FROM A COACH WHO PLAYED FOR SOMEONE WHO COACHED/PLAYED FOR FROSTY
We’ve never met personally, but in spiritual terms, consider me one of your many “grandkids” through Kess:)
Thank you not only for how you ran your team and wrote your books – both of which have been an inspiration – but thank you also for reproducing through others who have gone out and continued to minister in the same spirit in which you ministered to them.
I didn’t get to play for either you or Kess, but I got to coach under Kess at Greenville College for a year, and what I realize is that God has blessed you and those you have touched with an extra supply of energy that lifts many up to a new level as they seek God’s face through work and play.
Many of us have studied your books, we’ve learned from how you coached (recently I asked Kess to track down the most recent national championship video just so I could study some of your methods from a distance and use it to encourage our gladiators here), we’ve stolen ideas for post-games, rainbow signs, atta-ways, and on and on.
But when things break down and some of the joy is stolen by drudgery or baser motives, the most uplifting thing is that I saw Jesus in Kess. It is an encouragement to know that he saw the same in you and was encouraged to make that spirit his own, even in the context of a crazy game!
In the tense moments, when we run out of Xs and Os, and answers aren’t coming fast enough, truly showing the spirit of Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide interactions with the athletes in the moment when not even the next step is clear, that is what they will remember and desire to replicate.
I’m currently diving into a crazy rebuilding project for our team which has not known alot of wins lately. Studying technique and schemes has often given way to building belief, showing how to appreciate each experience as a gift from God, modeling how to truly serve. When the progress doesn’t come fast enough to meet expectations and second-guessing comes, and near-depression with it, the things that come to mind are not more techniques, but rather flashes of Kess crawling frantically through the soy beans calling out to God to help us find our lost footballs (who prays over everything they do?). Kess leaping off the scaffolding with his megaphone, grinding practice to a halt and interrupting skill time to interject life. The shock on peoples’ face when Kess interrupts his own post-game prayer to tell us some big news or let us know something struck him as special (who would dare do such a thing?). I have very little trouble imagining you doing any or all of those, and even if you didn’t, I know the same spirit was there!
The spirit that stokes the flames back up when hands hang heavy.
The spirit that says “holy-moly will you look at how beautiful this rain is!”
The spirit that injects life into those who have known only drudgery and death.
When things get heavy, trying to remember techniques and methods give way to taking on that spirit of God-given joyfulness and allow Him to innovate as we go, building closer friendships, learning what it is to truly not worry about tomorrow.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of Power, and of Love, and of a Sound Mind
II Tim 1:7
I know You’ll be humble about it and say you were just doing your job and “just plowing fields,” and I know you’re not the only one seeking God and seeking to spread his joy and love. In fact, I’m superbly blessed to have had family and a few friends with similar energy and joy. But in the end, it’s still worth thanking you for what you allow God to do through you. Especially since not many people are as fortunate to have both fathers who love them and friends who supply energy and joy. Thank you, then, for leaving your hands and mind wide open for God to drive so many blessings through to so many others.
I pray that God gives you the satisfaction of knowing that, in spite of the limitations of our bodies and minds, He has multiplied HIMSELF to many through you.
Thank you for inviting God into every situation and making it the BIG TIME for others wherever you go!