Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of
kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one
and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even
as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things
put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the
of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one
and be ye thankful. COLOSSIANS
3 : 12 - 15
In the literature of
sports, there are uncountable stories of the failures that befall those
who forget the importance of behaving as we are instructed to in this
verse. Coaches and athletes are constantly presented with
opportunities to display these characteristics, and it is at our own
peril that we forget to uphold this standard.
Obviously, it is much
easier in these cases to know what to do than it is for us to follow
through in the "heat of battle". This verse serves to remind us
how we are expected to act.
We often have
the opportunity to show
mercy to our opponents, yet many coaches find it difficult to know when
to "pull the plug" and ease up. It might serve us well to
remember a time when we were on the "short end of the stick" and
imagine what we wish the other coach had done at the time. It's
important that we not forget just how bad we felt at the time, and be
resolved not to inflict the same feelings on others.
We are often presented with players and
fellow coaches who require our kindness more than our
rancor. It is easy to forget that we have not spent the
day, week, or year with the person we're responding to, and cannot
fully understand what experiences they have had. Perhaps it is
our kind word today that makes all the difference in the world in how
they proceed from here.
who lose their humbleness of mind often find themselves subject to the
cliché, "What goes around, comes around." It behooves us
to be meek
about our success, lest we experience spectacular failure that will
force that weakness. Virtually every one of us knows someone who
has lorded their success over all those they meet, and almost no other
action results in more glee from opponents when the "shoe is on the
We do well to remember that life really does seem to
run in cycles of success and failure, and as Rudyard Kipling wrote, we
need to "treat both impostors just the same". Many coaches have
suffered long bouts of losing, handling their
trials with gentlemanly aplomb, only to be rewarded with success at the
most significant moment.
We all know the value of extending charity to
those less fortunate than ourselves, yet we often seem to forget that
that charity applies just as meaningfully to our athletic
Yet it is this we must do best, since it leads us toward
perfection. If we truly love the game, then we want the
experience of every person who shares that game with us to be the best
it possibly can be.
If we are at peace with ourselves and others, it
easier for us to be the example of forgiveness we are called to
Just as early Christians were called in this text to be "one body", so
we as coaches and role models are called to remember that that which
unites us is more important than that which divides us.
And, let us be Thankful: that we get to participate
in sports, an activity that reveals our character daily; that we share
the love of that endeavor with so many other good people; that we have
the opportunity to teach our love for sports to the athletes with whom
we are privileged to work; and that we experience the joy of seeing our
protegés succeed in ways that many teachers do not get to
Reflection: ~ Which of the characteristics listed above do I exemplify best? ~~ Which ones do I
struggle with the most?
~~~ How can I improve the characteristics that I perceive as
~~~~ Do I have any "personal issues" that cause me to behave
differently than I really wish to? How can I overcome those
~~~~~ Have I taken a little time today to be thankful for all that
sport has given me, and continues to provide in my life daily?