Thirty-eight years ago, the rapper 50 Cent was born as Curtis Jackson in the South Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, where he’d begin dealing crack at the age of 12. In 2000, he was shot nine times and survived. He’s sold 30 million albums. He has a Grammy. Billboard named him the sixth best musical artist of the aughts. 50 Cent even has an acting career.
And yet during his 38 years on the planet, no one ever thought to teach the man how to throw a baseball, one of the most fundamentally American skills. Who do we blame? Let’s start with the father he never knew, and the mother that died in a house fire when he was eight. And what about his grandparents and the eight aunts and uncles he lived with after his mother’s death? Or the boxing coach that trained him so well that he competed for the Junior Olympics when he was just 14? Or what about his physical education teacher at Andrew Jackson High, or the instructors at the correctional boot camp he was sent to afterwards? Or Run DMC’s Jam Master Jay, who turned him on to rap music, or even Eminem, the man who discovered and made him a star?
50 Cent interacted with so many people through so many different phases of his life, and yet no one thought to teach the man how to throw a damn baseball. He just fell through the cracks. It was an unforgivable institutional failure of society.
50 Cent now has a 17 year old son. Let us hope that Fifty has learned from this experience, and will do what it takes to ensure that his son knows how to throw a baseball, because if this skill isn’t developed in time. Curtis Jackson’s son could end up embarrassing himself in front of a huge Internet audience.
In fact, let this be a lesson to everyone. Go out in your backyard, pick up a baseball, and learn to throw it. If you’re one of literally 99 percent of the population who can throw a baseball, it is incumbent upon you to go out and help the other one percent.
Don’t let this happen to you, or anyone you love.