sitting next to him. You can tell by the looks on their faces that they’re really enjoying him being there, and that he’s really enjoying it as well.

It is pure LeBron. It is LeBron through and through.

This is not really about basketball – that of the NBA, or the high school variety. There are plenty of places to read about all that. But it isn’t in this space.

Rather, this is about LeBron, the man, and what he means to the area.

He’s a proud – very proud – Northeast Ohio native. He touts the virtues of the region whenever possible. And when LeBron talks, people listen.

In that he’s one of the most famous athletes in the world, the best player in the game today and arguably the greatest of all-time, he could live anywhere in the world. But he chooses to live here, in our neighborhood. It’s home to him.

LeBron is heavily involved in the community. He gives back and gives back and gives back. He always has. With all due respect to the politicians and the movers and shakers, LeBron is the area’s best ambassador – by far. When people in other places think of Northeast Ohio, many think of LeBron. He’s the face of the region.

And it’s a really good face.

Since he was in high school at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, he’s been called "The Chosen One." But like this story, that tag has much, much more to do about who he is – and what he is – off the basketball court than it does on it.

Despite constantly being in the public eye since he got out of middle school, he has never – never, not once – gotten into trouble, unless, of course, you count a speeding ticket in the middle of the night on I-71 when there was no one else on the road as he was trying to get home after getting back following a road trip. I don’t count that. None of us is perfect.

Other than that, he’s been a terrific example for young people of all colors of how to live your life. It is not basketball but rather that trait of which he – and the rest of us – should be the most proud.

And about that 22-second video? Go ahead and check it out and I’ll bet that you, too, will smile.