Critics of my lifelong passion for professional sports, and this includes my wife, point out that professional athletes are a huge turnoff: adulated for their physical prowess and making us lose sight of life's bigger questions while these very athletes too often act like sullen, boring, churlish divas unworthy of our time.
Really? Think of the wisdom we learn from Andrew Bynum and Josh Beckett. Bynum, who rarely shows up mentally on the basketball court, teaches us that the surly narcissistic sloth never changes and we shouldn't wait around for him to mature or else we'll be like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin that never materializes. There will never be a mature Bynum. As that great sage, Flip Wilson, used to say, "What you see is what you get."
And then there's Josh Beckett who has been recently criticized for not focusing on his pitching and his unusually high ERA while indulging in golf and his defensive response to media criticism about his lack of committment. He is the epitome of defiance, selfishness, and the integrity of being true to your infantile self.
Perhaps the greatest wisdom we learn from these two gifted athletes: They weren't people of high character who became corrupt after wealth and fame; rather wealth and fame were a sort of truth serum that brought out their true essence.
As these Life Lessons keep coming from the bowels of professional sports, that colossal billion-dollar industry will continue to flourish.