Dear Athlete, As the Season Ends, Know This
You are seen!
It’s postseason, and your team has made it! A long season of training and tough competition has paid off. After receiving the conference championship title, it is time to press on into tournaments. The excitement, the pressure, the pain all intensifies. The true test isn’t about your ability at this point, it’s your mind. Who are you, who does your coach want you to be, what expectations do your parents have, what are you telling yourself? What if you disappoint them all??
Here’s the thing, YOU are never a disappointment. There are many factors that can be disappointing. An athlete could have a season ending injury, and their hopes for tournament play are gone. A player might give in to temptation and make a poor decision, causing a void in the starting lineup. Or maybe you didn’t even make the varsity team, and you are on the sideline cheering the others on. YOU are not a disappointment.
To the teams at the peak of their glory: Praise be to God for the amazing strength and endurance you have been provided. “By the grace of God, I am what I am.” (1 Corinthians 15:10) “I have received God’s Spirit into my life. I can recognize the talent He has given me.” (1 Corinthians 2:12)
To the athlete with a season ending injury: Your identity stretches far beyond your ability to participate in a sport. Do not let your hurt hold you back from experiencing joy. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) I have peace with God, and He has challenged me to help others find peace with Him. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
To the player that is ineligible: Your past does not have to define who you are. You are more than the mistakes you made. “I am a new person. The old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) “I may approach God with freedoms and confidence.” (Ephesians 3:12)
To the JV player: You are seen! It may not be who you were hoping to notice you, but you have a God that searches your heart and loves you. “I have been made acceptable to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) “I am chosen, and dearly loved.”(Colossians 3:12, 1 Thessalonians 1:4)
The season ends and results are tallied. Maybe you have achieved your goals, maybe not. It is over, so now what? Were you who they expected you to be? Did you make yourself and others proud? The focus has already shifted toward the players for next season so did this one really matter? Yes, because YOU matter! You matter on and off the field.
Fight past the voices that tell you otherwise. Cling to what is true.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is TRUE, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
Amy Schafer has been a coach’s wife for almost 22 years. She never wanted to be defined as “the wife,” so for many years she fought against the ministry her husband was called into. God got ahold of her heart and they now serve as a family ministering to teens and their families. Having two teenagers, and a third child who wishes she was, they recognize the importance a coach has on shaping the identity of their player. Their life mission is to share the love of Christ in all they do, helping others find their identity in Him, including high school athletes.