Bottom of the 9th - Teaching
by Keith Wahl
(This week's Bottom of the Ninth is the fifth in a series walking readers through basics of the Christian faith integrated in the game of baseball through Francis Chan's BASIC video series - CLICK the image above to watch the episode)
Teaching is a difficult subject to tackle. We're all called to teach - to pass on what we've learned to the next generation - yet the punishment for potentially false teaching is very harsh. In today's culture, people are overloaded with information and people are running after opinions. In that context, it is vital to find out what God says through His Word so we don't lose sight of what is most important.In coaching, we've learned that most everyone, to some extent, coaches how they were coached. Often times this is almost a subliminal act in which the person coaching has no idea how much like his coach that he may sound. What if that coach wasn't coached by a good man? What if he was coached by someone who didn't believe in Jesus? Unless the coach is intentional about being different, he will repeat the same cycle that was exercised on him.
I am so thankful for two coaches for whom I played - Bill Percy and Jim Boeve. Coach Percy was my high school coach, and led the program at Mitchell High School to incredible success (including the state runner-up team of which I was a member in 1992). He's a hall-of-fame coach both high school and nationally, but it was his investment in me as a person that still lives on today. We still talk throughout the year, and I look forward to serving with him in the planning of the state high school coaches clinic on an annual basis. Coach Boeve was my college baseball coach, and he also led an exceptional program. Also a hall-of-famer, I had the opportunity to learn from a great baseball mind and statistician. He ignited a passion in me for the game-within-the-game statistics that would be all the rage with the Moneyball craze within baseball. One of the most important lessons Coach Boeve taught me was to not agree with everything that he did, but to have a good reason for doing something a different way. He didn't want to raise a cookie-cutter coach, he wanted to raise a thinking coach.
Both of these men exemplified an important principle for all coaches - coaches must be learners. The coach must crave new opportunities to learn like a newborn baby who is looking to be fed. This becomes infectious for any student seeking to learn from that coach. If a coach only relies upon his own experience in the game, and doesn't seek to learn more, his platform will be taken away. That style of coaching only seeks to feed the ego, and is not the way of Jesus. Acting like Jesus in the context of coaching harkens us to the Valor Baseball program's theme verse:
Matthew 23:12 - "Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted."
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