Work in Progress

Baseball, Seminary, Wrestling, and the Dreams and Days of one Mike Work's Angeles experience

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Orton Suspension

To preface, I've a longstanding relationship with the spectacle of professional wrestling, which I would count influential in my spiritual pilgrimage. Simply put, as a wrestling fan, i learned to (at least temporarily) supend disbelief and live in the world of possibility, which have been recurring themes as I learn to follow Jesus. I take a lot of analogies through the wrestling world, off-screen and on, which creates some fun conversations.

Two weeks ago, the WWE announced that Randy Orton had been suspended for an indefinite period of time, minimum sixty days, for unprofessional conduct. This was pretty shocking news, since Orton's a main-eventer and has long been viewed as one of the future superstars of the company, having already made his mark as the youngest world champion in history. It was even suspected that he'd win his second world title at WrestleMania XXII, but he wound up taking the pinfall in the match. Since then, Orton's taken two decisive losses on TV, and suffered a worked broken ankle in his match with Kurt Angle on Friday night, effectively writing him out of storylines for some time.

News on what caused the suspension has been spotty, but the word is that it's for a series of incidents over the past few months leading up to WrestleMania. Word is that if he were a lesser figure, rather than a star that the company has invested much in over the past few years, he'd have been fired already. Similarly, had Orton not already been booked in the main event, it's likely that he would have been pulled off the air before the big show. (FYI, my main source is Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Oberver newsletter, a long-running and widely respected sheet.)

So what's my connection to all this? It confirms a hunch and a central value that I aspire to live: character trumps competence. I've often been prone to ride on the back of my stronger skills, which tends to lead to an unseemly cockiness. That doesn't work too well, and the axiom 'character counts' has been instilled in me over the past few years. It's one of the central reasons that, while I aspire to be a key figure in the formation of a church-community, I don't see that on the horizons for another few years. I've heard too many stories of young first-time pastors who get something going quickly, then scandal breaks and the church disbands. I know myself too well to think that I'm not immune to that.

So that's the connection between myself and Randy Orton. No matter how good I am (or think I am) at something, if there're serious character issues that go unnoticed and unchallenged, eventually the house of cards tumbles. Can God work those things out in me? Very much so, and that's the path I'm pursuing at this time.


  • At 6:10 AM, Blogger work said…

    Just came across ESPN's web lead for 04/18/06; a decent read and similar stories, here connected to the upcoming NFL draft.


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