Legendary Chicago Cubs manager Leo Durocher reportedly declared, “Nice guys finish last.” Though that axiom may sometimes hold true in the larger arena of life, it didn’t hold true this past Sunday. Separated by a continent, two good guys—both followers of Christ—won on big stages. On the east coast, 20-year-old Trevor Bayne shocked the NASCAR world by becoming the youngest driver in history to win the Daytona 500. When asked what he was going to do with his prize money, he said that he intended to give a big chunk of it to a mission agency working with orphans in Mexico. Rare.
Meanwhile, on the west coast, Aaron Baddely (nicknamed Badds) was winning the PGA event in Los Angeles, the Northern Trust Open. It was Baddely’s first win in several years—years in which he struggled greatly with swing changes. His post-round comments focused on the character he had learned through those difficult years, and a visit to his website showed that he had been pursuing God’s wisdom in his personal study of the scriptures. Rare.
Nice guys may often finish last, but Sunday two good guys finished first—and it was a breath of fresh air. They now face the challenge of dealing with success, which can often be much more difficult than facing defeat. In the days to come they are going to face previously unexperienced levels of media scrutiny. They will face the challenges of having to sift through a million options that don’t come to you when you lose. The challenge in it all is to remain the same good guy in the midst of all that success that you were before it. For that, I think Badds is on the right track—it takes wisdom from God. Two verses Aaron cited in his study on wisdom can point us in the right direction:
James 1:5 – If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach and it will be given to him.
Proverbs 1:5 – A wise man will hear and increase in learning and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.
Wisdom from God, and the pursuit of wise counsel. Those are necessary and welcome aides when facing the challenges of success.
Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain