It has been said that sports can be a microcosm of life, and as such can reveal a person’s flaws, not all of which are visible to other competitors.
For instance, I would like to think I am a humble winner and a gracious loser, but many times I am only portraying those qualities as inside I am gloating or seething—being no better than Lady Macbeth when she told her husband, “Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent beneath.” Too often my true character is “the serpent beneath.” (The other times I am openly gloating or seething.)
In competition, I have not handled frustration well, whether it is due to my own poor play or to bad luck, and I have become angry. I once overheard one person tell another who was getting upset over a missed shot, “You’re not that good to get that mad,” and though not directed at me at the time, it could have been. I have tried to remember that ever since.
I have been tempted to cheat, to not count that accidental tap and subsequent movement of the ball on the golf course as a stroke. After all, no one saw it and no advantage was gained.
There are many other actions or thoughts that have occurred during competition that reveal I have a long way to go––much to confess, even more to learn––and I am thankful that I have the opportunity to learn these lessons in a venue that really doesn’t matter much rather than in life where others are impacted by my poor choices and actions.
Life is full of frustration and set backs, good luck and bad, successes and failures. Wealth and poverty, hunger and satiation come in many forms, and though I know “the secret of being content in any and every situation” as Paul states in Philippians 4:12) is to move my focus from myself to my Lord, I often don’t do that nor claim the promise that comes in the subsequent verse that says, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Regardless of the situation, the frustration, bad luck or good luck, failure or success, God does not change, and I need to remember that He will not only give me the strength and peace to handle it but is also all I truly need.