blood, sweat, and fears

March 11, 2012

Given my already packed schedule somehow I managed to rope myself into coaching track and field for the school I teach at.  We had our first meet last week. It was the first time I’ve attended a track meet since I was a senior in high school running in the 3A State meet in the 1600 meters.  It is no exaggeration to say that it was a spiritual experience that completely took me by surprise.

I’ve read about the concept of muscle memory and it is a fascinating study.  One application is the reason athletes in any sport perform drills and exercises over and over again is because that level of repetition trains the body what to do under certain circumstances.  Then when it’s game time you don’t have to “think” about what it is to do your body just “knows” what it is trained to do and does it.   Does this same principle apply to the psyche and the soul? or the spirit and the mind if you prefer?  I believe it does.

The smell of the infield grass, the wind in your face, the energy of competition and cheering on my students brought back to my mind all the reasons I loved this sport and has renewed my heart on some level that is hard to articulate.   The metaphors for running/training and our spiritual journeys are numerous but nonetheless appropriate.  To watch these kids put themselves out there despite their fears and give all they have to give is a beautiful and inspiring thing.

This sport is unlike any other in that the greatest competitor you ever face is yourself.  To explore the limits of your physical abilities and to push beyond them even in the slightest is in itself a reward.  To watch kids do it who trust the advice their coach is giving them is both exhilarating and humbling all at once.

One of my more consistent times of prayer is post-workout.  I’ve worked-out in some form or fashion my whole life and it’s something I really enjoy.  There is something significant for me to come to the end of my physical abilities and in exhaustion find his peace and presence.  Part of this experience is remembering that I am “from the dust and to the dust will return,” which is both very sobering and very hopeful in light of the gospel.

“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” (Heb.12:1)

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3 Responses to “blood, sweat, and fears”

  1. Jerrell Jobe Says:

    If only your muscles could remember how to run as fast as they used to…

    …good job coach!


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