Today’s sports culture commonly produces athletes doing whatever it takes to be the best, even if that means stepping on teammates and competitors to get there.
With so much selfishness in sports, it’s refreshing to see athletes like Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz displaying countercultural love for others. Upon tearing his ACL, Wentz chose to support and encourage his backup Nick Foles all the way to a Super Bowl victory.
In support of Foles before the Super Bowl, Wentz posted the following statement on Twitter: “My bro is gonna shine bright tonight! So excited to see him & this team go out and compete tonight.”
Athlete, are you loving your teammates and competitors like Wentz did with Foles, or are you wishing for their fall to make you look better? Our human nature is selfish.
It’s all too tempting to wish that those competing with us would slip and fall. However, Jesus calls us to live in contrast to the desires of the flesh. We are called to “count others more significant than ourselves.”
So besides Wentz’s example, what are some practical steps you can take to put your competitors first?
Try rejoicing when others are performing well, congratulating competing teams on performing at a high level, or helping a struggling teammate when you have qualities to contribute to his or her success.
These things may look like weakness to the world around you. However, serving others is an attribute of strength that our Lord demonstrated for us in countless ways. Remember when He washed His disciples’ feet?
Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Serving others leaves an eternal impact in the world that far transcends final scores.
Athlete, live to serve and not to be served. Always work hard, but also seek to help those around you become better.
Strive to win, but realize the pleasure of winning alone is fleeting and has little to no eternal significance. So be strong and put others first. You won’t regret it!