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Next Man Up

Updated: Feb 27, 2023


Picture this. It’s the ninth inning. Your favorite team has a two run lead. The best pitcher is on the mound. The first batter he faces hits a home run. The lead is now down to one.


Your nervous. Anxious even. Your chest is pounding. You’re sitting on the edge of the seat.


What happens? What does the pitcher do? You watch in anticipation as the next two batters get a hit.


Now, there are two runners on with the game on the line. Still no outs. The best pitcher on the team looks like he’s about to blow the game.

Then, out of nowhere, he strikes out the next three batters and your favorite team walks away a winner.


What just happened? Against all adversity, the pitcher calmly shows why he’s the best player on the team. Even though he looked as if he was going to fail. Even though nobody believed in him during that moment. He still went out and performed above and beyond.


Oftentimes what separates the great athletes from the good athletes is the “next man up” mentality. It’s the ability to forget what just happened and only see what’s right in front of them. Maybe its a quarterback that throws an interception. Or a basketball player that hasn’t made a shot all game. Those players have the ability to look past what just happened. They have the ability to forget 30 seconds ago and concentrate on the next pitch, the next pass, the next shot, etc.


You can look throughout the sports world and see this manifested. Michael Jordan boasts about how he missed more shots in his career than he made. But he wasn’t afraid to take the next shot. Brett Favre has thrown for the fourth most touchdowns in NFL history. He also has thrown for the most interceptions in NFL history.


This is a lesson that I think every one of us can learn from. There’s something to be gained from the idea of forgetting what happened in the past and concentrating on what is in front of us. Paul put it this way in his letter to Philippi.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. - Philippians 3:13 (AMP)


It’s important to remember we cannot change the past. Like the athletes mentioned above, they couldn’t change the missed shot. Or the bad throw. They learned from it, moved on and did greater things. And their legacy is not about the home runs they gave up or the missed shots. Instead, their legacy is defined by the championship level at which they played year in and year out.


So I encourage you today. Whatever happened in the past. Whatever you may have done, that’s not what defines you. What defines you is what you do from this day forward. You can dwell on the past and live in regret. Or you can forget the past, reach toward that which lies ahead and let that be your legacy!

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