THE Most Important Virtue

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Love is the most powerful and the most important virtue of all. It is also the topic or theme most talked about, sung about, "storied" about, "movied" about …

At our most intimate and vulnerable core, Love is what moves us.

Love is often spoken about in the team environment as well.

You especially hear it during moments of euphoria in the midst of a win, a score, a great play. Not so much after you've lost by 40 or you missed an assignment.

So what does love have to do with sports?

Love is wanting the very best for the other person or persons.

Love is being more interested in the happiness of your teammate than about yourself.

For example:

When an Offensive Lineman blocks with all his heart, mind, soul and strength totally focused on wanting his Running Back to go untouched.

And when that Running Back refuses to go down, strains for every possible yard because he knows how much his Offensive Lineman has sacrificed for him and he wants those yards and that TD for him.

When the Power Forward sets that pick so her Guard can take the shot and when the Point Guard drives and then makes the beautiful last second pass because she wants her Power Forward to lay it in.

They're not doing it out of duty, because it is their position or their job. They are doing it with a full heart.

And the greater joy is seeing the joy on the other's face. The joy is in the happiness of the other, not in yourself.

So how do we know when we are in love?

When our heart "aches" to see our loved one happy. When it "aches" even more to see them sad or disappointed.

When we are loving we have reached the highest point of humanity. We are truly Being.

It goes for off the field as well. The teammate who is all emotion after the big win in the locker room, expressing his undying love for all involved … but then proceeds to get high or drunk or abuse women or all three an hour later … does he really LOVE his teammates?

What was that in the locker room speech? Was it genuine? Possibly but also quite possibly it was just emotion. Emotion generated by feelings centered around oneself… I feel good so I tell others I love them. But it is hollow because the subsequent actions speak louder than your emotive words.

Maybe this is why divorce and infidelity are so common amongst athletes and coaches. Because the love never left the sphere of emotion.

But when you have a teammate who in the face of very strong and persistent temptation says no to drugs, violence, gangs, theft, cheating, abusing, VICE and WEAKNESS … because they truly want to GIVE something better to all those around them, because they LOVE them, because they want what is best for them … that is where sports and team can become one of the best "teachers" of the greatest life lesson of all - the lesson of loving.

Because in the face of temptation and weakness, we desperately NEED a person, a reason to overcome that temptation. Yes, we can overcome certain things for love of ourselves but even there it is the love of a person - yourself - that motivates you.

The teammate who truly learns this lesson … years later they will LOVE their spouse more than themselves and they will sacrifice for them. They will put their children before their own needs or wants. They will LOVE them. Not just when it is easy but all the time. Because they have learned to love.

That is formation, teaching, COACHING. That is priceless. That is worth all the hours of your time, your volunteering, your unpaid sacrifices. That is a WIN!

Virtue = Strength, Lou Judd 
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