Recently I launched two books that are based on an intense rivalry. Over the years, I have either played, covered, or watched rivalries in the sports world. I remember the battles between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. There were the competitive encounters between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. I remember leaving my high school graduation party early to catch Game 7 between the two in the NBA Finals. It was THAT important.
But many of the rivalries have a story behind them and a long history. And that is one reason I enjoyed writing about the rivalry between the University of Alabama and Auburn University. I learned about the feud between the two powerhouse football programs and how they play each other in the Iron Bowl every year. The first Iron Bowl was played on February 22, 1893. Since then, the Crimson Tide and the Tigers, whose home stadiums are only about 90 miles apart, have met 84 times with Alabama leading the series 46-37-1.
Rivalries are good. Competition is productive and can bring out the best in a person. Proverbs 27:17 KJV says, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
Rivals- when met with humility and mutual respect- will make you better. There is a different motivation other than dominance. For the Christian, it means practicing our behavior for the approval of the head Coach, rather than trying to defeat another person. Whatever you do, make sure it is done to serve God. Don’t let the rivalry bring out the worst. Instead let it reveal the best.
Meet your rival under these four conditions:
- With honor.
- With respect.
- With integrity.
- Not hatred or guile.
The battle will make you better, so get in shape and be prepared. There will be sacrifices to be made. But you must have the determination. How?
- Give up some of your time to read the Word.
- Give up a small portion of your day to get in God’s huddle and pray.
- Give up precious hours to visit His stadium, the church.
This way all can be victorious. Bama Believer & Auburn Believer are available for purchase today from your favorite book retailer.
Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.