“I am the warrior” – Patty Smyth of Scandal
Another grown man nearly brought me to tears last night and even this morning as I reflected on his true story. It’s one of those “feel-good” stories that we all need to soak in from time to time amidst the constant barrage of garbage we’re fueled with from media news outlets every day.
Andre Ingram made his debut in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers last night at the NBA ripe old age of 32. Andre has been grinding in the minor league of basketball for ten years. Ten years! I hate to waiting longer than 10 minutes for my food at a restaurant, and this guy toiled on buses and stayed in cheap motels in outposts like Fort Wayne, Indiana, Erie, Pennsylvania, and Sioux City, Iowa.
The NBA’s developmental league formerly known as the “D League,” but currently called the “G League.” The “G” is for Gatorade, the current sponsor, and the league is the home to many hooping hopefuls trying to work their way up to a spot in the NBA. Very few succeed out of the approximately 10-11% that are ever called up to the NBA. Most of the players in the G League are making less than $27,000 per year, which is a far cry from the average NBA salary of $6.2 million this season. Hell, teachers in Oklahoma are making more money than G-leaguers and we all know by now they aren’t making near enough money.
Ten years. How many of us would have given up on a sports dream if it meant toiling in the minor league system for that long? Patience and perseverance and sacrifice is what I see when I look at the graying hair of Andre Ingram. He’s the first to admit there were times when he was discouraged. Times when he thought this day would never come. Times when he thought about hanging it up. Patience and perseverance. And what kind of wife would support a husband playing a game for that long and all of the travel and nights away from the family? A wife willing to sacrifice her happiness at times for the dream of her husband. It’s beautiful really. Were there fights and arguments at times? Surely. Were there tears and anger and disappointment along the road? There had to be. They would not be human otherwise.
Still, I got to sit and watch most of the game last night as Ingram not only played, but played well, pouring in 19 points in a Lakers’ loss to Houston. He made his very first shot (a three-pointer no less), and even received chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!” at one point during the game. It had to feel good to be him in that moment last night. He’ll get at least one more game in a Laker uniform in their season finale’ tonight against the Clippers. He may get some more games. He may never get another into another game. Either way, I felt good for him last night and for his family. I was happy for the warrior within him who persevered and never gave up. Kudos to you, Andre Ingram.
“Yes I am the warrior, and victory is mine”
Ironically enough my Bible reading this morning consisted of a true warrior and his name was David. Almost everyone has read or heard the story of the handsome youngest son of Jesse who bravely stood up to the nine foot Philistine named Goliath. David rejected the traditional battle gear and opted for his rod, his sling, and five smooth stones. It took just one shot to the giant’s head to take him down and turn the momentum of the battle against the Philistines and in favor of the Israelites.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s book titled “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants” Gladwell points out that the victory by David was not necessarily an upset of epic proportions because David possessed the right combination of attributes to actually own the advantage in a non hand to hand combat situation. He wasn’t weighed down by heavy armor and he obviously was a great shot with a sling and rock. As a young man who had spent countless days and nights defending his father’s flock of sheep from bears and lions, David was already well equipped with the skills to overcome obstacles and the skills needed for that very meeting with Goliath.
Of course God had also already blessed David and appointed him as the future king to succeed Saul, but God had also prepared him for this moment in history. David was already a warrior in his heart and mind at this point pleading with King Saul to let him fight Goliath by telling him “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too…(1 Sam 17:34-36)”
“I don’t want to tame your animal style. You won’t be caged. In the call of the wild”
Today’s featured video is just another ho-hum apocalyptic scene shot in or on top of a warehouse somewhere. It’s hysterically campy and it makes me laugh thinking that there could be apocalyptic dancing someday which could make this video prophetic. Video cheesiness aside, this has always been one of my favorite 80’s songs because of Patty Smyth and her vocals and just the rhythm and pace of the song. Sure the lyrics may be referring to a love affair of some sort, but I like to think that anyone who has persevered through trials and tough times like the aforementioned Andre Ingram or in the ancient days of David, deserves to think of themselves as a warrior. This song kind of pumps me up. Sometimes I wish I could walk into a room with intro music. If so, this would be one of my go-to songs. If I could only pull off the makeup and the hair as brilliantly as Smyth!
This is Scandal with lead singer Patty Smyth and their 1984 #7 U.S. Billboard Hot 100 hit, “The Warrior”…
Go be a warrior today in whatever you do, and thanks for reading.