Guest post by Ryan Borowicz
As I’ve been watching the Olympics the past couple of weeks, I’m constantly reminded of the pressure that is on these athletes to perform on the world stage, and how difficult it must be, knowing that the world stage only comes once every four years! All of their hours of training can all be nullified by a ski not sticking it’s edge on an icy slope, an out of control teammate crashing into you coming around the corner with a medal in sight, or even worse, not making it to the start of the games because of a crash during training. It must be devastating to put all of that time and energy into something and never see the fruits of that labor.
Well…at least that is from MY perspective.
You see, I (and most of the viewers of the Olympics) don’t pay much (actually ANY) attention to Luge, Biathlon, Ice Dancing, or the majority of these sports, except when they roll around in the Olympics every four years. But MY perspective isn’t the only one. For these athletes, the two and a half weeks of Olympic competition are just part of their season. Granted, it’s a big part and often the pinnacle of their sport, but they have other opportunities to perform and show the world, or at least those interested in their sport, their prowess as a world class athlete. Every one of these sports has an annual World Championship event, and most of them have a circuit of events that round out their competition calendar. If one of these athletes puts all of their eggs in the Olympic basket, and fails to meet their Olympic goals, they could be devastated for years and see all of their preparation as a waste of time. And as a casual spectator of most of these sports, that’s how I initially would view Olympic failure as well. But you often hear these athletes mention their other competitions as measuring sticks and places for them to gain perspective that the Olympics is not the only thing they work for. For athletes…and folks involved in Sports Ministry…the journey matters too!
We just had our largest event of the year this past Friday, our 4th Annual Wild Game Dinner. It’s a huge undertaking and the planning begins about six months (or more!) ahead of time. If I had the perspective of the casual Olympic observer, and gauged the effectiveness of our sports ministry solely on this one time event, simply because it’s the biggest thing we do, I would be missing out on so many other little successes (and failures) that make up the year. If this event bombed for whatever reason and it was the only thing I measured my worth as the Director of Xcel Sports on, it could be devastating to my motivation and self esteem throughout the rest of the year.
But my focus is not just on the destination…but on the entire journey, the year as a whole. When I evaluate the year, I look at everything, not just one event that might be perceived by some as the main thing we do. Now, thankfully our Wild Game Dinner went great this year and the event had a positive impact on many that attended. But even if it didn’t, I would have reminded myself Monday morning when I sat my desk, to look up at the large calendar on my wall, and keep perspective. I would have reminded myself of all of the conversations and interactions I had with people (attendees, speakers, volunteers, vendors, cooks, etc.) in the process leading up to the event. And I would have reminded myself that MY perspective is not the ONLY one.
Sports Ministry…and life…are not JUST about the destination. They are about the journey as well.
[Image courtesy of npslibrarian]