Most who know me know I am not a competitive or athletic guy…never have been. To me sports are a waste of time…pointless. Even early on as my dad attempted to get me into sports I never responded positively to it and never was good at any particular sport. Now on my career path I interact with students who love sports and believe its important to support them even when I struggle to connect with their passion. As I have told students before, even though I don’t particularly like sports that doesn’t mean I cant celebrate that its important to you and be there in the stands cheering YOU on.
This past weekend at Spring Hill our students were involved in the broomball competition that has become a long-standing tradition at the camp. No doubt when I considered all the elements of camp the broomball competition rated pretty low on my priority list. Whether we won or lost I could have cared less. As I joked with some of my volunteer leaders, the tension was each time that we won we would have to continue on in the competition and being it was 7 degrees out and 8 am it wouldn’t bother me much if we lost. However our students wanted to win. Many of them were athletes and were excited to compete against all the other churches. So after two wins I knew I had to change my attitude and pull from some part of myself that is rarely accessed and cheer my students on. I think most of my friends and family wouldn’t have recognized me out there yelling from the sidelines and coaching the students. After 5 hours on Saturday and 3 on Sunday in single digit temps, our group ended up winning the entire broomball championship! Of course I was happy we won and saw how positive an impact it had for our students.
For me this was a good lesson on adapting your leadership to what students need in the moment. Whether or not I am an athlete doesn’t really matter, what matters is that students know regardless of what they are into, that I am into them.