On my birthday, last September, many of my good friends from Faith Community Church chipped in to buy me tickets so that I could watch my beloved 49ers play a regular season game at the new Levi’s stadium. It was an awesome gift! Coach Jim Harbaugh had turned the 49ers into an elite team that was now equipped every year to go deep into the playoffs, if not get to the Super Bowl. This gift was going to be good! But then their defensive lineman – Ray MacDonald – was arrested for domestic abuse. The Niners said they would continue to play MacDonald while the police investigated because they said, “He deserves due process.” As a fan that was code for – “He will play as long as the police don’t throw him in jail. His track record of poor decisions, late night parties, and now potential domestic abuse really doesn’t matter.” I decided that I wanted to communicate to my daughter a zero-tolerance mindset when it comes to domestic violence of any kind and decided I wouldn’t watch a game until the case was resolved by the police. It took two months before the police threw out the case – partly because the San Jose PD and the 49ers had too close an affiliation with one another. As the season went on, my team became a complete tire fire. They played horribly, there were rumors, there was tension, MacDonald was accused of yet another case of abuse and finally released by the team. To make a long story short, I sheepishly asked my friends if we could sell the Niner tickets and instead get something else. I couldn’t believe it, but I actually didn’t want to watch my team play anymore! Thankfully I have very kind friends. They totally understood and sold my tickets to a game the 49ers eventually lost, and bought me tickets to Cirque Du Soliel in San Francisco.
Last Friday night my wife and I drove up to the city, enjoyed great food, an amazing performance under Cirque Du Soliel’s big tent, and had a great time walking the streets of San Francisco. When we left the performance and walked to our hotel I said to Aleta, “I’m sooooo glad I sold those tickets. If I’d gone to the Niner game I would have walked out raging mad. But now I’m walking away from the Cirque Du Soleil performance, amazed and happy. I made such a good decision avoiding the tire fire.”
It made me think of Proverbs 22: 3 which says, “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” It’s one thing to avoid the tire fire of a favorite team going up in smoke, it’s another thing entirely to avoid tire fires in my life, and take refuge in better pursuits where I find myself on a much better path in life.