Watching the Olympics last night, I was pretty amazed by the finish in the 1500 meter short-track speed skating final. The Koreans had the race! They had positioned themselves to take it 1,2,3 entering the final lap.
In the final lap, someone got greedy and the unimagined occurred. One of the Koreans tried to move up in position to second or maybe even first. But the reality was that this move spelled disaster sending himself and his teammate to the ice.
This led to the popular Apolo Anton Ohno gain the silver, his sixth all time Olympic medal, tying him for the most by any American at the winter Olympics. The bronze went to another American, the young John Celski, who just five short months earlier in an Olympic training event nearly died when one of skates just missed his femoral artery by inches.
Incredible drama! Changes taking place in split seconds leading some to defeat and others to victory. The Olympics is an interesting blend of individual and team competition. In this race for one young man the individual accomplishment outweighed the team spirit.
I don’t blame him. I really get it. But, the reality was that this thirst for the “win” over “second” or “third” caused not only his defeat but his teammate’s. Tough thing to live with, I would imagine. Split second decisions that lead to tough results.
I wonder really if there is a lesson here for you and me. In the church, the “team win” is most important isn’t it? And yet, aren’t we often swayed by our own personal gain, our own acclaim.
I am one of those guys who gets to be on “stage” and I know the temptations that presents. The key is to keep perspective. Remember, the real victor is not someone who walks the planet.