Winners embrace hard work.
They love the discipline of it, the trade-off they’re making to win.
Losers, on the other hand, see it as punishment.
And that’s the difference.
Who won the gold medal in this week’s US Track and Field trials
for the women’s hammer throw???
I thought so…you didn’t know.
And I confess, I didn’t either.
But chances are both you and I knew who came in 3rd.
And that is the real shame here.
We knew who came in 3rd because she created a stink.
A national televised stink.
All because she had to put her rear on her shoulder when hearing the
National Anthem being played.
Why is that you ask?
Well, it seems she’s an ‘activist athlete.’
Yeah, I didn’t know it was a thing either.
She’s not a fan of our patriotism.
She’s not a fan of our flag nor of our Nation’s anthem nor of our
Nation in general.
And yet she wants to represent said Nation…
the same Nation she’s not so much a fan
of in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.
Once upon a time I ran high school track, I was a captain of our team
and later, once I was teaching, I was a high school girl’s track coach.
I understand sports and I understand training and I understand
being on and being part of a team.
Team is bigger than self.
What one represents is greater than self and sometimes,
it’s even greater than team.
Self is all about just that, self.
It’s a ‘look at me’ mentality.
It’s a ‘I’m going to use this platform to express my personal agenda.”
Personal agendas on a team tend to make things really crowded.
But you know what…folks don’t care so much about an athlete’s personal agenda
as much as they care about that athlete’s individual ability and skills.
Recently, I was watching a show about college sports.
A sportscaster was waxing poetic over the allure that college sports
seems to hold over those who follow it.
That of both students and fans.
The sportscaster was focusing on college football since that was what
the program was about, college football.
He spoke in terms of a religious sort of draw that college sports holds
Be that good or bad, I got it.
I understood what he was talking about.
He explained that we all need and want something greater than ourselves
in order to bring us together…we yearn for something to unify us.
That’s an underlying human desire.
In an increasingly secular society, this sportscaster noted that
college sports often fills that bill.
As society moves further away from its religious roots, it seeks
something else to fill that void…something tangible to cling to.
And so again, for good or bad, our sport teams draw us in.
They unite us in ways that other things can’t.
We find ourselves having a common focus with a common goal.
It matters not our color, gender or creed, nor of our bank account
degree, GPA or political affiliation…
our team is our unifying focus.
We get behind said team in solidarity as we cheer it on.
We pine when it loses and we may even cuss it, but when it wins,
We don our school colors, we carry our flags, we sing our school’s song.
We lock arms with complete strangers as we chant our team to victory.
And we cry upon one another’s shoulders when we lose.
We feel the same way about our Olympians.
They are the best of our best.
They are the pride of our Nation
And in turn they unify our Nation.
They help us to forget the bad in the country and in the world.
They give us all something greater than our worries and misery
they give us a new focus and something we can cheer for.
It’s as if we can forget the reality around us for two weeks every four years.
(two years if when we count both Summer and Winter Olympics)
We band together while we huddle around a television at home, school, at work,
or in a bar.
It is that famous thrill of victory and that painful agony of defeat
all of which we viscerally and collectively feel…together.
So when an athlete opts to veer away from the focus of the game,
we have a hard time getting on board.
Our focus is of the timing, the height, the length, the speed, the execution,
the millisecond of time that separates gold from silver, or bronze from
We try desperately to will our athletes on to victory.
In part because they represent each one of us.
Theirs are our own vicarious goals and hopes.
So I have very little patience with an athlete who opts to use an athletic
platform as a political platform—in the the most recent case, it
was a literal matter of a podium.
There is a time and a place.
Standing on a podium is not the place for one’s personal agenda..
it is not the time for a raised fist or a turned back.
It is a time of respect.
Respect for something much greater than self.
It is a time for a nation to celebrate and not a time for one to snub
that very nation nor the very people who have cheered said athlete on to
Winners or losers—I suppose we all choose.
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.
And this is the victory that has overcome the world—-our faith.
Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that
Jesus is the Son of God?
1 John 5:4-5