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What is Your Excuse?

Some years ago the Birmingham, Alabama, paper had a headline on the sports page: “The Most Exciting Moment Of My Life.” It showed a picture of Jack Nicklaus writing out a $5,000 check for charity.  As a matter of fact, it was second $5,000 check that day.  It happened because of a game of golf he lost.

A man by the name of Charley Boswell lives in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1937, he was the captain of the Alabama football team that played in the 1938 Rose Bowl. In World War II he was a captain in the infantry. He stepped on a land mine and blew his eyes out. Charley Boswell is stone cold blind! But for nine holes of golf he can shoot par golf. He hits a ball he can’t even see. The caddy rattles the pin in the cup, and the noise tells him where to putt. How does he do that? He said, “Holding mental pictures.”

Jack Nicklaus went to Birmingham to help raise money for a Boys’ Ranch and gave $5,000. They had a banquet to honor Nicklaus for helping the fund-raiser and for his $5,000 check. Halfway through the meal, Charley Boswell stood at a table in the back of the room. “Mr. Nicklaus, they tell me you play a little golf.” There was silence. “Yes, I’ve been known to play a round or two.” “So do I, and I think I can beat you! I’ll play you nine holes of golf. If you can beat me, I’ll give $5,000 to the Boys’ Club. And, if I beat you, you give another $5,000. And to make the contest fun, exciting, and fair, you choose the course where we play, and I’ll choose the time we play — day or night.”

Guess what time Charley chose? Night, of course. The Birmingham paper had a full length picture of Nicklaus writing out his second $5,000 check. The headline said “The Most Exciting Moment Of My Life.” Someone asked him about that headline. Why had he made that statement? “You have won every trophy, award, honor, and accolade. Why would this be so exciting?” Nicklaus replied “I met a person today who refuses to let fear or a limitation control his life.”  (Copied).

I am always amazed by those folks that refuse to let physical limitations prevent them from living life to the full.  All of us in this generation have seen those individuals that have no legs and yet participate in marathons in wheel chairs. We have witnessed paraplegics that paint by putting the paint brush in their teeth.  What about the person that chose to boldly participate in sports after being diagnosed with a significant heart condition and eventually so strengthened their heart that their life expectancy was extended!

Truth be told, every one of us has limitations of some kind.  What we do to overcome those is what separates the average person from the achiever.  If we only focus on what we cannot do, then that is the level of life we will live.  But when we refuse to be “fenced in” by what may be a handicap in one area to fully develop in other areas to the max, then life can be one victory after another.  So, in the spirit of a champion, we should “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us!”  (Hebrews 12:1-2).