Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lessons in Life

When I occasionally get to read the Kansas City Star, I make a point to read Jason Whitlock’s column. He’s a pretty opinionated black guy and I’m surprised he hasn’t been run out of town yet, but you don’t have to like a guy when he can write some great stories. One of these days I might send him an email and tell him that, but I probably will never get around to it.

Well anyway the other day, Whitlock wrote about Brian Waters of the K.C. Chiefs winning the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. Waters has done a ton of work for the KC community during his nine year career and is a respected man. The Chiefs have gone through some lean years lately so they fired their general manager and head coach and hired in some new people. That didn’t seem to help much.  I guess there's always next year. I personally don’t give a damn if they win or lose because of the way Indians are portrayed in their stands during games, but that’s just me.

Oh for the longest time I was a baseball fan.  We did our best to go to watch the KC Royals play every year.  It was always an adventurous drive going through Kansas City.  But I essentially gave up on the Royals because of the major league baseball strike in 1994. I’ve only gone to one game since and that’s because it was a free ticket. At the time the average major league salary was about a million dollars a year and that wasn’t enough for them, so I said they don’t’ need me hanging around Royals Stadium any more either. Again that’s neither here or there.

Back to the story: Waters, being a good guy, reached out to the new management and was greeted with a “breathtaking level of disrespect and contempt.” Why? Who knows and cares? Maybe, they felt a need to belittle the players who were losers in their eyes. Waters asked to be traded as a result but all that did was alienate the fans who wanted to “blindly believe in the new men.” He chose to ignore the treatment and devote his time to making the Chiefs better.

Whitlock said young people can learn a lesson from the Waters treatment, “If your goal is to rise above your circumstance, never answer disrespect with disrespect. Don’t answer at all. Another person’s behavior should not dictate your behavior. Someone –a peer, a friend, a teacher, a boss – might verbally assault you or challenge you in an unfair manner publicly/privately. Don’t respond, Whitlock said, it’s a trap, a ploy to prevent your elevation to higher station in life.”

Waters did exactly that and won a prestigious award and as Whitlock said “success trumps disrespect.”

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