These thoughts are to help and inspire people like you and me to reach higher and strive for greater things, to stand for a cause more noble than self serving, seeing the good in others and seeking it for their sake. I unashamedly weave my faith, biblical insight and life experiences into a sporting context to illustrate my personal journey to this point - I hope in a small way, I can help you on your journey to being all you were intended to be....

There are now over 50 posts to check out, tweet, link to facebook or google+ Please feel free to share a link BUT If you use any of the illustrations please acknowledge the source as Phil Manchester, Bradford, England. You can follow me on twitter @philmanchester

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Wearing my hero's socks!

Back in the days of flared trousers and tank-tops I was lucky enough to get on a school trip to watch the touring All Blacks rugby side. Taken in by the incredible pace and power of the game, I determined I would play like the team I had just seen and in particular, the great, All Blacks captain Graham Mourie.

Before my next game, I went to a local sports shop and bought my own All Blacks......socks. Black with three white hoops around the top. I discarded my school rugby socks, broke the rules and wore my heroes socks. It worked. Over the season, I became the top try scoring forward. I became the only player in an entire season to score a try against an all conquering, regional championship team as they swept every other team aside, without conceding a single try. My achievment even got a mention in Rugby World magazine. I was the English Graham Mourie - well, I was when I was wearing his socks.

Life, like sport, is filled with heroes and villains and I suspect no hero is perfect. However, as teenager, I saw something in someone else that inspired me to reach further. It wasn't really the socks. If it had been, they would have been no more than a luck charm or me following some kind of pre-match ritual. No, it was seeing someone I admired, doing something that I could actually see myself doing. That was inspiration. Something I saw, experienced, that called to something inside of me. The socks were just the way I expressed affinity with my hero.

There is an interesting account in the bible, of a time when a nation's leaders failed to give it the direction it so desperately needed. Sound familiar? For the record, there is a list of those responsible. Not surprisingly, the list contains politicians, religious leaders and the security forces. However, right at the top of the list, was an unexpected group: heroes! On a list of the great, the good and the powerful, the primary responsibility for taking a lead fell to the heroes and the question was asked; where are they?

Now, we may not feel very heroic and we may think the things we do are mundane. But as I look back to my formative years, my hero was simply someone who inspired me to reach beyond my immediate grasp, to travel further, to climb higher. I saw a "hero" and decided to have a go too. I may not have achieved the status of sporting legend, but who knows where I would have stopped or parked up, without the inspiration of a hero.

There's a generation looking for heroes. Sons looking for fathers, the lost looking for hope, captives longing to be liberated from the mundane. Where are the heroes of today? They have just read this blog.
So come on, its time to get our heroes socks out from the back of the drawer and go inspire a generation....

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