- Be thankful that human bodies, with all of their limitations, nevertheless are capable of engaging in competition with others who’ve trained themselves to do the same thing.
- Be thankful that play—regardless of its varying degrees of corruption at every level—is something created by God and can be enjoyed without guilt as an expression of His good creation.
- Be thankful that God doesn’t view us through the lens of wins and losses and that he views individual performance very differently from national or local media.
- Be thankful for an opportunity to set goals and challenge yourself against those goals to become better than you were yesterday.
- Be thankful that failure is never final and can genuinely be used to change you both as an athlete and as a human being.
- Be thankful for a chance to grow in character traits while playing a game: learning perseverance, being other-centered, embracing self-control, etc.
- Be thankful for rivalries and competitors who bring out the best in you, who push you to become something you would not become apart from them.
- Be thankful for rules within each sport that provide structure and order, boundaries that clearly draw out what is acceptable and what is not and that allow us to play freely within them.
- Be thankful for new seasons and fresh starts, for the reality of the scoreboard and win/loss column being empty at the start of the year and bringing with them hope, optimism, and high expectations.
- Be thankful for the opportunity to experience the highs and lows of sport, to feel the rush of adrenaline that accompanies competition and both the elation and discouragement that come on the other side. If you’re aware of these things then you are alive, and you find yourself in a context that produces intense feelings—be thankful for them! Many people go through life yearning to feel what you get to feel during every game—don’t miss it!
This guest post was written by Ed Uszynski. Ed Uszynski (PhD, Bowling Green State University) has been working with collegiate and professional athletes in various roles with Athletes in Action since 1992. His writing includes contributions to DesiringGod.com and other online publications, along with a chapter in the four-volume C.S. Lewis: Life, Works, and Legacy (Bruce Edwards, ed.) and most recently in Sports Chaplaincy: Trends, Issues and Debates (John White, ed.). He and his wife Amy live with their four children in Xenia, OH, and speak together nationally at the Family Life Weekend to Remember Conference. Ed can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @Uszynski32.
P.S. If you want me to send you some free resources (including the first chapter of my book The Assist: A Gospel-Centered Guide to Glorifying God Through Sports, subscribe below and I will send you some great stuff! I promise not to spam you either:)