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Tag Archives: golf

When Your Let Your Body Go

If once active adolescents become inactive as adults, gaining weight is almost a certainty.  When I was a senior in high school, I was five feet eleven inches tall and one hundred and forty pounds.  A year later, I decided to not run cross country in college, gaining the freshman 25 immediately.  Playing intramurals the next four years kept my weight stable, give or take five pounds.  Over the next decade, I gained another ten pounds, but remained active as a teacher, youth director and assistant golf professional.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

Unfortunately, I gained another 20 pounds the first year I was married.  However, it’s not what you think.  Since I lived in the country, neighbors didn’t keep their dogs on leashes.  Thus, as I attempted to run a few times a week, dogs chased me for a half mile at a time.  After sprinting on and off, I finally gave up as the setting was safe enough to run.  Using my life as a case study, our bodies get use to a specific schedule.  Whether this is running, training or working out, this exercise stabilizes our weight.  Yet, when people like me alter routines without a substitute to take it’s place, it’s easy to lose control of your body.

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come, 1 Timothy 4:8.

Recently, I have come to the conclusion that I am fighting a losing battle as each time I lose weight, it returns within a month.  While I am not giving up, perhaps I need to change my perspective.  Exercise is a healthy habit to practice, but godliness has value in every aspect in life.  Therefore, I need to let go of my frustrations for a body out of shape and switch my concentration toward my soul.  Just as body builders draw the attention of those in fitness centers, Christians should elicit the same response to strangers in public.  Those who develop a daily time of Bible Study, prayer and worship start to become spiritually pumped up.  These habits often fuel a desire to become more like Jesus.  While I would love to physically return to the body I once possessed, it’s better to demonstrate the light of God’s love through random acts of kindness.

by Jay Mankus

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When Confidence Fades Away

There was a time in my life when I believed that I could do anything.  A few months after graduating from the University of Delaware, I felt like I was missing something.  This emptiness led me to pursue a leadership trade school in Minnesota called Tentmakers.  Following my completion of this youth ministry training in March of 1993, I was equipped with the tools I was previously missing.  This training propelled me to new levels of confidence.  Unfortunately, beginning in 1994 this confidence faded away, never to fully recapture again.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand, Isaiah 41:10.

During my fifteen years of coaching, I’ve seen similar situations occur on the athletic field.  Golf is probably the one sport where confidence is essential.  One day golfers may flirt with shooting par and the next can’t break 50 for 9 holes.  Meanwhile, I’ve seen dominant pitchers be unhittable one day and the next can’t find the strike zone.  Confidence is like fuel that drives individuals.  When it runs out its easy for people to become lost, a shell of who they once were.

For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught, Proverbs 3:26.

There is a term which refers to someone floundering, flopping back and forth without any sense of direction.  This state is often a by product of confidence that fades away.  If you have ever reached this point in life like me, Solomon encourages people to lean on God.  While you may not regain the heights you once obtained, the Lord promises to restore hope to those who have endured the pain of lost confidence.

by Jay Mankus

The Role of Failure in Life

Within a 48 hour period, my son Daniel experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.  Last Saturday he placed 5th in the state in Pole Vault earning St. Georges four points.  After the final event, his school won the state track title by three points.  On Monday, playing in an qualifier for the state golf tournament, Daniel fell 7 shots short.  A few bad holes led to his demise.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us, Romans 5:3-5.

The apostle Paul writes about the role of failure in life.  Disappointment serves as teachable moments.  Failure allows suffering to change your perspective on life.  If you deal with this in a mature manner, character is developed.  If not fits of rage will likely follow.  Each failure you endure allows growth to take shape.  However, it only depends upon how you respond.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever, Psalm 73:26.

