Visit almost any high school or college campus in the late afternoon hours of the day and you’ll notice one thing for sure; fall sports are in full swing. And I, for one, absolutely LOVE this time of year. I love it because I’m a fan. I love it because of all the great things young people can gain from the hard work, dedication, and commitment that accompany these experiences. But most importantly, I love it because of the incredible opportunities I know coaches are being given each day to impact the lives of young people in very unique and lasting ways.
It’s with this in mind, I thought I’d share a letter from my good friend Joe I recently came across. I think it’s a great reminder of not only the opportunity many of us have to impact others, but of the responsibility that comes with that opportunity. I hope you’ll be encouraged by this note from a wise janitor!
It’s hard to believe a new season is already here. Time flies by so fast. Yep, the older I get the more I realize; no matter how fast we run the race of life, time always runs just a little faster. Society may try to tell us we can keep up with time by running faster and pushing harder, but I’m convinced quite the opposite is true.You see Coach, one of the great ironies regarding time is that its’ value is most realized not while it’s running, but rather, in the moment it runs out. The moment the season ends and teammates move on in life, time has run out. The moment a son or daughter heads off to college, into marriage, or on to a new city, time has run out. Or the moment you get news of the loss of a parent, sibling or a dear friend; the reality sets in that time has truly run out.
These are the moments that open our eyes to the real value of time. In fact, these moments serve as powerful reminders that although our pursuits and achievements in life matter, relationships matter more! And truth is, the level of peace or regret we feel swirling around in our hearts in the midst of these moments will have had way more to do with the quality of our walk, than the speed of our run.
Oh I know Coach, your role demands you to run fast. And, I know your drive and ability to outrun, outwork, and even out smart your peers can lead to some great accomplishments. But in the end, when time runs out on this season…or for that matter, on any season of your life, the quality of your walk in the relationships God has you here for will matter more than anything else.
Truth is in 10, 20, even 40 years from now, many of the kids you’re coaching today will point back to you as one of the most influential leaders in their lives. And rest assured, that influence will come way more from your walk than your talk! You can tell them you care about them all you want, but what they see; you know, the heart of who you really are as a leader, will speak much louder than anything else! So I wonder Coach, what will they see?
Will they see you face frustrations with words of belief and encouragement, or sarcasm, cynicism and doubt? Will they see you face the heat of the battle with poise and confidence, or anger, frustration and fear? Will they see you modeling the right priorities with your faith, family and friends? Finally, will they see that you truly do care more about them than the outcome of a game…that your WHY really is more about others than yourself?
I believe they will see this! Because I know in your heart, you realize God has given you this time, this short season of time with these kids, for a reason; a reason that’s about way more than a game, a season or even life on this earth! So love the game Coach. Love the competition, the challenges and all the great life lessons that come with the experience. But more than anything else Coach, love the kids on this team and the time you have with them, because before you know it, this time too will run out!