Knowing When To Settle: The Shoe Game – By Cameron Heffernan

It’s a cold world, the world of the sneaker head. One enthusiast laments his inability to catch the “Great White Buffalo”, and how he learned to just settle.

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For the better part of my life I’ve settled. Two things, do I actually strive for: women and work. Other then that, it is 1000 times more simple to just keep your mouth shut, take what you’re given and just settle. The path of least resistance is the one most followed, or some crap like that.

When I was younger, maybe seven or eight, much like every other kid in the world, I wanted any and every Power Rangers toy I could get my fat, little sticky hands on. Any holiday was an excuse to demand a Ranger.

Easter, “I wants the Blue Ranger!” My parents, “no”.

My Birthday, “I wants the Black Ranger!”. My parents, “no”.

Halloween, “Please, oh please, all I want is any Ranger, I don’t care about the color, just give me one damn Ranger, so I can fit in with the rest of the kids.” My parents, yet again, “no”.

Then, that Christmas, somewhere around 1994, maybe ’95, the sky opened, and with a few words I was in the thralls of jubilation. My mother made the unfortunate mistake of mentioning, “Cameron, your grandmother has a big surprise for you this Christmas, something you’ve been waiting a very long time for.” In my day-dream filled head the endless possibilities began to swirl, “had my tireless nagging and concentrated patience finally paid off? Could it be true? Could I finally be on my way to the cool kid section at school? Would I finally fit in with all the “cool kids” and not feel like an outcast with my out-of-date G.I. Joes and before-their-time Yo-yo?

No, sadly no. Because, when you send a sweet old elderly lady to try and understand: A. What the hell a Power Ranger is, and B. Why do there have to be so many? The ending result is you not, in any remote fashion, getting what you wanted. Instead, you get, Goldar.

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No offense to Goldar, he is badass and what-not. But that wasn’t what I wanted. It was at that moment I learned three things:

1. Never, ever, ever say your disappointed by something your grandma got you. Just lie, lie through your goddamn teeth. And also, don’t send granny to get gifts other then socks and checks for $7.82.

2. Even if our civilization is based around consumerism, that doesn’t mean there’s enough for you.

3. If you don’t get what you want, you may just get what you need. As long as you settle.

Yes, settle is what I did. I sucked it up, told my grandma I love her, thanked her and told her that it was the best gift I had received so far (I received a Batmobile later that Christmas, so things kind of evened out. As I said, not what you want, but maybe what you need.).

This brings me to the situation I find myself in recently, the thing I wanted, and the things I had to settle on.

The Jordan 11. “The Great White Buffalo.”

I’ve been, for lack of a better word, a sneaker head since 2007. The first pair of fly kicks inducted into the collection were a pair of LeBron Soldier 1’s. Tight strap, all white, hint of gold. It was my first pair, I was young, a newbie to a more than intricate world of shoe-dom. I felt like the most glorious king to ever grace this planet. I weigh a lot and I have a beard; to say the least, the overconfidence was flowing over and drowning everyone around me. A friend of mine introduced me to Jordan. Never able to afford them, and never very interested until my new found sneaker-head life choice, I was lost to the ways of the second best shoe company to ever exist (Nike the first. Well, Nike owns Jordan…but who the hell cares. No. 1 owns No. 2 and that’s just the way it is. Don’t like it? Then you can shut up.).

My first pair of J’s were the 23’s. Unbeknownst to myself, strolling into a footlocker and merely asking if they have a recently released J in your size isn’t supposed to be a simple matter. Nonetheless, the first time was easy. The second time, a pair of 2’s, the same, easy-peezy, lemon-squeazy. I went to eBay, and boutiques in the greater Los Angles area to collect the ones not soon to be released in the coming summer and winter too. 22’s, 17’s, 8’s (two pairs; different colors for added freshness.), 4’s, and a pair of Melo 6’s for good measure. I was loaded to the brim with all the Jordan goodness a fat, semi-athletic kid could ask for. One pair stood out though. The 11. The ‘Space Jam’, the ‘Bred’, the ‘Cool Grey’, even the ‘Concord’. I wanted them all. Yet, I couldn’t have them. Why? Not enough; money, inventory, you name it, that obstacle was in the way.

I gave up my search for the ‘Buffalo’ somewhere around 2010. Christmases before I had tried for retro releases and came to no avail; all my failures felt like it was time to call it quits.

March 2012, a restock was announced of the 11’s at all Footlockers, Footactions and any other ‘Foot-whatever’ that existed. As many know, things like this are put to a raffle. You give the retailer your name, number and shoe size. If you’re lucky, they call you. Wednesday morning, I awoke as early as I could muster, headed to my nearest Footlocker and got my raffle ticket. Being one of the first, my thinking was that I was a lock.

Two days later, Friday afternoon to be more precise, I was informed I was not chosen. Like all the duck, duck, goose games in my life, yet again I suffer the agony of being an outcast. Immediately I dialed up various stores in the L.A. area and Ventura. The explanations were the same, either they never got them or they sold out in minutes. I was used to this disappointment. You can’t break the will and spirit of someone with my luck. Shit-luck.

While I was getting my raffle ticket, I decided to buy a pair of KD V’s, the Hulk Green ones. “Why?” I’m sure is what you’re muttering. “You were there to try and win a raffle for your so-called ‘Great White Buffalo’, why would you settle for anything less?”

And after all that we finally get to the point. At the moment I realized, “It doesn’t matter when I got to this raffle. This is all luck based, and I’m about as lucky as everyone on the Titanic was.” Then as the wave of dread came cascading over me, I realized what must be done. I had to settle. Like most everything else in my life (sans my girlfriend and my job, cause a guy has standards, as you probably do too in those categories) I took second best.

The thing about second best though is that it may be as good as the first choice. See, what is first in your eyes is just a game of perception, and may be second to someone else. You have to be able to step away from the thing that you’re determined to get, whether you need it or not. And settle for the thing that best suits your need.

I wanted the 11. I settled for the KD. Does it suck that I had to settle? Yeah…. hell yeah. But perception is a beautiful thing. And, what was once second, is now first.

Cameron Heffernan is an avid sneaker collector and hip-hop enthusiast. He also recently purchased Jordan 28’s, Kobe 8’s and LeBron 10’s. If these were to make up for the loss of the 11, is still up in the air. Follow us on Twitter at @HefferBrew and make sure you follow the blog and like us on Facebook. Only you can make us internet rich, and prevent forest fires. Mainly just the internet rich though.

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