“Individuals play the game but teams beat the odds.” - US Navy SEALS
It would take you less than a millisecond to identify an example of moral decay in the world around you. It’s sad, and it’s something about which we all complain, yet the problem persists. Things and topics once considered to be off-limits for public discussion are now acceptable without question. We consider ourselves to be adults yet we have all allowed ourselves to fall prey to the old “well, he did it first” policy for our lives. Attention is heaped upon those who dare to smite the Word of God. Those who openly and happily share their Faith are considered weak by those seeking a life free from the restrictions of purity. Bullying is condemned when charity dollars are in play, but praised via YouTube far more often. The horrendously disrespectful behavior of our children is treated as a medical condition for which pity and telethons are required. We have officially become the most arrogant herd of sheep in the history of the planet.
Why is this so true? Why is it that we continue to allow decay where reinforcement is so readily available? The sad, simple answer is that we are a nation of cowards. Don’t bother sending me a bunch of stories about bravery and courage from generations past. I’m not saying there are not brave individuals within the borders of this country. I’m not saying that America is scared of other countries. What I am saying is that the wrong teams seem to be more and more attractive to us now than they were in other parts of our limited history. Each and every one of us are players on at least a dozen different teams. Our families can be our team, but they are often the hardest ones to lean on when leaning is needed. I would take an 8 second inhale inside Hillary Clinton’s sweaty gym socks if it spared my brother from that same terror. The same can be said, perhaps more eloquently, of any of the ‘teams’ to which you have pledged allegiance. The problem is that in order to reap the benefits offered by our teammates, admission of weakness is usually required. Pride keeps us from admitting weakness to those we look up to. We allow ourselves to believe we can “fix it” on our own before a member of the team must lend support. You can’t. History has proven time and time again that the greatest victories are those that you share. The same can be said of defeat if there is such a thing as a great one.
Comparably, that huge team we all play for……the one to which we have pledged allegiance with hand over heart……we’re losing that tournament badly. We’ve settled rather than confront so many of the issues promoting our demise. We’ve accepted immorality rather than question the fame of Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, and all the other panty-averse celebrities out in the land of Pelosi. Their team is ‘sexier.’ (Despite the fact that Pelosi’s image has been successfully tested as an immediate antidote to Viagra.) We accept the notion that questioning Obama’s leadership makes us racist. Their team is more ‘progressive.’ The once powerful guidance of religion and morality has been overrun by science, sin, and opinion. Their team is ‘louder.’ To live your life in a conservative, Christian manner is to follow the lunacy of Westboro Baptist Church, but to point out the fact that every single one of the cowards that downed the planes on 9/11 was of Middle Eastern descent means you are intolerant. We now live in a world where moderation is penalized and limits are constantly challenged and adjusted to accommodate lowered social standards. Negativity is the expectation, conflict is the tone. The elected leaders of this flagship team we call America have lost their way. But we allowed them to do so. We cast more votes for the “feel-good” story; the eloquent speaker; and the myriad empty promises because we got caught up in the temporary hype of another team.
The good news is that room can always be made for you on any team with which you choose to associate. Maybe you’ve been on a team that promotes an ideology with which you don’t necessarily agree. In it’s infancy, perhaps it appealed to you but through the years the team’s “progress” has taken it to destinations you didn’t intend to visit. Perhaps you voted for a man that charmed the world and dispatched his minions to enhance his appeal but now regret that decision. It’s not too late. Switch teams. Perhaps your contract was recently purchased by a demon you believed to have been defeated years ago. Luckily, we are not restricted by the same shackles of professional sports. Your contract is perpetually for sale and you are your only agent. The team with whom you choose to play says a lot about you as a person. Loyalty can be questioned when it’s bestowed upon categorically unworthy recipients. Collusion is the mistress of popularity and both have found a voice in mainstream media. As if the straightforward attacks weren’t bad enough, they are now bombarding our heads with subliminal weaponry. If you have built a core team around you, no one can truly defeat you. Your personal weaknesses may knock you down from time to time, but there is more than likely someone on your team to give strength where you have none. When I have taken the path with all the shiny appeal, someone on my team has been there to smack me in the forehead with a big hammer of lucidity. A loyal teammate will not dwell on your weaknesses but will instead defend you against the threats you don’t see for yourself. They do so with the belief that you will do the same for them if the situation ever calls for it. Those who now stand with heads hung low under the weight of their Obama-laden vote in the 2008 election must now be protected from the carnivorous monsters who will soon come calling for what they view as their rightful property. We cannot allow them to go.
Here’s another analogy. All year long, we’ve been told of Aaron Rodgers’ and the Green Bay Packers eventual return to the Super Bowl. It was as if the rest of the league was competing for second best. Rodgers. threw for an average of eighteen touchdowns and 750 yards per game according to several of the more loyal announcers on NFL Network. He completed passes to coaches, opposing cheerleaders, commentators, and in one instance completed a game winning pass to the Chipwich guy. So legendary is Rodgers that these stats actually enhanced his numbers for the season. Yesterday, Mr. Rodgers had what we like to call an “off-game.” I am not, in any way, trying to insinuate that Aaron Rodgers is a subpar quarterback. He’s an excellent quarterback. The problem yesterday is that his team put all the responsibility of victory on his arm. When his arm failed him, and the frozen fingers of his receivers dropped almost as many balls as they caught, the rest of the team was incapable of compensating. They had ridden the strength of one man to the playoffs and when that strength failed them, they were exposed. While this example may be terribly painful to the Packer nation, it serves as a poignant reminder that a team, no matter how great it’s superstars, is nothing without an equal effort from each and every member. Had the running game been able to step up and bail Rodgers out, we might be discussing the hated Giants today.
We often do the same things to ourselves. For whatever reason, we allow ourselves to believe that we are bigger than our team. We allow ourselves to believe that all responsibility of victory should be on our shoulders and when we let our teammates down, it’s often devastating to our confidence. The reality is that a true teammate is not disappointed when you think he is. A true teammate hurts for you without judgment. A true teammate will defend you even when the sting of your personal defeat hits them in ways you can’t imagine. A true teammate feels your moments of sadness, loss, defeat, and suffering as they would feel their own but they often conceal their tears to encourage your own well-being. Win or lose, you go down together and you go down swinging. That’s what being on a team is like. Are you part of a real team?
There are many people out there holding unsigned contracts in their hands. They are looking for a team. For some reason or another, none have made them an offer they could stick with and to this point in their lives, they have been wandering. These people need someone with whom they can identify and advance. While the love of a family is unconditional in it’s most accepted depiction, that love is not always the shield we hope it to be. Sometimes the shoulder we want to cry on is not the one being offered, and sometimes the advice we give sounds better passing the lips of another person. Right now, as a country, there are a lot of people who want to cry on the shoulder of the democratic party but that shoulder is not being offered to them. Instead, that shoulder is being used to carry the very source of so many tears. That shoulder is being used to support the very man with whom so many have become disillusioned. Do we shun them away from our mission because of past transgressions? Do we offer them safe haven while they fully absorb the mistake they made in 2008 or do we let them stay home with their vote in a good old fashioned pout-fest? In our families, there are those who have made mistakes. They have suffered what may seem like an insurmountable defeat, yet this is when they are truly loved the most. Scars make us human. If none of us ever made a mistake, this would be a very boring world and movies, sports, politics, and celebrity gossip shows would SUCK!
As always, thanks for playing.
J. Robert Giles