The spiritual and practical benefits of humility in sport – BC Catholic

There are two things that can make my sports watching experience negative in the blink of an eye. The first is arousal (more on this in a future column), and the second is the extreme vanity displayed by an athlete, which is unfortunately very common.

My favorite virtue to witness in sport is humility, which is not always easy to find. You are much more likely to see a National Football League player doing an embarrassing dance after scoring a touchdown or a National Basketball Association player standing over an opponent flexing their muscles after finishing. a slam dunk. How about a major baseball player doing a bat flip after hitting a home run or a football player ripping their shirt off after scoring.

The definition of humility is “to be aware that God is the author of all good … and we are not God. “We have just walked through the beauty of the Christmas story where our Lord Jesus, Son of God, was born in the most humble conditions. Upon his triumphant entry into Jerusalem before his Passion, he rode on a donkey . On the cross he was stripped of the last possession he had, his mantle. If ever there was a human who could boast, it would be Jesus, but he came to serve and not to be served. Jesus. showed us the way to live in humility.

Why do many (not all) athletes congratulate themselves more and more? One of the factors can be the huge sums of money they earn, often at a very young age. If they are not surrounded by the right people who help them take a step back in their life, then it is easy to see an athlete come to believe that they are better than others. Another reason could be that leagues and associations are pushing the self-exaggeration that we see so often for marketing reasons. They believe it sells.

Take, for example, Mike Trout, who a few years ago was considered the best player in baseball. He was also a very humble and calm person, and that apparently didn’t suit MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, who said: “Mike Trout is a great player and a very nice person, but we could help make his mark. really big. But he must make the decision that he is ready to engage in this area.

Being the best and the nicest just doesn’t seem to be enough anymore. “It’s a world where remarkable but calm people are questioned or belittled for being true to their reserved nature,” author Tom Yorton explained on LinkedIn.

Speaking of humility, Saint Josemaría Escriva listed 17 points that would indicate a lack of humility in an individual and how that person could improve. Here are some of his sports-related points.

* Being ashamed of not having certain assets (athletes often want bigger contracts than other players, even if they are already making a lot of money).

* Refuse to perform menial tasks (some players cannot accept backup roles).

* Make excuses (the athlete cannot accept that they were not good enough: there must be some other reason to lose).

* Not wanting to admit that one is unworthy (the athlete does not give credit for his success to coaches or teammates).

* Being upset that others are valued more than you (an athlete who thinks he should have won the prize rather than another player).

There are three Catholic athletes that come to mind as great examples of humility, given the success they have achieved, namely Roger Federer, Trevor Linden and Jordan Speith.

Federer is arguably the best tennis player in history, but he’s generally very reserved in his victories, and he’s known to be laudatory towards his opponents. In recent years some of his many records have been broken, but he pays homage to those who have surpassed him. He grants time to lower level players and does projects for those who need it.

In Vancouver, sports fans are aware of the profound contributions Trevor Linden has made not only to the Vancouver Canucks franchise, but to the community at large. As a 19-year-old captain, as a star of the National Hockey League and even until his days as president of the Canucks, Linden has always been a calm-voiced leader who cares about others and has played a big part in the growth of Canuck Place for sick children. He never saw himself above others.

Jordan Spieth, three-time Professional Golf Association winner, has always kept his success in perspective, despite being the world’s number one player for some time. He often mentioned that his inspiration came from his disabled younger sister Ellie. He created the Spieth Family Foundation, which helps children with special needs, military families, junior golf and pediatric cancer patients.

There are also practical benefits to humility. As soon as an athlete thinks he or she is far superior to others, he or she may stop paying attention to detail or stop working hard. Often, this results in an opponent being taken lightly, resulting in a loss. “Humility is the recognition of your limitations, and it is from this understanding that motivation comes to work hard to overcome them,” said Rafael Nadal and John Carlin.

In addition, Saint Josemaría Escriva writes: “Humility helps you find inner peace. Where there is humility, there is wisdom.

I turn to another great saint, Pope John Paul II: “Humility is the proper attitude towards all true greatness, including his own, especially greatness beyond us.

Former MLB wide receiver and current coach Rich Donnelly said a day after suffering personal tragedy: “In sport and in life you are either humble or you will be humbled.”

As the saying goes about humility, enjoy being like the block of stone in the foundation of the house which no one sees but because of which the house will not fall. Pray regularly the Litany of Humility. Parents, point out the wonderful virtue of humility in educating your children in their sports and in all other aspects of their lives.


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