by Ryan Krzykowski
After more than five months away, last week I reported to work at the high school where I teach Math. As I arrived, hundreds of young athletes were finishing up their morning workouts. With all the face coverings it was a very 2020 scene, but aside from that it could have been any year. These kids have worked hard all summer to get ready to play this fall, just like any other year. But they’ve been on this crazy roller coaster. They’ve felt the burden of seeing their seasons look likely one day, and improbable the next. It’s indicative of just how weird things are out there right now — 2020, without a doubt the strangest time I’ve ever experienced.
We talk all the time at CFC about how sports can and should be used as a tool to change lives. How training as an athlete and being part of a team can help individuals grow and develop in a variety of ways that can make a positive difference. And how the leadership and guidance provided by well-trained, loving coaches is often the most significant factor as to whether or not that process happens well.
If all that is true in “normal” times, how much more true could it be today? We have kids who understandably want to play. We have parents who also want their kids to play — for all kinds of reasons. We have some colleges shutting down sports for the fall, while others commit to moving forward. We have coaches who want to work with kids. We also have coaches who fear the future and are wondering what the current uncertainty could mean down the road. Will everything go back the way it was? Will my job be there? Will they keep paying me to coach while we wait? It’s pretty tough to provide the type of leadership and guidance we want to while all those questions are hanging there.
Athletes at points of transition have similar questions. For the high school upperclassman, what does all this mean for recruiting? For the pro prospect, especially the fringe prospect, as drafts, camps and minor leagues are impacted, will these systems and the opportunities they afford that have been largely taken for granted, will all that resume again at some point? If so, when? If not, what will take its place? The list of questions is never ending, and with those questions come a powerful sense of discomfort and uneasiness.
So yes, all this is extremely difficult. This is chaotic. It just doesn’t feel good. I know for me personally, I have a million questions that no one can answer. It’s just so weird. I don’t feel right — the world doesn’t feel right.
We coaches talk often of controlling the controllables. It’s hard to know what those controllables even are right now. But a few days ago, I read this passage:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
These words were written many centuries ago, but they have meaning and power today as well. And I can do what it says here. I can bring all this to our God. I can trust Him to provide an incomprehensible peace that will guard my heart and mind. It’s still weird out there, no doubt. But God’s peace is our greatest hope, and really our only hope.
Let’s Coach With Purpose.