My wife and I attended the New York Knicks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder basketball game last Saturday night at the Ford Center. Oklahoma City won in a blowout--106-88. Really, the game wasn't even that close. The Thunder had a 29 point lead in the fourth quarter before exlusively playing their reserves the final six minutes. The OKC Thunder are young, athletic, and really good.
But what is fascinating about this game is the storyline afterwards. It seems that some of the Knick players blamed the loss on "ghosts" in the hotel where they slept the two nights before the game. That hotel, the Oklahoma City Skirvin, is a historic, recently renovated, five star hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. U.S. Presidents, Hollywood stars, international royalty and thousands of others have stayed at the Skirvin since its opening in the early 1900's. I love the Skirvin because OKC's history resonates in the lobby and halls. One of our church members was the night manager of the hotel when the Skirvin re-opened in 2007, and Rachelle and I were able to enjoy a few nights in the Skirvin at the "family and friends" rate. Last time we stayed there, I ran into my friend Chief Justice Robert Henry, who told me that the Skirvin had literally been his home while he attended law school at Oklahoma City University. He lived in the hotel, prior to its renovation, for over two years. Everyone in OKC who knows a little history of the Skirvin is familiar with the "ghost stories" about the hotel. We locals laugh about it.
But the Knicks weren't laughing. It seems that at least some of them were genuinely scared; to the point of not sleeping well. They blamed their lack of rest for the loss to the Thunder. Those of us watching the game knew the Knicks shot a great deal more poorly and rebounded far worse than the Thunder players. But if you had asked me after the game why this was so, I would have simply said, "OKC is a better basketball team." The ghost story, however, is a sure fire more interesting explanation than the straight forward one.
One of the traits of human behavior I've observed over the years is that when things don't go well for us, we have a tendency to blame other individuals, other circumstances, and other events for our failure, rather than taking responsibility and identifying the problem within us. There's something refreshing about a person or an organization that is performing poorly and simply says, "We are not very good right now. That doesn't mean we can't get better. It just means that unless things change, we will never fulfill our mission."
Albert Einstein once said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while each time expecting different results.
If there is a lesson to be learned from the Knicks/Skirvin ghost story its that when we struggle in our endeavors, we should ask God to keep us from seeing the kind of ghosts that drive us to insanity.
In His Grace,