There is an iconic photograph of Bob Knight in his early-1980s peak, slumped in a chair and shoeless, sipping water inside the Assembly Hall locker room before tipoff. A sign hangs a few feet away, its words emblematic of Knight’s Indiana basketball machine. “Victory favors the team making the fewest mistakes.”
In secular jargon “sin” means mistakes. Mistakes are made when a person knows to do something one way—the right way—and does the opposite. Coaches “preach” about the fundamentals (the right way) of getting the elementary aspect of the game down pat. For example: the fundamentals of basketball shooting include proper foot alignment, leg bend, hand position, follow through, and so on. The little things make a difference. You can’t win a game if you can’t get the ball through the hoop and score!
There is always a tendency to “sin”—humans are prewired to sin--For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Ro 3:23)! Someone needs to show us how not to sin or make mistakes! We need a good coach.
The most essential part of coaching is being a good role model. Legendary coach John Wooden says, "A leader's most powerful ally is his or her own example." The most important role a coach has is to teach players about life. Teach them how to be happy and successful, how to be a good friend and teammate, how to live with integrity and confidence, how to handle loss and defeat—and how to keep players from making mistakes.
Good role models are difficult to find. Charles Barkley (NBA) has strongly opposed sports figures being role models to young people. He declared, “I am not a role model;” telling children that they should look up to athletes is like “telling kids to look up to someone they can’t become, because not many people can be like we are.” Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (He 12:2).
As in every sport practice makes perfect and every coach will tell you—you can’t practice enough. Larry Bird, the self-described “Hick from French Lick,” said that in high school he would shoot 500 free throws every morning before his first class. Bird embodies the old saying: practice makes perfect. Pray without ceasing (1Th 5:17).
Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano preaches about “sin” to his team on a regular basis. “We always (say) the enemy is in your own camp,” says Chuck Pagano. And one’s foes will be members of one’s own household (Mt 10:36).
Pagano never ceases to preach against “sin”—Self Inflicted Negatives. He tells his team that “sin” will beat you every time! He must be borrowing from Paul’s playbook: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Ro 6:23).
Perfect games are virtually impossible because “sin” is ever present. The Apostle Paul amplifies this statement by saying: So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me...for I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out...For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing...but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members (Ro 7:17-23).
I believe most humans want to do good—the right thing—but as Paul asserts bad (sin) is always present. “Sin” lives in us so there is no use denying its existence and ability to cause anyone and everyone to make bad choices and “sin!” However there is hope; But [the] law came in, with the result that sins multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more (Ro. 5:20).
Grace overcomes sin every time! The only remedy for sin is grace! No truer words were spoken than grace is greater than any sin; Grace, grace, God's grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within; Grace, grace, God's grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin (from the hymn Marvelous Grace Of Our Loving Lord)! God’s Blessings!