Rusty Wright: NFL Coach John Harbaugh on Coronavirus Sports Coping

The coronavirus pandemic has brought global lifestyle changes, and athletes are not immune.  Personal identity, control, and security can all become scrambled in chaotic times.  Super-Bowl-winning coach John Harbaugh explains how he’s coped amid the loss of sport.

In 2013, Harbaugh led the NFL Baltimore Ravens to victory in Super Bowl XLVII.  He was named 2019 NFL coach of the year.

Athletes in Action features Harbaugh on its aptly named online video series, Delay of Game, probing sports figures’ attempts to make sense of pandemic disruption.  Many players and fans draw their identity and security from sports involvement.  With so much athletic life on hold and seasons disrupted, where is a solid foundation?

Delay of game

“This is a crazy time,” admits Harbaugh.  “I feel like God is trying to get each of our attention. …So many things that you are set in your ways about as a coach…things that you believe are so important…and all of a sudden, it’s all taken away.”  It’s forced him to rethink his priorities.

The loss has brought multiple emotions:  “At first, I was in denial, [imagining] ‘We’re going to be back, we’re going to be fine; this is going to be short lived.’  Then you start realizing that wasn’t going to be the case.  Things were going to be completely different.  Through prayer, and by faith, and by taking a deep breath, I was able to say we’ll find a different way to do it.”

Harbaugh is bolstered by Paul, one of Jesus’ followers, who wrote from prison, “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty….”  He encourages his staff to “find a way to make the most of this personally and for our team.”

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SOURCE: Assist News