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Blinded by Loyalty

Superman had kryptonite, Samson Delilah and for many coaches, loyalty blinds them from helping their team reach their full potential.  From the sidelines, I’ve seen professionals fail to win a title by filling in their rosters with their guys, not the most talented ones.  Meanwhile, travel ball squads often finalize the team with coaches kids, forgoing success to make everyone’s parents feel better.

Like a student experiencing their first bout of puppy dog love, you can’t get through to these individuals until its too late.  Developing an affection, attachment or devotion is natural, yet seeing the big picture isn’t always possible.  The blinding forces of love make it hard to think straight, especially when an outsider points out certain flaws.  Out of loyalty, feelings prevent most from making the best decisions for the greater good of a team.

In life, sometimes you have to take chances even if it means ruffling feathers.  While you may not change the minds of those in charge, if you remain silent you are committing a sin of omission.  If things go bad, you might even lose friendships.  Nonetheless, if you want those you care about to reach their full potential, don’t be afraid to expose anyone blinded by loyalty.

by Jay Mankus

 

Life Could Be Worse…You Could Be a 76er Fan

Nobody likes to lose.  Although, some players and teams don’t have the talent to compete with the rest of their competitors, sooner or later a victory will arrive.  Unfortunately, fans of the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA might not see a win in 2014, 0-17 with little hope in sight.

The unemployed likely experience a similar feeling.  Despite perfecting resumes, nailing job interviews and becoming a finalist for a position, heart breaks come way too often.  The sad thing is when the offers do arrive, the pay is like a slap in the face.  In the end, job seekers wonder if they will ever get another job.

When things aren’t going your way, there needs to be something firm that you can trust in.  A refuge where you can find a peace that surpasses all understanding.  James 1:2-4 suggests losing builds character, leading to maturity over time.  If you can develop this mindset, perseverance can carry you until you taste success.  Therefore, whether you win, lose or draw, the Holy Spirit can transform your perspective to become a complete person in Christ.

by Jay Mankus

Why the World is Falling Apart

Gone are the days of Wilbur Wilberforce, when politicians did the right thing without taking a poll, trying to get re-elected or win public approval.  In an attempt to get ahead, integrity has been swept under the rug, trampled by greed, power and souls seeking victory whatever the cost.  Lurking in the darkness, the reason for this decline lies in John 8:34.

Slavery, a grave reminder of the past, is alive and well inside the heart’s of human beings.  Although mankind think they are in control, sin is large and in charge, holding individuals captive, Romans 7:14-20.  Perhaps this truth led the apostle Paul, one of the godliest men to ever live to claim he was one of the greatest sinners ever, 1 Timothy 1:15.  If you had to diagnosis why the world is falling apart, sin is a prime suspect.

Discipline, good intentions and self-control may appear to be full proof, but in the end its like fool’s gold.  Subsequently, the grasp of sin prevents countless from doing the right thing, Romans 8:5-8, something Paul knew from personal experience.  Until people acknowledge the reality of their soul, a sinner in desperate need of a Savior, John 3:3-5, the world will continue its downward spiral.  May the Lord help put people back together, one soul at a time, Luke 15:7.

by Jay Mankus

A Team Without Players

The competitor inside of me yearns to win, doing what it takes to bring a team into the winners circle.  Yet, what do you do when you find yourself a part of a team without any players?  Sure, you might have some individuals who can make a play or two, but you can’t expect each teammate to be perfect when they don’t possess essential skills to succeed.  This is where I find myself this baseball season.

Like a high school student who can’t add, read or write, some where along the way young people get neglected, promoted and pushed ahead without meeting appropriate standards.  Currently, the NBA is seeing a similar dilemma as phenoms are great one on one players, but most don’t know how to move, set picks or space the floor when they don’t have the ball.  Whether this is rooted in a lack of discipline, poor coaching or selfishness, every sport is in jeopardy of becoming a team without players.

Patience is a vital attribute while you wait to experience victory for the first time all season.  Teachable pupils is also important to keep morale from slipping toward doubt, constantly correcting errors, mistakes and poor habits as they occur.  The best thing you can do is live out Colossians 3:17, maintaining a positive attitude like a beacon of hope for sad faces.  Until you taste the joy of victory, keep your head up as you make strides to develop players for the future.

What advice do you have for coaches who have inherited a team without players?

by Jay Mankus

 

Wars You Can’t Win

Political battles rage daily in congress, making their case of pulling out, not backing another country or recognizing that some wars you can’t win.  Whether its the war in Afghanistan, Iraq or the next tense situation, common sense screams, “certain places in the world aren’t worth fighting for since there is no clear winner if you engage in war!”  When this or that country has been battling it out for centuries or close to a thousand years, why shed innocent blood?  Hopefully, someone in Washington D.C. will learn this lesson soon.

On American soil, there is a different kind of war brewing, the war of public opinion.  In the 1997 film Wag the Dog, Dustin Hoffman plays a Hollywood producer who deceives the American people of a fictional war in Albania.  Using special effects, talking points and a montage of sound bytes, Hoffman convinces the people of a war that doesn’t exist.  Today, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Youtubes are the weapons of choice, steering minds in their direction.  In a world of shrinking absolutes, where opinions have become elevated to fact status, this war is like chasing the wind.

The only thing you can control in this life is your own character.  Sure, your enemies will attempt to assassinate your reputation, yet your actions, attitude, behavior, body language and words serve as a means of defense.  As long as you are consistent, you can’t control what others says on blogs, Facebook or Twitter.  Therefore, fighting back or responding to your critics is futile.  By coming down to their level, you are strengthening their argument.  Despite the mud opponents sling your way, display prudence by recognizing they are some wars you just can’t win.

by Jay Mankus

Believing In Yourself

Photos of Tianlang Guan during his 2013 Masters second round

The 2013 Masters Golf Tournament got under way yesterday, the first major of this season.  Story lines abound with a 14 year old from China shooting 73, 1 over par, Fred Couples, a member of the senior tour carding a 4 under par 68 and a leader board filled with stars like Tiger, Rory and Phil.  However, the most intriguing note from Day 1 at Augusta National is a conversation which took place early Thursday morning.

Former champion Gary Player had a brief chat with David Lynn, a 39 year old from England.  Before walking off the range to begin his pre-round routine, David Lynn received great advice from Gary Player.  “You have to believe you can win this tournament before you tee off!  If you believe you can win, you can do this.”  In other words, if you believe in yourself, success will likely follow.

From a biblical perspective, the same principle applies, Luke 1:37.  If the words of Ephesians 2:10 are true, believing in the One above will motivate you to expect good things to happen.  As your faith increases, the power of God often raises your hope for the future.  Therefore, whether you are participating in a special event or facing a challenging task, place your trust in God, Proverbs 3:5-6, who will increase your internal confidence.

by Jay Mankus

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