Summary: This sermon deals with temptation and the fact that God doesn’t want us to experience the agony of defeat, but wants us to enjoy the thrill of victory.

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Introduction: You may not recognize the name but Vinko Bogataj, but in a few minutes those of you over the age of 35 will remember him, and those of you who are younger than that will be able to identify with him more than you might think.

On March 21st, 1970, Bogataj was competing at the World Ski Flying Championships in Oberstdorf, West Germany. It had been snowing lightly since the beginning of the competition. That had not affected the skiers through the first two rounds, but by the time Bogataj got ready for his third run, the snow had become quite heavy.

Half way down the ramp for that jump, Bogataj realized that the additional snow had made the ramp too fast making it highly unlikely that he would be able to complete the jump safely. So he attempted to lower his center of gravity and stop his jump, but instead he lost his balance completely and rocketed out of control off the end of the ramp, tumbling and flipping wildly, and crashing through a light retaining fence near a crowd of stunned spectators before coming to a halt. Even though it took your breath away to watch it, Bogataj only suffered a mild concussion from the crash.

It is likely that Vinko Bogataj’s crash would have remained obscure had a film crew from ABC’s Wide World of Sports not been there filming the event. As many of you may recall the show featured an opening narration (by host Jim McKay) over a montage of sports clips.

The phrase which many of you will recognize was this, “Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition… this is ABC’s Wide World of Sports!

The producer of the Wide World of Sports made the decision to insert the footage of Bogataj’s tremendous tumble to coincide with the words "...and the agony of defeat,” in the shows introduction.

Throughout the long history of the show, various film clips were used to illustrate the phrase "The thrill of victory..." which directly preceded the phrase “the Agony of Defeat.” Most of the time these clips were of teams celebrating their victories in the World Series, or Super Bowl, or World Cup.

But for over 20 Bogataj’s dramatic crash was the only film clip used to illustrate the "agony of defeat"


ME: Most Devastating Loss –May of 1981, I was a Senior in High School. We were playing “Christian County in the Regional Baseball Tournament – at Murray State University.

- After that game my arm wasn’t the only thing that hurt, I hurt all over.

- I felt like someone had knocked the breath out of me.

- I felt like I had let everyone on the team down.

- I felt like crying.

- I felt like a failure.

- I felt like a Loser.

WE: You know what I’m talking about. Many of you have also experienced the “Agony of Defeat.”

- Maybe you struck out with the base loaded in the bottom of the last inning.

- Maybe you missed a free throw with less than a minute to go in the game and your team ended up losing by 1 point.

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