Tuesday, April 30, 2013

NFL Contracts and Exodus 18-35

I've been reading through Exodus for about a month now. I would say I'm being intentional about digesting it slowly, but the truth is I'm a really slow reader and since I'm not up against a deadline, I'm taking my sweet time. Despite this snail's pace not being intentional, it has allowed me to notice something that I think is important...but more on that later.

With the NFL draft occurring last weekend, I've been inundated with talk about NFL teams and hopes/expectations for the future. I mostly ignore all this talk because it always seems to be nothing more than talk. And most of it sounds like just variations on the same theme: we're excited about (prospect's name), (veteran's name) is healthy, and (star player's name) has been working hard and is much improved. But one set of comments caught my attention. Not because it's anything new or unexpected, but because of what I'd been reading and noticing in Exodus.

The comment came from Jerry Jones, the owner and general manager of the Cowboys. More or less, Jones said that he hopes that after receiving a new contract, Tony Romo (QB) will spend "Peyton Manning-like" hours at work. The hours he's expecting are Monday-Saturday 7AM-6PM. I'll save you the math: 66hours/week. It's unclear if this is the expected schedule during the season too, but if it is, add at least around another 8 hour day to that on Sundays for game day. Potentially a 74 hour work week. These two numbers are both significantly higher than the traditional 40 hour work week of a 9-5, Monday-Friday. Here's where I'm getting all this info: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/04/28/jerry-jones-wants-tony-romo-to-work-like-peyton-manning/
All of this work, according to Jones, is in the name of having "more success." I find this sad because I know Tony is a human (not a machine) and because I know Romo is a relatively new father. However, what saddens me more is that I don't think this work schedule is terribly exceptional. I'm sure there are plenty of people that work 65+ hours a week on a regular basis. And I find that sad. Why? Let's go back to Exodus. 

In my reading through Exodus I noticed that something kept coming up in God's speaking to Moses and Moses speaking to Israel: the law of observing Sabbath. I counted at least 5 separate times it was mentioned between Exodus 18-35. My realization was that the Sabbath is important to God and therefore it was important for Israel.

I know that the expectations laid out for Tony Romo aren't really anything crazy in professional sports. It's probably not all too far from the schedule for NCAA athletes if you count their dual responsibilities of student & athlete. And as I said, I'm sure there are plenty of non-athletes that work just as much if not more. But that's exactly what I hate/fear. Ridiculous hours are becoming more and more common. Whether we're just trying to get by, or trying to be better than the next person, we're forgetting how to rest...all in hopes of experiencing "more success." People overwork themselves and then wonder why they've come to hate their jobs...even if at one point it was a "dream job."

I hope we can recover the regular practice of Sabbath. I hope we can challenge and reject this push to work more and more and more. I hope that our lives don't become completely defined by or consumed with our work. I hope we can start to say "no" to ridiculous hours so that we can say yes to other things. I hope that we can start to enjoy some recreation.

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