Cycling & Humility
84“People are screaming and the next thing you know you’re going too hard. You’re out of the saddle sprinting up a hill or something and because of the cheers you don’t feel a thing until you get to the top. Then you pay.” Alison Sydor, Pro Cyclist
Riding and racing are a healthy means for getting attention. We all need praise, and the bike becomes a prop in the rolling theater of athletic drama. A supportive cycling world may provide affirmation that is lacking from other areas of one’s life.
Educational material for coaches is focused on a modern role of coach, not just as trainer, but as character-builder in a world of fragmented families and values. Teaching worthy values like meekness or giving quality emotional support are just as important as a workout plan.
Sometimes life just puts people around us who frown, abuse, criticize and put-down. Particularly when things go well, everyone loves a winner. But with winning so elusive, we cannot measure our lovableness on the approval of others, which comes and goes like a tailwind on a meandering course.
Likewise living large on prestige and honor, a false reality can leave us proud and overconfident – pride in the sense of thinking you’re all that. It can also lead to poor judgement and a sense of invincibility that may lead to very bad choices. Thinking yourself unbeatable, vaunting superiority or arrogant displays are often associated with insecurity and a need for approval. It’s a long plummet from this pedestal and a hard pull to be dropped from and – gotcha – where’s the self-worth? These arrogant winners are some of the emotional neediest people. Sport temporarily rewards this need. Yet the best race and life tacticians are meek in applying strength without arrogance, irrespective of approval. These kinds of victories endure.
Pride in the sense of self-esteem, realizing the value of your life and that unseen forces guide and protect you is healthy. Everybody has a limit – a fragile boundary far from omnipotence. You see 85this in the peloton when riders encounter hardships. Their responses that improve character and confidence require humility. A winning strategy that employs competitive humility and realism– a firm sense of self that knows how to implement what it’s got and when– works in life also.
In time, we see arrogance brought low. We even see this fall work some redemption on the fallen. This is as refreshing as when a humble competitor gets on the podium.
Prayer for Humility
“Pride first, then the crash, but humility is precursor to honor.” 86Proverbs 18:12
We are thankful for elegant moments of humility. We confess our pride – thinking both too much and too little of ourselves at times. We ask to see ourselves realistically.
Ponder Is pride making me pay too early? Affirm I can be confident minus conceit. Watch smug swiftly abandon, self-esteem take the lead.
84Alison Sydor quote from a now defunct website. I cannot substantiate this remark, but the sentiment has been experienced, and overconfidence is not a competitor’s friend. However, I’m not calling arrogant; this quote is used because she admits she had to pay for a mistake.
85The principle of a fall or wake-up call as a result of pride is a redemptive blessing to the soul. So while it may look like disgrace to the public, to God it is discipline borne of love to teach us how to be.
86The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson