Welcome to “Athlos” a weekly Wednesday blog which examines pillars of personal excellence and regularly brings together the worlds of spirituality and sport.
“But I discipline my body and keep it under control lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”-1 Corinthians 9: 27
To begin today’s blog, I invite you to examine English spinner Moeen Ali’s commentary during the recent second test match between England and New Zealand. This excerpt from the BBC Sport website was taken during play on Sunday June 12, 2022:
“During Covid when everyone was locked down, Root got all his dismissals and had a look where he can get better. He was going through the process. He did this thing where he batted 30 overs on the bowling machine. Have a break. Then bat 30 overs on the machine again so it can help his concentration and he can bat the whole day. That really helped his game. That is why he’s so good and what makes him a great, and probably our best ever, player. The way he trains is the most impressive thing.”
What an incredible “Root-ine”! Are you as inspired as I am by English batsman Joe Root’s sheer will to attain excellence? What Moeen Ali just described is indeed impressive. Even if you do not follow cricket, consider the determination of any person to so refine their craft that they put in hours upon hours of grueling practice.
Root’s routine combined humility and discipline. He was humble enough to look critically at his mistakes and he was disciplined enough to push his body for lengthy periods. Part of his getting better was engaging in sustained repetition.
The apostle Paul quoted above also challenged his physical limitations as he sought to proclaim the powerful message of divine grace bursting into the first-century world. His commitment to seeing changed lives caused him to go hard, as they say in sport. According to the English Standard Version Study Bible, the original Greek language with respect to Paul keeping his body under control could equally be translated as: “I pummel my body and make it a slave.”
Both Paul in his spiritual life and Root in his sporting life, call me upward. I hope you have been called higher too.
There is likely something in your life right now that requires the habit of repetition. Give it a try and see yourself improve.
If you were inspired by this blog, please consider sharing it with one other person today. To learn more about these and other related themes that promote the cultivation of an integrated inner self, read UNBEATABLE! which is available on Amazon in print and as an e-book.