Finals Time is always crunch time.
The big crowds.
The elusive cup is only ever awarded to one player/team in any sport that is the goal for so many who play sport across the globe. Whilst there is a myriad of reasons to play a team sport one element of these is striving for a win! The ultimate win being a championship or shield.
These are many and varied across teams and individuals and the myriad of sports:
Olympic Gold medals for so many individual and team sports, The America’s Cup for Sailing, NFL Superbowl for Gridiron, the Yellow Jersey in the Tour de France, The World Cup for Football (Soccer), and the list goes on.
For many from a young age, organized sport is a part of many people’s routine. The zenith of these competitions, to take home the biggest trophy, that glistening prize at the end of the season. It is bred in so many of us (maybe not as a good thing), to achieve success in this realm, is to take home the big prize.
During competition you train hard, 2,3 maybe 4 training sessions per week with the team, training undertaken outside of the team. You train well, be mentally, and physically to be prepared for finals.
To get into the finals, spots are limited for those teams good enough to challenge for the top position.
What happens when you lose?
You come to finals, lose and then what… You may feel left with the highlight of your failings, you lost. You didn’t get the prize. Your race was cut short. Quite often way before intended, and what are you left with?
The other team moves on, singing and cheering. Recovering and preparing for the next round of finals whilst your team, well, that seems to be it. The season is ended and, what next?
Feeling like a failure
In these times you can feel like a failure. The aim of the finals is to win. So to come away with anything less may feel, like failing. It is in these times though, you need to be reminded that you are still an athlete, you have skills (that brought you this far to the finals), and after a rest, it will be time to go again.
Your skills in the game and the ability of the team brought you to the position of being able to vie for a top position amongst other teams. Some teams didn’t even get this chance, and one game should not be the determining factor of your season.
Sometimes as a player you need to be reminded of who you are; a talented athlete with skills, determination, and hard work. This feeling is generally lacking in the moment of loss and defeat, but the truth of your position as an athlete needs to be remembered.
Sport mirrors life
This can feel like life at times when we are dealt a harsh blow, or maybe make a choice that feels like a large failing. Questions that can sometimes be thrown up Where to turn from here? Where to go? Who am I, that I made such decisions?
It is in these times in life we need to be reminded of who we are and the truth in our circumstances.
In the Bible plenty of times people found themselves ‘losing’. Whether that be a seemingly hopeless situation against enemies. The natural surrounds they found themselves in, or, even questioning a word from the Lord.
It is encouraging to read these stories and take heart that followers of God faced opposition and failings as we do. The response in these times needs to be the same as during a loss in sports finals: remember who you are!
Where to turn
Countless times King David found himself on the edge of peril, surrounded by enemies, being turned on by his men. But his response in the Psalms is astounding as he built himself up in the Lord:
“I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!” (Psalms121:1-2)
“I cried out, ‘I am slipping’ but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” (Psalms 94:18-19)
To add to this, as King David does, we need to be reminded of whose we are:
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
“I will put my instruction deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33)
When we find ourselves in a place of no hope, staring up at our failings, or feeling worthless, we need to remind ourselves not only of who we are, but whose we are. I encourage you to dive in and have a read.
Just as times in life can leave us feeling flat, deflated and at a loss. Such as, at the end of an elimination final. We need to take stock to be reminded of who we are, but, also whose we are.
We might be out for a time. But, make sure we build ourselves back up again in who we are and whose we are to tackle not only the sports field, but the challenges of life as well.
Here are some verses to get you started:
Kelly Thompson is the newest member of the Sports journalist team. Kelly currently plays AFL for Casey Demons in the VFLW, and practices what she preaches as a HOPE (Health, Outdoor, and Physical Education) Teacher in Melbourne’s southeast.