On Subways and Suffering

Seoul, Korea

It was almost 23 hours door-to-door from Toronto to Seoul yesterday, and that gave me plenty of time to ponder two stories that might have otherwise flown under the radar.

First, Subway just passed McDonalds in total number of franchises worldwide. Given the great preponderance of Golden Arches in North America, that’s hard to comprehend. Was it Jarrod’s losing all that weight or was it that snappy “5 dollar foot-long” jingle that did the trick? Whatever it was, Subway’s success is definitely not a result of those off-putting “monkeys in space suits” ads.  When you are munching on a salami sandwich, the last thing you want to think of is an orangatang in a lab coat…

Second, when Harvard’s basketball team upset Princeton last week, the Crimson fans stormed the court. There’s nothing unusual in that. What was unusual was the Princeton coach’s decision to have his team remain on the bench, so that they could witness the jubilation.  Coach Sydney Johnson wanted his players to “drink the pain.” (There must be a statue of John Calvin somewhere on Princeton’s stately campus.) Johnson believes that witnessing that scene will help motivate his players when they play Harvard for the championship next week.

Johnson’s decision reminds me of my favourite Pat Riley story. Riley had literally faxed his resignation to the New York Knicks, a team he had grown to despise, and the very next season his new team, the Miami Heat, was upset in the deciding game 7 by those same Knicks when an off balance, last second, desperation shot gave New York the improbably victory. When a reporter asked Riles right after the game for his thoughts, he said simply, “It’s my job to suffer.”


3 thoughts on “On Subways and Suffering

  1. As a follow up:

    Princeton won the Ivy League Championship yesterday by defeating Harvard 63 – 62 on a last second shot.

  2. “My joy is to love suffering. I smile in the midst of tears and receive with thanksgiving the thorns as well as the flowers.”

    – Saint Therese of Lisieux

    Unlike your article, a bit over the top, eh?!

    Mea maxima culpa!

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