Recently, my youngest son kept asking me to play him one-on-one in basketball. I finally acquiesced and accepted his offer. Knowing that all dads eventually will be bested by their sons as they grow bigger and faster (while we dads grow older & slower), I determined that this would not be the time that he would be able to beat me.
I did everything I could to beat him: I used my bigger body to get in the paint, I used the traditional “sky-hook (he laughed at me),” I tried my trusty jump shot at the corner of the free-throw which failed me spectacularly. When it came down to it, he is just too good of an outside shooter and I am too out of shape. The result is that he bested me in a game of one-on-one. All of my boys can now beat me at multiple sports!
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics ended last weekend. My family and I couldn’t get enough of them! For the most part, our family enjoys sporting events and when the Olympics rolls around every two years (summer/winter), we watch, cheer, and “oo & ah” on a nearly daily basis. You’ve got to hand it to the Olympic athletes – here are people who have trained much of their life for this moment (or in the case of the 50K cross-country skiers – an hour and 45+ minutes). I always feel bad for the skater who falls on her first triple-axle during the long free program or the speed skater who is nudged on the first turn and goes sprawling into the boards. They have trained for countless hours for this moment.
I admire the Olympic athlete in any sport. They train and train – countless hours are spent honing their muscles, their balance, their strength, their resolve – all with one goal in mind. They want to win to stand on the medal podium. Hear their nation’s anthem. Make their country proud. Win the gold medal. A very noble pursuit indeed. I applaud every athlete from this recent Winter Olympics.
But I couldn’t stop thinking of a certain phrase of Scripture in which the Apostle Paul refers to some type of Olympic Games in I Corinthians 9:25, Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. Paul is not denying, denigrating, or demeaning the efforts of the Olympian. No, he just puts it into perspective. And what a perspective for the Christian! Verse 24 we are admonished to run, that ye may obtain! In verse 26, Paul tells you what he is going to do. Whether you join him or not he says, I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air.
“Why in the world am I doing this?”
“I feel pretty good right now!”
“I feel like I am going to die.”
“That was a great run.”
“That was a…well, rather exhausting run.”
“I feel like I could run for miles!”
“I feel like I couldn’t run for another ten feet!”
Anybody that has picked up running as a sport has felt and expressed all of the above statements and more. Growing up, I played nearly every sport imaginable: soccer, basketball, football, floor hockey, tennis, racquetball, hacky-sack (is that a sport?), skiing, snowboarding (a bit), biking, etc. And although many of these sports involve running, some of them quite extensively, running is not the goal. It is one of the many components of that sport.
We were challenged to run a 5K by Automattic (owner of WordPress.com) several weeks ago. Since February, my wife and I have been running 2-3 times a week as we prepare for a 10k in early June. Although we are both athletic and play sports here & there, we have never consistently tried “running” as a sport.
Running has become a real joy to the both of us. We enjoy being together, getting in shape together, and the sense of accomplishment when done running. We have been running anywhere from 1 to 5 miles when we go out and usually run Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
This past Tuesday, we officially ran the 5k that would count for Automattic’s challenge. We ran it at Stephens Park in Schererville, Indiana and ran it in a time of 28 minutes. That is an average of 9 minutes, 20 seconds a mile – not bad for our first official 5K!