Mat MacDonald AKA The Rook The Rook is currently enrolled in Human Kinetics at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. A frequent contributor to all NBA and Raptors debates along with other sports. Witty, quick and never afraid of a challenge, Mat's here to talk hoops with you and dish out his two cents whenever!
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Two Stories, One Moral
Itʼs a Sunday afternoon. Timʼs just leaving his job after working the early morning shift. Waking up at the crack of dawn, Tim wished that today would be easy, but itʼs not. It never is. Timʼs got no time for himself, he works two jobs. Well, he has his thirty minutes in between jobs.
Itʼs Sunday afternoon. Chris just finished working out. His afternoon schedule consists of media appearances, a quick visit to a childrenʼs hospital, then out for another afternoon meeting which will probably take place at a top-notch restaurant. Lifeʼs not bad, but Chris is on the verge of free-agency and believes he deserves a raise. His six figure contract isnʼt cutting it anymore.
Tim has trouble going to work sometimes. He has two kids, a son and a daughter. A lot of the time that Tim is out of the house his kids are awake. By the time Tim gets home, the kids are asleep. Thankfully his wife only works mornings so sheʼs able to get home in time to pick the kids up from school.
Itʼs not always easy to live in Chrisʼ shoes. Thereʼs so many demands. The mediaʼs always asking for time, people are constantly on his back for autographs, practices are tough and frankly, the weatherʼs just not working for him. Free-agency is the best time of the year. The anticipation of being courted by dozens of teams intrigues Chris. This is his chance to make people work for him, his chance to make sure that people realize his true value.
At Timʼs second job itʼs another quiet day. Stocking shelves in the back of the grocery store has itʼs ups and downs. While there isnʼt much of a social aspect in the back of a grocery store, Tim enjoys the pace and the quiet atmosphere he experiences most times. The occasional chat with a co-worker is always a breath of fresh air, but for the most part itʼs pure silence. The demands arenʼt unachievable. Simply stock the boxes on the shelves and sign the order papers, nothing too hard. The payʼs alright. At $10.10 an hour, Tim figures he only has to work six days a week along with his other job in order to make enough money to keep his family comfortable.
Porsche or a Bentley? Sure, itʼs not your average day, but itʼs time for a new car. Chris canʼt decide. Deals are being thrown at him from all angles. Thereʼs colors to choose from, models that can be designed and windows that can be tinted. Moneyʼs not the issue, itʼs just a matter of what looks the best. Chris calls his entourage to ask what they think. They donʼt care, theyʼre happy with the cars they received earlier in the year. Chris isnʼt too concerned either. Itʼs his fifth car, and most of them just sit in his driveway anyway. Being on the road for so many games during the season doesnʼt allow for much time to drive.
Itʼs almost 9:30 in the evening. Timʼs just about to punch out of work. Heʼs been asked to stay behind for a bit to finish up the last few items of the night shipment. There is no ʻovertimeʼ pay in the grocery store, but Timʼs been a loyal employee so he doesnʼt see the harm in giving a helping hand.
Almost 8:00 PM, and still nothing to eat. Itʼs not Chrisʼ fault, heʼs been on the run. A quick call to his chef at his house clears everything up. Itʼll be salmon tonight with an assortment of sides. With only a few scenes left to shoot for a commercial set to air in the next few weeks, Chris is cool with waiting as long as he gets his payment. With all the requests for his time, Chris makes sure that he gets the most money he can possibly get. Thereʼs no time to waste.
10:30 in the evening. Timʼs finally home. The kids are already asleep and his wifeʼs in bed. For dinner Tim gets a piece of meatloaf and carrots. After a long day and a turkey sandwich for lunch, this is exactly what Timʼs been waiting for. The feeling of being home in his house with his family makes Tim feel better than anything in the world. With his food in his stomach, thereʼs no real play time for Tim. He wants to be up early enough to see his kids before he has to go to work. The nightʼs a wrap.
Finally, home from shooting a commercial itʼs time to eat. The salmon is fresh, warm and ready to go. Chris is loving the life. Still contemplating over which car heʼs going to buy, he asks his chef what heʼd choose. With no real preference, Chris gets no help from the man who baked his salmon to perfection. With a whole day finished, Chris needs to get to sleep. Tomorrowʼs the big day. The day that everyone can start making their push to lure him towards their franchise. Heʼs a free man. Things canʼt be any better.
6:30 AM, everybodyʼs awake. Timʼs sitting at the breakfast table eating his cereal while his kids come downstairs to spend time with their dad. Meanwhile Timʼs wife is off to work at the hotel. Sheets need to be washed and thereʼs a deadline to have them finished by. Timʼs got to get to work in almost an hour. The teachers at school agreed to come in early to help Tim out so he could drop the kids off on his way.
12:01 AM and the phoneʼs ringing. Already six teams have inquired on Chrisʼ interests towards their franchise. Right now the figures arenʼt lining up to what Chris is looking for. He wants that max deal, he knows he can get it. The truth is other teams know he can have it too, but heʼs going to wait until he gets exactly what he wants. Warm weather is a big part of the decision too, but heʼs not that fussy.
The kids are in school and Timʼs on the bus. His morning job isnʼt rough. Again, another labour job. This oneʼs a bit different. Tim gets in the truck every morning and delivers to the grocery stores. In a weird way, Tim spends his whole day working in some form of grocery. Except todayʼs a bit different...
Itʼs 1:33 PM and thereʼs a deal on the table worth looking at. Chris just received the word that heʼll be headed to the west coast. A five-year, $100 million deal is what has been presented. Itʼs a done deal. Thereʼs no sweeter feeling than this...
Fast-forward to dinner time. Timʼs home. His wife is shocked, this hasnʼt happened for years. The kids are at the table showing off what they made in school today. His son holding a picture that he drew of his family while his daughterʼs flaunting her latest A+ in math. Yes, theyʼre young, but the thrill is never anything less than amazing.
With a confused look on her face, Timʼs wife asks why they have the pleasure of having their father home for dinner. Tim breaks the news. Heʼs been let go from his morning job and hours have been cut back for the evening.
A recession caused cutbacks in the grocery department and while Timʼs been a loyal employee, sadly merit doesnʼt always give you the advantage. With tears falling from his face, he vows to get back out there and take care of his family. Nothing will stop him.
Chris is moving boxes, flying coast to coast.
Tim is pushing resumes, hoping things will work out.
I know people like Tim, and Iʼm sure you do too. I know people like Chris, and I'm sure you do too. Theyʼre both normal people with two completely different lifestyles.
In 2012 there may not be an NBA season or even an NFL season. A lockoutʼs on the way. Contracts canʼt be worked out, and moneyʼs the middle-man. Will players agree for less money and fewer years on the dotted line, or will they wait until they get what they want?
One thingʼs for sure, there will always be people like Tim...