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, 18 May 2012

The art of the sidestep

I have actually sidestepped an international rugby player and it wasn't in a dream. Are you impressed? I was.
Regrettably, it wasn't in my time as a player. Throwing a ball around between dads, lads and a friend who is said player, I took my chance.

I took a neat running line. The angle of attack (not bad for an old forward) was good. He moved in for the tackle. I ran straight at him. Then, almost at the last moment before contact, I planted my left foot firmly out to his right side as if shifting my direction. Then, with the sweetest of movements, I pushed off my planted foot in the opposition direction (his left) and zipped past him on my original line of attack. Side stepped him!

It gets better and more elaborate each time I repeat the story. As I touched the ball down, my imagination created the winning try for the British Lions against the All Blacks at Eden Park. Then through the stunned silence of the Kiwi faithful, "not bad for an old man" rang out around the famous old stadium. Not bad for an old man! That brought me back to earth and the reality of the rough patch of ground where we were playing Still, I'm allowed to relive it from time to time.

The thing is, the sidestep isn't seen as often as it used to be. When executed by the skillful runner, outwitting the attacker, the sidestep looks like an art form. Modern coaching techniques and running through phases, eliminating risk and retaining possession have probably all added to the sidestep being surpassed as a means of not just beating, but outwitting the opposition. If you operate the sidestep every time you approach a line breaking opportunity, you are going to be read as a player - unless of course your opponents cognitive abilities are sparse... But used to its full effect, the sidestep still has that "element of surprise" and psychologically sends a signal to the outsmarted player "I've got the measure of you". You were about to ask me a very physical question but I'm not prepared to answer the question you are asking me. Instead here is a question for you to answer "how come I outsmarted you?"

Have you ever been in a situation where you have been asked a question that you feel has overstepped a line? Or a question that is being asked for a motive other than seeking the obvious answer to the question? There are times when being asked a question doesn't warrant or deserve an answer. Simply because someone asks a question - doesn't mean you are required to give an answer, particularly if the motivation, like a would be tackler, is to stop your progress, upset your momentum and rob you of what you are carrying.

What we carry in life is an essential part of the "who" we are. Our core beliefs, our dreams our aspirations, our experiences, our memories. Regardless of whichever sphere of life we look at; family, faith, sport, leisure, business - our core values shape who we are becoming. They are of course shaped and "tempered" (bashed like steel) by our experiences. Not all beating is beneficial and its part of our life's mission to safeguard what we carry.

I think the man's man Jesus Christ would have made a great rugby player. He developed the sidestep into an art form - used against those who were out to rob, disrupt or discredit what he was carrying. Now before I go further, I'm not talking about the squirming mess that is the modern politician, who tries to worm his way out of answering questions or avoiding the issue. No. The man's man demonstrated the pinnacle of self control, not rising to the malignancy underlying the motives of many of his questioners, including the "wrecker of humanity" - always there to rob, steal, kill or destroy -  the enemy tried to knock Jesus off course with bogus questions that were aimed at derailing his purpose. His response? The sidestep that illustrated brilliantly how to avoid being sucked into answering the wrong question and posed the right question back to his tempter.

As men we need to develop the awareness and perception in life scenarios that allows us to sidestep the potential for derailment. Sidestep wrongly motivated questions. Sidestep inappropriate relationships. Sidestep the compromise that ultimately requires cover up upon cover up and eventually collapses in shame. Its not always about brute force and bashing away through life, relationships, business or church - sometimes, with a sense of timing, skill, agility on the move and above all an awareness of the intent of the opposition, the sidestep is the best tactical play.

No comments:

Post a Comment