I can still vividly remember details of certain soccer practices and games during my middle and high school years. I remember the dreaded “Brazilian warm up” that Coach Flannery would sometimes put us through to start a practice. I still remember the thrill of defeating defending state champion Miami Killian High School 1-0 when I was in 11th grade. As I reflect back over the years, I can see that I’ve learned many valuable life lessons through both the highs and lows of my experiences as a student athlete, and I wouldn’t trade my experience for any other. It’s amazing how much athletic experiences can linger in our memory, helping to shape who we are and who we become.
NSCS student athletes are encouraged by their coaches to honor God with their actions, words, and intentions during practices and games. Athletics provides students with opportunities to learn valuable character lessons in humility, grace, perseverance and even forgiveness. We believe that losing is equally as instructive as winning. Our goal is to develop the student athlete who is successful in the classroom, on the playing field, and in their families and communities, for a lifetime.
At North Shore Christian School, middle school students are encouraged to participate on one or more of our athletics teams. We structure our teams so that both beginners and students with prior experience are welcomed, encouraged, and challenged. God has created us with amazing bodies that can run, stop, jump, kick, throw, catch, and beyond. However, greater gains can be made by us all when teamwork, sportsmanship, and perseverance are added to individual athletic abilities. And even beyond these positive personal and community goals, honoring God in and through our athletics teams should be the root of our intentions of athletic competition.
I am reminded of the film Chariots of Fire, which loosely depicts the stories of runners Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. The basic plot traces how one man runs and competes entirely for self, and the other man does so for the glory of God. Liddell, standing in the rain after winning a race, speaks to a crowd:
You came to see a race today. To see someone win. It happened to be me. But I want you to do more than just watch a race. I want you to take part in it. I want to compare faith to running in a race. It’s hard. It requires concentration of will, energy of soul….If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.”
With this in mind, may our student athletes be encouraged to “run the race,” in whatever experiences God has called them to, using whatever gifts He has equipped them with.
Written by Todd McMillan, Middle School Social Studies Instructor, and Athletic Director