Thursday, August 07, 2003

American Highlander

There are men, and then there are men because some men are just manlier than others. I'm talking about the kind of men who participate in the "Highland Games". Manly competitors in the Highland Games "enjoy" such events as the Caber Toss, Stone Throw, Hammer Toss, and Battle Axe Competition. Rumor has it that in the near future they will add The Wimp Pummel and The Sissy Haul. Like their Scottish cousins-in-manliness, the American lumberjack is particularly masculine. Legendary figures like Paul Bunyan, John Henry, and Senator Joe Leiberman conjure images of manliness for all of us. These masters of the American wilderness compete annually in “Timber Sports”.

Recently I watched the Manly Logger Games, on the local 24/7-all-guys-sports-rerun channel, as Mountain Men from around the nation competed in the Stock Saw, the Underhand Chop, the Single Buck, the Standing Block Chop, the Hot saw, and the Springboard. During the springboard event, the competitor uses two springboards, stuck in little notches he chops into a nine foot pole, to ascend as quickly as possible and chop a firmly attached 12" diameter block from the top of the pole. They do this with razor sharp battleaxes normally used to fend off the Scots.

In the course of the springboard, one extremely manish logger stood out from the rest. Not because he was bigger, faster, or even brighter. Rather, he stood out because he messed up so badly. No matter how hard he struggled he could not get the springboard to do what it was designed to do. He tried and tried but eventually he simply climbed down and did it all over. Meanwhile, the guy he was racing finished in record time. However, focused on the end state of the event, our hero continued working until he finished.

Each of us is running through life and things don’t always turn out like we want them to. Life is difficult, unpredictable and often unfair. Nevertheless, the Apostle Paul says, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14). It doesn’t matter what’s behind you…sin, anger, hate…whatever. Press on toward Jesus. The finish line is just around the bend and His team will win.

Stay focused and claim your prize!