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Scott Baker’s Walkin’ the Sidelines: A ticket to heaven and success

Many people say they want to go to heaven, but have so much more to do before they are ready to go there. How applicable is this way of thinking to so many young athletes?

So many athletes claim to want to be the best. They claim to want playing time, starting positions, success, championships, greatness, but they are unwilling to pay the price to achieve such.

Living a life that is worthy of earning a ticket to heaven is not easy. The offer is a simple one, yet to live a life that is worthy is much more of a challenge. Sadly, for far too many, it is a challenge that they can’t or won’t accept.

For those who do accept the challenge, they do so because they know that they are not perfect, they can and will make mistakes along the way but yet can still achieve their ultimate goal if they are just willing to continue to trust and work toward being better.

Sure everyone falls along the way, but for those who are intent on getting to heaven, they will continue to work toward getting it right.

It is those people who understand that they are not perfect yet there is a path to achieving their goal. If they have a hiccup or fail along the way, they can get up the next day and seek to improve.

Oh how this scenario is relevant to athletes.

All athletes will have their days when they fail or fall short. They will occasionly miss a workout and they may have a day when they just aren’t feeling it and have a bad workout.

However, there is something major that separates the athletes who will ultimately be successful from the ones who will not. That is the fact that the athletes who will find success will be the ones who will not regularly skip workouts or reps. Rather, they will go to work even when they are tired. They will ensure that their sport and their training for that sport is a priority ahead of almost all other things.

They will plan their days around their work for that sport. This is called sacrifice. Just as the Christian seeking heaven must sacrifice a “you only live once” lifestyle, an athlete who desires success must sacrifice many other things in their life to prioritize their sport and thus achieve their stated goals.

The athlete who can’t or won’t sacrifice is on a collision course with disappointment. They are on their way to the sports world version of hell.

Their failure to get out of bed when they are tired, to do the extra reps, to sacrifice time with friends and many other things will ultimately lead them to disappointment and or failure in sports. I believe that there are very few exceptions to where commitment, work ethic and sacrifice aren’t needed for an athlete to find success. Laziness just doesn’t cut it for the vast majority of athletes.

Over the years, I’ve often told my players that they are never staying the same. They’re either getting better or they’re getting worse but they are never staying the same. While they are sitting around thinking about becoming better, it’s a sure bet that somebody else is always out there working their tail off to be better.

Perhaps it is someone who desires to take his or her position or playing time. Or it’s someone, some team, that desires to beat them when they meet them on the field, court, course, mat or pool.

So just as a Christian has a choice to live a life deserving of heaven, so too does an athlete have a choice to live a sports experience deserving of playing time, success, championships, and perhaps even greatness.

A Christian unwilling to live a life for God must be willing to face a sad consequence for their decision. That decision can have eternal consequences. So too must an athlete who is unwilling to work hard and sacrifice face the consequences of their decision in the athletics world.

That decision too could have eternal consequences given that an athlete gets just a short time in life to get it right. When that time is gone, it’s gone. Oh how so many would do it differently if they could just have a do over, but sadly they can’t.

The good news, though, is that the choice is up to each individual. That choice in both settings can be made today. For those who are willing to work hard, sacrifice and commit, success as well as perhaps championships and greatness awaits.

Choose wisely.

On one hand, it could be a matter of heaven or hell. On the other, it could mean the difference between a successful and enjoyable athletic experience or one that is full of frustration and disappointment.

We are all faced on a daily basis with making decisions that can potentially have lasting consequences. Our challenge in that is attempting to make decisions that lead us to our desired destination.

Do we always hit a home run? Most of us do not, however, those who keep swinging have the best chance at long-term success and reward. So if you desire a future reward, keep swinging. You just might hit a homer. When you do, it will be well worth the wait and effort.

You will most assuredly be thankful that you made the decision that you did. When given the choice that everyone has, seek the path that leads to the greatest reward.

Seek heaven. Seek success. No regrets.

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