Life Is Not A Spectator Sport

Spotlights are funny things. They’re big and they’re bright, but so often they’re wrong. Wrong as to whom they shine on. As a result, we travel life mostly noticing the headliners bathed in light, often missing the indispensable people in the shadows. People without whom the headliners could not be.

What’s a general without the troops? A president without the advisers? A quarterback without the line? An anchor person without the crew? A car chase without the stunt men? A marriage without mothers-in-law? Wait — scratch that last one.

Sure, we love that tight lipped the-buck-stops-here mantra which headliners use. But study the next star quarterback you see after his tenth sack, and see if you can’t lip-read the angry names of those leviathans on the line who once again let him down. Modest mantras play well for the public, but hardly in private.

Having recognized this, is there a point here…? Yes. Recognition should be prologue to response. In this case, a heightened awareness and response to just how inter-connected all life really is. Including us, because lets face it — life is not a spectator sport.

Consider that next concert. Watch the classic pianist at the piano or the rocker at the mike. The spot’s on them. They’re who you paid to see. But then look past the spotlight. Look at the performers upstage backing them up. Most playing precisely though unspectacularly through the chords and rhythms upon which the soloists can spectacularly soar. Each of those players in the upstage shadows is the wind beneath his or her wings. They know it and so should you.

One more thing. In every public performance — from president to quarterback to rapper — its success or failure includes you and me. The audience. That’s right. Because without us, without our part in hearing and responding, it’s a performance without a purpose.

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