Friday, February 10, 2012

Media, Football, Fame, and Faith.

After a perfect weekend away it was hard to return to the ‘real world’. I hit the ground running at 7am on Tuesday, after a midnight flight home on Monday and haven’t slowed down since. Thankfully, I don’t feel physically tired and I came back having slept more over my vacation then probably in the 2 weeks before it combined. What I have been feeling the weight of this week is emotional exhaustion.

There’s been a lot over the past 2 months I haven’t been able to share with you here, or for most of you, at all. The nature of the industry my family is part of, is that I frequently have to hold in the details. I feel blessed to have a few close friends I can trust even with the secrets, as well as a few who are in the same spot. But it’s hard for someone, like me, who wears their heart on their sleeve to pretend like nothing is going on.

I was chatting with my Mom the other day about the media. I shared a few months ago a great article that was written about my Dad towards the end of this football season. It was truly a testament to his love of the Lord, his family, and mentoring his players. After exchanging e-mails with the writer from work, I felt extremely grateful for the media who use their power for good. For truth.

After the end of the season there is always a bustle of hiring’s and firings and overall chaos in sports teams around the country. I want to pause here and say that I would never wish unemployment, moving, and public firing on anyone and my heart broke for so many people we know who experienced that this year. But what I find so horrific at times like these, is the overall disregard for the feelings of people involved in the public domain. I shared with my Mom that my experiences over the past few years have made me sad for A-list celebrities children. If it’s this tough for those of us who have to hear it ‘in season’ on the much smaller scale of the sports arena – then what must it be like for, say, President Obama’s children?

I was talking with a great coaching couple I’ve gotten to know over the past few months and they were asking me what their son (who’s a toddler now) will experience. What is it really like to be the kid of a coach? Something about that question has stuck with me in the weeks since. My memory isn’t good enough to give you my verbatim response but it went something like this…

I would never wish on any child to experience the insensitivity of sports fans. What I realize as I get older is that no criticism you will experience of yourself from peers, parents, or coworkers can scratch the surface of the hurt you feel when it’s the people you love most. The desire to defend the people you love is powerful. You feel a fierce sense of loyalty to your family and no matter how many times you stuff down that desire to defend, it never goes away. Over the years I have found that people most frequently say ‘but it’s not true anyway, so you can’t let it get to you’. Ah, yes. Truth. Too bad there aren’t any rules about the media printing the truth, huh? Or fans…there’s no cap on the false things they can say. When people say hurtful things to you, true or not doesn’t really factor in though, does it?

Worse perhaps than the media and these strangers with cameras and clipboards are the people you ‘know’. I could write a tell all book of the things people I actually know have said to me. Turns out that if your Dad has a semi-public job people think they have a right to pry into your business. That all is fair in family and football. I’ve heard it all from ‘I hope they fire your Dad’ to ‘how much does he make’ to ‘tell your Dad to call this play…hire this guy…cut so-in-so’. You’d think after so many years of this, you’d get used to it but now, twenty six years later, I’m sure that you never do.

I guess what I find most amazing is how people survive without faith. When I think about the tough side of the game, of life really, I always remember that the Lord called us into this. That his purposes are bigger than wins, loses, criticism, or glory. His plan is bigger than fame or fortune. I take a step back and realize that our rewards are in heaven and that the Lord is the ultimate defender of his people. And while this doesn’t take the sting out of the words, there is a level of peace in that. I feel grateful that each of my family members has a healthy relationship with the Lord and try though I might I can’t imagine doing life without that relationship.

When I was a kid my Mom had me memorize Psalm 91, and I’ve never forgotten it. Here are a few great verses for any of you who might have felt similarly recently:

14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”




Phil and Darby Hawley said...

I assume your family is affiliated in the sports arena? I pray you stay strong and don't let negativity in!!! Go Girl!

Lauren @ A modern day wife's journey said...

I'm sure the media is awful at time, so glad you have such a strong strenth in faith and family system to get you through :-)

Lindsey @ Running Down A Dream said...

I'm so sorry for what you and your family have had to deal with. I have been thinking about you, friend! xo

Wiz said...

I have never thought about how children must feel! I hope that you and your family are doing well.

Lydia - Running Wild(er) said...

I can't even imagine how hard it is dealing with the "industry" from your side of things. The media can be so hurtful and having to deal with questions/comments/suggestions from so-called "friends" too has to just wear on you. I'm sure having a strong faith truly is a blessing to you and your family. This is a great post to remind people to think about the things they say about someone they consider is a "public figure"...we are all human beings, created in the eyes of the Lord and all deserve love and respect!