God and AthletesJuly 7th, 2012 at 11:46 am by Todd Bynum under Sports
The mix zone at the US Swimming Olympic Trials is an interesting place. Swimmers compete in their events and immediately must walk down about 7 feet of stairs to a row of media members asking questions about how the race went, what happened on that turn, etc. The swimmers are usually out of breath from competing and since your right there you get the first thing that comes to mind. Most of your NFL and NBA and even NCAA basketball players get what we call a “cool down” period of about 15 minutes to gather their thoughts. I think that’s why football players have a lot of time to reflect and why all of the winners “thank God” for their achievements. I know Tim Tebow some feel has taken it to unprecedented heights and but appreciate he actually thanks God win or lose. We could talk all day long about Tebowing and all the great things he does bringing people to the games and all of his good deeds and honestly I like Tim Tebow for all that he does. I believe if your going to have faith and praise God, you need to do it all the time and not be afraid to show God the glory for your success. The part that gets tricky is when there’s failure. Who takes the blame then? or gets the credit for the loss? Visualizing all of that, let’s head back to the mix zone; where swimmers have worked sometimes 4 years chasing a dream of going to the Olympics putting in countless hours of hard work chasing that dream. emotion runs high here as some rush by to warm down and would rather not talk about what just happened good or bad. Others are more seasoned and will stop and enjoy the process. We interviewed a lot of swimmers over the course of a week while we were at the Olympic Trials in Omaha; there was Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin, Brendan Hansen, Eric Shanteau, Missy Franklin, Cammile Adams, Ricky Berens, Michael Klueh — you get the idea. One swimmer in particular win or lose always had a bright smile and words of wisdom. Kathleen Hersey had been through a lot this year, losing her mother and other different challenges and it wasn’t until close to the end that she punched her ticket to London in the women’s 200 Breast getting second to Cammile Adams. Kathleen hadn’t made it in her previous 2 races but always with a smile in the mix zone talked about how she was just getting the nerves out and had faith God had a plan for her and was sticking to it. That’s why at the end it wasn’t a surprise to hear her give thanks to God for everything swimming has given her allowing her to communicate with her mother and helping guiding her thru the last year. Ricky talked about praying he was going to make it the last 50 meters and so each of the swimmers once they had made it to London and their Olympic dream found a way to show their appreciation for the talents they were given. I guess you can make up your own mind but for me — thanking God in the moment, fresh off victory or defeat is impressive. That’s why I appreciate guys like Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow who always have show their thanks for what God has done and I’m glad to welcome Kathleen to the group. I interviewed her about 2 months ago and was so impressed with her Zen approach to life and how she’s dealt with life and still chased her dream. Believe what you want, think what you want about athletes who praise God for victories — but I think we should appreciate athletes who are consistent in their praise win or lose. Everyone shows their faith in different ways and I’m sure a lot of athletes choose to show their thanks to God quietly because of what they think folks might say. I don’t think God picks winners and losers, I think it’s more about who we pick to interview and well, it’s usually the winners. I’ve never heard a question asked to those who finished second, so you think God wasn’t with you today or what. for Kathleen, I think she’s an inspiration to us all to keep trying, keep going even in defeat and always with a smile knowing that what’s important is your own faith in yourself and one of the two real powers we have as humans, the power of forgiveness and the way we react to any situation. We have the ability to show love and so it’s always awesome to see perspective in the mix zone win or lose.