Thankful for the Gift
By Doug Reese
I was invited to coach at the
U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to help
prepare our U.S. Women's Freestyle Wrestling Team for the upcoming
world championships. I was thrilled and honored to have the opportunity
go and coach our nation's best athletes at the USOTC.
I always love going to the Olympic Training Center. You feel
the spirit of the Olympic movement. You are in an energy-charged,
positive environment where countless athletes live and train to
reach their goals and Olympic dreams. You catch a vision of what
is possible to achieve in this place. I always come away with
a fired up attitude.
While I was there, the best coaches and athletes this country
has to offer were training in preparation for the Men's Freestyle
World Championships and the Greco-Roman World Championships. The
wrestling room was filled twice a day with the heroes and champions
of the sport: Dan Gable, Bobby Douglass, Sergei Beloglazov, Steve
Fraser, Kevin Jackson, Rulon Gardener, Tom and Terry Brands, Kendall
Cross, Townsend Saunders, Cael Sanderson, Terry Steiner, Chris
Bono, and Kenny Monday, to mention a few.
To say the least I felt out of place among this crowd. I hadn't
won an Olympic medal or a world championship title. I hadn't won
a NCAA title or even a high school state championship. There were
other coaches who had achieved more, who deserved to be here more
than I. They either were not asked to come, or they turned down
the offer. I was asked by our national coach to come to this training
camp. I was humbled, and I gladly accepted his offer.
Let me tell you, I have been blessed to be here. Although I don't
deserve it, God has been gracious to me. I am very thankful for
the gifts He has given me!
One morning before practice, as the wrestlers were warming up,
I was thanking God for being here in the awesome environment.
I told Him that I did not think I belonged here. He reminded me
of Hebrews chapter 11.
The author of this book mentions the real heroes of our faith:
There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and
go free, preferring something better: resurrection. Others braved
abuse and whips, and, yes, chains and dungeons. We have stories
of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood;
stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless,
friendless, powerless—the world didn't deserve them!—making
their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.
(Hebrews 11:35-37, THE MESSAGE )
I was then reminded that I, too, was not worthy of my brothers
who went before me. They put their lives on the line for their
faith. These were the real heroes who trusted God even unto death.
And yet I was on the same team—God's team. Why? Because
He invited me to come into His Kingdom, and then I accepted His
invitation to come into my life. I wasn't recruited because of
any great personal statistics or accomplishments. He just wanted
me for who I was.
Let me tell you, I am continually blessed. Oh yes, there has
been suffering, adversity, and hardships. But I know without a
doubt God is in control. Although I don't deserve being on His
team, God has been gracious to me. I am thankful for His training,
and I am thankful for the gift of eternal life He has given me!
Taken from Take It To The Next Level: Performance Principles
for Life by Coach Doug Reese.
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