You Play To Win The Game

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I love Herman Edwards. I love him not only because he played for Philly, but because he’s a no nonsense, straight up football guy. Herm’s classic rant “You Play To Win the Game” is worth repeating anyday, anytime. So here goes, from one of my earliest blogs way, way back when I first started blogging and launched Godandsports.net. 

Each and every journey begins with the first step.  And the first step toward championship living is the will to win.  Not ability, or skill or knowledge.  Just will.  A young man named Rudy dreamed of attending the University of Notre Dame and playing football for legendary coach Parseegian.  He wasn’t the biggest, he wasn’t the strongest or the fastest football player ever to suit up, but he had the one essential ingredient that lead to the fulfillment of his dream:  an iron will.  He went through disappointments, setbacks and slammed doors, but he willed his way to Notre Dame and onto the football field.  In fact, Rudy’s family came to see the last game of the only season he played, and witnessed him being carried off of the field in triumph. Rudy was the last Notre Dame Player to be carried off of the field.

James “Jimmy the Bulldog of Bergen” Braddock was called “Cinderella Man.”  He won the heavyweight boxing championship of the world by sheer will.  Braddock was a professional boxer who broke his hand in the ring and had to resort to working on the loading docks to earn a living.  When the stock market crashed he lost his life savings, so during The Great Depression, he fought outside of the ring for his children to have milk to drink and a warm bed to sleep in.  He fought to keep his family together after he went on public assistance and could not afford to pay to keep the lights on.  And yet after all he went through, he willed his way to defeat the heavily favored defending champion in 1934 not because he outwitted or out foxed his opponent, but because he would not be denied.

Athletes who lack the will to win loose before the game is even played.  Those who pay attention to the odds makers are not likely to overcome.  Christians who focus on the promises of God, and determine to believe in spite and despite the circumstances are the eventual champions.  Those who throw caution to the wind and ignore what the prognosticators say are the ones most likely to succeed.

Will is the intangible part of man that dictates the outcome of events.  David said, “I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalm 34:1).  His praise was not contingent upon his circumstances or his condition or what others said.  He decided to praise God at all times.  In sunshine and rain, in sickness and pain, through heartache and heartbreak, David decided to bless the Lord.  2 Corinthians 8:12 says, “For if there first be a willing mind, it is accepted according to what a man hath, and not what he hath not”.  Meaning, if there is a readiness, willingness, God can use what little you have, and it will be more than enough.  God wants our will, then our bodies.  But if our will is not present our bodies will just go through the motions.  Our will is to do His will, and he will perfect that which concerns us.

Consecrate me now to Thy service Lord, by the power of grace Divine,

Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope, and my will be lost in Thine.


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