Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Challenge - Play Injured

Last week the Orlando Sentinel detailed Tebow's injury list and noted their "amazement" that he hadn't missed a start. Some may chalk it up to what makes him a champion, while others, like Tebow, may think he's just being "hardheaded." Either way, we'd like to encourage you to "play injured" too.

All of us have had set backs in life. All of us are in some way bruised, battered, or broken by the disappointments, injustices, and losses we have endured. The pain of the injuries can be too much to bear, so we retreat, we quit. We limp off the fields of life, love, friendship, and future dreams for others to play on. And, often, those watching clap as we do so admiring that we tried at all.

But don't quit, get back out there, and play injured. Sometimes it's the only way to get through something. And we know it's one of the most difficult things you'll ever have to do. But still, just do it.

Crawl. Limp. Struggle. Just get back out there and keep moving forward.

We've all seen it, but it's worth looking at again, Derek Redmond's 400m semi-finalist race at the the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

We remember it, not because he won, but because he lost. We celebrate it because he strove to finish in the midst of excrutiating pain and heartbreak. His team captain readily, happily, admited that he would have laid there, and waited for someone to cart him off the track. But instead, Redmond kept on going, and his father helped him cross the finish line. Notice too that both he and his father had to fight off the officials in order for him to finish. Finishing may be a bigger fight for you than winning might have been, because so many may want to "help" you to quit. Don't let them. Keep going it alone until someone willing to help you finish comes along.

Tebow is fond of saying "Finish Strong" and we agree with him. Your first, second, and/or third quarters in life may not have been good, and, yes, you can still "finish strong."

But today, we'd like to suggest that finishing is finishing strong. Finishing despite the pain, the brokenness, and disappointment is as much, if not more of a triumph, than even "winning". No one knows who took gold in the Men's 400m at the 1992 Olympics. But we remember Derek Redmond and his father. Had he quit, we and the camera would have looked away, and immediately he would have started to fade into obscurity.

So, again, don't quit. Play injured, and be an inspiration to those around you. Because they are watching, and they are waiting to see what you are going to choose to do. And like Redmond, your worst day may become your best.

And if you see someone struggling, don't just sit there and "clap" for them from afar. Go help them. Be more than a spectator. Be a part of someone's victory story.

(For the complete footage of Redmond's race, click here.)

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