One For the Team

Manteo Mitchell ran in the semifinals of the mens’ 4×400 race.  He’d run it dozens, perhaps hundreds of times.  He was a trained athlete and Olympian, after all. This time was a little bit different. Greg Couch of Fox Sports wrote about it here.

The day before, this article says he tripped on a step.  His hamstring was tight.  He stretched it, warmed up, ran okay that day.  He felt fine.

One thing I hate about the Olympics is sometimes the attitude is, “I’ve worked so hard (Lolo Jones).  I practiced 6 days a week for 4 years. It’s my time to shine.”

Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.  Maybe, just maybe, there are other people counting on you.  Maybe other people – parents, coaches, mentors, friends – who contributed to your success want you to succeed almost as much as you do. Manteo thought so. He said, “I hurt so bad, but I couldn’t let the other 3 guys down” (paraphrase). He was the first leg of the relay.

Americans tend to be individuals.  Especially out here in the Northwest, we’re all pioneers.  We’re rugged.  We’re loners.  We don’t need nobody, nohow. 

Jesus’ point of view? “If a man compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” (Matt. 5:31).

Manteo Mitchell’s team needed him.  And he needed them.  He saw his teammate holding out his hand – and he pressed on.  Broken leg or not, he needed to finish, and finish well.  His team had to make the finals.  He made that happen because he kept up the pace, pounding on the bone in his leg.

I’m not advocating running or doing any sort of physical activity while severly injured.  But Mr. Mitchell knew his body’s limits and what kind of pain he could endure.  Adrenalin kicked in and all the power of his hopes and dreams propelled him forward to the finish line. 

May we do the same. Let our faith arise. When it really counts and there’s no other way but through, may we be able to say like Paul: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Tim. 4:7).