Vail Daily column: For the good of the whole | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: For the good of the whole

Don Rogers
My View
Don Rogers
Laura Mahaffy/lmahaffy@theunion.com | The Union

I’m pulling for the Pacers and the Spurs in the NBA playoffs.

Not that these teams have any hold on my heart, like the Nuggets and my hometown club, the Lakers. It’s not about that kind of loyalty at all.

I’m talking for the betterment of the sport, and for the larger symbolism we often throw on sports for life itself.

I’m talking about the triumph of “we” over “me,” our very culture evolving from too much focus on the individual to the calling of the group, the community.

This year’s conference finals offer a microcosm for how society should be, according to no less of an authority than me. Oops, that was a little vainglorious, a bit iconoclastic and, ahem, thoroughly individualistic.

We battle between the cowboy and the collective, our rights and our responsibilities, Memorial Day as a carefree holiday and solemn remembrance.

As a society in which the most ardent conservative actually is very liberal by historical standards, we have freedom to take license, to dance like we just don’t care, to live like someone left the gate open. Think of the happy, happy puppy in that last circumstance.

Freedom of choice includes the consequences of what we decide to do, too.

We get to be individuals, thinking and acting for ourselves foremost. We also can choose to close that gate on our puppy selves and instead hitch up to a higher purpose.

Of course, this isn’t binary. We each fit somewhere along a continuum between orientation to “me” vs. “we.” Some of us are more “me” first, and others gravitate to the “we.”

Within the context that we each can’t help but be our own protagonist in this story called our life, I feel the tugs between a rather base “me” and the higher “we.”

I like to think I’m a “we” person, but the truth is harder than that. I don’t always share my ice cream, even with family. I’ll take that last bottle of beer. I’ll watch a game when I think I should be planning something, writing something or otherwise handling something for work.

Speaking of which, I got home in time Wednesday evening to catch the last quarter or so of the game between the team-oriented San Antonio Spurs and the star-studded Oklahoma City Thunder.

Actually, I was supposed to be writing this column that I’m hacking out on Thursday a little past deadline (sigh) now. But I was so thrilled to see the team concept on this night pounding the two superstars with a 30-point lead. Yes!

The Miami Heat, led by their “big three” including LeBron James, is tied 1-1 in their Eastern Conference series with the team-oriented Indiana Pacers, who focus on defense. That is to say, the underappreciated effort side of the game, my favorite.

In the finals last year, it went the full seven games between the ultimate team (the Spurs) vs. the ultimate individual talent (the Heat). Talent prevailed after, ironically, a role player saved the superstars’ butts with a heave that went in and sent the game to overtime.

Ugh! The team-oriented team had that game and the series right there but for that last lucky shot. The Heat won the sixth game in overtime, and then won the last game behind their superstar James, who scored 37 points to lead them. Talent prevailed in the end.

Oh, full disclosure and perhaps an explanation for my individual obsession for teamwork, I was not blessed with superstar talent. In anything. But you already knew that, of course.

For success, I’ve always pretty much had to blend my efforts into the strength of the team.

Go Spurs.

Editor and Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at drogers@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2920.