Sunday, January 16, 2011

Priorities and Perspective

I have actual green paint from Fenway Park stored in a shadow box.
I've been on the field at Fenway...walked in the dugouts..the outfield..pretended to catch a fly ball against the green monster.
I've recreated Fisk's "Wave It Fair" home run from the '75 World Series on the exact spot where it happened.
I have a pennant from every Patriots Super Bowl and Sox World Series win.
I have an autographed photo of Adam Vinatieri kicking the game winning field goal in the "Snow Bowl" against the Raiders.
The first time I ever swore in front of my parents was during a patriots game because of a crucial dropped pass.
I owned both "Squish the Fish" and "Berry the Bears" t-shirts.
I was at the 2001 Patriots Super Bowl parade.
I've sat court-side at The Garden and high-fived Bird, McHale, The Chief, DJ, Ainge in the 80's.
I've watched Neely, Bourque, The Sweeney brothers, Moog, Janney, LB...in person.
I stalked Doug Flutie at the Boston Garden while he was watching a Celtics game after his '84 Heisman Trophy win just to shake his hand.
I have Bob Cousy's autograph. Bruce Hurst's too.

I love Boston professional sports.


Let me rephrase that.
I loved Boston professional sports.

Now, I just like them.

Tonight, The New England Patriots lost a historic playoff game against the New York Jets. This game was one of the most talked about playoff games in recent history. The amount of negative chatter back and forth between these two teams during the week led to unprecedented intervention by the administration of the NFL.

The Patriots lost. I didn't care.

I didn't care because I didn't know.

I didn't know because right about the time the Patriots lost the game, I was wrestling on "the big bed" with my two kids.

There was a time in my life (and not that long ago, I may add) when this loss would have affected me to a great degree. The disappointment of this loss would have followed me for at least a couple of days.

I've met and seen so many people invest so much time, money, and emotional energy into their favorite team. I've seen people derive a disproportionate amount of self esteem from the success of their favorite professional sports team.

About 2 years ago...The Lord gave me a wonderful, and much needed, new perspective on professional sports. I still enjoy my local sports teams, but I don't live and die with their successes and failures. During the Summer, there'll be plenty of nights when we have the Sox game on the radio in the background of whatever it is we're doing as a family. It's fun...but it doesn't matter whether they win by 10 or lose by 10.

If the Pats, Sox, B's and C's won or lost every title game for the next 20 years...I'd still need to get up and go to work every day. I'd still have the same duties as a husband and parent. It literally wouldn't make one bit of difference to my life and the tasks that I've been given to handle. My children would still need to learn about compassion, love, work ethic, responsibility, Truth...and my wife and I would still need to teach them. The success or failure of these teams wouldn't make our job any more or less easy. Their success might provide a pleasant temporary distraction, but not much more.

Now, I'm not thumbing my nose at pro sports. I still really enjoy the competition. As a chubby, out of shape, former athlete, it's enjoyable to live vicariously through these individuals who have been blessed with talents that have given them the opportunity to compete for a living. It's fun to root for something bigger than yourself. It's fun to be a part of the collective enjoyment of a city or state when your team wins it all. All these things are great....but perspective is important.

Right now there is an entire region of Patriots fans who are bummed out. I was bummed out....for maybe 3 seconds....then I wrestled my son and read my daughter a book before she went to bed. I hugged them.. Tickled them. Loved them. I laughed with them. They couldn't have cared less that the Patriots lost. The Patriots will never wrestle them, read to them, hug them, tickle them, love them, laugh with them. It wouldn't matter if they won by 30 or lost by 300.

I'm grateful for the perspective The Lord has given me.

But truthfully, I AM a little bummed that I won't be wearing my Bruschi throwback on February 6.

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