Eye discipline

In football, there are two fundamental defensive schemes for defending the pass (with thousands of modifications, but we’re going to keep things simple). The first is zone defense, where the defenders drop to areas on the field and defend the receiver in their zone. The second is man-to-man, where each defender guards one man and follows him wherever he goes.

In man-to-man defense, the technique is to watch your receiver, run fast enough to stay next to him, and attack his hands when he attempts to catch the ball (think of giving the receiver a high five while he’s trying to catch). The best way to get beat while playing man defense is to look at the quarterback, rather than the receiver. When you look at the quarterback, you lose sight of the receiver and, generally, a gap develops. Coaches sometimes use the phrase “you must have eye discipline” to remind the defensive player to watch the receiver and not the quarterback. Getting beat regularly is a ticket to the bench.

Let’s now take a look at the book of Ezra and another example of eye discipline that may be a little more relevant to your daily life. In the book of Ezra, the Israelites are preparing to return to Jerusalem after exile in Babylon. In chapter 3, the Israelites have begun rebuilding the Lord’s temple. Verses 11-13 say:

And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.

We see two responses to the same event. Some of the people shouted loud exclamations of praise, but others were crying. The difference is their “eye discipline”. Those who were crying were looking in the past. Those who were shouting for joy were celebrating the current day. It’s interesting that the two could not be distinguished from far away. Both made a lot of noise.

Where are your eyes? Are you seeing God’s blessing for today (you woke up, right)? Or are you looking at disappointments from the past? Your celebration today can silence the voices of yesterday if you use eye discipline. Coach Tony says, “You must have eye discipline or you will get beat!”

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About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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