Sport is a metaphor for life. It can teach us many things. Several times this month people have mentioned this concept to me. I wanted to explore one connection they made between sport and life.
The application is to not regard sport as a useless recreation but see sport as powerful for our re-creation: a vehicle for learning more about life in its fullness.
Here is one lesson:
The two imposters
Rudyard Kipling explained, “Meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same.” In every sporting competition someone wins and someone loses. But if an athlete is overly focused on either outcome this distracts from the now.
Elite athletes are told the secret to a great performance is focusing on the process, rather than the outcome. That is, focusing on their technique or staying relaxed or planning their next move. Imagine you are doing a fun run. The overall goal is to finish the race but your focus is on staying relaxed as you run: controlling your breathing, keeping your arms loose etc.
It is about getting to the next kilometre mark because. Put all this together and you will cross the finish line. If you are scared of not finishing or desperate to win the race, these can distract. If you are thinking about the task at hand and what you need to achieve in that moment then the overall results will be successful.
Triumph and disaster in sport can both be distractions. These imposters can teach us a lesson for life. If we are too focused on losing a relationship or anxious to enter the real estate market or passing that exam, then this can cripple our actions. But sport reminds us to break larger goals down and focus on the task at hand.
Each time this month when people talked about their sporting challenges they made direct links with their current life. That is the great thing about sport. It is a metaphor and great teacher for so many areas.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor and joint 2017 Tony Dunkerley Sport Writer Award winner
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover.html