Home Celebrities The Sporting Parable by Connor McDavid

The Sporting Parable by Connor McDavid

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his goal against the Calgary Flames during first overtime in Game Five of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome.  Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports.

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Who do you thank for a generational talent like Connor McDavid?

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His jaw-dropping game is forcing us to rethink what a hockey player can be. No one has ever run at speed like McDavid. He might be the greatest of all time.

Impressed commentators describe his play with words like “supernatural” and “glorious.” Craig Button of TSN said McDavid has “the brain power of Gretzky, the hands of Lemieux and the skating of Orr”.

As a person of faith (and as a Canadian who is compelled and civilly obligated to root for the last Canadian team standing), I thank God for a player like Connor McDavid – for imagining and creating talent like this.

Of course, McDavid worked incredibly hard to get to this level of play. However, I’m sure even he knows there’s a mystery at play in what he does – when a perfect hockey moment unfolds and he’s caught up in the flow – time slows down, vision clears, creativity sparks and a new exciting play presents itself.

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Moments like these are present – ​​another one of those intangible things that make great players great.

Of course, there are other elements that add to the mystery of a great hockey player.

In what part of the brain does a player’s instinct know where the puck is going? How is it possible that athletes’ muscles have such a good physiological memory and that their knees have such an incredible ability to twist and turn? In what part of a young gamer’s heart is the passion for the game born? How exactly does a player enter “beast mode”?

Clearly, when it comes to Connor McDavid, there’s more at stake than meets the eye – and we should all experience the source of that “more”

Centuries ago, theologian John Calvin wrote about a spiritual reality called the “sensus divinitatis” – an inner awareness and compulsion toward God, a sacred device implanted in the soul of every human being (including hockey fans and players!) God works in us as we engage with all the ordinary (and extraordinary) things in life.

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The idea is that when we indirectly experience McDavid’s gaming glory or Nathan MacKinnon’s ability to run or Igor Shesterkin’s ability to save, we are using an ability that ultimately means more.

Humans should feel the exhilaration of an acrobatic save, a perfect ribbon-to-ribbon pass, or a top corner explosion. We are made to experience the joy and deep satisfaction of a playoff victory; made to have heroes who lift us up screaming; and, made to live with a sense of hope and anticipation about the future, with a passionate joie de vivre coursing through our veins (as our city explodes with emotion), we are made to live in unified communities where everyone is on the same team and strangers. share “high fives” as we all come together in pursuit of a common goal. We were made to fully engage – and enjoy – this amazing game of life we’re all playing.

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In the context of McDavid and his long road to playoff success, we are made to see a human being dig deep, step forward and humbly carry the weight of leadership as he gives everything he has for the sake of his teammates, city, and game – as he did in game two against the Calgary Flames in the last series. His coach described the play this way: “What I saw was a leader who, when the game was in play, was prepared to be in a course of fire. . . When the goalkeeper is pulled and we are scoring a penalty, he was there for a reason. He put his body on the line for us to win. And that kind of self-sacrifice is what it takes to win at this time of year.”

That kind of self-sacrifice is what it takes to succeed in life. We should be drawn to heroes who sacrificially act in this way – to a story where the best of us risks ourselves for the sake of others.

McDavid’s gifts and abilities are an indicator of a much larger story, reminding us that sport is a microcosm of life – even the spiritual life.

And that’s a good thing – a God-given thing. I think God delights in all that is good in the game of hockey – and is glorified when we play well.

John Van locks is pastor of Marda Loop Church. He will be preaching at Connor McDavid on Sunday at 10am, live at the church and streamed live on YouTube.


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