I is for Image

I don’t really follow professional sports.

I did, however, watch the last three games of the NBA finals this year since the local team was playing.

The Warriors played like champions and deserve the title.

After game six, I posted on Facebook that I felt bad for LeBron James of the Cavs. As he walked to the locker room, I didn’t see arrogance or poor sportsmanship. I saw a disappointed, frustrated and exhausted athlete – an athlete who played some damn fine basketball and left his heart and soul on the Court.

I have since been reading up on LeBron James. He is immensely talented. He is one of the best of the best. I have read articles where he is praised for his talent and skill and I have seen news blips about what a poor sport he is. Completely different reactions about the same person.

When I got Gandhi, the Bay Area was still reverberating with the horror of the Diane Whipple case. I cannot count the number of times I heard “Oh My Gawd…that is one of those dogs who killed that woman in San Francisco”. It didn’t matter that Gandhi was a different breed of dog (“those dogs” were Presa Canarios) or that he was a puppy. The fear was real.

This was also about the time that the first Harry Potter movie came out with “Fang”. Now “Fang”, also a different breed (Neapolitan Mastiff) was a hit with the kids.

The first Halloween I had Gandhi, I was still learning what it meant to have a guardian breed dog. It did not occur to me that a constant stream of strangers coming up to the house would be an issue. The end result was comical…the kids thought it was AWESOME that I had “Fang” while their parents were dragging them off my porch because I had “one of those dogs”. Completely different reactions about the same dog.

Several years ago, Ach and I were out walking. A little old man said “I didn’t know they let you walk lions in public”. Since it had to be a joke, I replied “Oh, it’s Ok, he’s just a baby”. A few minutes later, a police officer showed up to find out about the lion. We had a good giggle.

So, what do these things have to do with each other?

It is about image. Whether it is the image we project (“I am the best basketball player in the world”), the media’s image (“one of those dogs”), the image through the eyes of a child (“Look – Fang”), or the (apparently NOT) joking question (“Is that a lion?”), we have to decipher and decide what we believe.

Truth – LeBron James is one of the best basketball players the sport has ever seen. He has also courted controversy through much of his career that has him branded as a poor sport.

Truth – Cane Corsos DO look a lot like Presa Canarios and Neapolitan Mastiffs. Gandhi was neither “one of those dogs” nor Fang.

Truth – Ach is not a lion. He just isn’t.

The lessons…

Being the best of the best carries responsibility that requires humility and grace,


There can be two distinctly different views of the same situation – both can be right and wrong,

And finally…

I promise…Ach really and truly is NOT a lion.