Welcome to “Athlos” a weekly blog which examines pillars of personal excellence and regularly brings together the worlds of Christian spirituality and sport.
“Therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.”-Isaiah 50: 7
You don’t have to be a fan of sports to be blown away by the amazing courage recently shown by a young cricketer from Guyana. In the space of a few weeks, Shamar Joseph, a West Indies bowler, went from virtual unknown to Caribbean hero. What did he do? Well, let’s just say he put his foot down. Literally!
A simple online search of Joseph tells the story of a youngster growing up in Guyana with limited resources and few opportunities for success. It was not that long ago that he was working as a security guard back in his home country trying to make ends meet. Then, bit by bit, doors kept opening for Joseph and he kept walking through them. Fast forward a few months and Shamar is bringing big men to tears with his raw talent as a fast bowler which he put to good use in helping the West Indies team beat Australia in their own country for the first time since 1997.
Sometimes in life we need to put our heads down, or our feet in Joseph’s case, and push through the obstacles. You see, what adds to the inspiration of Shamar’s exploits is the fact that the day before bowling the West Indies to victory, he endured a serious toe injury which looked like it would take him out of that pivotal final day of the test match. With a combination of painkillers and perseverance, the narrative changed dramatically.
This is the spirit of Isaiah 50 above. It’s having that head of flint, a brazenness to not be held back by pain or setbacks, a toughness that faces difficulty head on. The need for divine grace is not negated, but we must do our part when circumstances tell us that we should quit. Shamar has inspired a nation, a region and many unknown new fans across the globe. Yet, he may have amazed us more by his character than by his talent.
While we do have our flaws, humans still have the capacity to be breathtakingly brilliant.
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.