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Friday, May 11, 2012

$86,000 a day

Listening to Sportstalk radio this morning, I heard about a Boston Red Sox pitcher who is having a tough time.  A decade ago, Josh Beckett was winning a bunch of games for the Florida Marlins and helping them beat the Yankees in the World Series.  His success led to a huge contract with the Sox.

Last year, the Sox came up short with a monumental collapse on the last day of the season.  They failed to make the playoffs after being baseball's best team from May to August (the season is from April to September).  The manager who got them past the 100-yeard curse of the Bambino and to two World Series championships, Terry Francona, was out.  Then news came out that Beckett and other starting pitchers (who pitch once every five games) were unavailable to the team when it wasn't their turn in the rotation.  Instead of watching from the dugout, they retreated to the clubhouse, ate fried chicken, and drank beer while play cards.  During Games! 

Now, this year, the Sox and Beckett have both starter miserably.  Beckett had to miss a start due to a minor injury, but it wasn't bad enough for him to rehab on his off-day.  Instead, he played golf.  When questioned about fan perception being bad related to an injured, struggling star missing games but playing golf, Beckett was defiant.  He said he gets 18 off days (during the season) and he'll do what he wants to do on those days. 

The radio show host pointed out that Major Leaguers are off all of November, December, and January.  Teams that don't make the playoffs are off all of October.  And the players are off half of February.  That's over 150 off days in addition to the 18 during the season.  Then, they pointed out that Beckett makes $86,000 per day. 

That's when it hit me.  He makes more in a day than I do in a year - considerably more.   Every five days, he's being paid to do what few people in the world can do - be a major league pitcher.  But the other four days he sits in the dugout with fried chicken and beer, receiving his $86,000 with no sense of gratitude.

In fact, I don't know if that's true.  I don't know Josh Beckett's heart.  He sounds pouty and defiant to the media, but that may be his frustration speaking.  Back when he was winning 18 games and pitching in All-Star games and the World Series, he may have consumed beer and fried chicken in the club house on his off-days then too.  No one complained because things were going well for the team.  Maybe he sounds bad now because he doesn't know how to handle tough times (professional "tough times;" maybe today's $86,000 helps him through).

Here's what I know.  As I drove home from the gym listening to the story, I pulled up in front of my house right as it ended.  My two younger kids, Henry and Merone ran to the car to great me.  They were just excited at me coming home.  In that moment, I realized how blessed and lucky I am to have adopted these kids as well as Igor.  I am blessed to be able to travel to Russia and Ethiopia and Honduras and Bolivia.  God has graced me in allowing me to work with children in Kombolcha, Ethiopia. 

Josh Beckett can have today's $86,000 and tomorrow's as well.  I want what I have.  I am grateful.  I hope for Beckett that he will come into a knowledge of God that will leave him speechless, grateful, awed, and humbled.  I hope he can know the joy that 100 years of $86,000 days cannot buy.

Here we are riding home from the airport after I was away for 9 days.

Here the kids meet me at the airport.

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