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The Rabbi on the Beach @ The Shul on the Beach

We Don’t Get No R-E-S-P-E-C-T! How do you feel now?

Ravens use an old motivational ploy: lack of respect – Los Angeles Times.

I was in Yeshiva in Baltimore (I was still in High School actually) when the Ravens moved to Baltimore. They became a favorite team of mine right away and they still are today. They still play second fiddle to my favorite NFL team, the Buffalo Bills.

What strikes me about this article is the idea that multi-million dollar athletes need to use disrespect as motivation. Bill Belichik is famous for using this technique with the New England Patriots. There are 2 things that I notice with the whole “we don’t get no respect” routine.

First of all, is the reason these guys play football for respect? I thought they played for money or fame – I certainly did not think they played for r-e-s-p-e-c-t. Apparently they play for all three of these reasons. Interestingly enough the Rabbis teach us in Ethics of Our Fathers that desire for money, desire for honer (fame) and desire for respect are the 3 things which will take us out of this world. And by out of this world we mean one becomes obsessed with these things to the point that we neglect all other important parts of our lives – like spiritual growth. That’s fine for the Ravens, I guess – but we need to watch out for this in our lives.

The second thing that strikes me how much disrespect hurts. It is so painful that the Ravens as well as many other teams are able to feed off their disrespect and improve their physical and mental games! Pretty powerful how we crave respect and how much disrespect can motivate us. Disrespect always hurts but the pain only increases exponentially when we expect respect and we desire respect. I think this speaks volumes about the danger of craving respect – once we open that Pandora’s Box there’s no telling what we might do…

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January 2009

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