Pirate At FortyIn case you’ve lived under a rock for the last couple of days, Cincinnati Quarterback Andy Dalton received a huge contract extension.  As sports commentators analyzed:

“Dalton receives a signing bonus of $12 million and a roster bonus in three days of $5 million. That’s a total of $17 million out of the gates. Coupled with his $986,000 base salary (which isn’t guaranteed as a legal matter but it is as a practical matter), Dalton will make $18 million in the first year of the deal.

Then, on the third day of the 2015 league year in March, Dalton earns a $4 million roster bonus. He also has a $3 million non-guaranteed base salary in 2015. That’s $25 million over two years.”

If the football statistics are correct, Andy Dalton participated in 1119 offensive plays last year. Average those 1119 plays for the next two seasons, Mr. Dalton will participate in over 2,200 plays. Divide into $25 million and one finds Dalton will be paid a little over $11,000 per play.

Let me repeat that, Mr. Dalton will be paid a little over $11,000, per play, for the next several years. Ya’ gotta love it!

Bengals management is hoping Dalton will take the team to the promised land of playoff contenders. Reggie Jackson was Mr. October. Jackson was nicknamed Mr. October for his clutch hitting in the postseason with the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees. Being diplomatic, Dalton has not been Mr. January. In fact, Dalton’s post-season effort can be categorized in the one-and-done club.

From a Buddhist perspective, I concur everyone has a unique mission that only they can fulfill. Sports is littered with overpriced players. Golfer Sergio Garcia has made second place a permanent home, Chicago Bulls Derek Rose has been a bust and NFL Quarterback Tony Romo, whose paid big bucks, can’t find the love either. So is anyone actually worth $11,000 per play.

Additionally, CEO pay is never far from the headlines, and Americans are well aware that CEOs are paid several hundred times what the average front-line worker gets. One of the most striking statistics is that the average CEO makes 380 times what the average worker makes. Across the board, the more CEOs get paid, the worse their companies do over the next three years, according to extensive new research. This is true whether they’re CEOs at the highest end of the pay spectrum or the lowest.

The kind of cash Dalton is making just begs the question, “Is anyone really worth that kind of cash?”

In Buddhism, rather than pursing material things, we talk about searching for refuge in people you want to emulate. Most have to connect with what’s most important: a stable mind. The mind is the true compass of the soul. Spend your time searching within often proves more valuable than anything else.

What’s taken me so many years fail to understand is that the role of money is a form of energy. It comes from a lot of effort and hard work, but I squandered a lot of it. Jimmy Buffet’s song A Pirate At Forty Looks at Forty summarizes my last ten years:

“I made enough money to buy Miami,

But I pissed it away so fast,

Never meant to last, never meant to last.”

Lesson learned, respect money, but none of us have to be so attached to it. In truth, all of us live in a house of mirrors. We see the patterns we’ve stuck ourselves but we find it hard to leave.

I wish Dalton all the best. But personally, all I believe he’s done is purchase a hell of a lot of pressure.