I’m a terrible athlete.
I played a season of soccer when I was 13. We were called the Tigers, an aggressive name which only added to the irony of our shameful season and fuelled the teasing of our opponents.
I was a defender, standing at the end of the field in my bright orange knee high socks every Saturday morning, squinting my eyes closed in some sort of strange self defense mechanism every time a star player came running at me with the ball, hoping I’d somehow defend the goal and escape injury.
I didn’t succeed at either (presuming you agree that having the wind knocked out of you constitutes an injury).
We ended the season with seven losses and a tie.
So how was it then that 10 years later I found myself in a giant grass field, clutching a ball covered in black and white pentagons, staring at a group of teenagers who wanted to play soccer… With me?
Granted, they were clueless about my orange socks.
But still. Why were they here? Really?
I learned very quickly that young people – amidst their awkwardness and insecurities – have a deep desire for relationship. And for many, a game of sport is a safe outlet to find that.
I remember hearing growing up – “It’s not about whether you win or lose. It’s how you play the game.”
For a competitive person like me, that sounds like a bit of a cop-out. (And before you question how such a poor athlete could possibly be competitive now let me just say I will OWN you in Dutch Blitz. Truly. I’ve never lost…)
Seriously though – it is about whether you win or lose. We have multi billion dollar sports industries reminding us of that constantly.
But it also is about how you play the game. And not just because how you play the game determines whether you win – but because how you play a game matters to people.
Those teenagers played soccer with a girl who couldn’t kick straight if her life depended on it… Because they knew I thought they were champions… Because they could tell me what was happening at home… Because they walked away knowing a little bit more of Gods heart for them.
We are starting our Sports Discipleship Training School in April. You’ll be relieved to know I won’t be leading it. But you’d better believe I’ll be there sharing stories like this one. There are too many teenagers out there craving mentorship and friendship and input and value to let this
opportunity pass me by.
If you want to come join us use Sport to make a serious impact in the lives of teenagers, or hear more embarrassing stories from me, get in touch with my friend Matt. He’s one of
those Sports geniuses. He even played football in Texas. Doesn’t get more genuine than that. They’ll get you into the team so you can play your game well.
There’s about 13,000 teenagers here in North Queensland waiting for you.
Play your game well do our Discipleship Training School