Friday, November 28, 2008

The Sounds of Sport

I love the sounds of sport. There are powerful echoes in my mind from decades of competition and playing my heart out.
I love the sound of….
· the crack of a baseball from a wooden bat, whistling into the outfield grass and thumping off the wall.
· the loud explosion from my racquetball racquet as it crushes the blue ball into the corner.
· the swish of a basketball as it drops through the nylon twine of the net.
· the crashing thud of shoulder pads and helmets as a linebacker collides with a running back in the A gap.
· the stillness of pre-game locker rooms as the players and coaches prepare for competition.
· the murmurs of a home crowd after their team has committed a game changing turnover. Especially if I’m with the visiting team.
· the off-key, lung straining, joyous singing of the team’s fight song in celebration of a hard fought victory.
· the endless string of clichés emanating from the dugout on a sunny afternoon at the baseball park.
I love these sounds because they are full of life and energy. As we play our hearts out, these sounds ring in our ears and carve deep memories in our souls. Let’s compete and listen to the sounds of life.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ministry with Coaches

Below are some notes from last week’s Serving the People of Sport Council meetings in Orlando Florida. These are some notes related to ministry with coaches. Check out the web site at

Ministry Ideas –
Develop relationships with them through:
· Visiting them at practices and/or in their offices.
· Attend their coaching conferences and conventions and serving them while there.
· Speaking with them at competitions, camps or tournaments.
· Hosting or attending a coaching clinic.
· Host a performance enhancement camp or clinic and invite area coaches to attend.
· Purchase and give books to them re: coaching, leadership, etc.
· Network sports equipment and other resources to their teams.
· Hold a Coaches and Parents meeting during a sport camp to help the parents learn about the game and to become familiar with the coaching staff.
· Personally mentor a coach re: a part of his or her life which the coach believes needs attention.
· Be a friend, confidant and sounding board for the coach.
· Host a Coach’s evening (social event with a brief talk) at a tournament.
· Host a Coaches and Spouses Appreciation event to honor area coaches and their spouses.
· Support the coach’s family – spouse and children.
· Help develop a support team for those who also carry lots of administrative duties.
· Help develop recognition for what they do as ministry and as mission within their church and local churches.
Challenges – Timing (on-season, off-season, vacations…) and resources (physical and financial).

Network Coaches –
Invite coaches from other countries to train in your city or with your team.
Send coaches to other regions of the world. They will need these qualities:
. Technical ability and a holistic approach to sport and faith
· Retired coaches are ideal for long-term assignments (1 month to 1 year).
· Active coaches are ideal for short-term assignments (1 week to 1 month).
· Get coaches together for coaching development in schools or universities.
· Challenges – Timing (on-season, off-season, vacations…) and finding the right people for each situation.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Notes from Adrian Despres

This week’s notes come from Adrian Despres, a chaplain at the University of South Carolina in the USA.

At the University of South Carolina, I teach our Chaplains that there are four Commandments of Chaplaincy. Here they are:

Commandment 1. Never Coach! I played in college. I know football, but the coach has probably forgotten more than I know. Coaches do not want us coaching.

Commandment 2. Never get in the way. Do not talk to players at practice if there is the slightest chance that a coach wants them paying attention. Talk to them at breaks and after practice.

Commandment 3. Never be a fan. We are allowed to cheer a little and encourage, but fans yell at the guys when things are not going well and fans even yell at the refs!!!! NEVER!!

Commandment 4. NEVER deal with the media. The media will twist just about everything we say. Like the guy in Florida who had the headlines in USA Today saying all Jews are going to Hell. He was probably misquoted, but the next week of articles asked the question, "Should sports have Chaplains after all?" USA Today said NO! The ACLU is looking for us and they find us in the paper!!!! We do not want to get our coaches sued.

So as nice as it would be to have our pictures in the paper (Stroke our pride), do not do it - EVER.

Adrian Despres
Vice President Kingdom Building Ministries
Itinerant Evangelist
Chaplain USC Football

Friday, November 7, 2008


The Jags team chaplain on faith in the locker room.
by Anthony Johnson, Chaplain for the Jags (As told to Anna K. Clemmons)
Preston Mack
1. FAITH COVERS THE WHOLE FIELD. "Each team has a chaplain. A degree, but not seminary, is required to land the job. I played in the NFL for 11 years, and when I started this job in 2003, I was one of only three former players serving, but the number has nearly doubled. My focus is biblical, but I make it inclusive. No matter what a player's faith, I'll talk to him. And I'm not afraid to engage with players who are atheist or agnostic. Those can be great talks, too."2. PART OF THE JOB IS CLERICAL … "We hold chapel during camp and the night before a game; as many as 35 players attend. We're also available for pastoral care—baptisms, wedding preparations, deaths—and we lead a variety of Bible studies: There's a coaches' study group; my wife leads a wives' study; and in some years, we've had a couples' study. We also have one for the front office that continues in the off-season."
3. … AND PART IS PERSONAL."A lot of what I do is one-on-one counseling. Most questions are about juggling life as a Christian and as a player, but we talk about anything. One guy recently asked about how to resolve conflicts in his marriage. I wouldn't say infidelity comes up a lot, but enough. These young men may wind up in situations deemed illegal or inappropriate. I try to help them understand how that would affect them and their loved ones."
4. PERSPECTIVE HELPS."I don't discourage players from praying for wins. But I do stress that if God doesn't answer that prayer, it doesn't say anything about His purpose for the guy."
5. WE'RE A BARGAIN."None of us are paid by the teams. Some, like me, are on staff with Athletes in Action, a global sports ministry, or the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Others are local chaplains who get paid by their parish. The Jags do pay for my travel and give me an office."
6. I HAVE A GAME FACE TOO."I'm on the sideline on Sunday. I offer some encouragement, but mostly I stay out of the way. I know what it's like to be focused on the field."