Satisfaction would seem to be one of the most elusive commodities on the planet. In the world of sport it is not uncommon for a sideline reporter in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl to ask a player or coach for his thoughts and to hear, “We’re going to win it again next year!” The game isn’t even over yet, but the player is already thinking of next year.
Sadly, this is often due to the inability of the highly achieving to simply be satisfied with their achievements. There is the constant push for more, bigger, greater and higher.
I recall from my youth the story of a championship player who had just experienced the highest achievement attainable in his sport, only to lie on his hotel room bed and stare at the ceiling thinking, “Is that it? Is this all there is to the championship experience?” The whole thing was hollow and without meaning to him. It was wholly unsatisfying.
Is there a way to experience real satisfaction as we play our hearts out in sport? I believe there is and I would challenge you to give it a try. When you next take the field or court, pay close attention to the people with whom you compete; teammates, opponents, officials and support personnel. Think about your relationships with them. Surely some are characterized by love and genuine fondness. Others may be respected rivals and some may even be contentious or worse. Take a moment to reflect upon your relationship with the sport itself. Do you love it, hate it, respect it, need it, obsess over it, or all the above?
If we can cultivate healthy relationships with the sport and those with whom it is played, we have a real shot at finding satisfaction in it. Whether we win at the highest level of the sport or languish at its lowest end, we can be satisfied with our performance and even more with our life in it. Satisfaction is to be found in relationships of love and respect more than accomplishment and rewards. Compete your heart out and give your heart completely to the significant relationships in sport.