"Some players get more vocal about it ... and some point to Heaven after scoring a touchdown and praise God after games. I have no problem with that. But I don't do it, and don't think it makes me any less a Christian. I just want my actions to speak louder, and I don't want to be more of a target for criticism. ...
"My faith doesn't make me perfect, it makes me forgiven, and provides me the assurance I looked for half my life ago. ...
"I've been blessed -- having so little go wrong in my life, and being given so much. I pray every night, sometimes long prayers about a lot of things and a lot of people, but I don't talk about it or brag about it because that's between God and me, and I'm no better than anybody else in God's sight.
"But I consider myself fortunate to be able to go to Him for guidance, and I hope (and pray) I don't do too many things that displease Him. ... I believe, too, that life is much better and freer when you're committed to God in that way."
Regardless of your creed, you have to commend all these champions on both teams mentioned above for playing the game of life as it should be -- with faith, fullness and joy.
Every team has its stars, but each member deserves our admiration for what he's achieved and contributed, including those on the coaching and support staffs. They all paid the price to get where they are. Win or lose, play or support from the sidelines, every member sacrifices in mind, body and soul to compete in the games and bring them and us to the thrill of victory.
Former player, coach and broadcaster John Madden once described football this way: "You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack and one guy not getting in the end zone."
Former player and broadcaster Frank Gifford once said: "Pro football is like nuclear warfare. There are no winners, only survivors."
As a six-time undefeated world karate champion, I get the thrill of victory. But I never got the agony of defeat, and here's why. Although I did lose several times in my climb up the competitive ladder, let me share with you my philosophy on winning and losing along the way. Through years of competition, I found that the only time I ever really lost was when I did not learn from that experience. I would say to myself, "I may have lost this time, but I will never lose the same way twice." It helped me not to get discouraged or upset. As the great Vince Lombardi explained, "it's not whether you get knocked down; it's whether you get up." And if you think your hurdles are too hard or high, then find hope and be inspired by the video story of 14-year-old Isaac Lufkin. (It's on CNN's website and titled "Teen aiming for NFL lacks key body parts.")
(To tap into more power for living, I recommend checking out three-time Super Bowl-winning coach Joe Gibbs' website, Game Plan For Life.)
So as you watch the Winter Olympics, remember to celebrate not only those who compete and the winning spirit but also your own innate human potential. God has endowed all of us with it so we can face our fears and hardships and push ourselves beyond the scope of what we believe to be humanly possible.
Lastly, if by chance you missed the opening Super Bowl mock movie trailer -- which Fox Sports produced with Conan O'Brien, Paul Scheer, Joe Namath and me -- you can view it on YouTube. (It's titled "'Escape to East Rutherford' trailer with Chuck Norris, Conan O'Brien, Paul Scheer.") It was a lot of fun recording that!
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