Big Break or Breakthrough

by Steven J. Callis

Reality television has certainly changed over the years, especially since its prominence significantly rose in the 1990’s. We’ve gone from Candid Camera, The Dating Game, and This Old House to Wife Swap, Real Housewives, and Pawn Stars. With this explosion of popularity, the meaning of “reality” has become a bit obscure, and often is a misnomer for shows that are classified as such.

Big Break is a reality show that appeals to golfers, and one that does not appear to be scripted or fake. Non-professional golfers compete for cash, prizes, and the opportunity to play in a PGA or LPGA tour event. Rather than competing in traditional golf matches, contestants are placed in various skills situations playing for immunity from elimination. At the end of each episode, one golfer is eliminated and sent home based on their performance that day.

On a recent episode, 18- year old country girl Dallas Odom, the youngest in Big Break history, was eliminated, and her exit interview was somewhat atypical of most who are determined to continue working and practicing and pursuing their dream of becoming a professional golfer. While she enjoys the game and is confident that she can play with the pros, she’s not certain that it is her dream.

She heard the other girls talking about life on the road and being away from home the majority of the year, and Dallas was raised in a close family atmosphere. “I wasn’t raised like that and I just kinda want to be home and have a family…’cuz this really is just to have money and just have an easy way in life. I’ll take some positives away, but I’m not sure this is really what I want.”

The statement that truly showed her maturity declared that pursuing this dream did not make her as happy as it seemed to make other people. Assessing her values and priorities, home and family are more important than fame and fortune. At this point in her life, she is not certain the risk is worth trying to have both.

Reality shows based on competition create high levels of stress that cause contestants to examine their values and ambitions. Experiencing a taste of that life brings them to count the costs of pursuing the dream. In the same way life’s crises press each of us to honest evaluation of what truly matters to us. The things we value determine the priorities we establish.

When we relax, priorities can easily become askew, causing us to make decisions that are not in line with our values. Crises, difficult as they may be, serve to help us realign our lives with the things we deem most important to us. The apostle Paul advised, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Let’s stay focused on our reality with steady reminders of the things that drive us.

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