Last night I had the privilege of sharing with some youth at a Super Bowl party. As I spoke with them I asked them what sets professional athletes apart from the rest. I pose the same question to you. Why do some rise to the top of the athletic world – or for that matter to the top of any area of life?
First let’s start with the obvious. There are genetic issues involved in any of this. We are all born with a certain capacity for size, strength, speed, etc. As much as I would have loved to be over 6’5” as a basketball player, no amount of extra work or extra helpings of green beans were going to get me there. It just wasn’t in my genetic code. I’m sure most offensive or defensive linemen in football did not, as young kids, dream of being great linemen. They like everyone else probably pictured themselves in a glory position such as quarterback or running back – yet genetics took over an their bodies lent themselves to a different position. All of that to simply say that there are some things we do not necessarily have control over.
But within the framework of that genetic capacity is the part we do have control over. That is how close we come to our genetic potential. That is what I think sets the pro athletes apart. They have worked their tails off to get the most out of what they have. They are committed to the process of physical training. They are willing to observe endless hours of film to evaluate their play and tweak the mental side of things.
There is a general rule of thumb in the marketplace called the “10,000 hour theory.” The idea behind this is that in order to achieve an expert level in any discipline one must commit to 10,000 hours of quality practice and pursuit of mastery. In other words, not just a practice that goes through the motions but one that pushes and strives to get better. This breaks down to basically 10 years of 3-hours-per-day commitment.
To someone that is not that interested in sports this would seem very excessive. Why would anyone be willing to give that much time to a game? It boils down to priorities. You will give time to what is important to you. And I happen to believe that Scripturally we are commanded to be committed to any task we set our efforts toward. If it be sports, then play to the honor of the Lord Jesus Christ! We are commanded to not just seek man’s approval but to work as unto the Lord. Read Colossians 3:16-23!
Yet I would rather meddle beyond the sports. How committed are you to the Lord? Are you willing to study the “Playbook” regularly? Do you review the “game film” of your life to see how you are doing? Do you regularly practice serving others as Jesus commanded us to do? Is your commitment in these areas of your life such as sports or jobs a commitment to the Lord and honoring Him? Wouldn’t it be awesome to have Christians that are experts in the Word of God and experts in serving others? That takes time and commitment!
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2)