People Forget…

that professional sports teams are, well, in the entertainment business, nothing more and nothing less and the result is a misplaced sense of loyalty that only goes one way, to the team.

Teams would like to have us believe, of course, that they are regional assets, that having one makes a city special and that the people in any given place owe the team a kind of allegiance because its there, and its “their” team. Yet nothing could be further from the truth, and the truth can set you free.

A professional sports team, perhaps outside of the Green Bay Packers, never belongs to a community. It’s always been and will continue to be the property of the people who own it, their business, their assets, and their profit. The team produces a product, the entertainment provided by watching people who claim to excel at a particular game, and people pay money to watch these events and buy various items related to the team. It’s a show and you pay for it just like you’d go to a concert or a rodeo or a restaurant.

Now they’ve done a very good job of wrapping it up in some kind of greater loyalty, but there’s nothing per se that’s in it for you. You are loyal to though team but the team is loyal to its owners and if the owners feel that you’re not loyal enough, that is attending games and buying things, they will simply move on and demand that kind of loyalty from another town. That’s why the Colts moved from Dallas to Baltimore to Indianapolis and why the Cardinals are in Arizona after being in Chicago and St. Louis and the Rams are in St. Louis after being in Los Angeles.

The truth is that you owe them nothing. They are a product like anything else. You don’t, for example, have to keep going to a restaurant when you dislike the food and so, in the same way, you don’t have to be loyal to a team that continually puts out a bad product. The “loyalty” professional sports teams demand is a very successful advertising gimmick designed to get you to feel an obligation to financially support their business because somehow its “belongs” to the community. Hogwash.

If a car repair place underperformed on their obligations you’d never go there again so why do you have to show up to watch an entertainment product that continues to disappoint? The answer is that you don’t.  The truth is that the team needs to be loyal to you, to give you something worth watching and your loyalty to them is only to the extent that they produce an entertainment product you enjoy. If they don’t you can move on any time you like to something better and let the empty seats tell the team that you’re not interested.

That’s the truth which sets you free. You’re under no obligation to support any professional sports team that fails to live up to your expectations. You’re the consumer. You’re the boss. The teams exist to entertain you with a product you enjoy. You are not obligated in any way to the team unless you choose to be. Good teams will get support. Bad teams will flounder because they should. the power is in your hands.

No more guilt because you think you have the support the local team. You don’t. No more frustration because you’ve invested your heart and soul into an entertainment business (team) that fails to meet your expectations. Switch the channel. Go online. There’s a hundred different things to do and a lot of worthy forms of entertainment  available even on Sunday afternoons.

What the heck, you might even relax enough in the morning to enjoy Church!

 

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Apparently, the Government…

is scouring the web looking for certain words that might indicate possible terrorist intent. In fact the word “terrorist” is one of them and so is “pork” and many others. You can read all about it here.

The first thing that strikes me is what appears to be a total lack of US media, at least of the mainstream variety, reporting this. Some of the best coverage of the US government, sadly. comes from British journalists and the linked story is one of hundreds of examples. The increasing invasion of privacy in the name of protecting us from terrorists is something Americans as a whole should discuss. The complicity of both political parties in this is something worth investigating. Yet US media seems strangely silent.

The second thing is about simple reality. There is a risk in being a free society. We risk hearing opinions we don’t share or like. We risk the possibility that others may use freedom for illegal or dangerous ends. We risk the possibility that not all of our life will be safe, simple, or without challenge. There is danger in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, and freedom of ideas.

Yet the danger is not so great as the danger of an all-encompassing state promising us security in trade for our liberties. There is risk in liberty but it’s the risk of being free, of sharing our lives with free people, and finding a path for our lives on terms of our choosing. The net designed to snare one kind of fish also ensnares anything in its way and the state that declares it must spread its net wide and far to “protect” us can and will ensnare everything in its path and if not now, will set the stage for some later use not simply for the suspected but for everyone.

What we need now is not more of the state but more personal responsibility, personal morality, and personal commitment to the greater good. People themselves need to take the initiative required of members of a free society. If we cede our freedom, our individuality, our destiny to the state we get what we deserve. If we recover our dignity, our freedom, and our willingness to see beyond our narrow personal interests we can recover what has made this country great.

Choose. Soon.

I Burned my Letterjacket…

today. In fact its still burning as I write. Nothing to do with hate, revenge, fear, or shame, it just seemed time to offer it as a sacrifice and with it any remaining pain or hurt from those long ago days.

There is nothing to go back to, all that was done was done and all that was forgiven was forgiven. There is nothing I need from that time and nothing to cling to. I found that symbol hanging in my closet, a symbol of everything good and bad. heights and depths, nothing more, nothing less, and it was time for it to go. Why cling to that which cannot be changed? Why seek redemption in a past when there is so much good in the present?

I am not the person I was in high school. I have played music before hundreds. I have preached before Bishops. I have given my life to one woman. I have been at the bedsides of the dying and I have brought people into life through baptism. I have written poems. I have faced danger and demons. I have talked to lost teenagers in the middle of the night. I make people laugh and I do my best to love freely. Whatever I was I try to be better. I choose to forgive and forgive myself. I pray for my classmates. I’m Ithankful for all that went before because it helped shape me  and looking forward to what lies ahead.

The jacket was in the way, it was a reminder of days past, a memory of harder times. I couldn’t go on with it dragging me to a distant past so remote from who, by the grace of God, I have become. Those days are gone. This day is good. The fire was the way to offer it all up to the God who loved me then and loves me now. He is my purpose. And it didn’t fit anyway.

No more regrets. No more need to look to that time to redeem me. If my stay there wasn’t always exemplary my life after would certainly do credit to Mahtomedi High School yet it was not me, but Grace that has brought me safe thus far.

Come to think of it, though, I do have one regret. Years after graduation I found out that Chris Mauricio was interested in me. I like where I am now, and deeply love who I am with, but had I known back then I would have asked her out in half a heartbeat.