For many of us, especially my friends and colleagues in the USA, a new season of sport is about to begin. The start of a new school year brings with it a new fall sports schedule and the preseason practices that precede it. I would like to recommend some simple matters that may help you be fully prepared as a new season approaches.
· Memorize the team roster and pray for each one. Ask the coach or an office person for the team roster, take the time and effort to memorize the names and numbers. Match those with their faces and you’re on the way to building relationships.
· Meet with the head coach to discuss his or her points of emphasis for your work together. Ask about specific ways you can serve the coaches and the players. Ask for some boundaries for when and where it is most appropriate for you to be present, and maybe when and where your presence is not appropriate. It’s better to discover these ahead of time than through the discomfort of embarrassment or confrontation. Ask the coach how you may pray for him/her, the staff, and the players.
· Attend as many preseason practices as you can. You can observe the coaches and how they coach. You can observe the players and perceive many things about their attitudes, approach to work, the team’s cohesion, etc… This is also the best place to work on roster memorization as you can see numbers, faces, and match them to the players’ names. This is also the perfect environment for prayers of intercession as you think about each player and coach. Pray for them and for God’s purposes to be accomplished in each one.
· Above all, use the preseason to build relationships. Greet everyone you can and see who responds well. Pursue those warmest responses first, ask good questions, serve, and communicate loving respect.
To occupy yourself with these four activities, especially in the preseason weeks, is of greatest importance. Invest some time, some inconvenience, and some sweat in wise preparation. It will pay off richly in the ensuing weeks and months.