Loggerhead Triathlon is nothing short of the World Championships in our neck of the woods. Olympic proportion. Competitiveness takes a whole ‘nuther level. And in typical Reback form, it was time to start training – the week of the race. I know y’all think we train incessantly, but I bet we only average about three workouts a week–EEK.
And Glory Grace, who has only ever ridden her bike IN A RACE, was competing at this joie de vivre for the first time. Big Leagues. 12 years old and ready to rumble. Well, if you KNOW GLORY, you know there is nothing RUMBLY about her…she is the sweetest, most girly, most adorable little butterfly ever.
Daddy set up her bike. Checked it over. Walked with her to the start. And when she had completed the swim, she ran to the transition area to get geared up and take off on the bike.
Only, she kept crashing. Her bike wouldn’t steer. She could barely get the wheels moving. But she began the 13 mile ride and with every fall, her resolve to finish only strengthened. Quitting was not an option.
At the finish, some dude came up to David and admonished him saying, “Your kid was all over the course, dude. The little one shouldn’t have been out there.” Confused, David went with Glory after the race to the transition…and there he saw it. A flat front tire. A FRICKIN FLAT FRONT TIRE. Folks, I wouldn’t ride around my block with a flat front tire, and I would never even consider 13 miles. The kid was the winner of the day for sure.
2 Tim 2:3: “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
Enduring and being an overcomer is not something that just happens. It is a moment by moment muscle that grows in strength every time you decide to endure, you pre-cide (decide ahead of time) to overcome. I know I have been hounding the drum of athletic competition quite a bit recently, but I will say this as nicely and bluntly as I can:
When you exercise self-discipline and strength training physically, it translates into other areas of your life, including the spiritual and emotional. Glory’s race did not go nearly as she had planned. But I argue it went better. She learned to endure that day in ways that winning simply would not have taught her. I am thankful for the hardship, and so is she…because when another unexpected blow comes, she’ll reflect and think, “If I can race 13 miles on a flat tire, I can finish this puppy.”
And the Lord wants us to be overcomers. He wants us to be able to endure…because our heavenly reward increases exponentially when we can take on more, stand firm hardships or at least kneel knowing He is able. And when a child (or adult, it is never too late to begin!) learns this lesson physically, he will translate it into other areas of his life far beyond the day of the best “lose” of his life he endured.
And an “on the other hand warning”…I want to be clear…I do not endorse pushing your child incessantly, or yelling and degrading their efforts. I honestly think that a gifted child pushed at an early age often ends up being “king of the pool” until the rest of the non-gifted competitors begin to catch onto the importance of training and begin to “whip” said young prodigy.
Because hard work beats natural talent any day of the week if exercised over time, when the naturally talented child/teen gets easily frustrated and gives up. So beware of the “curse of talent” and pushing too hard.