TAKE IT TO THE FIELD
Coach Dave Daubenmire
July 30, 2009
Note: My last three commentaries have elicited more responses from readers than any commentaries I have ever written. Christian Pimps, Hired Shepherds, and What Have YOU Done all seem to have touched a nerve, at least according to the volume of email. I personally read, and attempt to respond to everyone one who takes the time to write, but I have been overwhelmed in the last month. Because of my time spent on the streets of Vegas I got WAAAY behind in responding to my emails. Rather than spend all of my time trying to catch up, please accept this as a blanket response. I have read your email, taken your thoughts to heart, and will do better to respond in the future.
As you may or may not be aware I have taken on the challenge of starting a varsity football program at a Christian school new our home. Three years ago we started from scratch and on August 28 we will play the first varsity football game in the history of Fairfield Christian Academy.
Building from the ground up is painstakingly slow. Jesus warned us about the type of foundation upon which we needed to build and we have spent three years making sure that we did it right from the beginning. It will be an exciting evening when we “strap it up” for the first time in school history.
The ability to build is a gift. I love to watch men apply their craft to creating something from a thought. We recently had a small deck built onto the front of our home and as the builder explained how he would do it I had trouble envisioning the final product in my mind’s eye.
Now that it is completed, I can see what he was trying to explain to me. It is a wonderful addition to the front of our home and I am really appreciate his talent. I know which end of the hammer to hold, but that is the extent of my handyman skills.
But I can put together a team. In order to do it right it takes the proper mix of “atta baby” and “how many times do I have to tell you” if you are going to get the young fellas to play for you. Make no mistake about it, players play harder if they are properly instructed and encouraged.
Norm Emmets is my right-hand man. I don’t care what the job is; two can do it better than one. “Coach E” has labored long and hard with me putting this program together. Every Paul needs a Barnabus, and Norm and I make a great team.
Every year we select a theme for the football team…a slogan that encapsulates the goal that lies before us: Our first year at FCA the slogan was “Blazing the Trail” as we pioneered the vision. Because camaraderie is so important in the team concept we selected “Band of Brothers” as the slogan last year, hoping to emphasize to the young men the importance of sacrifice for the good of your teammates. I know it seems trite…but slogans help build vision…and where there is no vision the people perish.
So count on Coach E to articulate to our guys the central theme of our inaugural varsity season. It is the precept upon which all future teams will be established. When Coach E gave it to me I knew that it was bigger than just the FCA Knights. It is a theme for every Christian in our attempt to be all the Lord has called us to be.
TAKE IT TO THE FIELD will be the motto emblazoned across our practice jerseys. It should be written on every Christian’s heart.
Here is the premise and I pray that you take it to heart as you prepare to play your position on the Lord’s team.
For three years the young men on our team have done everything we have asked them to do. The have sacrificed countless hours in the weight room preparing their bodies for the challenge ahead. They have followed nutritional advice that we have given them because we have told them that they “are what they eat.” We worked together on issues of integrity, character, sacrifice, leadership, and accountability. It has been our goal to turn every “teachable moment” into a Spiritual lesson…one that will serve them later in life as we train “Champions for Christ.”
Those are not just words to us. We really believe that America needs some young men who are ready, willing, and able to defend the “cause of Christ” to a lost and dying world. True “Champions for Christ” will not blink in the face of Spiritual adversity, but will set their faces like flint in defense of the Christ they claim to serve. It is a daunting task we face.
But all of the preparation, all of the sacrifice, all of the “head knowledge” will be meaningless if we fail to “take it to the field.” Friday nights will be the “proof in the pudding” in regards to our foundation building and if they can’t perform it on the field (both football and life) then our efforts have been for naught. A fruitless faith is a meaningless faith.
Paul exhorted us “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” We think a little “Christian testosterone” is a good thing and we don’t think it is “Christ-like” to let the enemy win.
Our coaches are unashamed Christian men. We want our guys to know that a real man stands up for what he believes in, regardless of the consequences; That Christianity is not a popularity contest; That Jesus was a man’s man not some type and shadow of Mr. Rogers; and that the greatest expression of love that we can ever show is to “lay down our lives for our friends.”
Is it ok to say that the kids love us? That there is something about a masculine Christianity that tugs at their heart? That the same young men who will run out on the football field on Friday’s can’t wait to pick up the torch and defend an unborn baby’s right to live, or stand in front of their classmates and declare a love for their Lord and Savior, or make a life-long commitment “till death do us part” to the young woman they have saved their sexual purity for.
Yep, it is time to take it to the field.
I can only imagine the excitement in our locker-room prior to the game when we deliver a hum-dinger of a pep talk to inspire the guys. But just like a fiery sermon on Sunday, the after-glow lasts only as long as the first smash in the face from some snot-snorting 225 pound linebacker. It is at that moment that the real test of courage and commitment appears. If we fail at that moment, all that we had done up to that point was for nothing.
“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefields besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point!” Martin Luther
What was it Jesus said…”Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”
We are using the lessons of the football field to teach the lessons needed to be laborers in the Lord’s fields. It is important for Christian young men to model strong Christian men.
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
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Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
We are ready to take it to the field.
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Coach Dave Daubenmire, founder and President of Pass The Salt Ministries www.ptsalt.com and Minutemen United www.minutemenunited.org, is host of the high octane Pass The Salt radio show heard in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1999 Coach Daubenmire was sued by the ACLU for praying with his teams while coaching high school in Ohio. He now spends his energy fighting for Christian principles in the public domain.