You may have seen/hear it while watching a football game, or maybe during a track meet. Throughout all sports there’s a new symbolic reference which is helping athletes to remember who they’re playing for. It’s not for the thousands of fans, the multitudes of media coverage or the bodacious appeal of a title, it’s none of the aforementioned. Ao1 is an acronym standing for Audience Of One.
Huh? Audience of one?
Ao1 derives from the Biblical mindset of recognizing God and all of HIS glory. It derails the perception that as athletes, we are the ones who are responsible for our success, abilities, and any fortune we acquire. It places the common mindset and literally gives it a face lift of humility. How so?
Anything we can do and achieve is through the grace of our lord, for without Him we are nothing, not even a thought. As a result of the Ao1 mindset Christian-athletes are challenged to keep their eye’s on the prize – recognizing God and all of His glory.
A friend of mine made a profound statement she was told by her mentors form her high school years:
“You can’t ‘give’ glory to God because everything derives from Him and is His. You simply can’t give Him something that already belongs to Him.”
I digress. I couldn’t agree with it more. I think as a Christian-athlete we’re all guilty at some point or other when we say “I give the glory to God,” sure we might mean it with the best intentions, but it’s a Biblically flawed statement. God is defined by His graciously loving nature while that we were still sinners, His son Jesus died for us (Romans 5:8). This verse also reflects the relationship we have/can have if you haven’t committed. We offer nothing, because nothing is ours, but all His. Despite knowing that, God loves us so much that He would take on human form to save us from our self inflicted predicament: If there were a better example of love I’m sure we would’ve known by now.
Ao1 is using our abilities and drive to distinguish God and all of His glory. Here’s a unique example I bore witness to at the Ultimate Training Camp in June of 2013.
Take a look at this following photo and what do you see?Many will distinguish a brilliantly crafted painting by Vincent Van Gogh. When asked the question, “how did the paint create such an image” people get lost in the rhetoric of the question simply because the paint isn’t responsible for the image, nor is the paintbrush; It’s the unseen artist who mindfully crafted the painting with the paint and brush. Sports are no different.
Look at the image below, what do you see?
Again, this image is known by many. A decisive moment when Michael Jordan leaps over his opponent for a slam dunk. Michael Jordan and his discombobulated opponent are the “painting” When asked, “How can Micael Jordan literally jump over somebody to score,” the consensus is to attribute the impressive feature to Jordan. Others might say it’s because of his shoes, or some might say because his opponent isn’t really giving opposition; we all know you can’t play defense running the same way as the offense (unless you’re the Green Bay Packers). There’s contradiction in giving Jordan or his ballin’ shoes the credit, it’s like saying painting can draw itself.
When we see a masterpiece we attribute the creator, inventor, the master of the piece for the job well done. Once again sports are no different and that’s what Ao1 represents. We and our abilities are a complete masterpiece derived from the master creator, not from our trendy gear, or relentless hours in a gym. Our hours in a gym are simple our acceptance of what God has given us and our desire to see what polish gem lies under our un-honed abilities.
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
Living for an Audience of One