A friend and fellow pastor, Anthony Busic, died this week after a long struggle with cancer. Anthony served Chestnut Hill UMC on this district. Several years ago, too sick to continue, I helped him file for his disability. Yesterday, I attended his funeral.

A lot of wonderful praises were given in his name but here are just one or two of my memories.

Anthony was

  • easy going about his own struggles and trials… he was always easy to talk to and considerate of others.
  • but he was passionate about his family and friends… Anthony truly loved his wife and children and treasured his friends.
  • his faith in God… Anthony was always reading a new book, trying a new program or attending a new class.
  • his chosen calling as a pastor… Anthony preached at a church the day before he died and loved the experience.
  • his sports… especially any teams involving his children, the Washington Redskins or the Virginia Tech Hokies.
  • interacting with his friends on “Facebook.” Anthony was constantly posting even in his weakened state.

One thing, I personally think Anthony would miss most this week would be the 2012 Olympics. He would have watched every minute either on TV or live-streamed on his computer. He would be filling his “Facebook” page with often controversial commentary and we would all enjoy either “Liking” or commenting or just telling him… “You’re crazy!”

I am going to miss my friend.

But in Anthony’s honor, I found an Olympic illustration we can all apply to sports, business, everyday life or to strengthen our faith.

Mike Krzyzewski is well known as the head coach of the Duke “Blue Devils” Basketball team. Winner of several national championships and selected for more NCAA tournaments than I can count, Coach K has consistently produced winning teams.

Coach K. is also head coach of the USA Basketball team competing in the Olympics. They won the gold medal in the last Olympics and are the favorites to win it again. Coach wrote about winning the last Olympics: “The Gold Standard: Building a World-Class Team.” He challenged the basketball team to draw up a covenant entitled: “Gold Standards.” So, the following is actually a compilation of what the players themselves believed would be necessary to win.

“Gold Standards: What we do all the time and what we hold each other accountable for.”

  1. No Excuses – We have what it takes to win.
  2. Great Defense – This is the key to winning the gold. We do the dirty work.
  3. Communication – We look each other in the eye. We tell each other the truth.
  4. Trust – We believe in each other.
  5. Collective Responsibility – We are committed to each other. We win together.
  6. Care – We have each other’s backs. We give aid to a teammate.
  7. Respect – We respect each other and our opponents. We’re always on time. We’re always prepared.
  8. Intelligence – We take good shots. We’re aware of team fouls. We know the scouting report.
  9. Poise – We show no weakness.
  10. Flexibility – We can handle any situation. We don’t complain.
  11. Unselfishness – We’re connected. We make the extra pass. Our value is not measured in playing time.
  12. Aggressiveness – We play hard every possession.
  13. Enthusiasm – This is fun.
  14. Performance – We’re hungry. We have no bad practices.
  15. Pride – We are the best team in the world and we represent the best country.

Basketball super fan or totally non-sport oriented, you have to admire the “Gold Standard.” The advice is practical yet challenging and easily applicable to our daily lives.

Gold Medal Challenge: How could you take these 15 “Gold Standards” and apply them to your life?

The Apostle Paul wrote about his own “Gold Standards” in a letter to the Corinthians.

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

What are Paul’s Gold Standards?

  1. Everyone runs but only one person gets the prize. So run to win!… Take your faith and your walk with God seriously.
  2. All athletes are disciplined in their training… We can be disciplined in our walk with Christ.
  3. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize… What can match the heavenly promise of Jesus?
  4. So I run with purpose in every step… There is an important purpose for our existence. We are called to be passionate.
  5. I am not just shadowboxing… This is a serious calling. More important than anything else we will ever attempt.
  6. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should… We should discipline our spiritual relationship with God.
  7. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified… As servants of Christ we can all do better!

Gold standards apply on the basketball court, in school, in business and especially in our walk with God.

Thanks Coach K for providing Gold standards and hopefully another gold medal team.
Thanks Paul for providing a spiritual set of gold standards.
And a special thanks to Anthony Busic for witnessing your own gold standard.