Good vs. Great

I have cut myself off from most television “news” programming.  It’s too opinionated, there’s too much yelling and (most disturbingly) it’s often devoid of actual facts. Most of these shows have become nothing more than platforms for the hosts to build their careers on, and frankly the best example of this would be Bill O’Reilly.

Even as a conservative, I could never get on the O’Reilly train. The guy was an ego-maniac and a cocky, condescending blow-hard. I’m sure there were many times when his reporting was spot on, but I just couldn’t get past his in ‘your face’ sense of superiority.  His rudeness was off the scale.

Did the man sexually harass women in the workplace ultimately leading to his release from the network yesterday? I guess we will never really know. But the problem with being a self-absorbed narcissist is that people can well imagine that he is guilty as accused. It’s not a leap at all to think he could have engaged in that kind of behavior because it’s just one stepping stone away from his usual, overbearing “schtick.”

Bill O’Reilly is 67 years old and no doubt a very rich man; he’ll be OK- financially speaking.  But you have to admit this is an awful way to end a very successful career with your reputation shattered at your feet. There was another famous Bill (..Clinton) who was able to eventually redeem himself in the eyes of many after his disrespectful behavior towards women, so I guess there is a path forward if O’Reilly wraps himself in more and more and more charity work..

But the lessons about the dangers of an unchecked ego and the pursuit of greatness are always the same.  It reminds me of a quote I once read and never forgot:




photocredit:Mother Jones


Once a jerk, always a jerk?

This past Saturday evening, my husband and I were able to enjoy a real unique tennis experience.  The Powershares Series had come to Charleston, SC and a few all-time favorite retired pros were there to play. Andy Roddick, James Blake, Mark Philippoussis and John McEnroe duked it out in games that while certainly competitive, featured plenty of hilarious banter and antics.

Everyone was having a good time; everyone except John McEnroe.

Do you remember John? He was the bad boy of tennis when he was younger, always cursing and complaining, tossing his racquet and having pitiful fits. He was a great player, no doubt about that, but he was a real jerk.

Well, here’s an update- the guy is still a jerk.

While the other players were fully engaged with the audience and each other, McEnroe was brooding, quiet and with the exception of a few comments about being an old man, he just kept to could tell he did not want to be there. When each match was finished, the winner and the loser walked up to the mike to talk to the crowd- not John though. He played one game and after he lost, simply walked off the courts.

I “get” that McEnroe is the headliner in this series, but honestly..the event would have been even better without him. His sour-puss attitude was depressing.  Not only did he bring nothing to the table, he stole from it.

My son’s karate teacher used to tell the kids that “attitude is everything.” And while I may not agree that it’s literally everything, it’s pretty darn close. I also know for a fact that change is possible in every person’s life..but the longer we wait to address our corrosive attitudes, the harder it is to reshape them.

Harder- but NEVER impossible.

How great it would have been to experience John McEnroe as a gracious, elder statesman happily promoting the sport that made him a (very wealthy) star. What a unique platform he has in his present capacity to reflect upon his career and share his stories, lessons and insights with loyal fans whom he instead chose to ignore. What a pity that he is just as tightly wound and cranky as a white haired 58 year old as he was back when he was 18.

Does he love tennis today?

Did he ever?

One thing’s for sure, while John was clearly able to make the difficult transition away from those miserable, wooden racquets, he obviously was never able to transition away from his miserable ego.

What a shame; what a missed opportunity.






 photocredit:Punchnels,Volvo Car Open,Leadership | First Presbyterian Church,Pinterest