I am an avid sports fan! I don’t make excuses, in fact I am proud of my fandom. Not only do I enjoy watching my children play sports, I really enjoy watching sports with my children. As I see it there are many teachable moments that I can have with children as we enjoy watching sports together. Selflessness, hard work, discipline are all valuable lessons that we can see as we watch and enjoy sports. There is another word that I used to include in that mix, however my understanding of that word and the world’s definition of that word are nowhere near the same thing. Every year in July during a typical down time for professional/college sports the world’s leader in sports broadcasting hosts an award show. This award show has become one of the most popular award shows for sports fans due to one specific award, and award that is called the “courage” award. Recipients of this award are individuals who have exhibited tremendous, in fact at times heroic acts of courage and honors them for their efforts. Who doesn’t get a little teary eyed when they hear a successful college basketball coach who is on the last leg of a incurable cancer, shout out the words “Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul.” Those were the words of former NC State coach Jim Valvano uttered as he closed out his comments after winning this award. Or what about the moving video that was narrated by Tom Hanks in 2002 as the “courage” award was presents to the families of those who were on United Flight 93. What about the touching moment in 2003 when the award for “courage” was presented to former Arizona Cardinal Pat Tillman, who left a lucrative career in sports when convicted by the events of 9/11 joins the Army and loses his life fighting for our country. Or what about the inspirational story of Lauren Hill who displayed an enormous amount of “courage” when at age 18 was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, yet inspired a nation by fulfilling her dream playing college basketball and in turn raise money for cancer research yet lost her life not long after the season ended.
“Wait! She didn’t win… well who did? Caitlyn Jenner?? Who is that?? NO!! You have got to be kidding me….are you serious? What did he/she or whatever do, save a baby from burning building? Took on Isis? Stopped a terrorist threat on our country? A SEX CHANGE!”
Let me regroup!
I thought courage was bravery, strength in the face of pain and fear, the ability to face enormous obstacles, yet continues to endure or “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty” (Merriam Webster). Courage is dealing with the cards you have been dealt no matter how bad the hand is and making the most out of your situation. Forgive me, but if an individual feels as though they are trapped in a situation, but rather than endure the pain; they give in and indulge in their desires to avoid the pain of persevering. Is that not the opposite of courage? What if the member of United 93 had given in to their fears and remained seated? What if Pat Tillman despite feeling an obligation to fight, yet is afraid of the consequences decided to remain in the NFL and do nothing? What if Jimmy V had given up? An argument could be made for having “courage” if Bruce Jenner would have persevered and remained a man, even in the midst of some feminine urges. If he would have continued with the cards that he had been dealt and not give up and give in to emotions.
I am thankful that my children have Biblical examples of men like Joshua, who was afraid of take the reins of Israel yet played with the cards he was dealt. How about Daniel, who didn’t give in yet played with the cards he was dealt. Or how about Esther, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Moses, Jeremiah, Gideon, Noah and we can’t forget Jesus. Those are examples of real “courage” to not give in…well maybe that is just cowardice.
I urge all of us to deal with our temptation, to fight them off and not attempt to find ways to give in and vent them. Let me remind you that God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and self control (2 Timothy 1.7). The power to be courageous through self-control, rather than self-indulgence and that is Courage, understood!