short, sweet, and to-the-point — by Keith Elder

Archive for the tag “second chances”

“An Open Letter to Jameis, Ray, Roger, etc.”

Dear Jameis, Ray, Roger, etc., etc.”

All we wanted was a nice, evening with friends and family. A little food and drink. A little friendly banter. A great game. But that’s not what we got. Our night was intercepted by play-by-play and commentary on the latest episode of “Athletes Behaving Badly.” Suspensions, arrests, abuse charges—then, of course, spin by publicists and coaches and league officials trying to save their… Butkus awards.

Now, I don’t know you guys personally. And no head coaches or commissioners have called to ask for my take on the matter—but here it comes.

You guys are ruining it for everybody. Taking away from a game that has given you everything. Where would you be today without this game? And, yet, you are ruining it—siphoning off the magic and the excitement of great rivalries and cool autumn afternoons and tailgate reunions.

FYI, Average Joe and Jane Public don’t to want hear another “athlete beats up anybody story.” (Add to that, doping, bird-flipping, shoplifting, racial slurs from penthouses, or disgusting language from atop cafeteria tables). There’s not a person out there who works a real job, who is not repulsed by your behavior. We commoners look to sports as a little break from realities of a tough economy and terrorist threats and killer viruses—and here you come, just turning it into more bad news. We are tired of having to explain you to our kids, “Oh, he’s not a bad person, he just did a bad thing.”

Or are you a bad person?  Lord knows, there are evil people out there in the world. Jesus said, “You’ll know a tree by its fruits.” Right now, Friends, your fruits don’t speak very highly of you. They’re saying you don’t respect the game…or the fans…or your family…or yourself.

As far as we are concerned you can go away and stay away, until you begin to get your orchard in order. But that won’t happen, really, without a change of heart…and that’s something you’ll need to discuss with God. Only God can change a heart.

Sincerely hoping your tree gets better soon.  Mine too.

Keith Elder



“Fail Forward”

Famous Failures

The slide with “Famous Failures” is a ray of light…a rope of hope to all of us not-so-famous folks who may have yet to see the magic happen.  Oprah, Walt Disney, The Beatles.  Can there be any more enormous success stories?  And yet there was a point when they were at the bottom—unknown, unproven, disrespected, discounted as losers by “people in the know.”

One thing I have learned about most people-in-the-know—i.e., the critics—is that they are critics because they can’t perform themselves.  They can’t play the sport or the instrument… or write the hit song or the novel… or get elected to public office. Talk about losers—how about the coach who cut Michael Jordan from the high school basketball team?  How about the educator who said little Albert Einstein would never amount to much? And the station that fired Ms. Winfrey because she wasn’t fit for television?  You think those geniuses haven’t kicked themselves to China and back a few times?

Everyone knows failure—at least, everyone who’s ever tried to do anything worth doing.  Learning to play a musical instrument.  Learning to swim, or to paint, or to speak before a crowd, or to sell, or to write a song…or to surf.  Write it down: there will be wipeouts along the way.

You’ve heard of the successful businessman (could have been a woman, but in this case, it was a guy).  In an interview he was asked about his secret to success. “Good decisions,” he answered.  “And how,” the interviewer asked, “did you learn to make those good decisions.”  “Bad decisions,” the man replied without hesitation.

There’s no question whether or not we are going to fail from time to time.  The question is, what will we do when we do.  Wallow in shame?  Blame the world?  Quit?  To quote Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman with bad teeth) in the movie, Hook“Bad form!”  The call of the day is to do your best to succeed, but on those days you do fail, fail forward.  Grow from the mistakes.  Process the pain and apply the newfound knowledge to that next challenge.

The Bible calls that “wisdom”.

Keith   9/12/13

“Expiration Date… NA (not applicable)”

It was a picture-post on “The Idealist” facebook page.  A sky with birds hovering over a tree…in a boat…with a light in a window on the trunk of the tree (shades of Keebler elves)…and a girl standing at the bow of the boat gazing into the future.

Caption: “Your dream doesn’t have an expiration date: take a deep breath and try again.”

I REALLY like this. Being a Boomer who’s taken a few tumbles and had many a doubt as to whether I will ever see my potential realized, this reminds me to hope.  The idea shows up all over the place.

“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” –anonymous

God called an already up-in-years Abram and Sarah to pull up roots and go to a new place—and start a family.

God called to 80 year-old Moses from a burning bush and said, in essence, “It’s time to do your thing, Moses.  Go tell Pharoh to let my people go.”  The Red Sea, water from rocks, manna from heaven, and forty years of wilderness wandering—all came after Moses turned 80.

God kept old Simeon and Anna alive long enough to realize the hope of seeing the Messiah come.  (Luke 2:21 ff.)

And it’s not just about age.

Jesus used little kids, disenfranchised women, greedy tax collectors, fiery zealots, and a foot-in-mouth-prone “Rock” (Peter) to make the kingdom magic happen.  He even used a few rich people.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live.”  Paul wrote, “If any person is in Christ, he/she is a new creation.  Old things have passed away, behold the new has come.”

I wonder how many of us have given up on our dreams or ideals because it (whatever “it” is) got hard. Because we sinned and fell short of the glory.  We’ve thrown in the towel on a job or a call or a person or a love or a dream—or ourselves.  News flash—the past is prologue, folks.  The clock’s still ticking… the game is still on!

Remember: “Your dream doesn’t have an expiration date: take a deep breath and try again.”

Keith   3/06/2013

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