From a small business to a professional basketball team—every successful team focuses on this one thing.
There’s a lot that goes into the success of an athletics program. Talent, facilities, and personnel all play important roles, but the key aspect that will make or break a program? Unity. Unity means that individuals prioritize the needs of the unit before their own. Take any team—a board of directors, a small business, a sports team, or even a marriage—unity is crucial to long-term success. It doesn’t mean everyone is always in agreement, but it does mean everyone is committed to one another to achieve victory. In order to achieve unity, you need to practice sacrifice.
“Without sacrifice, there can be no victory.”
Developing a spirit of unity in an athletic program requires sacrifice from three stakeholders: parents, coaches, and athletes. Each group can come to a team with different objectives, but it is important that they lay down their individual wants and desires to pursue what will best bring unity. Romans 12:1 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Paul urges the church to be a “living sacrifice.” This brings glory to God. More than that, he says to do so, “in view of God’s mercy.” In light of what God has done for us, how much more should we be willing to sacrifice for one another. In athletics, sacrifice is a essential. Oftentimes, it means a player must discipline their body, risk injury, or push themselves past the limit for the benefit of the team. But sacrifice comes in many more ways.
PLAYERSFor some players, sacrifice can be required when recognizing that there may more talented players on the team than themselves. Players who work hard and remain 100% committed regardless of playing time are putting the greater good of the team before themselves. For others, sacrifice is giving up the position they want to play because the coach feels they better serve the team elsewhere. That athlete sacrifices by bringing the same intensity and effort at a position they are not as eager to play. And of course, athletes will have to sacrifice social events that conflict with practices or games.
Players who work hard and remain 100% committed regardless of playing time are putting the greater good of the team before themselves.
PARENTSFor parents, an attitude of sacrifice is often practiced by volunteering at games. That may involve giving up the opportunity to watch their child play for a game or two to support the team’s effort. It certainly involves the sacrifice of time. It can be a sacrifice for parents to drive their child to weekend practices. It is often a sacrifice of finances for equipment and it is also a big sacrifice to schedule vacations around a sports season. As parents, we often seek to smooth the road for our child to see them succeed. While it can be difficult on parents emotionally, it is often best for the child to battle through adversity.
COACHESFor the coach, sacrifice is giving up time with family and friends. Coaches sacrifice in that they must be the one to make decisions like cuts, playing time, and discipline. Tryout and cut days are the least anticipated day for any coach, but they sacrifice their own emotions for the best interest of the team.
I’ve heard it said, “Without sacrifice, there can be no victory.” When players, parents, and coaches work together in unity, the victory is not just one of performance, but of character. We at Calvary Christian Academy believe that God will honor this attitude of sacrifice and bring even greater gains. Whichever role you find yourself in, start looking for ways you can serve the unit with your gifts and talents!
Keith Huisman is the Athletics Director at Calvary Christian Academy. He has served as athletic director in Christian Education for twelve years. He and his wife, Adrienne, attend Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale along with their three children and foster child.