Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What Does It Mean to Be a True Athlete?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What Does It Mean to Be a True Athlete?

Article excerpt

As I was walking onto the tennis courts one day, I overheard a fitness coach encouraging her class: "Come on athletes! Show me what you've got!" I love that she called them "athletes" because sometimes when we're participating in our chosen sport or activity, we feel far short of a true athlete.

What does it mean to be a true athlete? Does it mean Olympic status, medals, rings, and trophies? Or could a true athlete be one who inspires, encourages, and uplifts others - one defined by the Godlike qualities expressed, such as good sportsmanship, patience, strength, endurance, focus, ability, and so many other qualities needed on the field and court, and in the arena?

It seems axiomatic that a true athlete, one who shows a love of a chosen sport, along with the necessary skill and ability to perform, is much more than simply a strategic player or muscled body. I've come to understand through my study of Christian Science that the qualities that have their source in God - such as agility and compassion - enable an athlete to refine and express humility, honesty, and leadership at any level of play.

But what if we're struggling to express these God-given qualities, despite our best intentions? What if under the stress of competition we seem to lose our kindness, strength, or focus, and at the end of the day find we yielded to a cutthroat attitude or dishonesty in our calls, or even momentarily hated our opponent?

It's at times like this that we can turn our thought to this idea explained by Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of Christian Science: "God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 258).

God expresses in His spiritual creation, man - in you and me - His infinite perfection. Because we are actually made in His spiritual image (see Genesis 1:26, 27), we reflect Him at all times, and are at one with Him. He expresses in us His strength. …

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