God’s Word for Today: Coach. One day of our fanatic week has to include the coach. Or coaching staff as it may. The coach of any given team is the one who most determines the success or failure of a team. Yes, there are many more factors, including the fanatics themselves, but the coach and his staff are the ones who have the most influence. They are the decision makers. They are the director of the symphony. One bad decision can cost the game. One good decision can change a whole season.
I was very fortunate growing up to play under some very good coaches. They each had their own theories and their own techniques for trying to get the best out of me. I can still name every coach I had, what year/years I played under their direction, and probably come close to telling you our win/loss record for that season. I was also blessed with one outright amazing coach. He was able to pull the ultimate best out of each and every one of us. To this day, I can remember his opening statement to us the first day of my senior year of basketball. He held true to every word he said. We had a great season that year.
I was also very fortunate to be given the opportunity to be an assistant coach for High School football, and both boys and girls High School basketball. I had visions of being head coach, but due to education choices, and the laws of the State of Nebraska, I was only allowed to be an assistant. That was a blessing in itself. Every one of the athletes who played under my direction was a gift. To watch your instruction and teaching finally get put into practice and show success is almost impossible to explain. Pride, amazing pride in each and every one of them would sum it up best.
As an assistant, just like as an athlete, I worked under some pretty good coaches. I also worked for one incredible coach. He was young and still had a lot to learn, but the direction and knowledge he had for the sports of his choice were immense. He has gone on to have a very successful career both in coaching basketball and baseball. Some people just have the gift.
As a coach, there are 3 vivid memories that stand out. The first was at the High School Sub district basketball game. Our talent level of boys that year was limited. We weren’t lucky to have extreme height. Our outside shooters were average at best. Overall, we shouldn’t have been very good. But, these boys had heart. They gave it everything they had. With the amazing head coach I mentioned earlier, and with their “can do” attitude, this team went 2 games farther into the tournament than expected. The pride I felt for this group of boys when then came on to the court brought tears to my eyes. Mr. Assistant coach had to fake wiping sweat off his brow with a towel.
Another memory was during a Reserve Football game that I was able to be the Head coach for. We were getting beat up pretty bad. We had some talent, but the boys were still young and hadn’t quite developed yet as much as the other team. During that game in two different instances, I called on players to go in. They had already given it their all. They were beat up, frustrated, and wanted to stay safe on the sideline. When I asked them to go in to the game, they actually got tears in their eyes. They were scared. I wanted right then and there to tell them they could stay safe on the sidelines. But, I could also see in those tear filled eyes, a determination and a spark of hope. They were part of a team. No matter how scared or how hurt, they were not going to quit. Pride, yes pride was immense. As much as they wanted to hide and stay safe, they still went running back onto that field. The next season, they had grown and developed more. They dominated the Football field. They were an awesome group of young men.
The third memory was between my son and I. That, I will hold to myself. I mean, being a coach and a Dad at the same time. I would only be bragging. If you have played or coached in any type of sport, I am sure you have some memories of special coaches and players too.
2Timothy 3:16-17. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Part of coaching includes all four of the verbs contained in this Scripture. Teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training. Boy, can I remember sometimes I was rebuked. But then, the great coaches would also include more teaching, correcting, and training. The not so good coaches were pretty well stuck on the rebuke part. You were always more scared of getting hollered at than you were of concerned about doing your best. Notice only one word out of the four is a negative. The other three are to lift you up and help you to excel.
Part of the Christian walk is to be both player and coach. You could consider the Church of your choice, in ministers and layman as coaches and staff. The Bible is your playbook. God is the Owner of this team. By today’s Scripture, you should know that God wrote each and every word.
Just like every Coaching staff, you have the Head Coach and then you have those who are supposed to carry out His direction. Some are very good at it, and attempt to follow Scripture and the interpretation of it in accordance with God. Others, not so much. They focus on everything you are doing wrong. Not, on what you can do right. Don’t we as Christians do the same when we are “judging” others? Wouldn’t we better serve by correcting, teaching, and training?
Today, no matter what level you consider your Christian belief and life to be, realize that the playbook is already written. Spend some time in the Bible. Just like any good athlete, you need to learn what direction God wants you to follow. You will also be preparing yourself to teach, correct, and train others. We will leave the rebuke part out. I believe that comes easy enough on its own. First, be the best player you can be for God. Then, it is your turn to help Coach…………………..