That Old Thing Called Loyalty

Besides the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Baseball League, Ernie Banks played 19 seasons for the Chicago Cubs from 1953-1981. Voted the greatest Cubs player of all-time, Banks said this about loyalty:

Loyalty and friendship, which is to me the same, created all the wealth that I’ve ever thought I’d have.”

Loyalty seems to travel great distances these days to find a place willing for it to reside. I guess it’s always been that way. After all, Adam and Eve had been planted in a great place to live a fruitful and happy existence, but the lure of a piece of forbidden fruit was too much for them to resist.

Remember back to those days when you shopped at the same stores, bought the same brands, and rooted for the same teams in the good seasons and the bad? I guess I’m showing my age when I bring up a past that included those things.

How about this? Remember when a college football team would see that playing in a bowl game at the end of a season was like the hot fudge on top of vanilla ice cream? It made all those sprints, drills, and hours of preparation worth it. Well, that’s now losing its sweetness as well.

Four Ohio State football players are opting out of playing in the Rose Bowl, rather than risking injury and hindering their pro football draft potential. The Rose Bowl! Not the Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl or the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The Rose Bowl! Speaking of the Potato Bowl, Wyoming’s quarterback who was voted MVP of the game, promptly announced he was entering the Transfer Portal to play somewhere else next year.

Like I said, loyalty is finding that there’s no room in the inn. It’s a trait that is seen by most people as being admirable until it reaches a crossroads where an easy right turn with promised power and/or riches are just up ahead.

And it’s not just with athletes who have been told their value reaches to the moon. Corporations close factories that have been the lifeblood of communities. Spouses walk away from the one they said their vows to because someone else has convinced them it can be better in their arms. Christian folk trade churches like Topps baseball cards. Someone who is thought to be the best friend disappears when the road gets bumpy.

Loyalty is what we hope for in others, but when it comes to its ramifications for us we often use the excuse “That’s different!”

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