Having moved to this community in Florida almost 18 months ago, one of the most amazing observations for me is the realization that one of the defining characteristics for almost everyone is their previous residence.
The second question asked of practically anyone I meet is “Where are you from?” Now it is fairly obvious where I am from, as my golf cart, my golf bag, and many of my shirts and golf caps proclaim my loyalty to THE Ohio State University!
(By the way, the first question is “What is YOUR name?”)
I have made friends here who are from Iowa, Penn State, Wisconsin, and other Big Ten schools, and they cannot get over the fact that the Ohio delegation is indeed one of the largest state representations here. In fact, almost every day when I am out on my golf cart driving down the streets of our community, I will meet someone who is from Ohio.
Our oldest (almost 10 years old) granddaughter has been visiting us for the past month, and even she is amazed. The other evening we drove our golf cart to attend a hot air balloon festival in our community. There were at least a thousand golf carts in attendance.
After we parked, and as we walked down the path toward the balloons, we passed many golf carts. I was pleasantly surprised when we passed another golf cart with an Ohio State logo emblazoned on the front and Addyson yelled at the top of her lungs, “Go Bucks!”
The people sitting in the cart responded with an “O-H”, and Addy said, “I-O!” She truly has gotten into the spirit!
But there is a part of that spirit of which I am not too proud. As a student at Ohio State back in the ‘60s and early ’70s, we had a football team which had achieved national prominence. Our coach was one Wayne Woodrow “Woody” Hayes. He was the short-sleeved, gray-haired, larger-than-life, now legendary behemoth of a football coach that paced the sidelines in front of the Ohio State bench every Saturday afternoon for almost 30 years.
He may not have won every game, but to Woody Hayes every game was a battle with one and only one objective — to win. And if that objective was not reached, Woody was livid. For in Woody’s mind, winning was everything. He has often been attributed as proclaiming, “Winning is everything!”, or “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser!”, or even “Winning may not be the best thing in the world, but it’s a whole lot better than losing!”
Woody once was introduced to one of my seminary classmates and he commented to Tom that he did not have too much liking for Christians on his football team. My friend Tom asked him, “Why not?”
Woody responded by asking Tom a question, “When somebody swings at you, don’t you Christians say something like, ‘Turn the other cheek’?” Tom responded, almost defensively, by saying, “Well yes, sir, what would you do?” And Woody responded, characteristically by saying, “When somebody takes a awing at you, you duck, son, you duck!”
Woody Hayes had a passion for winning – sometimes winning at all costs.
Far too often, we have adopted that same philosophy in life, that winning is everything, no matter who gets hurt in the process, no matter who suffers, just so long as we win! “Look out for Number One!” “Do whatever it takes to climb to the top of the ladder!”
While I definitely appreciate winning, and enjoy it when Ohio State wins, it is also important to have a balanced perspective on life.
When you look at the Scriptures, you find that the essence of biblical character is Christ-likeness, and the essence of Christ-likeness is others-centered living (Check out 2 Corinthians 5:9; John 15, and Romans 12). Even though you always play to win, it is not so important whether you win or lose, but that you played the game according to the rules, that you put forth your best effort, and that, above all, you considered others as more important than your own self.
If you do that, you will certainly enjoy yourself!
This past week two events, both centered on golf, proved this point to me in a wonderful way. The first was when I was paired in a church golf outing with a fellow who did not come from Ohio, but from “that state up north.” (That’s another Woody expression!). I had my OSU garb on, and he had his Michigan maize and blue. We had a great round together – and a lot of fun.
The second event was when I was playing with another friend and we were paired with two folks who were driving a golf cart, which was also maize and blue, with a big golf “M” on the front. We teased each other almost unendingly, but we had a great round of golf together! And I do not even remember who won!
My friends, winning is NOT everything!
Oh, and by the way … “Go Bucks!”
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the Hillsboro Times-Gazette and the Wilmington News Journal. He is also the former Pastor of Faith Community Church in Hillsboro and Port William UMC.