Humility holds court

September 18th, 2019

A class act on the court

Recently, the U.S. Open tennis tournament showcased some of the world’s greatest tennis players. While upsets were a theme in the tournament, good sportsmanship also won fan approval. In the third round, Naomi Osaka (seeded No. 1) faced crowd-favorite Coco Gauff (non-seeded) in a much-anticipated match to see how 15-year-old Coco would perform. Though Coco lost, Naomi asked her to stay on the court and join her for the post-match interview. Coco refused, not wanting to take the spotlight away from the winner, but Naomi insisted. During the interview Naomi not only praised Coco for her hard work and training, but also praised her parents for raising “an amazing player.”

Public eye

Like other professional sports, tennis is charged with emotions. With cameras watching every move and social media spreading images far and wide, athletes are encouraged more than ever to keep their cool or to hide their emotions entirely. Many athletes are coached on what to say and not say in press conferences. So, when an athlete lashes out against an opponent, referee, judge or the press, it is guaranteed to make news and tarnish the athlete’s reputation. Similarly, an athlete who expresses sincere appreciation, humility, respect and graciousness also makes news and helps build up his or her reputation. Veteran athletes tend to keep their emotions under control and their negative comments to themselves.

Leading with humility

Some athletes take it a step further, showing great empathy, humility and respect for their opponents and the game, whether they are on or off camera. Like great athletes who understand their influence, Christians are called to be ambassadors for a way of life that involves as much discipline, sacrifice, practice, training, losing and winning as any sport. When we lead with humility, the wins and losses have no power to define us. We simply continue down the path we are called to take, grateful for another day to play.

Question of the day: When you win at something, do you ever give credit to your opponent?
Focal scriptures: Proverbs 22:4; Ephesians 4:29-32; Romans 12:9-17

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