Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday Musings on Sports - When its not yet time to back up DeVan

As regular readers of this blog are aware, the Monday post was usually devoted to sports with highlights and analysis of the Max Kellerman show which formerly aired on 1050 ESPN Radio. As Max has resigned from 1050 and has not yet resurfaced on the NY area radio waves, I have decided to continue the tradition of linking sports to Torah which I believe was an undercurrent of the Max Kellerman show.

One of the quirks of the NFL schedule is that there are two weeks between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. In order to fill those two weeks, the media usually beats the bushes to provide interviews with famous players' high school or elementary school teachers. In the alternative, the media will "discover" a little known player and do an in depth story about what motivates the player or his path to the pros. While I don't care for the former stories, the latter ones occasionally pique my curiosity.

This morning, Yahoo Sports ran an AP story about Kyle DeVan, one of the starting guards for the Indianapolis Colts. Written by Michael Marot, the story talked about how DeVan was undrafted when he graduated Oregon State in 2008 and signed as a free agent with the Washington Redskins before being cut and then bouncing on and off NFL rosters before spending a few weeks of the season on the Jets practice squad.

When DeVan was not playing football, he worked as a substitute teacher in his home town of Vacaville, California. In his words, DeVan taught elementary school through high school, “I taught everybody from fifth grade through seniors everything.”

DeVan never gave up on his dream of playing professional football. When the Arena league2 season started, DeVan went to Idaho to play football for the Boise Burn. While playing for Boise, DeVan was scouted by the Indianapolis Colts, who brought him into training camp prior to the 2009-2010 season. By the time Week 8 of the season rolled around, DeVan was in the starting lineup.

DeVan's incredible trip from Fifth Grade sub to Superbowl starter has a great Torah message. Ever since Adam and Eve ate from the apple, man has been cursed with a need to work in order to sustain himself. However, merely because one wants to perform a certain job, it does not mean that the job is the right one for him at the time.

A number of months ago I heard a story from Rabbi Shafier (of about a person who lived in Rochester, NY during the height of the Kodak years. The fellow had been working in computers and was laid off. He spent a number of years looking for a job, but was unsuccessful. Eventually, the man and his family moved to the New York City area and he was able to find a parnassah.

Rabbi Shafier explained that the man later appreciated why it would have been a bad move to have found a job and stayed in Rochester. The man's children were in need of a more structured school program than what was available in Rochester. Having moved to NY, the children were able to have access to schools which met their needs and they thrived in that environment.

If you were to have asked the man during the time he was unemployed whether he would have preferred a job, he would certainly have said yes. However, the lack of the job was the impetus for him to move to NY and as a result his children were able to succeed in school.

Similarly, DeVan might have preferred regular work on an NFL team in 2008. However, if he were to be given the choice of playing for two awful Washington Redskin teams (12-20 combined over the last two years) or starting for the AFC champion Colts, there really would be no question at all.

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