In my position as Brand Ambassador, I made it a priority (especially during COVID) for us to livestream all the home games. On a recent game, it occurred to me as I observed how our team reacted to every call, play, and instruction from the coaches, the true character of our players. It was very clear to me the authentic respect our players have for one another, the coaches, the referees, and the other team. Every player, all gave clear examples of how each of us should treat everyone we encounter. The Word of God says, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” Matthew 7:12. As witnesses for Christ, we should all automatically respect one another, this is where I see observational point #1: There is no substitute for authentic respect.
Point #2. Rejoice with those who rejoice. With a decent point spread, I watched the coach rotate players off the bench and into the game. There was a moment when a player scored what I believe was perhaps his first basket of the season, the entire team erupted with joy to such a level they startled me! They were rejoicing with their brother, but what I observed next was a powerful leadership principle, their rejoicing gave their team mate confidence. That player suddenly burst with energy and power. It was immediately obvious to me how much that boost from his teammates mattered to him. The Bible says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice…” Romans 12:15. The takeaway from this is obvious, obeying the command to rejoice with those who rejoice is something we should prioritize. It does make a huge difference, it is what loving, kind authentic people do. This leads me to the third point…
Point #3. Seize the moment. I have come to know some of these players, I had a few of them in my class last semester as an adjunct professor. I became aware of the hardships and the mountains they have had to climb to get where they are. First, there is the physical discipline to work out and stay in shape, the mental discipline to keep up with their studies, the spiritual discipline to keep trust God to sustain them. Each of them have a story to tell, however, the thing that impresses me is not just them overcoming obstacles, what inspired me was how they know how to live in the moment, making the most of it every second on and off the court. While I watch and produce all the livestream of the games, my conclusion as I observe their behaviors, these athletes genuinely enjoy the game, the challenge, and the opportunity they have to play DIV II ball. What many may not realize, NCCAA rules prohibit athletic scholarships. For these student athletes, this is ab0ut the love of the game, even during a global pandemic. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” Ephesians 5:16. My takeaway? Seize the moment, make good use of the time you have, even if it is only a few minutes of play in a COVID-19 season.
There was no half-hearted effort put in by these players, they all were making the most of their time. To sum it up, knowing all the disappointment brought on by cancelled games due to the pandemic, these young athletes gave me a lot to think about. God has been working in my heart lately about making the most of my time and opportunities he has given me, I believe the Holy Spirit gave me an awareness during this game. I have a new respect for these athletes, I rejoice with their wins, and I am taking their example of making the most of every day, game on and GO TIGERS!