As a very competitive person, I have the tendency to “go all out” during sports. Whether pick-up basketball, playing a game at youth group with a bunch of junior/senior high students, or wrestling with my two kids-I want to win (as my wife will often remind me, graciously, I don’t know when to tone it down). I play everything like it’s the championship game. I will admit that there is a right and wrong place for my competitiveness. However, as a coach and sports fan my biggest pet peeve is when I see athletes slacking, or looking like they are giving no effort. I hate when I see a player stop running hard or not attempt to make a diving tackle as the opponent is about to enter the end zone. It bothers me to watch athletes stand there and wait to be torched by the opponent, rather than going up and challenging them.
I try to encourage my athletes to work hard all the time- Every training session, every exercise, every play. I want them to play every second of every game like it’s their last play. You never know what scout is watching, or how your effort on that particular play could have changed the outcome. But, more so, in all reality…it could be their last play. Every athlete thinks it won’t happen to them. They all know it happens…but just not to them. It takes seconds, no milliseconds, to have a career ending injury. Who wants to go out, knowing they weren’t giving it their all? Imagine blowing out your knee, nonchalantly jogging down the field looking the other way. Now imagine blowing out your knee as you hustle through and around blockers, making the game winning tackle. Big difference right? Pride verse humility, tired verse conditioned, oblivious verse aware…excuse verse effort. As an athlete you can come up with any excuse you want for your lack of effort. But as a teammate you have responsibility for your actions (or lack thereof). You need to look at your attitude and your effort daily and ask yourself; "am I doing everything I can?"
The reason for the start of this blog and the restart of YCA is that exact question I was challenged with. Am I doing everything I can to further the Gospel? You see, life is a lot like sports. Your “career” (life) could be gone in an instant. Every person knows that cancer, car accidents, and death happens. But no one ever thinks that it will happen to them. No one thinks “today is the day.” Every Disciple of Christ knows that our Lord could come back at any moment. But no one ever thinks it could be today. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 states “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” And as Jesus explains in Matthew 24:44 “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Are you ready? As athletes we put hours of practice and training into each game. But what about into our relationship with God and serving others? My goal is not to scare you into belief or cause anxiety. My goal is to challenge all of us to think of our priorities. Are we living every day for God’s Glory like it could be our last? We can make excuses, but we will be held responsible for our actions (or lack thereof). When we are before our Savior on judgment day, no excuse will work. So, we need to ask ourselves daily; am I doing everything I can?
David Bashta- Pursuit
"Strip everything away
'Til all I have is you
Undo the veils
So all I see is you
I will pursue you
I will pursue your presence
I will pursue you
I will pursue your presence..."