No matter what you tell a younger generation, sometimes you have to let people learn the hard way.  You can only hold someone’s hand so long.  Eventually, you have to let the people you love sink or swim.  Shielding children from failure will only hurt in the long run.  Therefore, let go and let God use trials to strengthen the people you love.

by Jay Mankus

When Golf Dropped the Ball

The term archaic refers to ancient, bygone and primitive.  If you analyzed the evolution of rules within professional sports, golf likely has rulings which make the least sense.  This was on full display last Sunday when Lexi Thompson was assessed a 4 stroke penalty in the middle of her final round of the LPGA’s first major this season.  Upon hearing the news that a 3 shot lead just became a 1 stroke deficit she replied,”this is a joke, right?”  Unfortunately, Lexi this wasn’t a joke, merely the day when golf dropped the ball.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil, 2 Corinthians 5:10.

Unlike a typical sport, golf has a different official for each group.  These individuals are responsible for making sure players tee up behind the markers, take proper drops and carefully observe to make sure no one breaks a rule during competition.  Although I haven’t read anything, it appears that the official in Lexi’s group was distracted or simply wasn’t paying attention.  This ruling and subsequent playoff loss for Thompson has tarnished the game of golf by stealing a tournament she should have won by 1 if assessed just a 2 shot penalty for remarking her ball incorrectly.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; Romans 14:10.

In a letter to the church of Corinth, the apostle Paul refers to the bema seat, the place where track officials judge competitors.  The context of this reference is aimed toward participants who strive to win but do so within the rules of play.  In recent years, some sporting events have been altered by referees whose egos got in the way.  This selfish act often ruins the viewing pleasure of others, turning joy into frustration.  On the flip slide, there are governing bodies like golf that can be stubborn to change with the times.  The end result comes in the form of a zealous individual set on altering the final score of championship.  Perhaps, golf will evolve quickly.  Yet, for now Lexi Thompson is a victim of when golf dropped the ball.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Stress Reliever

One of the most stressful things for me as a parent is watching my kids participate in sports.  Although some my debate on which is the most grueling to observe, golf must be in the top 3.  There aren’t any time outs, teammates to blame or walls to keep your ball in play.  When you start to fall apart in a stroke play event, there’s no place to hide.  This tension can consume any parent, filling the calmest individual with stress.

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved, Psalm 55:22.

While I am usually laid back, this past week I found myself in the middle of an anxiety attack.  I guess it didn’t help that youngest son decided to finish his last 5 holes with 2 quadruple bogeys and 2 double bogeys.  Nonetheless, I should have had a better plan to cope with stress.  Some sort of stress reliever to ease the anguish within my soul.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, Philippians 4:6.

Yesterday, a light bulb went off in my mind.  Why am I worrying myself to death when I can lift up individual prayers to God.  Since this revelation, I have turned moments of tension into a stress reliever, praying for the helpless situations that I encounter.  If parents turn to the Lord with their troubles, then you too can begin practicing the stress reliever called prayer.

by Jay Mankus

 

I’ve Got This

Whether you recognize this or not, everyone has a favorite expression.  This may be from a movie, lyrics in a song or a catch phrase you have developed over time.  Whenever my oldest son James became focused doing something, especially in sports, he’d look over and confidently say, “I’ve got this.”  This spirit of determination led to countless awards, medals and an individual and team state championship in track his season year.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith, 2 Timothy 4:7.

During my first few seasons as a high school golf coach at Red Lion, I only had 3 reliable players I could count on.  John, Chad and John were the foundation of a team that went to 2 straight state tournaments and a fourth place finish their senior years.  After just missing states as freshmen and sophomores, this core group began to believe they were good enough.  With the fate of the team on their shoulders, John, Chad and John developed a “we’ve got this coach” mentally.  Subsequently, these 3 regularly earned all 5 points in 5-4 victories.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope, Romans 15:4.

When you don’t have someone to rely on in life, turning to the Bible is a great alternative source.  There are ample passages in the Bible that inspire souls to keep going.  Determination is a trait some possess naturally, but others can feed off of leaders, others or teammates to finish the job.  May those struggling to find their way be encouraged and hopeful to overcome the odds to reach any dreams or goals you haven’t yet achieved.

by Jay Mankus