Throughout this Christmas season, our attention has been brought to the sight of Jesus as an infant laying in a manger surrounded by his holy parents, the 3 wise men, and animals. When you stop and look at this imagery, we think about the many challenges that Mary and Joseph faced from the time of Jesus’ conception, to Jesus’ birth, to fleeing to Egypt. Reflecting on this sight of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in the manger, we can see how holy they truly are. The Holy Family demonstrated wholeness through their love, respect, support, trust, stewardship, and commitment to each other. When we hear the word “holy”, the first thing that comes to mind is being perfect. This sense of the word “holy” does not mean to be perfect but, rather to be pure and whole.
Sometimes in life and in sports we fall short no matter how much time we spend trying to make everything flawless. When we fall short, we should ask ourselves these questions: “Did we put our best foot forward? Did we attempt a perfect effort”? Keep in mind that being perfect and giving a perfect effort are two different things.
It is not uncommon to associate the word “perfect” with the sport world. Some athletes can even have that innate feeling to be perfect whether it is in a game, practice, or weight room. Athletes are always told “practice makes perfect” but, in a sense this saying is not true. No one will ever be perfect except for our Lord and Savior. Practice will most certainly make you a better athlete in your perspective sport. Practice will also assist athletes in muscle memory and routine so when the time comes in any given game they can reenact what they have already practiced and can give the same perfect effort that they gave in practice.
In the movie When The Game Stands Tall, actor Jim Caviezel portrays Bob Ladouceur, Head Coach of the De LaSalle High School Football Team, and states to his players, “We are not asking you to be perfect on every play. What we are asking of you, and what you should be asking of each other, is to give a perfect effort from snap to whistle”. This quote says it all! As Team Chaplains, we can remind our athletes that they are not being asked to be perfect but, to give a perfect effort of themselves to the team in the weight room, in practice, in a game, in their school work, and in their daily lives. We must strive to give a perfect effort in everything we do and in doing so steward our gifts and resources to others. In giving a perfect effort of ourselves and asking our teammates to give their best effort, we can become whole individually and as a team by supporting, respecting, loving and staying committed to one another.