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

Monday, 24 June 2013

Let me have a go at that!

Every now and then someone comes along that seems to strike a chord with the public mood or has the ability to capture the collective imagination of a nation. Sporting heroes transcend the arena and in a way, become public property.

Everyone has a view or an opinion about them, they're talked about in the column inches of newspapers, they're discussed in the bars and pubs up and down the land, they enter into the public psyche and become legends of their particular sport. They become the subject of quiz questions and enter the record books. Of them, it is often said; they are inspirational.

When the New Zealand All Black Sonny Bill Williams used his one handed, out the back of his hand offload to devastating effect, every school boy rugby player wanted to "do a Sonny Bill." England's Chris Ashton's try scoring dives have also found their way onto the muddied skid pans of school rugby pitches. There will be countless other examples form every sport - from kids "slam dunkin" hoops to bending a soccer ball around a defensive wall at a free kick. There are people who just seem to make us all want to have a go.

In his book "Invictus" (previously titled Playing the Enemy) John Carlin outlines how Nelson Mandela used the 1995 Rugby World Cup to engage the entire nation of South Africa as part of his plan to birth a nation against the background of division resulting from the legacy of apartheid. Francois Pienaar the Springbok rugby captain was invited to meet with Mandela. From that meeting grew an amazing story.

The genesis of Mandela's plan, was also the birthplace of a relationship between the two men that has transcended sport. The impact of that meeting with Mandela was inspirational. Pictures of President Mandela wearing the green and gold colours of the Springboks have taken on iconic status. The brief dialogue of the two men as Pienaar received the Webb Ellis trophy from Mandela is equally inspiring: Mandela to Pienaar "Francois, thank you very much for what you have done for our country", Pienaar to Mandela "No, Mr President thank you for what you have done for our country".

Of the man's man Jesus Christ, the bible records in his day, people from all walks of life wanted to go check him out. He was talked about in village inns, religious meetings, army barracks, the infirmaries of the day, on the street and by every level in society. Thousands gathered on hillsides or followed him lakeside. The crowds were so overwhelming, he had to get into a boat to speak to them.

When people saw some of the amazing things he did and heard the things he said, my guess is, many youngsters and even adults gave more than a passing thought to - "doing a Jesus". Who wouldn't want to do something special or say something inspiring. Who wouldn't want the acclaim of a crowd? Then came an event that changed everything. The cross. Wonder who was willing to "do a Jesus" now?  The truth of the matter is, as men, we are expected to do just that - to "do a Jesus" to put self secondary to the greater good of others.

The reality behind the inspiring actions, speeches, shots on goals, try scoring and yes, even performing the miraculous is a lifetime of working behind the scenes when no one else is watching. Developing character in the obscurity of the every day. The man's man Jesus put self aside for the good of all mankind.

When we see the greats, when we feel inspired to "have a go", re-tweet or post on social media a famous quote or inspirational "on-liner", lets go for it and remember too, that there are somethings we as individuals must all have a go at - there is a higher purpose; the purpose that puts self aside for the sake of others.

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