Oftentimes, someone’s words can profoundly impact the decisions we make. Such was the case at the start of one of our biggest tournaments of the year, when it came to my attention that one of our players was in a different grade than what he had originally told us. This player, who was one of our smaller players, shared with me that he was in 6th grade, when in fact I later learned that he was actually in 7th.
I asked one of our coaches whether we should confront him about it or wait until after the tournament. I knew if I confronted him about it that we would need to move him to the correct team that already had too many players and leave the younger team he desired to be on, a player short. My fellow coach looked at me and said the simple words, “It’s up to you.”
As these words were spoken to me, it became very clear that there was only one choice in front of me. At that moment, I was thankful that FCA’s core value of “Integrity” is printed on so many things. With a smile, I walked up to our young player and asked him what grade he was in. He told me that although he had originally told me that he was in 6th grade, he was really in 7th grade. We made the right decision and moved him to the correct team – seizing the opportunity to demonstrate doing the thing that would honor God the most.
Our integrity can often come into question regularly as a coach and as a leader. Proverbs 22:7 states, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” I knew that the way I handled this decision would not only affect the other coaches in our program, but all the players, once they knew that we were going to make this change.
Psalm 78 describes how God takes David from tending the ewes and lambs to shepherding God’s own people, Israel. David cares for God’s people with an honest heart: “He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.” So many coaches are looking for the next great drill or offense, while the more important part of the equation is that we lead as David did, with a heart of purity. God’s integrity is our shield, and He will protect us when we are living out the values of his Word and making decisions with honesty and integrity. I am so thankful that my fellow coach had left the decision up to me, and made it very simple with his statement, “It’s up to you.”
Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ – to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.
More information can be found at FCA.org.