Positively Focused. Confidently Competitive. Passionately Caring. Contagiously Hardworking. Every year the coaching staff takes one of these four core values, and makes it our focus for the year. Not that the we ignore the other three, but that we have an idea of what our team’s strengths and weaknesses are going to be. One of these values inevitably needs a little more attention than the others. We feel like we have had a good impression of the direction our team needs to move.
Until this year.
It was extremely tough to watch last year’s senior class graduate. They have meant so much to this program. Those five girls left an imprint on who we are. They led us on the field with their skill and athleticism, and their character defined who we are off the field. The coaches and I had a hard time envisioning our identity without these girls driving the team.
Needless to say, we had a lot of questions. Where do we go from here? Can we ever have a group as impactful as last year? Who will lead? Will the freshmen fit in? Are we going to be successful?
Those questions were answered on the mission trip this summer, and they weren’t answered by the coaching staff. I remember specifically talking to Julie, our assistant coach, midway through the week in New Orleans. Our conversation centered around how we’ve tried to create a culture of players that passionately care about each other and those around them, and who, at the same time, are extremely excited about using their God-given talents to compete in the most intense way. There is a difference between “caring” and “passionately caring”. Anybody can work hard, but can you be “contagiously hardworking”? There is a noticeable difference in a player who is confidently competitive, and a positively focused teammate can be absolutely inspiring.
Then our conversation focused on what was directly in front of us. We saw a team that was defining what our values have been, on a whole new level, without the direction of the coaches. It was flooring to sit back, literally sit back, and watch this group blossom right before our eyes. We did nothing except watch God do things that we have never been able to do. Julie and I have unsuccessfully tried for four years to do what God did in four days.
I felt like the coaching staff and the players did a good job last year embodying our core values. But then God showed us that we haven’t even touched the tip of the iceberg yet. He moved through our team on the mission trip like I have never seen before. The passion, positivity, oneness, and willingness to sacrifice self with this group has been jarring.
God has a plan for all of His people, including this team. I had trouble seeing it, because I was looking at things through the lens of my own desires. God showed me that His will is absolute, glorifying to Him, and so far beyond anything that we can design or imagine. Our machinations pale in comparison to what the creator of this world is able to do.
I was asked to write this post to convey my expectations of the season. Honestly, though, I don’t know what to expect. I have never experienced a group like this, as a player or a coach. They are wholly unique because they serve a unique God.
I can only say one thing for certain: He will be glorified this season.