Excerpt from the coming title: Best Season Yet: 12 Weeks to Train
It was a warm spring day in 1976 when David DeLancey stepped onto the tennis court for the third set of a college match. DeLancey, highly recruited to play soccer for Cedarville College in 1972, was at that time unknown for his tennis skills. Still, as a walk-on, he immediately won the #1 position on the team. Against all odds, he accrued a perfect record of 91 wins and zero loses. But on this particular day in May, it looked like his stellar streak was about to be undone.
His opponent from Ohio Northern University was proving problematic for DeLancey with heavy topspin on both his forehand and backhand. They split the first two sets. In the third and final set, hope was fading fast when the Cedarville player went down five games to nil. Just four points stood between an upset of gigantic proportions.
|David DeLancey (2009)|
DeLancey, silently suffering his senior year from migraines brought on by the pressure of his perfect record, had a plan. There was no time for fear or speculation about losing. No. He had but one objective: make every point count.
In peak athletic condition, David’s approach was to follow every serve and service return to the net. The undefeated’s play was furious and unrelenting, unraveling the nerves of his opponent. Ruthless net play turned the set score to 5-1. Focusing only on one point at a time, the score cards flipped to 5-2, then 5-3. Soon, as fans and teammates alike looked on, they witnessed the amazing comeback. Without a single deuce game, DeLancey handily won seven games straight to win both the set and match. His record remained unsoiled and set the stage to round out his college career with an unprecedented 101-0 record.
What was key to his success? Was it his technically correct strokes or his outstanding fitness level? Sure, that was part of it. But his motivation was not to win; it was his commitment to do whatever it took not to lose. That meant shutting out the past and future to focus only on the moment.
It all boils down to what happens in a single instant. The centurion’s servant was healed in a moment. Remember the sick woman who strained to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe? “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment (Matthew 9:23). And the greatest moment of all? The instant Christ’s death on the cross made our salvation possible.
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. (Matthew 27: 50, 51b)
Postscript: David DeLancey is the author's oldest brother, whom she both adores and draws inspiration.