Since my husband is a coach, I have often heard him talk about the body language of the players on his team and on other teams as well. He notices when shoulders slump and heads hang. These are not the actions of a winning player on a winning team! We have all seen it before: one team goes on a scoring run, and the other team is seemingly doing all they can do to prevent it from getting out of hand. At first, they stay motivated and attempt to encourage each other with high-fives and pats on the back. However, as the hole gets deeper and a realization that defeat may be on the horizon takes hold, body language changes. Eyes look downward in self-defeat or eyes roll as the blame is placed on teammates. A point guard who throws his hands up because a post just missed his no-look pass makes the game about him. It is a “Look at ME—my teammates have let me down” type of attitude that tries to elicit pity from the fans. Even a player who does not blame others but instead looks down in shame after she misses a block makes the game about her.
Teammates who continue to nod, high-five, pump fists, and keep their heads up are often crowd favorites. Their enthusiasm is contagious. As a fan, I can attest to the fact that seeing players who encourage each other can sway my allegiance from one team to the other. Sharp words said to each other in the heat of competition cannot necessarily be heard from the bleachers, but the unspoken language communicated by physical actions speaks loudly and oh-so-clearly! Be the player that your teammates can depend on to carry him or herself in a positive and uplifting manner. Be the player that your coaches can rely upon to look them in the eyes with respect even when you might disagree with their game plan or the fact that you are being sternly reminded that you did not do your job on the field. Be the player that points others to Jesus.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31)
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)
Dear Lord, You have blessed me with the opportunity to play college sports for Your glory. May my body language toward my teammates, coaches, and opponents display that I know Who You truly are. May Your humility and love be seen in my actions toward others. In Your holy name I pray, Amen.