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Keeler: Trevor Story, thanks for the memories. You deserved so much better. So did Rockies fans.

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Keeler: Trevor Story, thanks for the memories. You deserved so much better. So did Rockies fans.

When you ask him to quantify the value of Trevor Story, Shawn Henss pauses. Henss then asks, politely, if he can put the phone on speaker for a second. He needs both hands free.

“The one thing I can definitely say is …” Henss, who helps steward the Giving Sole charity in Phoenix, says of the Rockies’ shortstop. In the background, you can almost make out the tap-tap-tapping of a tiny keyboard.

“With what he’s going to help us with this year, and where he’s helped us out in the past …”

Tap-tap-tap.

“You’re looking at close to 300 pairs of shoes that he’s going to help us provide to foster children with money that we’re probably getting again next year …”

Tap-tap-tap.

“If you add onto what he’ll do in the future, you’re at close to 300 pairs of shoes. Which is awesome. Especially for us.”

Thanks for the memories, 27. For all the hits we saw. But especially the ones we didn’t.

The Rockies’ last homestand, one final week in LoDo before baseball rides off into the sunset, began Tuesday night. Nine more chances to watch Story, who’s expected to enter free agency after this season, sling it in purple and black.

The Last Beatle On Blake Street turns 29 in November. He’s served a decade on the S.S. Monfort after being drafted out of Irving (Tex.) High School.

Story spent six of those summers in The Show, ever the good solider, a sensible head trapped on a floating asylum. Three All-Star Weekends. Two playoff berths. One Jeff Bridich, which was one too many.

The man deserved better. Sanity beckons.

“That’s the kind of person you want to be,” Henss says of Story. “And then being able to meet Trevor and become friends with him and his wife, that really solidified it — seeing some of (his) interactions on the field, as well as off the field.”

Henss’s first interactions with Story came in the late winter of 2019, through his son Gavin. The little kid with a big heart had founded Giving Sole at the age of 11 after a chance meeting with LeBron James and in honor of a baby sister his family had fostered for a time.

Giving Sole donates name-brand shoes to foster children. The good stuff. Nike. Adidas. Vans. In each package, the recipient gets the shoes, a hand-written note from Gavin and a bag they can keep.

“If they want all-white Nike Air Force 1s, that’s what they get,” Henss says. “With the kids, we don’t want to give them just what they need. We want to give them what they deserve. Not just hand-me-downs. I think that’s one thing that really spoke to Trevor, the fact he’s such a sneakerhead.”

Story was so inspired by Gavin’s magnanimity that he partnered with Giving Sole and Athletes Brand two years ago to create a “Chase the Lion” t-shirt for sale, with all proceeds going to the charity.

The Henss family had first met the Rockies shortstop during the 2019 Cactus League slate. They hooked up again a few months later when Colorado visited Chase Field, even kibitzing during batting practice.

“(Story) always took time, asking how the organization was doing,” Shawn recalls. “He’s very approachable and very genuine. I could tell that he genuinely wanted to help us and to find out how he felt he could help us. Not, ‘How can I get my name involved in another organization?’”

It didn’t take long for 27 to win over Gavin, either. A couple of sneakerheads. A couple of hoops junkies. A couple of giving souls.

“Gavin just loves him,” Shawn says with a laugh.

The younger Henss plays club basketball in the winter months, and Story, pre-pandemic, was trying to figure out a way to attend one of Gavin’s games.

“Gavin, let me know when you’re playing,” the Rockies shortstop told him at the time. “Because I want to come see you play.”

The kid is 13 now, a point guard starting the 8th grade. When it comes to growing boys, the nights are long, but the years are short.

“Trevor Story has been a really good example to Gavin from the standpoint of, ‘When you become a famous athlete, this is how you treat people. This is how you interact with others,’” Henss says. “Trevor is such a good example of that for Gavin.”

Story’s shirts raked in thousands of dollars for Giving Sole. Another event Story set up recently landed roughly $5,000 toward the cause. Which is awesome. For anybody.

“He’s been really gracious to allow us to use his name,” Henss says. “(People) are like, ‘What have you done?’ Then (they) see Trevor Story, and they’re like, ‘Oh, wow, really?’

“It was huge for us because of the exposure. MLB Network did a (piece) on him when we were at spring training … the exposure of that was a huge help. That got us a lot of inquiries of people wanting to help out and pitch in. So it’s been a lot more, beyond what the shirts brought in. A lot more.”

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Workers flood the streets of Seoul wearing ‘Squid Game’ attire to protest for better working conditions

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South Korean union workers recently took to the streets to demand job security while wearing costumes from the hit show “Squid Game.” 

Call for better working conditions: On Wednesday, around 80,000 members of the South Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) came out to protest across the country wearing the now familiar red and black tracksuits from the Netflix show, Business Insider reported.

