Sunday, December 18, 2011

Baseball, Basketball & Football Are Long Seasons: A Prayer for Self Motivation

Many a professional sport spans one season too many—and by season I mean a division of the year, marked by changes in weather, ecology, and hours of daylight. I’m not sure if hockey even has an “off season.” Perhaps the gift of the NBA lockout in some strange way is an increased appreciation for regular season games? Fans will see 16 fewer games before the pros *really* start playing.

These days baseball practically goes until November. Yet people wax nostalgic about it. And why shouldn’t they when the late commissioner of Major League Baseball and philosopher, A. Bartlett Giamatti penned these words in Take Time for Paradise.
It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.
Baseball may span six months (and more if you’re lucky), but the recent distribution of college football awards brought about the highlight reels of the winners’ 2011 accomplishments. Surprisingly, what stood out to me is the drastic change in the weather from the opening game to today. The passing of time is dramatically clear as early season games are played in the hot sun. Players and coaches wear short sleeve shirts and the field reflects the bright sun. As the schedule progresses, the colors begin to fade. The shadows are cast. And at this point, I wonder what weather condition will emerge. A snow bowl? Driving sleet? A bundled crowd at a night game? Brrr.

It too is a long season. And this has helped me realize once again that sports demand a lot of us—physical strength and mental fortitude. When one is a member of a team, time is not their own.

I have known a few athletes who were upset to play in post-season contests because they were exhausted. They would have been satisfied had their season ended after the first round of the playoffs! Part of me was disgusted that such talented athletes were lacking a competitive spirit. The other side of me understood exactly what they said.

Therefore, I think a prayer a student read in class last week is an appropriate one for all of us. Whether we are a member of a sports team or have a demanding job, we all need a little boost to keep us motivated from time to time. Why not seek the Lord’s assistance in this time of need?

A Prayer for Self Motivation

Omnipotent God, vitality of life, Your strength supplies my motivation. I am stirred in the path of Your Will. Maintain my self-motivation to always Search, find, examine, will and act Upon the truths placed before me. May I become a driving force for others, Encouraging them to pick up their crosses And follow the virtuous road of life. I thank You for Your continued vigor That coexists in my whole being, My soul, my spirit and my body!

Photo Credits
Self Motivation
2011 Heisman Trophy

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