It’s hard to believe that tonight when I toe the line for the 5000m it will be my last ACC Championship race. Over the last four years I’ve come to love this meet more than most others. Although I haven’t always had my best performances at this meet I still have amazing memories of cheering, supporting and being inspired by the best teammates. The team, after all, is really what the Conference meet is all about. It’s the one meet every season that we travel athletes from every event to the same place and the final score at the end reflects what we all accomplished together. It’s always fun to get to see some of the other event groups we normally might not travel with, and know that their points and our points will all be combined to reach for the same goal: to Win a Team Championship!
So tonight, when I’m out there pushing through 12 laps of pain I’ll be thinking of one thing, “For the TEAM.” I’m so blessed to be a part of this Seminole Nation, knowing that all my teammates who’ve already competed gave their best. Win or loose, we’re all in this together and every teammate plays their own role. After all, I’ve been in that place where I did not finish close to where I’d hoped, and I know how disappointing that feels, knowing the whole team was counting on you. However, as much as track seems like an individual sport with one big team score, the reality is none of us could have made it to where we are without each other’s help along the way.
As I was thinking about how special it is to be a part of a team like FSU, I thought of 1 Corinthians 12 when Paul speaks of the members of Christ being like parts of the body. In the same way, the members of a team are a lot like many different parts of one body, one family, and one team. Paul goes on to say,
And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” ~I Corinthians:16-20
The same thing goes for anyone who is a part of a team. Sometimes it’s easy to think you don’t count when you’re sitting out injured, or you failed to make the final, or maybe you made it that far but did not even score. But that’s not true at all. What makes a team is not just the points on the board; it’s everyone who is challenging each other in the workouts, sharing ice baths together, cheering one another from the sidelines, or tuning in online and sending good luck texts or tweets from back home.
But what does all of this have to do with the “Body of Christ”? Well, essentially Paul is teaching us a lesson that to be a Christian means we get to share in something special with each other and with our God. We are all called to use what we were born with and what we were given to honor God. Although its easy at times to look around at everyone else and say, “Oh I just wish I could be like…” But when we think like that we become blind to everything God has given us, and we fail to see the good in life. Although we may not always recognize it, we must remember that God always has a plan. And a part of that plan is having every piece of the puzzle in the right place at the right time, which means we all just have to do our part to the best of our abilities.
Now same goes when you have a team trying to win a championship; every piece must fall into place. Of course, there’s always going to be mistakes and bad luck and a few missing pieces to the puzzle, but a good team knows how to pick up the pieces, then celebrate when another teammate succeeds and sympathize with them when they don’t, just like Paul says in verse 24,
“God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
That right there is what it means to be a part of a team. It means being part of something special that you could never recreate on your own. And so today when I race I hope I don’t forget how special it is to be a part of this Seminole Family, and also how special it is to be a member of the body of Christ. Because without this team, there would be no one to have pushed me this far, no one to score points for, no one to cheer me on. And without God there to give me strength and purpose to my running and life, I would have no life at all.