Have you heard of the story of the last stand of the 300 Spartan warriors against the Persian armies in 480BC? Hollywood did a rendition for us.
Historically, you can see the difference of commitment level between the leaders. The Spartan King was in the battle and later dies, the Persian king was on a mountain side watching the battle from his throne. This battle and the surrounding events reveals the true essence of Arete(excellence) and commitment to it for the Ancient Greeks.
I mentioned what Arete means in a small blurb on my Welcome page.
The event that surrounded this battle is significant even today…because while this battle was going on, a little less than 100 miles away, the Olympics were in preparation and taking place! And most of the Greeks were attending.
So while the Persian army came to burn Athens to the ground the Athenians remained loyal to the games that they came to love so dearly. And apparently more than the place where they lived. Do I have to reveal more the position athletics took in this culture? They rather see their city burnt than miss an Olympic event! (Not something I personally recommend.)
What’s amazing is that the very next year 479BC, the Greeks, in a unified front, defeated the Persians! Which says, arguably, that they could have defeated the Persians to begin with but chose instead to commit to something that was sacred to them.
They lived for more than material substance(the gold in the trophy/the physical banner). In fact, according to a historian at the time, it was recorded that a Persian officer said, “…what kind of men are these that you are leading us against, who compete not for gold, but simply for glory”. (see book reference for those who like p. 80-81)
What does this have to do with coaches and athletes? I know that the culture of the west is markedly different from the east, especially the ancient Greeks. But the ancient Greeks and the 300 Spartans were willing to die for their idea, their words and the significance they placed on them. And their leaders are not afraid of the battle either. In fact they were all committed to it. Knowing that when they pass on, the idea remains and the culture goes on!
Alexander the Great and his expanding kingdom exemplifies this commitment to ARETE! Look at the last few seconds(from about the 4:00 mark) of the video above, and ask yourself: What am I willing to stand for in the face of all obstacles? And what will I leave when I am gone?! (Think about your short career in athletics)
Have you heard the story about the morning breakfast of bacon and eggs? How the pig was committed and the chicken just took part?!
Which program thoughts, ideas or words are you REALLY committed to?
Coaches & Athletes: PREPARE FOR GLORY! (2 Pet. 1:3)
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