A monthly Christian sport column by Cobus Kruger, a professional triathlete who is passionate about evangelism, leadership and community development through sport.
A lot of coaches would agree with me that one of the characteristics that any top sportsman or woman needs is competitive greatness.
So what is competitive greatness? It “is the ability to be at your best when your best is needed.” — Coach Wooden
A sportsman or woman that has competitive greatness is a sports person that seems to enjoy difficult situations.
If we have people within a team that have competitive greatness then it would typically be the person that loves the difficult games, and this person will step up his or her game for the sake of the team.
Competitive greatness in SA sport
If we look back into the history of South African sport, then we will see a lot of people that had competitive greatness for the sake of the team.
We can see it in the South African team in the famous 438 Cricket match in 2005.
Australia scored a world record, at the time, of 434 in the first innings of a one day match and then South Africa came in only to lose an early wicket with a score of 3 for 1 wicket.
We then saw competitive greatness from Graham Smith and Herschelle Gibbs who took the difficult situation on and started to score world record run rates for the sake of the team.
South Africa scored 438, won the match and beat the world record that Australia had set earlier that day.
And who can forget Joel Stansky in the 1995 Rugby World Cup? He had competitive greatness with those drop goals that won the world cup for us for the sake of the team.
Recently, I saw some competitive greatness at the South African athletics championships in Potchefstroom.
Luvo Manyonga broke the SA Record early on in the long jump event, but what amazed me about him was the fact that he continued to motivate his fellow competitors as they tried to jump their best jumps for the day for the sake of their goals.
He had competitive greatness.
Competitive greatness in God’s kingdom
In the same way, I believe we should have competitive greatness in terms of God’s kingdom.
We should have the ability to be our best when it is needed for the body of Christ, so that we can bring God’s kingdom to this earth.
Let’s read the following two scriptures on this matter:
Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus… — Philippians 2:2-5
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. — Ephesians 4:1-6
We can see through the letters that Paul wrote the way we should operate in competitive greatness for the sake of God’s Kingdom.
So let’s start to work on our ability to be at our best when our best is needed, for the sake of God’s Kingdom.
Through this ability we could bring God’s kingdom and greatness to this earth as we are like-minded; in the same love; one in Spirit; of one mind; in humility value others above ourselves; not looking to our own interests; have the same mindset as Christ Jesus; completely humble and gentle; patient, bearing with one another in love; one hope, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father.
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