Many athletes can spend an entire career developing their ability to “see” the game. Not only their ability to see and know where everyone is, but anticipate what is going to happen. At the highest levels of sport, athletes need to see and calculate these things in the blink of an eye.
Tara Smart has been honing this skill for five years with the Canadian women’s national volleyball team. As a left-side power Smart needs the right perspective in her game to make effective decisions, to make precision passes and solid hits at blinding speed. If she makes the slightest mistake it costs her team a point. In games only played to 25 points, that doesn¹t leave much room for error.
Smart knows that often life can be the same way. If decisions are made without the proper perspective, it can cost you. “It¹s an ongoing process every day,” she says. “Often I feel like I’ve already learned a lesson, but then seem to forget and need the proper perspective again which comes from another life-lesson.”
Smart has learned that just as her vision and perspective in volleyball is developing, so is her perspective in life. So in sports and life, when mistakes are made, how does she deal with them?
“As I develop my relationship with Jesus, I continually gain perspective on life and seeing what’s important,” she says. “Being a Christ-follower can seem hard because I feel like I am always falling short, that I don’t have the proper perspective to deal with life’s battles, but on the other hand it’s really easy because Jesus’ righteousness takes the place of my sin when I put my faith in Him, and He doesn¹t give up on me.
“I’ve come to realize that God accepts me for who I am, not how I perform or how many or few mistakes I make,” Smart adds. “He gives me strength to battle life’s hardships every day. This perspective also helps me to combat the ups and downs of sport and competition, and to become the best I can be in volleyball, but more importantly, as a person.”