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"It matters a great deal who is going to win, but not at all who won"

Willie John McBride, Irish Rugby player

Trials

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2ff

The US Track and Field trials to determine who will be selected for Rio start today. The GB trials were last weekend and for some the European Championships will serve as a second set of trials in some events for GB athletes. It is a particularly stressful time for those involved.

When thinking of what to write on this subject, I thought of using James 1 as a joke but as I looked at it, it seemed strangely appropriate. Of course, when James writes about facing trials, he did not have in mind Olympic selection trials! However, his advice seems so relevant.

How should an athlete face trials this week? (And if you are not an athlete, you can apply it to whatever else is happening in your life).

WITH JOY – This week someone asked our 90 year old queen how she was, she replied “I am alive”. What a joy it is to be alive and to have the talent and opportunity to compete. To be among the best in your event in the country is something to be joyful and thankful about. Don’t let stress rob you of that joy.

WELCOME THE TEST – the trials will test your ability to run/jump/throw to the best of your ability when it really matters. Welcome the opportunity to test your ability in a tough environment. Welcome too the chance to develop your character. I recently asked an American athlete for his view of the US Trials system. He replied: “It’s a love hate thing! I love it because if you get through the trials you are on a good trajectory to make the final of whatever championship it is. The mental toughness which it takes, carries over for the rest of your life”.

TRY TO DEVELOP PERSEVERANCE – perseverance, keeping going to the end is an important Christian virtue which will help you in sport and in life.

REMEMBER THAT YOUR VALUE IS NOT DETERMINED BY THE TRIALS – you are created by God and redeemed by Jesus. You are significant and loved by God. You are a professional athlete and of course you want to give it 100% to get to the Olympics. But if you don’t, you are no less significant as a person.

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