Since moving to the great state eighteen years ago, I’ve struggled to get behind the local teams. First, the obvious. I’m a San Diego homer. 100%…through and through…and that leaves little room for loyalty to other teams. That’s just the way it is.
Second, the local teams have huge strikes against them in my world. The Rangers play “Beer League Softball” in a 147 degree sauna. Can’t do it. The Cowboys are run by Jerruh Jones. Can’t do it. The Stars play hockey. Other than dropping the gloves for an all-out slugfest, I don’t get it.
But the Mavs have grown on me. Especially Dirk.
So here’s a test for those of you that spend too much time following your favorite sports teams:
What do Dirk, Larry Bird, Jerry West, Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripkin, Troy Aikman, and John Elway…have in common with Alex Rodriguez, Lebron, Nolan Ryan, Albert Pujols, Shaq, and Josh Hamilton?
A lot of things. They are/were all some of the greatest athletes in the world. The absolute best in their games…commanding huge salaries and enormous fan bases. But the two groups are deeply different in one huge way.
The first group played their entire careers with the same team. They signed contracts and honored them. They were as motivated by loyalty to the team and ownership that made the commitment, both financial and emotional, to them when they were young and unproven.
So they stayed. Even when other teams tried to lure them away with bigger contracts and promises of better teams and careers.
The second group? They left their original teams for greener pastures…more money…and the potential of greater recognition and success. They left because they could. They left because loyalty doesn’t factor into the world of sports much anymore.
Sheesh…loyalty doesn’t factor into much of anything anymore. I guess that’s why I like Dirk so much. His loyalty to the Mavs…to his owner, Mark Cuban…to the greater Dallas community…is simply amazing and almost unheard of in these days of broken promises and jaded, shallow loyalty.
When Josh Hamilton left the Rangers last year for the promised land of SoCal, his wife made a really profound statement about the whole process:
Katie Hamilton compared the relationship between her husband and the Rangers to dating. She said the club should have quickly moved to prevent Josh Hamilton from hitting the free-agent market.
“They let us go out and date other people and kind of give our hearts away.” link
Here’s the marriage lesson: We live in a culture that has fundamentally redefined the meaning of contracts and promises over the course of my lifetime. I’m not saying people didn’t go back on their word back in the day. Far from it. People have always struggled with promise-keeping and loyalty.
It’s just that we live in a culture now that not only makes it easy to move out and move on from our first love…we actually reward it and disrespect people for not continually looking for something better.
Now that may make sense in the world of baseball and basketball contracts and any other kind of job-related move up the ladder of financial and professional success. But that mentality is devastating in human relationships.
So when it comes to the marriage contract, are you more like Dirk or Lebron? Do you find contentment and purpose in loyalty… or are you open to the possibility of something better…no matter the cost?
Your answer says everything about your understanding of God’s faithfulness to you.