Stick the landing

Okay, I have to admit I don’t watch a great deal of gymnastic or figure skating competition. My interest in sports tracks along what most guys enjoy, obsess over, blow out of proportion, and develop inexplicable amount of trivial knowledge about. I have inspired more than a few eye rolls, head shakes, and expressions of exasperation. I am not alone in this sad fraternity. It helps to remember that ‘fan’ is short for ‘fanatic.’

There seems to be a fine line between obsession and dedication. In any pursuit in life, passion, determined effort, keen focus, and skill development are necessary attributes … perhaps not for the guy in the stands or in front of the TV … but certainly for the competitor.

Usually, the only time I watch gymnasts is during the Olympics. I see these remarkable athletes who demonstrate such control over their minds and bodies as they seek scores that approach perfection. Regardless of the nations or teams they represent, they are appropriately applauded when they perform at a high level. One of the most obvious goals is to stick the landing.

Definition: When a gymnast lands a tumbling pass, vault, or dismount without moving his/her feet, it is referred to as sticking the landing. The aim of every gymnast is to stick — if the gymnast moves his/her feet at all it is a deduction.

Perhaps another way to say this is with the phrase ‘finishing well.’ You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to want to finish well. This past weekend, a woman’s life was celebrated. She was my favorite teacher. I would guess that many Garden Hills Elementary alums in Atlanta would say the same. Virginia Powell was not just an amazing educator; she was deeply invested in the lives of her students. She taught with grace and compassion while demanding and expecting the best from her pupils. She was woman of deep faith, a person who made a lasting difference.

She stuck the landing. I was honored to be one of her students.

This entry was posted in Commentary and tagged on by .

About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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