OPINION: God does not grant gold medals for coming first

A bookmaker at the Olympics notices a priest bless a Turkish target shooter before she competes, and a couple of hours later she wins a gold medal. The priests blesses a couple of Dutch divers and later they win gold medals too. Finally the bookie sees the priest doing a longer than usual blessing, with holy water and all sorts of stuff on a Spanish sprinter. The bookie thought “Bingo!” and offered huge odds and money on the sprinter. 

Later, as the other sprinters leap from the starting blocks, the Spanish sprinter clutches at his chest, falls down and dies.

The bookie chases after the priest and says “You’re a crook! And just when I started to become a believer! I put everything on that Spaniard you blessed and now I'm ruined! RUINED!!!” The priest replied “That wasn’t a blessing. That was the Last Rites!”

When the Big O arrives every four years, I take holidays and No-Doz and become a little more sportscrazy than my normal.

I saw a TV ad once which taught: Olympic values are that it does not matter whether you win or you lose but how hard you try and that you know that you gave it your best. 

  They’re great values, but not Olympic values. You’re never granted a gold medal, no matter how hard you try, if you did not come first. If you come first, you will get the gold even if you didn’t give your best, because in the Olympics, effort and personal triumph means little - what matters is results.

 But God, like our conscience, does not judge us on our successes or failures but on our efforts at the goal. In this sense, the one who does not try fails, but the one who tries always wins and spiritually improve. 

A study once showed within five years of retirement 60% of professional athletes have spent all their winnings.

I’m not a fan of calling people who don’t even try “losers”. A loser is a competitor, a worker who failed in an attempt, someone giving life a go and that’s what we’re on this planet for. 

In the eyes of God, and perhaps your own, if you honestly try and you honestly lose, you’re a winner.