by Ryan Krzykowski

Our family has had some pretty great sports days over the years.  I’ve seen my sons win some big games, coming through in big situations.  I’ve had the incredible opportunity to coach two of my boys on championship football teams.  One time, our oldest son (the least accomplished athlete of the four of them), played so well in a middle school football game that his teammates chanted his name on the sideline.  That was a pretty cool moment on a really good day for him.  Just typing this paragraph, a handful of fun, special days came to mind and it felt great to remember.  There have been some fantastic days.  Last Thursday was not one of them.

To be clear, there are different kinds and varying degrees of bad days.  Thursday was not a tragedy — nobody got hurt or was in any danger.  No life or death implications.  It was just a sports day.  But as sports days go, it was a tough one.  Our youngest son’s team had earned the #1 seed in the state high school baseball tournament, and hopes were sky high.  They had lost just one game during the season to that point, and were three wins away from the school’s first baseball title.  I’m not terribly interested in reliving the details, so long story short, the team took a 1-0 lead into the final inning but ended up losing 3-1.  Just like that, season over.  Individually, our son had a really tough game.  Pretty much nothing went well for him during those seven innings.  As we watched the game unfold, and the 1-run lead turned into a season ending loss, it was hard to stomach.  Not because they lost the game and the chance at the championship, although that was disappointing.  It was hard to stomach because I knew how bad those kids felt, and one of those kids is my son.

I rode home with one of my older boys — he’s 22 now and he was hurting for his brother.  As we talked, I heard him say that he cared way more about his brother being disappointed than he would have for himself.  Thinking about that comment later in the day, I texted and told him that there’s a word for caring more about others than we do about ourselves – love.  It takes love to enter into the pain of another — and it’s beautiful.  It’s how we’re designed and created to live.  So in the midst of a terrible sports day, I was blessed with the chance to encourage one of my boys, affirming his capacity to love his brother.  I was also reminded that while the outcome of a game might not really matter, the impact it has on the people involved can feel like a pretty big deal, and that I should regularly have my radar up for those who are hurting.

I began last Thursday by meeting early in the morning with a couple young coaches, going through a short Bible lesson together.  Our discussion was summarized by two ideas from chapter 8 of Paul’s letter to the Romans.  Verse 28 tells us that God works ALL things for the good of those who love Him.  I’m not a Bible scholar, but I’ve heard it said that the Greek word translated “all” means exactly that — everything.  There is nothing that happens or exists that God is not actively using for our benefit.  Verses 38-39 remind us that NOTHING can separate us from His love.  Those are two big ideas, and particularly encouraging on our tough days.

So yeah, Thursday was difficult as we watched our son and his friends get their hearts broken.  But it’s OK.  There are other, better days ahead.

Let’s Coach With Purpose…