Monday, October 3, 2011

Just Enjoy the Show

Sunday October 2nd, 2011 – Tempe and Scottsdale, Arizona

Somewhat paraphrased: Peace is not just the absence or lack of something – no war, no more problems. If peace depends on the absence of trouble, peace is only temporary. We live in a broken world, and new problems will start the very next morning. Instead, peace – Shalom – is both a prayer and the presence of something: freedom and confidence. Freedom from fear and confidence that God is in control. If you choose to believe that everything that happens, every detail of your life, is in God’s plan, has a purpose and can work ultimately for good, then there is peace – in spite of your problems, and even in the midst of war.
- Grace Community Church – Dr. Daryl Delhousaye,
Text: John 14: 25 – 31

It’s not unlike the movie I saw later with friends, Money Ball. We can choose to never be satisfied, never win enough games unless you win the “final game” – the pennant. In that case only one team wins in a single game in an entire season of baseball. Not much fun – we could skip all the hot dogs and apple pie, summer picnics and ice cream after the games. In fact the last inning is all that would be worth watching – worth living. Fast forward through your entire life, dissatisfied every step of the way, and then be “shocked” when you can’t remember how to celebrate; or there is no one around to celebrate with. (It’s a metaphor.)

Or you can, as the final song the main character's daughter sings suggests, “I’ve got to let it go and just enjoy the show. You’re such a loser dad. You’re such a loser dad. Just enjoy the show.*” Yes, yes, another metaphor. Another way to say the more common metaphor, “It’s not whether you win or lose – it’s how you play the game.

Personally, I’d like to both win AND play well along the way, maybe we all would. And we’ve got to admit, playing well increases the likelihood of that happening – though of course it’s not a guarantee. Still, there are principals in sports that apply to life, like “Practice makes perfect.” So why do so many of us try to get by on sloppy or lazy work and act surprised when things turn out poorly?

The main character played by Brad Pitt was often stressed out , angry or frustrated. Yet only once did he drink alcohol as a coping mechanism. I liked that. (Eating though – well, that’s another story.)

I’m not a Brad Pitt fan. (I’m maybe one of five women in the world who don’t find him attractive.) Nor do I feel he is a particularly good actor. I like baseball even less. Still, once the story started to make sense, I really liked the movie and felt Pitt portrayed the wide emotional range of the character quite well. Women who aren’t sports fans – don’t worry that it’s about baseball. All viewers – don’t stress over or even try to make sense of the beginning. It will all come together soon enough.

There are two fantastic, high energy scenes that make the whole movie worthwhile. Both include interplay between the characters Billy Beane (General Manager / GM) and Peter Brand (economics intern and assistant to GM). First entails a long group, (non)discussion in which Billy comes in to the recruiters table and announces who they will pick for the team. It’s long, hilarious and the interplay is perfectly timed. Same goes for the second, in which they do some wheeling and dealing over on the phone with other teams. It seems to all come together, until they realize their one mistake. The resulting scene also is well done, yet melancholic.

Now let me skip back to before the show. While buying tickets, a man purchasing tickets next to me asked if Money Ball was full. When he was told no, I told him I was still going to race him for the best seats. I guess he knew I wasn’t quite as quick as he when he told me, “When you get in there after us, just don’t sit behind us."

At the candy counter, another man excitedly asked me, “Do you know who you were talking to?” (Of course the answer is no – I just talk to whoever, sticking my nose in other people’s business when I feel like it.) He told me ended up being the 1976’s basketball Rookie of the Year. (Sorry, still don’t know who he is…) But because he was "too short” (6’ 9”) for the center position he was not expected to go early in the draft. His college coach, who had recently become a Phoenix Suns coach, decided differently. “Too short” for the position, he did so well because of skill and speed.

This story fits the theme of Money Ball as well – drafting on talent (or statistics) and not 100 other superficial or emotional reasons that we base our decisions on every day, in real life. The funniest example in the movie was not wanting to draft someone because his girlfriend was ugly (with some interesting logic behind this). But when we are done laughing, think about how you have judged someone today – and repent! Then just sit back and enjoy the show.

Later in the evening…
I got a shocker when a friend I’ve known for more than 15 years unwittingly gave a one sentence evaluation of what she believes my persona to be. I had told her three of the women where I live regularly gossip about a new male neighbor. She said, “I didn’t know you had friends there. I just imagined you going from your condo to your car, not talking to anyone, and being your usual introverted self.” I didn’t argue, just said that even in a place where most people go from their condo to their cars without talking, in ten years I have talked to a few people.

I chose not to get hurt or offended . But I was shocked that someone I’d considered a best friend for many, many years didn’t even know me. It can be helpful to know when others see us differently than we see ourselves. Yet, the same person told her husband that I am the person she has the most fun with. Before that, he trusted me to keep an eye on her when we travelled – to keep her out of trouble. Now, he’s not so sure he can trust me! (I assured him he can.) It did give me some context to think it all through, instead of losing my peace about it. (I also checked with another friend who said, “You? You’ll speak to homeless men in the park. I wouldn’t worry about it!” ,

John 14: 27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” NIV Version.

*Song by Lenka titled The Show, with the last lines changed. Buy Lenka.

Heather J. Kirk, Photographer, Author, Graphic Designer."We..." an e-book at: her art at: Artist Websitesand

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