"Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice."
In some ways it was an uncharacteristic win for Tiger Woods at the 2005 Masters. While entering the final 27 holes four shots behind Chris DiMarco, Woods stormed back with four straight birdies to turn the deficit into a two-shot lead. And just when it looked like he might run away with a big victory, DiMarco showed resolve by sticking with Tiger and sinking his par putt on the final hole to force a playoff. "This was one fun victory, but also a lot of work because I was playing with one heck of a competitor," Woods said. "He put up a heck of a fight."
When the idea of good sportsmanship is brought forth, my inclination is to think of it in terms of handling a loss. (That is probably because I'm a poor loser.) However, I believe good sportsmanship can also be lacking from the winner's side when there is gloating and rejoicing over your opponent's mistakes.
Tiger Woods certainly had the opportunity to gloat as Chris DiMarco missed four birdie putts inside of 8 feet, any one of which could have given him the win. Instead these two competitors battled it out, both with some triumphs and some mistakes. But in the end they walked off the golf course with a mutual respect for one another.
Whether it is an opponent in sports or in life, let us not only refrain from gloating over others' misfortunes, but let's go the extra mile and extend a helping hand to those in need. It's a great opportunity to show the love of Christ.
1. How do you react after a great victory?
2. At what point does a victory celebration become gloating?
3. How does this lesson apply to your life, both in and out of the sports arena?
1 Corinthians 13:4-6