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The Perks of Being “The New Guy”

Last night I watched two good games from the PBA. The first match was between Alaska and Meralco. The second game was between Barako Bull and Petron Blaze. It was a pair of exciting games. Meralco won against Alaska, Petron defeated Barako Bull. It’s my first time to watch those teams this new PBA season. But there was someone in the first game that really caught my attention, the “Cliffhanger”.

Cliff Hodge a.k.a. The Cliffhanger is Meralco’s top pick, No. 4 overall, in the PBA 2012 Rookie Draft. Last night, he had his very first win in the PBA and his very first Player of the Game citation. He literally did everything on the floor. He scored 20 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, played suffocating defense and became the hustle guy that every basketball team needs.

But one thing that I definitely remember about the Meralco – Alaska game is the many times that Cliff Hodge kissed the floor and the physicality given to him. If all the hit that he took will be counted as game statistics, he would have gotten a triple-double. From Gabby Espinas, to Sonny Thoss, To Tony Dela Cruz, even Dondon Hontiveros, everyone gave him a not-so-warm and rude welcome in the PBA. In his first game against Talk N’ Text, he also experienced that kind of physicality. In his second game, even more. We saw a bloody Cliff Hodge on the second half because of the sharp elbow thrown by Gabby Espinas. This kid is really being tested by the veterans. The not-so-young guys gave the Cliffhanger a baptism of fire.

Am I a fan of Cliff Hodge? No. But there is something in his situation that we can all learn from. There is really something in our society today that I believe we should address. And that is making life difficult for a new guy. Not just in basketball but in any society, in school, in government, in sports, in any workplace or industry, this world is unwelcoming, tough, tight and rugged for all the newbies.

Yes I believe in hard work, in perseverance, in patience, in walking your way up, but do we really need to make life a lot more difficult for a person because he’s new? Have we ever thought that the adjustment itself and that being of a new guy isn’t difficult enough? Do you think the experience, the years, the expertise will make us a better person than the new ones that come along? Does experience give us the right to do anything we want to another person?

Then what’s next? After the new guy gain experience, after he graduates as the newbie then what’s next? He’ll do also the same to the new people that will come along. He’ll make life difficult also for the new guys so that they can also experience what he has gone through. It will be a never-ending cycle of power-tripping, bitterness and revenge. It’s a rotten practice that we should all change.

I know that respect is needed to be taught, but respect is needed also to be earned. That’s the danger of leadership and experience. People think position and experience necessitates respect from others. Actually it is still not. It is still something to be earned. I strongly believe that this is a major reason for power tripping on a new guy. We want to impose respect. We want to be regarded as of higher value. We want people looking up to us. We want to feel better. We want to feed our ego.

I believe we can live in a world of respect, success, obedience, unity and cooperation without making life difficult for any person at all. I believe as leaders or people with more experience, we can teach younger guys through example. It’s easy to teach with words but it’s more difficult with actions. With actions, we can easily adapt, we can easily mimic, we can easily learn, we can easily make the lessons part of our lives. But with words alone, any new guy won’t have a clue.

John Quincy Adams once said,

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” 

It’s a powerful statement. But it’s actually true. As leaders, as elder statesmen, as someone with much greater experience, our actions should be inspiring for others, especially for the new and younger ones.

We want to teach respect, let’s show them how to do it. We want to teach perseverance, we can show it how we do it ourselves. We want them to work even harder, let’s inspire them to work even harder, We want them to know about loyalty, we show them how to earn loyalty.

Let’s not make shortcuts in teaching the younger ones the essentials of life. Sometimes that’s why we make things difficult for them because we don’t want to take the time and effort to teach them or impart to them the lessons we need to teach.

That’s why I always love Jesus. I always look up to Him not only as my Lord and Savior, but as my mentor, my teacher, my role model. In Philippians 2:5-11, the Bible says,

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Imagine our God who is in heaven, still made time for us by coming here in human form to save us, relate to us, to teach us about love, humility, perseverance, obedience and forgiveness. God Himself choosing to spend time with us. That’s why He was exalted as Name above every name, because of His humility. Humility is thinking of others first before yourself. He thought of us so deeply that He came here for us. Jesus took the time and effort to reach us.

We could learn a lot from Jesus, especially in terms of treating others, and the new guys. As He always say, we should love others as how He loved us, and treat others as how we want ourselves to be treated.

Last unsolicited advice, in Romans 12:10, this is what the Bible says,

“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

I hope and pray that the world of new guys will soon get better.

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