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....

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Friday, 4 May 2012

Elbows, margins and the Police

They were big. They were strong. They were brutal in the contact area and tackle. They were the police. Every player stood over 6feet tall. The match had "physical pounding" written all over it. Yet, somehow, we managed to scrap for enough ball to scramble a win. To this day I still look back and wonder how we did it. The force came at us with force and we used the only advantage we had - speed, to out run them. However, it came with a price tag. It wasn't easy. It wasn't pretty. Those of us who had to win enough ball for our fast players to out run them, paid the price phsyically.

I remember jumping for a ball in the lineout, to be met with a well placed elbow to the face. I came down with the ball and a busted lip. Everywhere we met contact across the pitch our casualties were mounting. But there, at the margins of the game, where we were being out muscled, where taking the contact was as much a mental challenge as a physical challenge - because you knew what was coming - that is where the game was won. To be fair to the police team, after the game they were great but on that pitch, on that day, we knew we had been in a fight.

Sometimes we look for the spectacular. Sometimes we look for the easier route, the one with least resistance. But often in the sports arena and in life too, things are won and lost at the margins. We dont like to think of a narrow escape or only just making it. But, only just making it is better than not making it and a win is a win however you measure it.

The Olympic 100m crown will be won by margins measured in tenths or even hundredths of a second. In Formula One motor racing, after driving nearly 60 laps at an average speed of around 195kph (and that equates to a very long way) the winning margin is measured in seconds or even parts of a second.

Just because the margin of victory is so small compared to the effort required to win doesn't mean the Olypic runner or the F1 driver are any lesser champions. In fact, its very often by the narrowest of margins that the greatest of champions emerge. Why? Because they have prevailed over strong opposition. They dont quit or back down when the going gets tough. Quitting is an option and there are times when we have to consider other options, but when a breakthrough is so close, when it is what is needed to safeguard the things that are of true worth - friendship, intimate relationships, destiny shaping connections - is quitting that great an option?

Jesus the man's man operated at the margins. He was there at the margins of society where the bereft of hope sat at home weeping for a lost loved one or wayward son. He walked the market places where honest hard working people struggle to make ends meet. He was there in the dusty back streets where the women carried they young and the kids played in the dirt. He was there with the people that society had labelled as marginal - who just like any one else simply needed a break. And he is still there. Standing somewhere in the shadows - you will find Jesus. He's there to say press on, don't give in, dont give up. If we look for him, he's there. His greatest victory, the cross, was truly at the margins of human existance - but he didnt quit, he prevailed.

Sometimes life is won and lost at the margins. Some days we just make it. Better to just make it than to slip away without a fight. We didnt quit against the police. We battled on through the physical pounding to record a famous victory. The call from the man's man standing in the shadows is to press on, dont give up. What are we battling against today? Take a glance toward the margins, toward the shadows. That could just be where your breakthrough will come from.

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