When he is in the truck, The Hunter almost always has on Sports Talk Radio. Over the years I have acquired quite the database of facts, trivia, stats and schedules. Listening to my cocktail chatter, you would almost think I am a sports fan.
Here in New England, for much of the year, the talk is all about the Patriots. Right now, as the Pats are not, most unusually for them, playing in the Super Bowl, the talk is all on the soon-to-be free agent Tom Brady: Will he stay? Will he go? The word is that he feels undervalued and under loved and wants a lot more money
On air these questions are endlessly debated: How much money will it take? Can the team afford it? Is he worth it? Will another team sign him? Where will he go? Will he be able to learn another system? How long can he play?
Mostly, though, it’s about the money. “It all comes down to a matter of business: he has to do what is right for his family.” This is according to one radio host. Well, honestly, now that he has broken just about every record there is and has too many Super Bowl rings to fit on one hand, what is right for his family is that he stops playing football before he gets seriously injured or his brain turns to mush. After 40, even just standing still, things break. (I remember when a friend, who was a few years older than me, hit 40, and said, “Just you wait. Things that aren’t even on your radar now are simply going to implode.” I scoffed at her. Then, I turned 40. And I stopped scoffing.)
But, apparently, Tom does not break and has no desire to stop playing. He says he loves the game too much to retire. Since this is the case, the questions he needs to ask are: Is my family fed and clothed? Do they have a roof over their heads? Do I need more money than I am earning now to keep it this way?
It’s obvious that the answers to those questions are yes, yes and no. So, what is the money problem?
The Hunter tells me that the superstar athletes are competitive on and off the field. They like to perform the greatest feats and earn the highest salary, just so they can say nanny nanny boo boo to everyone else. Apparently a quiet workmanlike modest humble mindset doesn’t enter into it.
But, I said, so many of these athletes who feel unloved and jump to another team for more money fall flat on their faces, and often that flop is impressive. Surely that is more humiliating than not being paid top dollar? The Hunter shrugged.
My advice here is not just for Tom. It is just as true for all the other athletes and movie stars and CEOs and plain ordinary folk who want more than they are getting, who feel underappreciated: When you can feed your family and pay your bills doing a job you love, then everything else is gravy. The moment you start to think differently, you are headed for trouble – ego has a way of messing with your head, which in turn will mess with your game – whatever it is.
If my take on this is not authoritative enough, Jesus made this same point with his Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21). You know, the story of the guy who has it all. In fact, he has so much that he tears down his barns to build bigger ones in order to store all his stuff.
But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?
Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”
In other words, money is not one of the things you can take with you.
Never having heard any debates about modesty, humility or magnanimity, I don’t expect they are on the list of top topics for Sports Talk Radio. Probably not the target market.