The Greatest Game

Written by
Written by

Deolu Akinyemi


I’m sure this will create different answers in different minds. Is there a game that can be classified as the greatest? Is it football, hockey, golf, cricket or basket ball? Or is it one of those not too popular games that has been discovered to have the capacity to excite and fascinate us the most? Which is the greatest game on earth, and what are the parameters that make it so? Do we measure by the thrills? The population of the world actively engaged in the game or it’s process? The degree by which our lives are affected by them or do we use statistics from opinion polls?

Whatever it is that we chose to use however, certain facts are undeniable. Football is a game that has the capacity to literally arrest a great percentage of the world in front of their television sets. More people in the world play golf and football more than any game. The thrill and the followership of basketball in America and increasingly globally is on the increase. The fanatic support of teams, of stars and of championships is tending towards idolatory. The games have become a rallying point of our social lives, we spend days watching, spend hours talking, minutes updating the scores and seconds rejoicing. These games are great, but none of them qualifies as the greatest game in the world.

The greatest game is the one that is most far reaching, the one that involves the entire being, spirit soul and body. It’s the game that has the most participants, engages the whole of humanity and gives everybody a chance to get the frills and the thrills. It’s a game that all can win. It’s also a game that starts out with everybody equal in opportunity and chance. This is not soccer, basketball, golf or tennis. This is the game of life. In the immortal words of Paul the sent one, “So run, that ye may obtain”. Life is a game, we start at different points, and end at different points, but we can finish as losers or end as winners. 

The greatest tragedy that can happen to an athlete is to not know that he is in a game, and hence live like it’s it’s practice time. We have only one shot at life, and the game started on that blessed day or that cold and lonely night when your presence was introduced to the world amidst tears and wails. Many are living their current lives, like it’s a rehearsal for the next, the injunction is sounded loud, run to win! Don’t run to practice, run to win! 

It is critical that we familiarize ourselves with the game, it’s rules and our abilities. It’s amazing that no where in our curricular are we taught about the map and the winding paths in the race of life. No one ever sat us down to detail us about the rules, no one made our choices clear to us. Hence majority of us, spend a good portion of our time, crawling when we could be walking, strolling when we could be running and running when we could be flying. This game has rules, and everybody in the game the capacity to win as our entry and exit points are different.

How do we play this game? There is view I found interesting from 1Cor 9:24-27

Surely you know that many runners take part in a race, but only one of them wins the prize. Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize. Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last forever. That is why I run straight for the finish line; that is why I am like a boxer who does not waste his punches. I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest. 

The game we play is the one we chose. We are all architects of our individual and collective destinies. The stadia of life is set, everyone runs, but there is an option to run to win. Are you running to win or are you living for fun? All good athletes submit themselves to rigorous training and strict discipline. Are you giving yourself a hard time, or indulging yourself in every pleasure? Do you know that your activities in this race bounded by time will be rewarded eternally? We can be involved in life, or we can commit to life. When a cow gives you milk, he’s involved, when it gives you meat, it’s committed. Are you giving life everything you’ve got or some of it? Are you running straight or running in circles? Do you have a clear line of site, or are you wasting your punches? Are you living sloppily or focused-ly? We have a responsibility for making sure that our bodies are in the best conditions to serve us in this great game. Are you alert and in top condition? Are you running by the rules or can you be disqualified? Are you calling others to the race and running in the opposite direction yourself? 

It’s amazing how the creation story ends -unfinished man in an unfinished world! There were no lights to light the hidden parts, no bridges to cross the seas, no stories to entertain the mind, no vehicles to reach beyond the mountains, no bed to lay on top of. The pictures were unpainted, the songs unsung. The earth was incomplete and so man. God made man limitless, but progressive. He had the capacity to make the bridges, to fly, to explore the seas, to counterfeit himself, to do exploits, but he had to come to daily know it. He had to explore, to search within and bring out answers without. He had to venture into what he was unsure of, take risks, sometimes lose and sometimes win big. God finished his work in 7 days, and man’s work and race continue till this moment. You and I are the missing link for the solutions in our environment. The responsibility of expansion and expression rests squarely on our shoulders. The forging ground for progress lies in our courage, our convictions, our character, our passion, our talent, our childlike excitement and our boundless curiosity. 

The race is set, and the judges are watching! Just as a drop of water in the ocean carries all the qualities of the water in the ocean, you and I have the DNA of the creator of the world. Within is, is potential unlimited, around us, a world we can affect. We were loaded from the beginning with all the tools that our race will require. The plans of the divine for us are not mediocre. We are not made to wallow in poverty and self pity, we are commanders of the universe. We were not made to be idle spectators standing on the sidelines of life. We are meant to be active participants in our race, and great cheerleaders for the race of lives surrounding ours.

Oh, I know about the dull moments, I’m conversant with fear. I know about the debilitating depths of depression and I’m aware of discouragements. I’m no novice to failed efforts, nor am I deluded that sometimes we get handed a curved ball. I also know however, that life is less what happens to us than our response to it. It’s not the fear that counts, it’s what we do in spite of fear that counts. Life has no counter for our failures, one success wipes out the memories of 50 failed attempts. So run, that ye may obtain!

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