As we embark on the promise of the new year, let’s review lessons in sports from 2013.
3. Ray Lewis’ Super Bowl run. It’s not often that a sports career ends in true Hollywood fashion. Regardless of what you may think of Ray Lewis’ off the field shenanigans early in his career, his on the field feats have been nothing less than remarkable. When Ray declared that this was going to be his final year, sports analysts began reviewing his career and the Ravens’ chances of winning another Super Bowl ring for Ray. While it’s great that Ray got to ride off in the sunset as a champion, the real story is about how they got to the big show. They had to go on the rode to win in the playoffs. The defense was good, but not as good as in the past and it was obvious that Ray Lewis had lost a step. The lesson is in the scripture Ray Lewis kept quoting: “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” (Isiah 54:17) That’s a great attitude to have in life to keep going despite obstacles and challenges.
2. Serena wins the U.S. Open. Yes, it was great that Serena Williams won another Grand Slam and her 5th Open. Two other reasons make this win memorable for me. First, as a tennis player in her thirties, Serena is considered an older player. In the past, this is the time when players begin thinking about retirement. But, for Serena to be ranked #1 and playing at a top level should be encouraging to all of us with sport/athletic dreams. You may not make a living pursuing your sport dreams, but you should be encouraged that you can do it regardless of your age. Second, it was great to see Serena to keep her calm when she was called for a foot fault. Back in 2009, she went ballistic when called for a foot fault. It’s good to see even champions continue to grow and mature.
1. A Touchdown for Mankind. My favorite sport moment from 2013 comes from Olivet Middle School’s football team in Michigan. The players decide to give an autistic player, Keith, on the team an opportunity to score a touchdown in one of their games. The players planned this without input or approval from the coaches with the plan being to get as close to the end zone without scoring and then bring in Keith to score. In this age of bullying those who are different, especially those with mental and intellectual disabilities, this story is great because it shows that these students, football players, cared enough to do something positive for someone else. In doing something so caring, they will be forever changed as people and can be an example for the entire school to follow. This is how you treat those that are different.