The best athlete

The same qualities that develop a great man or a great woman also develop a great athlete. Factors that determine good athletic performance include confidence, calmness, concentration, courage, and fearlessness. These factors are mental, not physical. They enhance one's performance, whereas fear, lack of concentration, and disturbance will detract from and interfere with it. One quality in particular brings out the best in all of us, no matter what worthwhile activity we're engaged in. Our Leader, Mrs. Eddy, writes, "The best man or woman is the most unselfed." The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 165;

It is perhaps more obvious that a team player can be unselfed, but what about the individual performer—the gymnast, wrestler, swimmer, or runner? Can he or she be unselfed, too? Whether on a team or competing as an individual, the athlete can view his sport as a team sport if he unites himself with God. Cause can't exist without effect, and vice versa. In Christian Science, God is cause; and man, as the expression of God, is effect. To be on God's side, to work and act in harmony with God, is to be, in a sense, on His team.

Christ Jesus summarized the requirements of the Old Testament in two enormously unselfing commands. When a lawyer asked, "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus replied, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."  Matt. 22:36-39; These laws must be obeyed on the field of play as well as in our lives. When these standards are adhered to hourly and daily, the athlete will find his entire involvement in sports more enjoyable and spiritually rewarding.

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June 23, 1980

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