I watch sports on a regular basis. Not every sport, but enough to be amazed by the choices we have to watch competition each week. In memory of my sister who died, I watch the Indianapolis 500 each year. I don’t follow any one racer, but I did notice that a British woman finished in the top 20. The NBA Finals begin tomorrow. The Toronto Raptors will be appearing in their first championship. This will also be the first time that the games will be held on Canadian soil. The French Open, the second of four major tennis tournaments, is going on now in Paris. Major League Baseball is in full swing, pun intended. National and international soccer tournaments are ongoing. Very soon athletes will begin to prepare for the Olympics.
And all that is to say how much sportscasters talk about records. Who’s at the top of a sport now, who has been at the top of the sport in the past and who has the potential for the next generation are constantly discussed to fill in the space between whatever’s happening on the court, field or arena. Sometimes, I tire of hearing about the record breakers, and the “greatest of all time” monikers.
I often think about those who are able to compete and never receive the accolades of those who lift a championship trophy. When I lived in Iowa, B. J. Armstrong, a graduate, came back to help with basketball camp. For those who do not follow the NBA, B. J. played on the Chicago Bulls and often substituted for Michael Jordan. Need I say more? Whatever successes or accomplishments B. J. made, he never received the level of media attention as Michael Jordan. And yet, because he was part of the Chicago Bulls, he was a part of their success. He returned to Iowa each Summer to inspire young children to play basketball.
Milestones are constantly happening in the sports world and the rest of the world as well. People are making a difference in the lives of others. What they do may never set a record, or gain the attention of any news organization, but I’d like us to reflect upon persons who have touched and changed our lives. Remember a teacher who recognized your gifts and talents and encouraged you to follow your dream. Thank a nurse, physician’s assistant or doctor who held your hand as they shared a diagnosis and developed a treatment plan. Thank a friend who helped you pick up the pieces of your life when everything fell apart. Thank the stranger who stepped outside of their comfort zone to help someone else. Thank the pastor, lay speaker or church member who testified to how our Savior is alive and well and transforming lives. Thank a child who is hearing the Good News of Christ for the first time and helps each of us to see the world through their eyes.
The only way that any of these achievements will be known, is if we tell the stories. Ordinary people are constantly doing extraordinary things. We are changing the world. We are transforming lives. To quote an African song: “We are marching in the light of God.” And Amen.