Monday, May 14, 2018
Casey, Consistency, and the Canadian Way
Success is relative in the high stakes world of professional sports. The goal, always is a championship so there are no participation ribbons for players and especially coaches. If there isn't progress toward that championship then heads roll.
Such was the case for Toronto Raptor coach Dwayne Casey. He has been a consistent winner during the regular season and this last year the team recorded it's most wins ever. His peers named him coach of the year, a unique honour in that coaches are deciding who is best amongst their fraternity. The reward for all this? Casey was fired because the team was a bust in the playoffs -- again. That's the way it works. He was always a stoic and classy guy during his seven-year tenure with the Raptors and he left that way.
Casey, an American, wrote an open letter to the players, co-workers, management, fans, and the city in which he expresses gratitude for all that he had received. I was impressed by the letter in its entirety but particularly this paragraph:
Thank you for teaching our all-American family the Canadian way. That being polite and considerate to one another is always the best way. That diversity is something to be embraced and celebrated. That taking the time to learn about each other’s cultures is the surest way to find common ground and understanding. Thank you for making our children feel safe, valued, and comfortable in their own skin. We cannot express how important it has been to build the foundations of who our children are as human beings in a country that shows through its words, actions and laws that all people deserve basic human rights, and a chance to reach their goals through education and hard work.
He sounds all the right notes from my perspective: consideration, diversity, common ground, human rights. It is high praise for Canada and we can only hope that we live up to these observations.
As we approach a provincial election I pray that we make the decision for leadership which will uphold these values. One candidate is under scrutiny for making "take care of our own first" comments over the weekend, but he is still the frontrunner for premier.
As a Christian these values of generosity and equality are essential in my understanding of how we live the gospel. Through the years I served congregations which included strong social ministries and outreach, none more so than my final church, Bridge St. UC. Sadly, there were always some members who resented that we seemed focused outward, as though self preservation and navel-gazing are the Way of Jesus. They aren't, ever, and acting that way is a discredit to Christian living.
I'm impressed by the legacy of Dwayne Casey as a coach for the Raptors but perhaps more grateful for his reminder of who we aspire to be as a nation and as Christians within it.