“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
– Psalm 118:24
In his book Inside Out Coaching, Joe Ehrmann tells the story of a struggling Syracuse University lacrosse team that was down by a score of 7 – 3 at halftime. It was an away game being played in the rain, and many of the players were suffering from the flu. The players expected a tough halftime speech from Coach Roy Simmons, Jr. As they waited, soaking wet and exhausted, Coach Simmons simply stood in the locker room looking at them. Then, he went to the chalkboard and wrote in big, bold figures 118 – 24! Turning to face his players, Coach Simmons looked each player in the eye and smiled. What could it possibly mean? Was this a new play to be used in the second half? “Psalm 24, verse 24. ‘This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.’” “That’s it men. Win, lose or draw; ENJOY! Let’s get back out there and play like you love the game and each other.” Syracuse dominated the second half!
What a great lesson! Sports are meant to be enjoyed regardless of the score. Sports are a gift and an honor to play. Sports foster a satisfying sense of community. When you enjoy what you’re doing and enjoy who you’re doing it with, team performance automatically improves. A tradition was born that day. Players continue to post the numbers 118 – 24 on the chalkboard year after year.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunity to play the game. Help me grasp the awesomeness of playing a game I love with the people I love to be with. Lord, help me rejoice in this day which is a gift from You. Amen.