Journal

A Conversation Between Coach Rock and Coach Hard Place

Hey Coach!
Hey Coach!
How’s your season going, man?
You know it’s not too bad my friend.
And they shook each other’s hands.

My boys have worked real hard this year.
Yep, mine have too!
Lost some seniors but have some great ones back
Excited for what they can do.

I’ll tell you man, I love the boys
But I’m having a bit of a time
With all the requests that come my way,
Sometimes morning noon and night.

Oh man Coach, you get those too?!
I thought it was only me!
I get them from a few parents,
Some players, occasionally my AD.

Yeah, it’s tough to balance all those hopes and plans for our success.
The ones that come from the community are hard but sometimes home is my test.

Oh my friend, I know that pain, when your kids sit there in bed
Refusing to sleep until you come home and your wife just needs to rest.
I do my best to let her know that they’re my priority
But in-season it’s so hard to find the time to fulfill all the competing needs.

Coach! Coach! That’s exactly what happens to me my brother!
I don’t know what to do when the requests are competing with each other.

And then one Coach, he hung his head
They both sunk into their chairs
That empty locker room became a church
They spoke their pain into the air

You know Coach, I had a player who took his life last year
I loved that kid, he grew so much but…I admit I have a fear
What if I could have done something?  What if what they said is true?
What if those words about playing time are why he isn’t here?

My goodness Coach, I’ve never lost one in that particular way
But I hear you on those competing requests, they come in most every day.

Sometimes it’s about the game, on the plays that I should call
Some say pass more and some say run, that it’s me that caused our fall.
I spend endless hours every day to do my best by these boys.
I believe I’m called to coach but it’s hard on the heart with all that noise.

Yes, the court of public opinion, it can be hard to face
It’s one of the hardest parts of the game.
But it’s the requests about the boys that really get me
Especially when they’re not the same.

Hey Coach could you play my kid?  I know he’s not very good
But it’s his senior year you know, I really hope you would.
And later that same day, underclassmen Dad stops by
Hey Coach you know it’s talent that should determine playing time right?

I had one like that this year but the connection made was tough
A Mom stopped by and talked to me, said life at home was rough.
She told me that playing the game is what kept her son off drugs
If only I would play him more maybe I could keep him from the thugs

Phew, that’s a tough one, Coach when a kid’s fate seems placed in your hands
You try to balance it all during the game while attempting to drown out the stands.

Hey Coach, I gotta’ tell you, the thing I’ve been trying to figure out
How do I keep my heart soft to love these boys while protecting it from the crowd?

I hear you Coach
That surely is a difficult thing to balance
But I’ve found one key that has helped me out
When I’m dancing between hearts and talent.

I’ve recognized when someone gives me the title of “the Coach”
That I’ve been given access to sacred space, to the things they love the most.
Their towns, their memories, their entertainment, their traditions
Their hopes, their dreams, the hearts of their children.

While hard to handle and hard to hear
I’ve found that this provides some empathy
When Mom or Dad or Grandpa
Don’t like the decisions I’ve made for Johnnie.

I have no easy answers, but at least I understand where it comes from
And that helps me when people get upset, frankly, it helps me love them.

And so the men, they bowed their heads,
They went to the Lord in prayer.

Sweet Jesus who loves us and calls us to this game
Help us to seek You when we are called out of our names.
When the requests don’t match, and we can’t meet the desires of every heart
Grant us a Coach’s wisdom to decide on who to start.

Help us most of all, Lord, to love those in our care
The boys, their parents, the community we serve
All those you have shared.

You’ve shared them with us
So that we can love them well
Protect us as we do Your work
Give us the chance to tell…
To tell a bit of Who You are
To give them a glimpse of You
To share with them Your Father’s heart
To extend Your grace as we need to.

And so as Coaches we will offer this one last dual plea
Let us love them Jesus, and may we also get a victory!