SIDELINE SLANTS

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JOE KLEINSASSER
I don’t know Allard Baird. I have never met him and probably never will. But I’ve met plenty of people like him.

After Kansas City Royals manager Tony Pena resigned recently, the KC general manager made what I found to be an interesting statement.

“I want to win here,” Baird said. “This is No. 1 in my life. I love my family. But the reality is, they’re second.”

Either Baird is being brutally honest or he’s simply saying what he thinks fans want to hear.

On the surface, it’s easy for the fan in all of us to want our coaches and athletic administrators to put work first. It sounds so noble.

But is it really? Is it selfish? Is it necessary?

The win-at-all-cost attitude is accepted as a way of life in sports, in business and in politics. In athletics, many of the most successful coaches are admittedly workaholics. There’s very little time for anything except preparing for the next game or the next season -recruiting, scheduling, practicing, fund-raising and more.

Hillsboro is a community with a strong Mennonite influence. That influence includes a strong work ethic that is well documented and respected. But work isn’t and shouldn’t be an end unto itself.

If you were employed by the Royals and Allard Baird said family comes second, would that mean the Royals need to come before your family, too?

A sociological study from some years ago speaks to our priorities. In this particular study, 50 people past the age of 95 were asked one question: “If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?”

They gave a variety of answers, but three answers constantly emerged and dominated the results of the study. They were:

— If I had it to do over again, I would reflect more.

— If I had it to do over again, I would risk more.

— If I had it to do over again, I would do more things that would live on after I am dead.

In short, the older adults in the study would tell Allard Baird and the rest of us that they had not paid proper attention to the things in life of greatest importance. What I hear them saying is that they did not pay enough attention to the people who had been a major part of their lives.

In the book “Who Switched the Price Tags?” author Tony Campolo shares what his pastor said one time after some college students gave a report of how their educational experiences were going.

“Children,” he said, “you’re going to die! You may not think you’re going to die. But you’re going to die. One of these days, they’re going to take you out to the cemetery, drop you in a hole, throw some dirt on your face, and go back to the church and eat potato salad.

“When you were born, you alone were crying and everybody else was happy. The important question I want to ask is this: When you die, are you alone going to be happy, leaving everybody else crying? The answer depends on whether you live to get titles or you live to get testimonies.

“When they lay you in the grave, are people going to stand around reciting the fancy titles you earned, or are they going to stand around giving testimonies of the good things you did for them? Will they list your degrees and awards, or will they tell about what a blessing you were to them?

“There’s nothing wrong with titles. Titles are good things to have. But if it ever comes to a choice between a title or a testimony- go for the testimony.”

Is work important? Absolutely. We should want to do the best we can on the job.

Is work more important than

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