Be the best you.
Five-time All-Pro Green Bay Packers Lineman Jerry Kramer played from 1958 to 1968. Coach Vince Lombardi rode him hard, really hard, in the 1959 preseason. Jerry wanted to quit until one day Coach came through the locker room and told Jerry that he could become the greatest lineman in the NFL. That day, he decided to give 100 percent to every play in practice and games. And he became one of the greatest linemen, because he understood the concept of competitive greatness! Jerry released of all of his talents, skills, and gifts whenever he competed.
Legendary basketball coach John Wooden coined the phrase “Competitive Greatness.” But as a competitive athlete, I sometimes get it mixed up with “Being Great.” Competitive greatness is not being the best, but being the best you can be. There can only be one best, but everyone can achieve being the best they can be.
Competitive greatness is learning to rise to every occasion and to push yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually to reach your God-given potential. Coach Wooden defines competitive greatness as a real love for the hard battle, knowing it offers the opportunity to be at your best when your best is required.
These three “Be” principles have helped me grasp competitive greatness:
Be Prepared! It’s not about winning, it’s about being prepared. Being prepared is being ready when God opens doors. Having a passion to prepare will help you face the battle as an athlete so that challenges are embraced…never feared.
Be Disciplined! If integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching, then competitive greatness is working hard when no one is watching. Competitive greatness is a disciplined life. God loves good, hard, clean competition. Disciplined athletes have great awareness of the abilities God has blessed them with, and they use those gifts to their full potential to please Jesus. They understand there is a merging of self-discipline and God-provision.
Be Focused! Competitive greatness focuses on a clear vision; it is not sidetracked or distracted. Focus produces a clear picture of the future, and that produces a passion. When athletes have vision burning in their eyes, they become an unstoppable force for the Lord’s work. Nobody or nothing can steal the passion that God has placed in your heart as an athlete. By narrowing the focus, the Lord’s plan becomes clear because you know the target. When you are focused, you are not sucked into the comparison game and comparing yourself to other teammates. Focus allows you to be the best you by fixing your eyes on the right target—Jesus Christ.
All you have is you. Nothing more; nothing less. Take what God has generously given you and be the best you by unleashing those gifts and talents right where God has placed you. Do it right now…and watch Him do an amazing work through you!
WisdomWalks SPORTS, Ellie Claire (Nashville, TN), pages 23-26.
Copyright 2007 Fellowship for the Performing Arts