Track & Field – 3 Lessons From The Long Jump

My son, Isaac, ran track and field for the first time this year.  One of his events was the long jump.  It was interesting watching him compete in this event.  There is definitely a mix of athleticism, strength, speed, timing, and coordination that is required to be successful in the long jump.

In the long jump, runners start at the end of a running path that leads to a sand pit.  As the runners run towards the pit, they accelerate in an effort to get as much speed as possible.  Right before the sand pit, jumpers hit a take off board.  From the take off board, the jumper leaps as far as possible into the sand pit.

Watching the long jumpers at both the middle school and high school level, I think there’s something we can all learn from the long jump.  Here are 3 lessons from the long jump:

  1. Momentum is key.  As an engineering student, I learned in physics class that momentum equals mass times velocity.  If a jumper does not move with any speed, he will not get very far if or when he reaches the take off board.  While there is importance in taking time to be still.  We are called to have an active faith.  The book of James says it well:   What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  James 2:14-17
  2. Precision is required.  A jumper practices over and over again, so he can learn where to start on the run way, how fast to run down the runway, and when to jump.  One of the keys to the long jump is jumping off the take off board as close to the sand pit without going over the take off board.  When a runner doesn’t practice, he will either go over the take over board which is referred to as a fault, or he will jump too early and fail to get the most out of his attempt.  As Christ followers, we must become a student of our faith.  It starts with God’s Word.  We must know God’s Word, so we can make the best “leap” possible.  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  Psalm 119:11
  3. Faith makes a difference.  When the jumper leaves the take off board, there is little else he can do except allow his body to fly towards the sand pit.  There are times in life where we must take a leap of faith.  We have to trust that things will work out even when we can’t see the outcome in full view.  Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

What lessons could you add to the list above?  What leaps of faith have you faced in life?  What have you learned through taking a leap of faith?