It’s been an incredible summer for sports in Britain and the best is yet to come (we hope) with the Olympics just around the corner. I enjoy sports enormously, more watching than playing, but still, sport is very enjoyable and I’m sure participating, even as a spectator adds to quality of life and community, which is why I wonder if something couldn’t have been done to save Rangers Football club from going into liquidation, but that’s another blog.
I enjoy a variety of sport. I have been known to watch some rugby and American football. I saw the boat race, the London Marathon, I watch athletics and even the winter Olympics. By far my favourites though are tennis and football and tennis is my absolute favourite. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to be able to watch not just my beloved Wimbledon that just ended, but also the French major tournament held at Roland Garros in Paris, televised for the first time this year on network television.
I suppose the reason we get so involved in sport as spectators is because of the stories behind the incredible feats sportsmen and women achieve. We know that there is a lot that goes into winning a major title, for some, multiple times; a lot of time, money, energy a lot of support from various people mostly nearest and dearest; a lot of early mornings and late nights, a lot of down days and feeling inadequate, wanting to give up. We know that there is almost always adversity along the way and the triumph when they lift that trophy represents not just victory and mastery of their sport, but also triumph over adversity.
It’s no surprise then, that a whole cable television network, ESPN, was built and continues to thrive on sports stories.
Watching all this sport this summer, and especially watching the Wimbledon Men’s and Ladies’ final made me draw parallels between sport and Christianity.
Sportsmen and women, as well as overcoming adversity to triumph in their sport, also have to be consistently disciplined. They have to keep their body and mind in optimum shape to be able to deliver to a high standard. They have to eat right, sleep right and have the mental belief that they can overcome their adversary. This is especially evident in tennis, I can’t count the number of times one player overcomes another in what seems like a single moment to emerge victorious. In today’s Wimbledon final, it was at the end of the first set when Federer, who had been under enormous pressure from Andy Murray pulled out a flash of brilliance in the form of a drop shot that won him the set and left Murray reeling for pretty much the rest of the match. It was his experience, his belief and his ability all coming together at the same time allowing him to produce what he needed to win, lifting the trophy and breaking the heart of a whole nation.
It’s no wonder then that the Christian walk is likened to a race; because to be victorious, we also need discipline, eating right from the bread of life, sleeping right so that we can start the day with prayer, disciplining our bodies, which are the temple of the holy spirit and having belief in the work on the cross that enables us to be who we were born to be.