We have been talking about how to imitate Jesus in sports. We can stop being overly competitive when we understand that no one is impressed with whether or not someone did well in the game. They will not remember how you played, but they are going to remember if you were angry. People will remember your anger because it made everyone very uncomfortable, especially when you were mad about something like being called “out” in a game. The next time they play, they are not going to want to include you. What is even worse is that if you keep doing it, they are not going to want to hang out with you at all.
Children in the fourth thru seventh grade seem to have the hardest time with anger and competitiveness, but some people just never grow up. On television, you have probably seen tennis players who get upset and throw their rackets down in anger or baseball players who shout at the umpires or other players. These are adults who do not know how to handle competition in a Godly way. Every time you play a game, you need to know that how you handle this competition will be a test of your character. What can you do before you play to help you pass this test? The answer is to pray, and pray with others. Pray for protection, and pray for your attitude to be just like Jesus Christ so that when the game is over, others will still want you to play with them. If you are sacrificially a leader and are helping others, then everyone will enjoy being with you, but they will not like it if you are always trying to be the best or bragging about yourself. Bragging about yourself is not a characteristic of real love. Now, everyone has their up days and their down days. There will be days when you get every basketball thru the hoop…and then other days when you do not make a single shot. But your goal is to show the characteristics of Christ no matter how you are playing that day.