I’ve wanted to write this post for years. I did not know where to start.
The subject is full of emotion because championships are beautiful things, but the lifespan of a champion or championship team is gone in the blink of an eye.
Striving For A Championship
While striving for a championship, the feeling is like it will never end.
The next champion, or championship team, is suddenly born and replaces the former champion on the podium.
What once was is no more. The champion's 15 minutes of fame flickers momentarily and burns out quickly by the strong winds of competitive change.
Champions enjoy a moment of reaching the pinnacle of their sport. All that hard work and sacrifice are rewarded with a prize that does not last, but how lovely the championship is now. Relish and be grateful for that moment.
The championship moment, though, comes, goes, and is never seen again. The thrill of victory, especially a significant team victory, is a type of short-term euphoria that only a few experience in their lifetime.
It is hard to put into words what happens after significant sacrifice by many people comes to fruition.
Some experts refer to championship moments as exquisite, encouraging, uplifting moments that are hard to duplicate sometimes in a lifetime.
So, preparing for the next chapter of life is best before the championship days end.
Advice For Champions
How do you prepare for the inevitable day when it all ends?
Savor the moment of a championship, be grateful, and soak in the day's joy, but don’t let a championship crown define you.
Your identity is so much greater than winning a championship.
Your playing days will end, guaranteed, at some point. The end comes for all who compete in sports.
Be prepared for the winds of change because change will come.
Remember, good coaches love you, whether you win or not. Winning or losing a championship does not change your value as a person.
You are also loved by parents, friends, spouses, or others, and most of all, by your creator whether you win or not.
The lifespan of championships is short-term, so never place your identity in sport. Learn and love the lessons, share them, apply them to other parts of life, and move on.
Finding the next chapter
Sometimes, helping the next person succeed in your sport, if that is your calling, enables you to transition out of sport well. Let it be their time.
Keep your identity in Christ, where it belongs. Don’t let this phrase become a nice Christian platitude; ground yourself in your faith from day one.
The grand prize, gold medal, world record, and Super Bowl ring never last in this life; your relationship with loving God and loving others does.
Be grateful, soak in the joy, and remember with heartfelt thanks the championship day, but move on to greater days with family and friends and find ways to help and serve others.
Jesus said, “Anyone who aspires to greatness must serve the rest; whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all.”
You reach your God-given potential in your post-athletic career by helping and serving others with your unique giftings.
You can start exploring your other gifts now. You can also talk to a professional who can help you walk through the next steps of your journey.
My first job out of college was assisting young people in assessing their career interests and matching their passions and skills with jobs that were meaningful to them.
I still volunteer to help young people find their niche and unique calling if they are interested in the topic. Finding a new niche in life while you are young is an essential part of the transition out of sport when the playing days are over.
During young people's sports careers, I coach and teach interested student-athletes how to use the lessons gained through sports in a career. We can help develop the traits a person needs for their unique career through our running programs with a formal assessment process.
In short, interested students practice the skills and attributes they'll need in their careers and subsequent chapters of life in our running programs after we complete a formal assessment process.
Some organizations also help people transition to life after sports by providing various services on the emotional and career side of life after sports. You can search for and utilize one if you need help transitioning after your playing days.
One resource to help create a life after sport is below.
Photo Credit: Sydney Rae