Coaches are the prima donnas of sports, and their quips are its unforgettable arias. There’s tautology from the legendary Yogi Berra: “It ain’t over till it’s over.” And contradiction: “No one goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”1 And euphemism from Vince Lombardi: “We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time.”2
Words from the sports world, whether from a coach or other source, often bear compelling import for Christians in their striving for the mastery. Paul acknowledges the spiritual power of evocations from the athletic world: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training” (1 Cor. 9:25, NIV).
Here, now, are words to hear—from the world of sports and from the Lord of life—on (a) effort—what it takes; (b) quality—what’s better, or worse; (c) personnel—who qualifies; (d) the goal—hitting the bull’s-eye and knowing you’ve made it:
Phelps, the most decorated Olympian ever, with 28 medals, including 23 gold, says: “I think goals should never be easy. They should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time.”3
And sacred Scripture says:
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3, 7, 8: “To everything there is a season,..: a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
Leviticus 26:18, 20: “if you do not obey Me, . . . your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield its produce.”
Psalm 127:1, 2: “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.”
Hebrews 12:1-4: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, . . . For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, . . . You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.”
King , American tennis star, founder of the Women’s Tennis Association, says, “Champions keep playing until they get it right.”4
Dimzon, also called “Coach Let,” former Pilipino soccer player, national team assistant coach, says, “I took note of all the things Master Kim would say.”5
And what does the Bible say about quality?
Isaiah 13:12: “I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold, a man more than the golden wedge of Ophir.”
Job 23:10: “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”
1 Peter 5:10: “[M]ay the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”
Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34: “You have heard . . . . But Isay....Youhaveheard....But I say . . . . Furthermore it has been said, . . . But I say. . . . Again you haveheard,...ButIsay....”
Lombardi, perhaps the most oft quoted coach in American sports, said: “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.”6
Who qualifies, according to the Bible?
1 Corinthians 1:30, 31: “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’”
John 3:15, 16: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
“The thing with me is when I set my mind to things I do them.”7
And in the mind and program of God, who makes it? How does anyone know they’ve made it?
Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Revelation 7:9: “I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all na-tions, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands.”
1 John 5:4: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
1 “The Random Vibez: Quotes, Memes and Sayings,” https://www.therandomvibez.com/ yogi-berra-quotes-sayings/. Yogi Berra, baseball catcher, manager, and coach, won 10 World Series titles—more than any other player.
2 https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/ vince_lombardi_103598. Lombardi coached the Green Bay Packers football team to five national championships in seven years.
3 https://www.swimmingworldmagazine. com/news/4-michael-phelps-quotes-to-keep-you-motivated/
4 King insisted on women being fairly reimbursed; she was awarded the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom. Find her quote at. https://www.goodreads.com/ quotes/209337-champions-keep-playing-until-they-get-it-right
5 Female Coaching Network [FCN], “Marnelli Dimzon – Interview”, Feb 7, 2016: https://femalecoachingnetwork.com/2016/02/07/ marnelli-dimzon/
6 https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/ vince_lombardi_382625.
7 See again, note #5.