The Coach

Be a great coach. Recently, the coaches of the National Championship Clemson team--Dabo Swinney, as well as most recently, Tony Bennett, from the new National Championship Virginia basketball team both profess their faith vehemently. What a comfort to see great Christian coaches.

Tony Bennett said, "I have great things in my life--my love for my wife, my love for my family, my love for coaching, my love for basketball...those are wonderful things, but when you line them up in comparison to Christ and the relationship you have with Him, with what He's done for you and with what He's given you, they don't compare. That's the greatest truth I know."

Dabo Swinney said, "We serve a big God--big, powerful, and He's real, and I know that. To experience what I've experienced is surreal, but it's comforting because I know that He is. I know He loves us. We're imperfect people, but I know God has a plan, and I just try to live my life in a way that can hopefully be an encouragement to others." He goes on to share, "I know that I'm going to meet Him someday, and he's not going to pat me on the back and tell me how many wins I had."

Coaches hold important positions in the lives of many of our young people. They can make or break an athlete or a team. We have experienced the greatness, as well as the disappointment in coaches our boys have had. They can be the difference between success and failure. Winning is easy but losing is not. It is so easy to be a good sport when you are winning but when you are losing, this is the time that valuable lessons are learned and character is formed. Self-control is vital to coaches as well as the athletes he or she trains. They will only be as good as their coach is and self-control doesn’t just have to do with coaching a sport. It has to do with character. If the team doesn’t respect the values of the coach, they are not likely to train as hard.

God reminded us in First Corinthians 9:25-27Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we are imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

We are fortunate that our own boys have experienced some good coaches. In fact, Nate's college coach pulled him up from his freshman redshirt status to play against his brother this weekend. He didn't have to do that. I'm sure Nate won't be expected to contribute a great deal on the field. Yet, his coach's understanding that influence goes far beyond the baseball diamond is refreshing and powerful. Our family will never forget Nate's coach. Not because of his wins, but because of his character, and what he is modeling for the young men he coaches.

Be a great coach--whether that is in a formal coaching role, or in the inadvertent coaching opportunities life brings to you. Let the Word of God richly dwell in you and inspire you as you inspire those whom you coach. Coach your Christianity.

Tammy Heflebower

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