Premature Evaluation

Early this morning the announcement came down that President Obama is the winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. He becomes the fourth U.S. president to be honored with this coveted award. The first two – Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 and Woodrow Wilson in 1919 – were well into their two terms in the Oval Office prior to receiving such esteemed recognition. Carter, meanwhile, was removed from the White House more than a quarter of a century before being bestowed for a lifetime of achievement in 2002.

The 2009 prize is for accomplishments prior to February 1st, which means Mr. Obama was inaugurated just 11 days beforehand. Thus, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is honoring what he did prior to becoming Commander-in-Chief. “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” said committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland.

It is clear that our dynamic president is a powerful speaker who has the ability to engage a global audience. That’s why stadiums filled to capacity wherever he appeared during the campaign – and why the inauguration events were so must-see-TV. It is my hope his decision-making, policy setting and leadership in the next three years live up to the lofty expectations and suddenly glowing recognition.

As someone who spent 15 years working in and around college and professional sports, I’ve seen up close and personal that games aren’t won in the first half or early innings. Being president is a marathon, not a sprint. There are many miles ahead for Mr. Obama, and he needs to start making moves and executing actual initiatives to help our struggling citizens. Only then will he be worthy of all the overwhelming praise.


And The Winner Is

What if you got thisclose to the brass ring and weren’t able to grab it? Sort of like that recurring dream you have in which you’re prevented from success because of blurry vision or your feet are trapped in cement or just as you’re about to win you awaken. If, in real life, you performed high above your own lofty expectations and someone else claimed victory, would you be thrilled…or sad that the rousing applause and falling confetti weren’t for you?

Those are the thoughts I had last night while watching the finale of “America’s Got Talent.” It’s a show I never had seen until the past few weeks. Yet, there we were, family of four, with our eyes fully focused as the 10 finalists were dramatically whittled to five, then four, three and two. Ultimately, a former ‘chicken chaser’ from Kentucky took home the one million dollar grand prize, as voters selected his country singing the best this year of more than 100,000 wannabes.

My thoughts, though, were on the second place finisher. Imagine being on the cusp of becoming a millionaire and ending up with nothing. I envisioned holding a lottery ticket matching all six numbers, only to have it fly out of my hands on the way to the claims office. Surely, something like that was going through the runner-up’s mind when she didn’t hear her name announced.

Of course, the penultimate performer has much to celebrate. She survived cancer. She has a beautiful daughter and loving husband. Plus, now America knows her name, and she’ll probably be able to pursue her dream of performing professionally. By the way, I have an inside source that says she is going to be just fine. You see, she’s a member of my church here in Houston…and that’s why we tuned in to watch. Way to go, Barbara Padilla. Prince of Peace Catholic Community celebrates today with you.