Our Sports Illustrated showed up today. It will probably be a week before I read it. Which means next week I’ll be reading articles about the NBA Finals as if the Miami Heat were ahead two games to one. By then the Finals will be over. You’d think there isn’t much point in someone like me getting this magazine, but our boys love reading it. I’d have to set a timer and firm expectations to get them to read many books as long as they’ll sit and read this magazine. So, we get it for good reason.
Even though I’m usually the last one to read it, I’m just as likely to be the first one to open it. If I see that an issue has arrived I’ll go immediately to the three two-page photos they have at the front of each issue. These shots are consistently remarkable. This week was no exception. I hope I’m not breaking any copyright laws, but I’m pasting a scan of part of one taken by David E. Klutho below. Something especially caught my eye about this photo of a brutal hockey check. Not so much the flailing bodies ricocheting off each other, but the people watching behind them. I circled two of them in particular.
These guys are in a pretty sweet position this week. They showed up in a photo in Sports Illustrated. They are the talk of the water cooler if they work somewhere with a water cooler. They’ve got me beat, I’ve never been in the foreground or background of a photo in any magazine, let alone Sports Illustrated.
But, really, what are they doing? They have expensive seats to the NHL Finals. Just feet in front of them some guy from the home team is flipping another guy upside down on top of ice. You may not like hockey or violence, but this is entertaining. And these guys are watching it all unfold…on the giant TV screen above the action.
This shouldn’t bother me. These guys have the right to choose to watch the TV instead of the actual event. Plus, I’m sure it’s a little hard to see with the players on the bench and the boards in the way. There’s no reason to criticize these guys, but what they’re doing doesn’t feel right. They should be watching the real humans doing this right in front of them!
You know what really gets me about this? Odds are, I’d be doing the exact same thing.
I go to a church where the message is streamed in via video. It’s a big church doing a lot of good things and there’s nothing wrong with watching the message on video. It’s just that I read Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and he says: “At the time I was attending this large church in the suburbs. It was like going to church at the Gap.” I get the impression Donald might get that same feeling at my church. Which is okay, he doesn’t go to my church. Sometimes though, I will go see someone speak, like at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit in Louisville last month. I was by myself so I sat right up near the front (my family rarely sits up front so this is my way of letting loose a little). I can be like 20 feet from the speaker and what am I doing? Watching her speak on the video behind her. This might be a result of the Gap-church thing. I’m not sure.
I guess I have a point. It’s been on my mind a lot lately. It’s a sort of question I could ask myself at any given time: am I really here now? I saw a quote not long ago that sums it up nicely: “There is never a time when your life is not ‘this moment,’” Eckhart Tolle. That isn’t all that radical, but I’m not sure I live that way. I’m one of the guys looking at the video instead of soaking up the real deal. I’m thinking about some future ambition, weighing something someone did earlier, separating myself from “this moment” somehow. Life is too short not to make a bigger deal out of right now. My wife deserves it, my kids deserve it, I deserve it. A couple hockey fans helped make that sink in a little further.