If I offered you one cookie now or two cookies tomorrow, what would you choose?
It’s a simple question, not all that important and the stakes are not all that high. Let me add another layer to it though. Perhaps you are really good at fixing cars and driving race cars, and you love both. I offer you $80,000 to fix cars for me. There is just one caveat: you cannot drive the race cars. You have to commit to fixing my cars. Now what do you do?
“Bo Knows.” That’s it.
If you do not know who Bo Jackson is, I would recommend you look him up. I am by no means a sports follower (in football and baseball, I usually refer to teams by their logos because I do not know the cities they represent). But I can recognize a man who not only has worked hard for his own skills and abilities, but who can perceive his own value and build it through sacrificing immediate gain for a future good.
Bo Jackson is arguably the single greatest professional athlete ever to have lived. Bo was a dual sport athlete as a professional. He was also the only athlete in history to be named All-Star in both baseball and football. At McAdory High School in McCalla, Alabama, he drove forward in track and field, baseball, and football. He won two state decathlon titles, throwing multiple no-hitters for the baseball team, and playing nearly every snap on offense and defense for the football team, in addition to handling all kicking duties.
He was drafted by the New York Yankees out of high school, but he instead decided to attend Auburn University. Jackson lettered in all three sports at Auburn, but he made his largest rumble on the football field, where he was twice named a consensus All-American running back (1983 and 1985) and won the 1985 Heisman Trophy after rushing for 1,786 yards and 17 touchdowns. From his incredible sports career in college, Bo soon became a primary candidate for the 1986 NFL Draft. He was the first draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But…he refused. He refused $7 million dollars offered to him in various forms.
He refused Tampa Bay and played for the Kansas City royals (get this) for only $1 million. Why? Why in the dear heavens did this incredible athlete not take that huge sum of money? Well, he found out that he would not be able to finish his baseball season at Auburn. He also heard how the Tampa coach treated his players with disrespect. Furthermore, he realized his value. He was not about to give up something he loved because of a hidden technicality, about which Tampa misled Bo.
Bo sacrificed the immediate satisfaction for his pride, his value, and his convictions. Having held onto what he believed about himself and respect for others, Bo looked for value to come. And he got it. He played on the Royals in the years to come and the Raiders. He also played partial seasons for the Chicago White Socks and the California Angels. He scored sponsorships and contracts with Nike starting the famous “Bo Knows” ad campaign. To this day he has a net worth of over $16 million.
Here is the meat of it. Bo sacrificed for what he loved and BUILT his value because of it. Present goods were forgone in anticipation for future good. He took the two cookies tomorrow.
Jordan Peterson says in his book 12 Rules for Living that, “We [our ancestors] thought it over, and drew a conclusion: The successful among us delay gratification” (169). He is speaking of the pushing off of an immediate good for a future, greater good. “Bo Knows”. And again Peterson says, “The successful sacrifice” (169).
Why can we not learn from Bo? Why can we not put off the things that will immediately gratify us for the things that will truly satisfy us? It is the age—old question, of course.
Sacrifice is simple. As a young Catholic, I often feel like the idea of sacrifice is only a spiritual idea. It is spiritual, but it is also natural. It’s a concrete thing we can do every time we put aside a couple dollars. We sacrifice when we go to school in hopes of finding future employment. We sacrifice when we workout for a healthy (and, hopefully, good looking) body.
I can at least speak for myself when I say that I am constantly missing out on opportunities to sacrifice the present good for a future greater good. It is time to stand up. It does not take a monolithic effort. Persistence and looking for better opportunities and greater value are all that is required. It is no longer the time to guzzle candy like a child. It is the time to sacrifice like a man.
I am certainly not saying that everyone has the same incredible talents as Bo! Of course we do not. We have something far greater as Catholics. Spiritually speaking, we are all required to be the Bo Jackson and sacrifice the present yummy, feely, gushy, goody things for the hard road and difficult to see Reward. We have the power of God.
Go further into the worldly life we live and look if you are pushing off the present good for the future satisfaction. We do not need to have superior athletic abilities or have great talents to be seekers of the greater future goods. Save money. Put aside a few dollars every week. “But I want a new TV!” “But I want to go out to eat…again.” Be Bo. Go to the gym. Take that run even when the satisfaction of watching another thirty episodes of Netflix shows is just around the corner in the living room…*cough* The Office *cough*. Study when hear the rest of the group leave to go out.
Bo Jackson is a worldly example, but he is certainly a good one. Ladies and gentlemen, Bo did it. He did what we could all be doing. Save and be saved. Look for the future, greater goods. It will be worth it. Why? Bo did it, and “Bo Knows”.