What does being an athlete and being a Christian have in common?
Well, we at Veritas believe the answer is - EVERYTHING!
The word of God tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:31 that the mandate for the Christian is "whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God." We, at Veritas, believe that the phrase "whatever you do" and the word "all" are all encompassing and also include the playing of sports. We believe that all of life is to be seen as an act of worship to our God- Romans 12:1. Consequently, we believe that God invites us to look at athletics as yet another avenue in which we can glorify God and please Him in our lives. We are convinced that the duty of a Christian athlete is to think critically and deeply about how they integrate their faith with how they play the game. For the Christian athlete, we believe that one's attitude, motives, determination, commitment, work ethic, etc., all come under a unique perspective that's distinctly Christ-focused. Our philosophy is best captured by the letters "TRP" which stand for:
Total Release Performance
As we're about to go out on the field and huddle up for the last time as a team, the last thing heard by all is a strong reminder that when we walk out on that field, we're to totally release ourselves in our performance to the glory of God.
If we do that, then we're winners in His sight, no matter what the score at the end of the match. Here again, and different from the world's view, we define winning not simply with what the score is at the end of the game, but how we played the game and whether we maximized our skills, motives, attitudes, and abilities and played to the best of our ability for God's glory. Put simply, it looks like this:
Winning is the total release of all that you are toward becoming like Jesus Christ in each situation.
Losing is not releasing your entire self toward becoming like Jesus Christ in each situation.
Though at the end of the game we certainly desire to outscore our opponent, we know that God is ultimately "scoring" us based on our motives, heart, attitude, and work ethic.
Team/Brotherhood: (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
In life, God has deliberately put us in community everywhere we turn, and being on a sports team is no exception. This group of players commits to two-hour practices - five days a week- where they sweat together, run together, execute drills together, suffer together and compete together. Community is a unique arena where God teaches us many things about ourselves and one another. Here, within this Veritas team, is forged the character building qualities that shape us for life. Working together towards a common goal, with triumph and tragedy-- the norm, this unique arena becomes the context in which the Holy Spirit can work in shaping the person to conform to his/her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Respect and encouragement for one another are virtues and attributes we desire to foster amongst teammates. It is our desire that as the upper classmen and more experienced athletes carry the weight of the team, that they mentor and model to the younger athletes. These distinctions drive what Veritas is all about.
Intensity: (Colossians 3:23)
The Apostle Paul talks about "running the race" - not walking it - in 1 Corinthians 9:26. We're told in 2 Timothy 2:3 to endure, and in Hebrews 12:1 to persevere, and in Colossians 3:23, we're to do whatever we do, heartily, for the Lord. Excellence to the Lord demands fierce desire and determination. To maximize our glory to God as an athlete, our love for the game ought to translate into passion, enthusiasm, desire, energy, zeal, and a ferocious love for competition. Being a Christian athlete doesn't mean you have to back off in how hard you compete; in fact, just the opposite.
OUR GOALS SPELLED OUT:
- Practice and execute the fundamentals.
- Each athlete must be realistic and know himself/herself well; consequently, he/she is asked to identify one or more skills he/she plans to work on throughout the season.
- The athlete must know his/her role on the team in light of other teammates' roles.
- Performance succeeds or fails, for the team and the individual, based on whether the athlete focuses, concentrates, and thinks constantly about what he/she is doing.
- Since all of life is spiritual, the athlete is asked to identify one or more spiritual goals he/she desires to work on throughout the season.
OUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE CHRISTIAN ATHLETE:
Christian principles put into practice
- Be at all practices unless an acceptable excuse has been communicated to the coach ahead of time. Be on time to all practices. Because soccer, basketball, softball and baseball are team sports and it's not only about you- the individual, the athlete must not let his/her teammates down who are counting on him/her.
- The athlete must do everything possible to uphold his/her part of the workout, running, drill participation, etc.; laziness and a poor work ethic will not be tolerated because it doesn't fulfill our philosophy that God deserves our excellence. A high level of commitment and work ethic is expected.
- Attitude: an athlete can have a bad attitude or a good attitude- the choice is his/hers. The attitude ultimately reveals an athlete's heart as to whether they're really seeking to please the Lord at that moment or not.
- Looking to encourage other teammates: especially older athletes to younger athletes.
- Constructive instruction is encouraged; negative tearing down of a teammate will not be tolerated.
- The Veritas athlete will be looked upon to foster and encourage school spirit.
- Listen and implement the instructions from the Coach.
- In all things, emulate Christ.
"Whatever sport you play, work at it with all your heart, as playing for the Lord, not for man's approval, since you know you will receive a trophy from the Lord as a reward; for it is the Lord's glory you are to be playing for- not your own."
- Paraphrase of Colossians 3:23-24