In our family, there has never been a clear line between religion and pole vaulting. That quote from “A River Runs Thru It”, has always been exactly how I feel about pole vaulting and the Winder Family. Pole vaulting has never been viewed as “on the road to anywhere”, or a way to acquire something. Pole vaulting is simply a higher calling that causes an athlete or coach to be fully immersed in it, to be the best you can be. My faith in God is directly linked up with my experiences in vaulting. This relationship has helped strengthen me through the victories, the defeats, the suffering and the adulation, of a life spent competing, training, and coaching the vault.
The reality of all this is that pole vaulting in our family is about Honoring God. In my way of thinking, everything is Gods. He is the creator of all things. We belong to him. Our money, house, motorcycle and pole vaulting performance, all belong to God. So for any of us to covet our money, motorcycle, or our pole vaulting performance would be like saying, “No thanks, God… I’ve got this, and you need to stay out of this part of my life.” Not a good idea. So our path is to honor God through our daily walk of the process of pole vaulting, and everything else for that matter.
The process is what you have control over and the only thing that can lead to satisfaction on the other side of performance outcome, regardless of the performance outcome. Any time we’ve moved off that path, we’ve move away from the process of becoming the best we can be, and closer to a part of vaulting that is less appealing and desirable. There is a lower calling side of vaulting that can cause a person to start focusing on outcomes and lose sight of how you get to outcomes. The higher calling in vaulting is to focus on the daily process of maintaining a spirit of expectancy and heart full of love for the processes involved in the execution of a vault, and the training involved to develop that execution. The higher calling is a choice we have daily.
If you choose the lower calling path of the process of pole vaulting, you start down a dark and slippery slope of frustration, and most likely a major setback that can take a long time to work thru. This path only leads to anger, frustration, injury, and regret. The higher calling, process is where the love for pole vaulting lives.
The higher calling requires Faith in God, and leaning on God’s word. So, reading God’s word and understanding scripture is a big part of the higher calling, in our family. That process is why you love the sport, and why we put in the time, and discipline necessary to build and maintain a pole vaulting career over the course of several years. Following the higher calling path of immersion in the process of vaulting can make you a better vaulter, but more importantly, it can lead you down a path of becoming a better man, husband, father and son.