Straight for the Goal

In the second period of game 6 of the 2003 Stanley Cup final, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks were winning 3-1. With 13:44 remaining in the second period, Anaheim team captain Paul Kariya skated across center ice near the New Jersey blue line, getting off a pass just before being slammed by the Devils’ team captain, Scott Stevens. Kariya lay motionless on the ice for several seconds. My mind was filled with images of passed games where Stevens hit an opposing player hard enough to take the player out of the game.

A minute later, Kariya was escorted off the ice. He was conscious, but obviously shaken. It appeared Scott Stevens had once again knocked an opposing player out of the game. The announcers commented on the doubtful return of Kariya, and I, too, doubted he would return.

Four minutes and forty-one seconds later, Kariya was back on the ice. Not only did he return, but in his first shift, he rocketed the puck passed the Devils' goaltender, Martin Brodeur, to score the Duck’s fourth goal. Anaheim went on to win the game 5-2.

Paul Kariya showed the sort of determination and dedication that separates success from failure. He could have stayed out of the game, but getting back on the ice was a big boost for his teammates. As a leader, he showed both physical and mental toughness.

Sometimes, life knocks us down. We get crossed-checked into the boards of life and the wind gets knocked out of us. We lie there on the ice and wonder whether we should get back up. That’s where the Devil wants us, flat on our backs on the ice. This is when we need motivation, a mental and spiritual toughness about us. Rather than lying there on the ice of life, self-pitying, broken and beaten, we need to get motivated and get tough.

The Apostle Paul gives us a good reason for motivation in Philippians 3:14: “So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God's call through Christ Jesus to the life above.” We must remember that the goal for which we struggle is greater than having our name written on Lord Stanley’s cup — it is having our name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. When life knocks you to the ice, remember what it is that you are fighting for — eternal life in heaven. Get up, shake it off, and skate straight for the goal.

Scripture taken from the Good News Translation - Second Edition, Copyright ©1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.

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© copyright 2003 E. E. Perry