Perspective: Fridays with Doug

Risk vs. reward

Doug Brenneman
Doug Brenneman

Our world has been topsy-turvy lately and it seems many have what they think is the answer.

Everybody has a different opinion on what is best for everyone else when they should just apply that opinion to themselves and let others do the same.

Especially with the coronavirus still lurking, waiting to infect us, we have to make informed choices.

We have to weigh the risk of our actions with the reward we receive.

We had to make informed choices about how we went about our work, our play, our shopping, our socializing.

We can find comfort in something that’s familiar and that’s what the high school softball and baseball season will do for many who experienced a serious disruption for the first time in their lives and definitely for the first time in their years of schooling. Teenagers’ lives were completely shut down from what they knew as routine.

Sunday provided something familiar and routine for many sports fans with a golf match. However, it was played without fans. Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning paired off against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. While Brady sprayed the ball around, he made the best shot of the day with an iron shot from 140 yards that bounced on the green and spun back into the hole for a birdie. Manning won a couple holes himself, which helped his team take the win 1 up.

Watching the broadcast, I did not miss the fans at all because all of the players were mic’ed and there were cameras in their carts. We could hear Mickelson describe his thought process on chip shots or Woods coaching Manning on his putts.

The best part for me, though, happened before the match when TNT’s Ernie Johnson explained why he was not the announcer.

Johnson had something very relevant to say when he explained the risk versus reward he considered before turning down the chance to be the on-screen host for the match.

He chose to stay at home and care for a 31-year-old son with muscular dystrophy, who has been hooked up to a ventilator that has breathed for him the last nine years.

“I just didn’t think it was worth the risk of bringing an unforeseen foe into our house.”

Johnson talked about the risk versus reward athletes face. “Tiger and Phil when they are facing major championships consider whether to hit this shot at this point and is it worth the risk. Tom and Payton and the quest for Super Bowl championships — do I run this play, throw this pass on this down at this point. Risk versus reward.”

There is risk versus reward in the simplest decisions.

Trying to lose weight, do I risk eating that extra piece of pizza or do I reward myself with that extra piece of pizza for the weight I’ve already lost. Choices. Our choices are what define us.

There was always risk versus reward in life, but the stakes have been raised with COVID-19.

Crisis brings out the kind of person you already are. A jerk will become a bigger jerk while a compassionate person will become more compassionate. There are a lot of voices sharing their own particular view of what is happening with the coronavirus. Everyone seems to know what is safe for everyone else, what should be allowed in public, who should wear masks and where, who should be tested, who should be inoculated, etc.

Let’s each of us weigh our own risk versus reward as others do the same for themselves.