I Have a Gripe

October 13, 2016

For the Love of Team

Every Wednesday night I watch Undeniable with Joe Buck. If you are not familiar, it is a great show. Sportscaster Joe Buck conducts a one-on-one interview each week with a well-known athlete. He has interviewed some great athletes. This week was one of my favorites – the great Lynn Swann.

I have always loved football. Watching teams like The Steelers of the 1970s and my beloved Niners of the 1980s hold great memories. At the time I didn’t realize it, but I was learning about a key skill for life – teamwork. A player started their career with a team and they stayed with that team until the day they walked off the field for the last time.

During the interview with Lynn Swann, he spoke about his love of team. How they sacrificed personal goals for the good of the team. When he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, he spoke of his teammates and his coaches. When he spoke of teammate, John Stallworth, he said:

“This is, this is the single greatest honor in my life. The single greatest honor of my life. And, if this is the greatest hour of my life, then I would tell you at this moment, this is only a half-hour. It’ll be the greatest hour when I can stand and sit in that back row and John Stallworth is wearing a gold jacket making this speech.”

To me, this is team in the truest sense of the word. In his greatest moment, he still took the time to recognize someone on his team he felt was deserving of induction into the Hall of Fame. Stallworth was inducted the following year.

Today’s pro athletes? Not so much.

Today it is all about the contract. There is no loyalty to a team, a coach, or the fans. It is about who will pay the most. They focus on their own stats and a fancy end-zone celebration instead of what they can do for the success of the team.

Sometimes the owners aren’t much better. While the stadiums built for theses teams are more and more elaborate, the ticket prices go higher and higher. Most people can’t afford to take their kids to a game. As a result, the scene of a father and son going to a game to enjoy a Coke and a hot dog has been replaced by guys in suits heading out after work while eating sushi in premier boxes.

I believe in loyalty.

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