An Interview: with a Track Coach

Jack Eyerly coaches distance runners at The Principia Upper School, St. Louis, Missouri. During the past three years his cross-country teams have been undefeated in league competition and have placed fourth, second, and first in the state meet. In 1966-67 his runners won the league, city, district, and state track championship, and their four-mile relay team had the best time in the nation for high schools, the second best time ever run by a high school team. The two-mile relay team ranked eleventh nationally and set several league, district, and state records. Several of his runners now run on college teams, and one trained as an Olympic prospect at Lake Tahoe last summer.

Cheering crowds, headlines, medals, trophies—these are exciting for the moment. But the excitement does not last. A thinking athlete has to have a better reason for running. Jesus' commandment helps him find such a reason: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." Mark 12:30; We can run a race or play the game to reflect God's qualities with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and have rewards far more lasting than momentary excitement.

There are different kinds of competition in athletics. One is the killer instinct that tries only to beat other people. But there's also the kind that competes with limitations, with that within oneself which says "I can't" or "I won't."

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March 29, 1969

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