Rejection is medicine. It doesn't taste good, it's always packaged attractively, but ultimately it makes you feel better. A close friend that i met in college, we'll call him, Jack, relayed an experience yesterday, with the opposite sex that taught him such a valuable lesson that he used the knowledge and the feeling to dictate every relationship, with friends and more than friends, for the rest of his life. I think, by blogging this story, I can explain the LeBron James-Cleveland Cavaliers soap opera.
When Jack was in grade school, he met a girl, we'll call Diane, who he would remain friends with throughout his childhood. She would become his first female friend, kiss, "girlfriend" and teacher of breakup. They were buddies for several years. He was a late bloomer and wasn't "into girls" until high school, partially because his friendship with this girl blinded Jack to the fact that they were just kids and not "destined to be together". Diane developed quicker than he did, and when they were in the 9th grade, found the man she would eventually marry and have children. Jack went to a high school football game in the 9th grade. He said hello to friends and sought out his "really good friend", Diane. He expected a hug, maybe a kiss, and the comfort of her company on a crisp, fall night in Virginia. Instead he saw her in the arms of another guy. He was a year older, in a his football uniform, sneaking a smooch from Diane, before running onto the field where he starred as a linebacker. To make matters worse, Jack handled it all poorly. She laughed at Jack, posing in front of her friends cooly, and brushed him away with the line, "he's my boyfriend, you're just my friend." Jack never saw the signs. He was too immature to see. Jack also didn't understand that sometimes, other people are better oppotunities, that love or romantic feelings are different than friend feelings. To this day, Jack remains a bachelor. He often breaks up with significant others before they can develop feelings of rejection. In many ways, he stays frozen in the steps of 9th grade Jack, unable to process what Diane was telling him.
Professional basketball superstar LeBron James spent 7 years in Cleveland. About the same amount of time Jack and Diane spent together. LeBron James is from Ohio, raised in Akron, and has a lot of memories there. After that time was spent cultivating his professional career, James made a decision. He chose to leave for Miami, a city and franchise that he fell in love with, presumably for the rest of his career. Last night, LeBron James returned to the scene of his rejection, Cleveland. The fans hissed and booed him. Threats were made. The city remained frozen in the moment of July 8, 2010, when James walked away from them. James, like Diane, handled everything horribly. He led Cleveland to believe he would stay. He used ESPN to make his rejection announcement. He danced and taunted with his Miami teammates and new friends, just like Diane.
How Cleveland handles something as small as a basketball player leaving a franchise may seem silly to compare to the first girlfriend rejection of my friend Jack, and his former love, Diane. But witnessing how my now 40 year old buddy is still entrenched in his feelings may be a harbinger for how an entire city can churn itself into butter over a guy who played sports for them.
This blog is largely about moving on, getting to the point you want to be in life. I ask my wife every day, "are we good? are we ok?" I know we are and we will be good for a long time. It's guarding my heart against rejection on a smaller scale than my friend Jack, and the city of Cleveland. Every day is a contest. You win hours, you lose minutes. As long as you learn from the losses, you'll win more than you can ever imagine. This pop psychology was brought to by Dr. Lance. It's time for you get surreal! Seriously, rejection is a good thing. What Cleveland has to realize is LeBron was a a huge fish in the sea, but not the only one. They have to get over him wanting someone or something else. Maybe there's a kid playing hoops in Kansas or Arizona or New york City right now that will make LeBron seem insignificant in a few years. My friend Jack needs to work on his issue as well. When he realizes that Diane's slap in his face was a lesson and not a curse. He'll be happy.
If you're bored, here's another story about Jack and Diane:
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