I cannot term myself a dyed-in-the-wool sports enthusiast. However, I have staunchly followed sports from the time I learnt to giggle and grin. I think at one time I played number one in the local football team (i mean a hamlet team) while still in lower primary school.
I already was a follower of AFC Leopards while in my mid primary days. There were other local football clubs such as Rivatex, Shabana, Kenya Breweries, Gor Mahia and Bandari. This is how I came to know local stars such as Allan Thigo, Peter Dawo, JJ Masiga, Mohamed Abbas, the veteran Joe Kadenge, among others.
I also remember the late Harambee Stars tactician Reinhard Fabisch who at one point was a darling of Kenyan football fans and fanatics.
The international names that hypnotised our imaginations like an enchantment included Diego Armando Maradona, Gabriel Batistuta, and the Cameroonian playmaker Rodger Millah.
Sporting universe inebriated my system and it was time to explore fascinating ridges and rifts of motorsport. The first encounter took place at the time I was in lower primary school. It was the legendary Safari Rally, which is now a pale shadow of its former self. The now-famous Dakar Rally was for amateurs. Safari Rally was for hardened rally drivers. Who does not remember Dereva Shujaa wa Kenya Patrick Njiru with the Subaru Team, Ian Duncan with the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, the late Collin McRae with his Subaru Impreza WRX STI, the late Richard Burns with his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Alastair Cavenagh, Carlos Sainz and his teammate Juha Kankkunen in Toyota Celica GT-4?
One of the hallmarks of boyhood in primary school was respect from peers. Two conditions were to be met before you could qualify for this respect: You were either to be a very bright kid in class or a hard puncher. By a hard puncher, I mean that you could beat your agemates to a pulp in fist combat. There used to be a spur-of-the-moment boxing match every day – from standard one to standard five. It appears that we matured as we entered standard six. It was as simple as this: you grab my pen by force, I follow you, you slap me and throw it out of the classroom. That was an adequate provocation to elicit a hugger-mugger, and we would go hammer and tongs at each other, just to prove who was the toughest hammer in the toolbox. It was meant to settle the beef and earn, not a WBC, IBF, WBA or unify the titles, but respect. The matches used to take place late in the afternoon and early in the evening after school. Can you imagine these are standard two kids!
The venue of the touted Pay Per View match would neither be The Madison Square Garden nor MGM Grand Las Vegas but a road pavement. The fans and fanatics would-be classmates. They will call you Mike ‘Iron’ Tyson and declare their unswerving support in earnest. Then they would separate you only when you had been beaten black and blue.
That is how legends stuff were, and the only name we knew in boxing fraternity was that of Mike Iron Tyson. I am reliably informed that he is preparing for a comeback – which will be a charity match. I remember reading an article in the Local Daily about an impending fight between him and Peter McNeeley, the five hundred million dollars he made throughout his career and the 21 million dollars he made in two minutes when he floored Michael Spinks. And now goes a broke Mike!
There is a difference between being a conqueror and being More than a Conqueror. I have been trying to understand the difference between the two, and Mike Tyson has helped me understand the difference. Thank you, Baddest Man, on the Planet!
Time lapsed as fast as school holidays and I slammed into another sporty playmate called Cricket. Daily Nation and East African Standard had colourful images of India versus Pakistan duels, Kenya’s Steve Tikolo and Maurice Odumbe.
Coming in a marathon after cricket was Athletics. Names such as Daniel Komen, Paul Tergat, Maria Mutola, Tegla Loroupe, and Catherine Ndereba got etched in our mind.
These are some of the sports and sportsmen who towered like Lamu coconut tree and painted our past years in glitz. Therefore when we speak of conquering – in sports – names such as Carlos Sainz, Diego Maradona, and Daniel Komen dot the almost charred history books. Peter Dawo, Allan Thigo, Ken Kenyatta, Steve Tikolo, Tiger Woods and of course Mike Tyson – before he bit off Evander Holyfield’s ear – grace my memory.
These are conquerors. We have our modern-day conquerors and I am pretty sure we cannot exhaust the list here.
Probably these are the men and women who would be considered some of the greatest in the sporting arena.
A conqueror through Christ.
The Bible in Romans 8:37 tells us that we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. A conqueror is a person who decimates his or her enemies and expands his or her sphere of influence considerably. For example, we can say Alexander the Great was a conqueror; Nebuchadnezzar II was a conqueror; Augustus Caesar was a conqueror; Leonidas of Greece was a conqueror and Hannibal of Carthage too. But there is one thing we must always remember, that these guys too, were victims of conquests. They lost it to a stronger opponent – either a human figure or death. This is another illustration that taught me the difference between a conqueror and a more-than-a-conqueror.
According to the Holy Writ, Christians are more than conquerors through Christ because not only do we conquer trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and sword, but also death. Death, which is the equalizer enemy, is no more a threat to Christians. Death was rendered powerless by the vicarious and yet victorious death of Jesus at the Cross of Calvary. This is the reason you are More Than a Conqueror.
Many can conquer famine, sword and other stuff. Yet these conquests prove Pyrrhic victory; they leave behind scarred souls, weakened, bitter and separated from the Love of God. The story changes for the More Than Conquerors, for these things cannot separate them from the love of God. Our ability to conquer that which conquers others – death – is found in Jesus Christ alone.
How do Conquerors Live?
1. They sit down to learn as they train their focus on the Lord Jesus – Luke 10:39, Hebrews 12:1-2
2. They stand their ground and remain unshaken even in horrid storms and torrid sunstrokes – Matthew 7:24 – 27
3. They walk with Jesus daily – Matthew 9:9
4. They run the good race – 2nd Timothy 4:7
5. They fly like an eagle – Isaiah 40:31
6. They sit, stand, walk, run and finally fly.
What do you think dear friend?