Justin experienced a watershed moment in his journey towards being Well Coached and his faith walk as he was able to reach forgiveness with his college coach, Coach Williams. After his time with Coach Williams, Justin heads back home in preparation for the final leg of his journey. Coach Petersen has arranged for Justin to travel to the Dominican Republic to meet a friend who is now working in baseball ministry full-time, Kevin. Kevin's journey is an interesting one as his call to ministry came while he still had college eligibility left. As Kevin picks Justin up from the airport, Justin asks about the end of his college career right away:
Justin agreed and they moved to Kevin’s little white truck. Wasting no time, Justin asked about the end of Kevin’s playing career. “Kevin, I’ve always wondered what caused you to stop playing. You could have played another year and then left. Why did you choose to stop playing so abruptly?”
“I appreciate the question, Justin,” Kevin replied. “It was this place. I took a visit to the D.R. during my last year playing and I felt called here. I felt called to be a servant to the church of Christ here. I rejoiced in giving up my life for the sake of Christ, and experienced this as a sheer gift to lay out the whole truth through my life here and back home. It was a sign of my commitment to the Lord.”
Justin heard the words, but couldn’t grasp the concept. He knew the idea of commitment as applied to the sports world, but this level of a life commitment was something else entirely.
Kevin continued, “American culture fosters a fear of commitment. We see it in relationships on television and movies in America. Both make light of a growing social phobia - the fear of commitment. We are presented with so many options in every facet of our lives and those choices paralyze us. There’s a simplicity here and in other less-industrialized countries. While people see America as a blessed land, and it is in many ways, it’s also curses its people with all of the choices people face daily.”
Justin started to understand, considering he was still struggling with his full commitment to continue his coaching career. He was still trying to find his purpose, and seeing Ashley hurting made this final step all the more difficult. He replied to Kevin to show engagement, “We see that bleed over into our teams now, too. We often see an athlete straddling the fence - he’s not sure if he’s ready to make the commitment out of fear. Sometimes the athlete makes a choice, but keeps looking over the fence believing the grass might be greener on the other side. Rarely do we see an athlete fully commit.”
Kevin nodded and continued, “I have been reading a book by Joe Torre, the great Yankees manager. He talks about how Derek Jeter would commit. It wasn’t ‘buy-in’ - it was commitment. There’s a difference there that is profound. ‘Buy-in’ is a lesser example of commitment, kind of what you’re talking about with some athletes. The commitment Jeter showed was above, beyond, and of the highest order, according to Torre. Ultimately, that’s what I wanted to show our Lord through my life here. Jeter was committed to the Yankees and everything they did. I’m committed to Jesus Christ and all that he is doing here in the Dominican Republic.”
If you're interested in reading more about this lesson or the other four from Well Coached, Complete Game is offering a free eBook copy of the book throughout this series. To get your free eBook copy of Well Coached, click here now!