I don’t know how much you follow various sports hype, but there is one that I have followed off and on about Lonzo Ball. Ball was a freshman phenom point guard for UCLA last year and opted for the NBA draft. What became more of an overshadowing story were the antics of his father, LaVar Ball.
Let’s just say LaVar has a propensity to talk. About himself. A lot. And about the amazing athletic abilities of his three sons. He has used his notoriety to make bold claims in promoting his kids as well as saying he could have beaten Michael Jordan in 1-on-1.
Please. Be. Quiet.
And so Lonzo leads his Bruins team to the Sweet 16 as a frosh, declares himself eligible for the draft, and is taken as the second pick by the Los Angeles Lakers.
And did the expectations ever rise quickly. MVP of a Las Vegas Summer League. Projected NBA Rookie of the Year by ESPN. Lakers back in the playoffs this year.
Was it his play or just poor expectations?
So fast forward through the summer to the past couple of weeks when the NBA season officially commenced. The Lakers proceeded to lose their first game at home to the Clippers, 108-92. And of course, with getting the number two pick in the draft, and having all of the accolades that he did, the press was all about Lonzo in game one.
But what caused me to shake my head were the headlines of one of the highlight video clips: “Lonzo disappoints in anticipated NBA debut.”
So why did this irritate me? Because of expectations. I am not a huge Ball fan, but you have a 19-year old entering the NBA, it’s his very first game in a Lakers uniform, he’s the starting point guard, and he does not even get a few games under his belt before the “Forget you!” type comments come by the press.
Unfair? Perhaps, but it’s the world Lonzo has willingly chosen for himself.
Poor expectations can really hurt our relationships
E-X-P-E-C-T-A-T-I-O-N-S … they influence all of us in some way or another. If you do an internet search for a basic definition of the word “expectation,” here is what you will find:
- a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future
- a belief that someone will or should achieve something
Notice the word that appears in both definitions: “belief.” Because I believe something about a person or event, therefore it should come to pass. If it does, I mentally check off that my expectation has been met; if it does not, I am disappointed.
We all see through a lens of expectation, whether those expectations are wrong or right, inaccurate or accurate. But I bring this up because we need caution in our lives about framing people or events with expectations. Because what we may not admit or realize is that our relationships suffer because of poor expectations. It is not that the relationship itself is poor; it is more I have put on a lens of my own making that forces a relationship in a poor direction.
Granted, Lonzo may not have had an NBA-Rookie-of-the-Year performance in his first game. But the only reason there was disappointment expressed with his performance that night was that it was already pre-framed with an expectation of what a number two pick in the draft should look like. What if it had been framed another way?
What if his first game performance was framed with a “let’s allow him to get his first-game jitters out and begin to feel comfortable in his new role.” A different set of expectations. A different lens. Perhaps the header of the video might have stated: “Lonzo debuts with 3 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists, a steal, and a block, with only 2 turnovers.” Same situation. Different perspective.
Unfairly weighting people down
I have been the recipient of other’s unrealistic expectations and it has been a heavy weight. I feel the need to course correct when no course correction may be needed. And it certainly tempted me into people pleasing. Then I felt like I let the person down and there was this disappointment that was directed at me. I struggle to process when that happens, so why would I want to load up another person’s “backpack” with my “bricks”?
I get irritated if my 2-day Amazon Prime shipping goes out late. Why? Expectations. And I do this with people and the circumstances that intersect my day. God is either faithful or disappointing to me because of my expectations. Though He is ever only faithful, my strong belief that He will do something different than He did sets me up to be disappointed.
My point is this: the mental expectations that I place on my wife, my kids, my coworkers, and my day either frame my response for joy or frame my response to be disappointed. If I would assess my day through more truthful lenses, I might find that my poor responses are very much tied to the front end of what I am believing about what a person should do or how a circumstance should turn out.
Which is why I have to be immersed in God’s word, in truth, and around people who are being shaped by God’s truth – so that I learn how to correctly frame everything that comes my way. You may find that the primary issue is neither the person nor the circumstance. You may just be looking through the wrong lenses.