In many ways, sport IS life! A healthy perspective on sport, however, is just as important. If all I have “coached” is how to run faster, jump higher, kick harder, or properly field a ground ball, then I am a failure as a coach.
Dads, moms, and just plain ordinary people do heroic things every day, and no one has a parade or writes an article in a popular magazine. To a certain degree, that is something as a society we should be ashamed of.
From a very young age, I have felt that God Himself has been preparing me to be great. It is my testimony that many times I have failed to live up to God’s expectations, but he has often “coached me up.” Somehow I feel like this is God’s plan – that the feeling of preparation wasn’t just a feeling; it was a fact. And it wasn’t so much how I would react to the successes of life, but more frequently how I dealt with the failures. In fact, the closest I have ever been to God were the days that I failed as an athlete, as a person, as a father or a husband.
See, God knows we need him; we’re the ones that lose sight of that, HE does not. Keep in mind that He desires us to know Him. Case in point: it seems as though the “coaching up” that I have often felt was more intense the more I thought I had control over the outcome, rather than Him. Again, don’t misunderstand me — it wasn’t like He was punishing me; it was always more like He was coaching me through my challenges.
I think God “coaches us up” just as we need: “So you can’t catch grounders? Well then, I’m gonna hit you grounders all day long!” I believe, at least for me, that this is one of God’s promises to us! He will prepare you for the awesome gift of free will. He will take your biggest fear and confront you with it to make you better, so when the time comes we can either call on that ability to make the right choices, or live with the ramifications of the wrong ones. Perfection is not the goal. We cannot be perfect in this life. Losing sight of the fact that the only thing we have control over is the decision or the preparation (and not the outcome of the game) is hugely problematic, and many times this notion is in direct conflict with what most coaches assume as their role.
“I will stand before God knowing I have done all I can.”
Getting my athletes to have this mentality is the only job I have! Every other attribute as a coach is window dressing. You are in charge of the process to succeed! Being successful is God’s gift to those who prepare to be successful! If we can stand before him on judgment day and utter those words about sport, about love, about life, then we will be the perfect athlete, the perfect student, the perfect friend, the perfect father. With this in mind, I say with great passion:
“Coach me up, God! I’m listening!”