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Substance Over Style, by Phil Ware Phil Ware

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    “Substance Over Style!” is what Sports Illustrated had on their cover to describe the San Antonio Spurs’ series victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Spurs went on to win the NBA championship, relying on two superstars and a team of players not wanted by most other NBA teams.

    In an era where superstars get all the hype, the Spurs won over teams who had more “marquee players,” but who did not play as a team. Once labeled as “too soft,” the Spurs played tenacious team defense, passed to the open man regardless of his notoriety, and had average players make clutch plays coming down the stretch of each key game.

    The Spurs’ superstars, Tim Duncan and David Robinson, were huge factors in each game. A close look at the statistics revealed, however, that the Spur’s ultimate successes depended upon how well the other players contributed.

    The Spur players also emphasized two other factors were key in their victory: their genuine friendship and unity on and off the court, and the moral and personal character of their team leaders. They were committed to being good people, to supporting each other, and to working hard to achieve their common goal.

Isn’t it refreshing to see the prize go to the best team and not the best collection of high priced talent?
    In an era of hero worship and highly paid superstars, isn’t nice for substance to win out over style! In a world of egotism and ‘‘me first” attitudes, isn’t it refreshing to see the prize go to the best team and not the best collection of high priced talent? Isn’t it good for nice guys to play tough and still be nice guys?

    If you listened to the women’s World Cup champions, you heard many of the same qualities emphasized about their team. A quick glance at the baseball standings reveals that it is not just the highest paid teams achieving success. In fact, two of the highest paid teams are languishing near last place in their divisions.

    Don't get me wrong, I’m not suggesting these are perfect teams. Next year’s winners may be a bunch of over-priced egotistical whiners. But isn’t it nice to be reminded that when the Savior hands out the ultimate and final victory, it’s going to go to those who are people of character, working with others in unity, because they’ve found that life’s true substance is found in the grace of Jesus and helping others experience it?


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