Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Two letters from the Coach

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12 )

Dear player,
During the last competition I paid close attention to your activities on and off the playing field. As you know, I’m not the shouting and screaming kind of coach, but at the end of this season I want to give you my honest opinion about your participation in the games.
I just called you 'dear player', but that doesn't mean that I am happy with your performance. All other team members will also receive a personal letter from me, but these letters will be very different in tone.
I noticed that you always left the field without any injuries and with a clean football jersey. That came as no surprise, considering the fact that you barely participated in the game. You were happy just being out there on the pitch, but most of the time you were standing in an offside position or yelling at your fellow team members. But still, every time you left the field you had a confident smile on your face. Sometimes this happened after a victory, but - to my amazement - I noticed the same grin after undecided matches or losses. I don't understand or appreciate your attitude, since your self-absorption was totally misplaced. How many times did you step aside when a fierce battle was needed? How often did I have to call you from the field because you didn't play your part in the match? What have you done with all your talents? Why did you settle for a passive role in the field, and why weren’t you bothered when I substituted you during the game? Why did you ignore my directions? Why did you only play when it was for your own glory? Our team has successfully completed this competition, not because of you, but in spite of you. I am very unhappy with your performance.
The Coach

Dear player,
I have to tell you that you did a good job on the field last season. Of course I’m not the jumping and cheering kind of coach, but now that this season is finally over, I want to give you my opinion about you and your role on our team. I called you ‘dear player’ at the beginning of this letter; please take this very literally. Maybe you will be surprised by these words, but you really deserve my appreciation.
I noticed that you ended every game with bruises and a torn and muddy football jersey. Sometimes you had to miss a match due to injuries, but at the training sessions I noticed that you always want to give 100% to your task. Of course, you did make some faults every now and then, and I even remember you scoring a few own goals, but these mistakes are generously forgiven. Your faults are nothing compared to the attacks from our opponents that you helped to stop, the goals you scored and the useful assists for which you are so well known. Sometimes you came off the field with a face full of pain. But I also saw how you tried to ignore the hurt and how you smiled triumphantly each time we won a difficult game. If you only knew how much pleasure you brought me with these little smiles! And – it may sound a bit odd – I was also proud to watch you leave the pitch after an undecided match or, even, a lost game. I knew what you were thinking. It’s not about just one game; it’s about the whole competition. How often you fought courageously – even against bigger and stronger opponents! How often did I have to substitute or bench you to protect you from your own ambitions? Maybe you didn’t understand all my decisions, but I just wanted to be careful with a player of such quality and skill. Thanks to your willingness to accept leadership and to encourage your fellow team members, our common goal has been achieved. Thank you for your commitment - I am very proud of you!
The Coach

Dear Father,
It is nog because of our efforts, but only because of your son Jesus that the final victory is won. Still, you call us to fight the good fight of the faith and we want to do just that. Please help us to be disciplined and courageous members on your team. When this game is over, we want you to be very proud of us. In Jesus' name, amen!

(Thanks to Carol for editing this text!)


Carol L. Douglas said...

I'm afraid the coach might give me demerits for my current play.