I love sports movies. When I was in a transition from the field I wrote a three-part series about sports movies.
I said: “I’ve heard from a few of you jokingly saying, enough of the sports movies, OK?! Your feedback gave me a holy pause, creating the space to ask God why I’m going on and on about a subject that has garnered very few comments (one way to gauge engagement).
Before this series started I hadn’t put two and two together that sports movies are woven into my story. As I am in the process of re-figuring out who I am and what is “China Amy,” what is “American Amy” and what is “Just Amy, Amy,” I can see that sports movies have been used to anchor me to me.”
You are entering that same process of discovering who you are in this new context. Having stood at the starting line, finally the starting gun has gone off and “the race set before you” is started!
Welcome! It can be exciting or overwhelming, but for sure, transitions are exhausting. They just are. So, you have permission (if it helps, you can say you were assigned) to watch at least one sports movie in the next few weeks. Watch with an eye for what you can learn about running your race.
When you “do your homework,” here are four areas to tune into:
- Teamwork–sports are communal. Teammates, coaches, and trainers encourage one another, hold one another accountable, and support one another. All that “one anothering” reminds me of Someone’s focus on one another.
- Victory is not a given–in most sports movies victory does come, but only after two hours of slugging it out. I find the same in my own life; I do experience victory in many different fashions, but not without a much larger portion of my time spent slugging it out in the messiness of life. I bet you do too.
- Long term perspective encouraged–Sports involve the process of practicing in private, practicing in public (games, meets and events), and if you’re good at your craft, a tournament or championship. The story is built small decision and commitment by small decision and commitment. The season doesn’t consist of one person, one practice, or even one game. Can it be influenced by any of those? Sure, just like your life or mine. But the long-term perspective calls to us to think bigger.
- REDEMPTION–by far the reason I return to sports movies again and again is that I leave with a gust of redemption blown into my soul. The jerk changed his (or her) ways. Racers experienced some level of moving towards each other. Bigger doesn’t always win. Teammates learn to work with and then support those different from themselves. Heartache is faced and overcome. It is a taste of Eden Regained, of who we were meant to be this side of heaven, of who we will more purely be when we are back to ourselves, our real selves.
So, your race has started and you think you know what kind of a race you will run, whether it is a 5K on hilly terrain, or a marathon through a downtown city area. You have trained for this moment and your training will pay off. At this point, a few more words about Go!
- The race has started, but it is not over. There will be twists and turns. You race may be extended. A surprise injury may cut your race short. You might be running on the hottest day in recorded history or dealing with rain that will not let up. Therefore,
- Pace yourself. The winners are often not the runners who sprinted out; instead, winners are the ones who understood the need to keep the big picture in mind. They didn’t run just for the start of the race, they ran with the whole race in mind. Build in Sabbath. Build in family time. Build in watching a movie now and then. Build in time alone. Pace yourself, so that you can keep running.
- Go day-by-day and be gracious to yourself. In his mercy, God often doesn’t show us the twists and turns our races will take. When you make a cultural faux pas, be quick to put it in perspective, don’t mull. When you realize that you miss someone, take time to grieve the loss. Don’t stuff it down and say, “It is all part of the cost.” It is okay to be happy and sad in the same day! When you just want one familiar meal from home, try and eat one. You may never have eaten a bag of potato chips and drank a Coke in the name of a “healthy meal” before. But if it helps your soul for one meal, it is a healthy meal of a different kind. Be gracious to yourself.
We are glad you’re here. We want you to be on the field as long as God has for you and pray that this series helps you to run the race set before you.
What are your favorite sports movies? If you are new to the field, which point do you need to remind yourself of today? If you’ve been on the field for a while, what did you do well when it was your time to Go? What would you do a little differently now?
This is The Grove. It’s where we gather to share our thoughts, our words, and our art. So join us in the comments. Link up your own blog posts on this week’s prompt. Click here for details and instructions.