Principle 1: Audience of One — On the Field

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Principle 1: Audience of One

Jarrod Lynn

The AIA Principles are the Gospel applied to sport, experienced through sport and spoken in the language of sport.  But before we move forward, we need to address this question: what is the gospel? Literally, it’s the Greek word for “good news.” It’s a message about an historical event that impacts all lives for all times.  In a small way, it’s like the American Revolution or WWII—whether you were directly involved or not, the whole world was impacted.

We see this all the time, right? Something happens and everyone is affected in some way. But Jesus, arguably the most famous person of all time, said and did things that have changed the world. Chiefly, Jesus lived the life we were meant to live and died the death we deserved to die. (1 Corinthians 15:1-3) In other words, God paid a great price to make us a free agent, now eligible to be on God’s championship team. What’s the main difference? You are no longer the star.  On God’s team, Jesus is the MVP–He runs the plays, not you. Are you cool with that? Will we accept this offer? That’s the real question…

And we’ll be addressing this throughout the year. But if you want to go further right now, then get plugged into a Sunday night Life Group.  Meet up with me or one of the AIA leaders or anyone regularly involved with AIA.  Go to church! Talk to Bree for details or email us and we’ll get you connected.

These 5 principles are assuming you are on God’s Team—or at the very least you’re interested. These five AIA principles of sport will give you a Biblical framework to help you see sport as an opportunity to worship God, so that you can participate in sport in a way that honors Him. Recall what AIA is a movement of athletes seeking to honor God in sport and life.

So, here are the 5 principles:

  • 1st Principle: Audience of One – For whom or what do we compete? Who or what is our audience?
  • 2nd Principle: Inside Game – What’s our motivation for competing?
  • 3rd Principle: Holy Sweat – How do we improve?
  • 4th Principle: Hurtin’ for Certain – How we handle adversity?
  • 5th Principle: Victory Beyond Competition – How do we live after competition?

Audience of One means simply this: God owns you and your sport. If this is true, then God calls the shots—and you don’t. It means you need to learn the plays and get to know the Coach. It means you need to practice and fail and try again. How do we all this? Stick around and we’ll be unpacking that more…

For now, I want us chew on the other audiences we perform for. I want to ask more questions than give answers. I want to get you thinking and curious…get you off the sidelines…get you to be active not passive…Recall: we’re a movement of athletes seeking to honor God in sport and life.

Now, if it’s not true, if God is not your one Audience, then who/what is calling the shots…? During the first week of school we put a display board where athletes could indicate the reason for why they play their sport. Their answers were all over the place! Some will say…to win…to compete…to have fun…to make friends…to be part of a community of athletes…to gain important skills or character traits like discipline, commitment, and teamwork.  None of these are bad reasons in and of themselves.

But if we’re honest, what some people won’t say–but we know to be true–when answering the question, “what is the purpose of sport?” and the answer is…MYSELF…to feel good about myself…to look good in front of others…to prove myself to others…to increase my self-esteem…to gain the respect and admiration of others…to meet the expectations of parents or siblings, whether those expectations are spoken or not…to feel valued and worth something, based on my performance…to have an identity, to not be some “regular” student…

In some sense, these are the real answers, the real purposes for which many of us play sports. It’s these audiences that we play for. And it’s these audiences that let us down, that fail to live up to the satisfaction we expect from them, and that will not last once my athletic career is done. I know because that it hit me hardest the Fall semester of my Junior year at Brown. I didn’t play football that season, nor did I sign up for a club sport or intramurals. The result? Terrible grades, out of shape, depressed, aimless…These were indicators that sport was my life and identity. Sport gave me value and worth. I was good at it and it felt good doing it. And I put so much of my life into sport that I didn’t know who I was without it.

It was like a drug that I was addicted to. I needed my fix. It’s as if I kept becoming parched and needed a drink. So I keep going back to the water bottle vending machine to pay for my water—but then I’d run out and have to go back. It’s like I’m doing sprints and have to get go for a water break after every sprint.  But it doesn’t have to be like that.  In fact, God doesn’t want it to be like that.

Imagine doing sprints but somehow were able to have an IV of fluids constantly connected to your body…? Have you seen those on the field? They’re incredible. Once connected, immediately your hydrated. This is kind of like what living life with and for Jesus does.  I don’t need to go back to the vending machine to pay for another bottle of fluids only to be quickly disappointed again.

Listen to what Jesus says about that: “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

So perhaps the question for you is: are you always, truly hydrated?

And if not, then why?

Read the handout and answer the questions for yourself. Better yet, get some other athletes to discuss this with you.

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