  • KCTU, which has about 1.1 million members spread out in 13 different cities, is one of South Korea’s two major labor unions.
  • The group said it is seeking help for the irregular workers — which includes temporary and contract workers — who suffered the most from the pandemic, but “the government tried to muzzle us without giving an answer.”
  • Their main demands include an increase in the minimum wage and better working conditions.
  • Seoul saw around 27,000 members participating in the national strike, which prompted the deployment of about 12,000 local officers. In Gwanghwamun Plaza, where many of the demonstrators converged, authorities created fences out of buses to control the crowd, reported The Straits Times.
  • The demonstrations go against South Korea’s strict social distancing policies that aim to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The government has placed a ban on all rallies in Seoul and the greater Seoul area, Reuters reported.
  • Local authorities said they will file legal action against the rally organizers.

Squid Game IRL: Union workers said they connected with the main characters from the hit series as they are similarly “struggling to make a living,” a tweet from Channel News Asia’s Lim Yun Suk revealed.

  • Squid Game” focuses on 456 participants of a brutal contest who are pitted against each other in deadly “children’s games” to win 45 billion won (about $40 million).
  • South Korea is known to have a notoriously punishing work culture, as NextShark previously reported.
  • Korean employees, on average, worked for 2,113 hours in 2015, placing them third among 35 countries, just behind Mexico and Costa Rica in more worked hours.
  • Lee Chang-keun, one of the thousands of workers laid off at South Korea’s Ssangyong Motors in 2009, said scenes from the show reminded him of his co-workers who have died, ABC reported.
  • “In ‘Squid Game,’ you see characters scrambling to survive after being laid off at work, struggling to operate fried chicken diners or working as ‘daeri’ drivers,” a rental service where drivers take drunk people home in their own cars,” Lee was quoted as saying.

Featured Image via @yunsukCNA

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Korean ballerina is the first Asian to reach ‘star dancer’ rank at Paris Opera Ballet in its 352 years

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Park Sae-eun first asian top Paris Opera Ballet

Park Sae-eun is the first Asian ballerina to reach the highest rank at the Paris Opera Ballet in its 352-year history.

Danseuse étoile: On June 10, South Korean ballerina Park Sae-eun made history not only for herself but also for the Paris Opera Ballet when she became the first Asian woman to achieve the “danseuse étoile,” title — or “star dancer” — the highest rank of the prestigious ballet.

  • “I believe that art — not just dance — transcends nationality and race,” Park told Agence France-Presse. “I became the first Asian ballerina to be an etoile and it’s very much become a talking point, but I think of it as something that’s very natural.”
  • According to The Straits Times, Park Sae-eun is one of only two foreign-born etoiles at the renowned company who withstood years of difficult training, language barriers, injury and competitive exams.
  • The 31-year-old Seoul native trained in Russia’s “Vaganova” ballet method at South Korea’s top art institutions. She moved to Paris at the age of 21 and spoke little French when she arrived.
  • Her performance as the lead in “Romeo And Juliet” in June prompted a standing ovation and earned her the etoile rank at the Opera Bastille.
  • “A lot of emotions were overlapping — I was so happy and so grateful, and thought there really is such a day,” Park shared. “I had been waiting for so long…and there were times that were a bit tough, and I was reminded of all of these all at the same time.”
  • Park is also dubbed as the “queen of concours” after being celebrated as a teen prodigy in South Korea. Today, she is highly praised for her emotional depth and lyricism. Paris-based dance critic Laura Cappelle lauds her for her “inner serenity, a gift for slowing down time on stage”.

Featured Image via @saeeun_park (left), Opéra national de Paris (right)

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Asian talents including BTS, Blackpink, Olivia Rodrigo land 2021 MTV EMA nominations

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mta emas 2021 blackpink twice

The 2021 MTV Europe Music Awards have unveiled the nomination list for 2021, and many Asian talents are featured across multiple different categories.

K-pop nominees: On Oct. 20, the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs) announced this year’s nominees which include many K-pop acts such as BTS, Blackpink, Twice, Monsta X and NCT 127.

  • BTS earned four different nominations this year including best pop and best group.
  • As for the biggest fans category, BTS and Blackpink face off against one another along with fellow nominees Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga.
  • Blackpink members Lisa and Rosé are nominated separately for the best K-Pop award this year in which they are competing against BTS and groups such as Twice, Monsta X and NCT 127.
  • In the EMA’s best Korean Act for 2021 category, girl groups Aespa, STAYC and Weeekly are nominated along with boy group WEi and boy band Cravity.

Asian Talents: The MTA EMAs also feature other Asian American and Southeast Asian talents.

  • Filipino American pop star Olivia Rodrigo is nominated in five categories including best pop, best song, best new artist, best push and best US Act.
  • Filipino Chinese, African American rapper Saweetie also joins Olivia in the best new artist category.
  • The EMAs also have a best Southeast Asia act category which includes the following nominees: JJ Lin (Singapore), SB19 (Philippines), Ink Waruntorn (Thailand), K-ICM (Vietnam), Lyodra (Indonesia), Naim Daniel (Malaysia).

Voting is currently open on MTV EMAs’ official website until Nov. 10 at 5:59 p.m. ET. While the event is set to take place at the Papp László Budapest Sportaréna in Hungary, it will also air live on Nov. 14 through MTV channels at 3 p.m. ET.

Featured Image via HYPE LABELS (left), @blackpinkofficial (right)

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community.
Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

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