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

Friday, 30 December 2011

Committing to the Tackle

Tackling is a central element in all team sports. The tackle is the cornerstone of defending and gives the tackler the opportunity to regain possession. Rugby is no exception. As a full contact sport, a tackle is made by physically hauling to the ground an opposition player in possession of the ball. It requires courage, commitment and confidence. You can track a player across a pitch, you can chase him, but to stop his progress, retake the ball or prevent a scoring opportunity, you have to make the tackle.

Without tackling, mediocrity can look invincible - that is, a poor side can win, if good team fails to commit to the tackle. I remember one game I played in the day after one of the players birthday. Half of the team were hung-over and those of us who were committed to the game simply couldn't cover for all of the missed tackles across the field. No one wants to play in a game that is mediocre. No one wants to see a half-hearted effort from a team they know can perform at a much higher standard.

We see it in sport and complain, "come on tackle!", yet in life, we allow things to get past us. Building strong relationships takes courage, commitment and confidence. But too often, I wonder if we let things slip through - a poor attitude, a dumb, barbed comment or we let things slip through lack of attention or perhaps more frequently, we let familiarity rob us of the very best. Defending what we value in our relationships should be foundational to our game plan.

The bible has some interesting advice, when it comes to tackling important tasks. The man's man Jesus was confronted with a group of people who said "we will follow you, but we've got a couple of things to sort out first" - his response seemed harsh at first - "anyone who puts their hand to the plow and then looks back, isn't fit for service" - in other words if you are going to commit to the tackle, don't make out you're going for it, then pull out at the moment of commitment. Looking back whilst plowing, creates a furrow that isn't true. Pulling back from committing to relational strength is like letting mediocrity score a try without attempting to make the tackle.

With a new year, we frequently make resolutions to change something or improve in some area. I have a challenge. Let us as men commit to 3 things:

i) commit to the cause of the man's man Jesus Christ
ii) commit to building strength in all of the relationships that really matter (as husbands, fathers, brothers, mentors, coaches, friends)
iii) defending those we truly value, by committing to making the tackle (not letting comments through, not being  lazy or familiar with those closest to us)

When you commit yourself to making the tackle, you take a risk. You risk the other player off-loading or making a pass that releases the ball and you put yourself on the line physically. Yet with courage and confidence that match commitment, we can make the necessary tackles that create impregnable defences

Come on lets challenge mediocrity in 2012 and build strength in our close relationships, families, friendships, businesses and teams.