Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
In a departure from tradition, today’s “…early morning thoughts…” come from a “guest contributor”, my son, Nathan.
Nathan has co-authored with Coach Tony Dungy three New York Times Bestsellers; but the real reason I am proud to share his offering today with all of you is because he is our son, and a man of faith, character, compassion and sensitivity to all, and a Godly example of a husband, father, son and friend.
My senior year of high school, I was coerced into a date. It seems that the batgirl for our high school baseball team liked me, for some reason. Our head coach corralled me after practice one day and explained to me, with surprising clarity, that I would be taking her out. I started to protest, and he made his message even more clear, explaining that I must not fully appreciate the nature of his “request:” I would be taking her out. I don’t know why I was resistant – it’s not like I was such a charming conversationalist that anyone else was knocking down my door to go out with me.*
*As it is, I keep waiting for the day when my wife finally admits that she’s only with me because she lost a bet at some point. It’ll be sixteen years of marriage next month, but I’m still waiting.
I didn’t have to be told, but Coach Banes made it clear that I would be nice, respectful, and act like the date was my idea. We went to dinner and saw “Pretty in Pink” in the theater. I was nice, respectful, and acted like the date was my idea, as I’d been raised (and instructed). The date was fine, and even though we didn’t have a repeat engagement, things never got awkward. I had been taught that there are times in life where you don’t always end up in the situation that you had hoped for, but how you handle that situation made all the difference.
Especially when others’ feelings are involved.
To me, that’s what Lebron missed in his decision to leave the Cavs for the Heat. I don’t care that he left – part of the American Dream is having options. He worked hard enough, and was good enough, to have options.*
*If the Cavs truly believed that he “quit” in the playoffs, I doubt they would have offered him $120 million to stay. Maybe they would have – but I doubt that you make enough money to buy an NBA team by giving employees who “quit” that kind of coin.
I think any of us can appreciate that he left. I like to imagine a world in which law firms drafted law students as they graduate – or, if they’re brilliant and on law review, they could come out of law school a year early for the Law Firm Draft. Some who were drafted by their hometown firms would be thrilled, while others that I knew in school wanted to go off and live in other places, and took less in salary to do just that. I get that – we probably all do. You work hard enough, you get options.
To me, it’s all about how you do it. The build-up, the hour-long special, the public interview… There’s something to be said about giving bad news privately and not embarrassing anyone in the process, in giving them a chance to deal with the news before they have to face the world. When you do it in public, with a worldwide audience, that moment of grace is gone.*
*Once again for me, “Hoosiers” captures important lessons in life – as George says to Coach Dale when Coach throws him out of the first practice in front of the team in that great flick, “Look, mister, there’s… two kinds of dumb, uh… guy that gets naked and runs out in the snow and barks at the moon, and, uh, guy who does the same thing in my living room. First one don’t matter, the second one you’re kinda forced to deal with.“
Look, my wife and I were in Miami when Lebron made the announcement. South Beach isn’t exactly my style, but I can see the appeal. And I can appreciate wanting to play with friends, and so on. I don’t begrudge him or his decision-making.
It’s his decision-informing that needs work.
Just something for all of us to think about today and every day.
In His Name—Scott