Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Everybody Needs Sympathy and Support

Posted by admin May - 13 - 2014 - Tuesday

I had an interesting conversation this morning at a church Leadership conference that I attended. The topic was on being a “spiritual father” to younger men. It made me think of my role in my church but, just as importantly, my role as a high school football coach.

The conversation dwelled on the “culture” surrounding those of us who are part of the Baby Boomer generation. How our dads, having come out of the Great Depression and WW II, seemed to feel that the best way to rear their sons was to be as tough and demanding as possible (nothing wrong with that!) but… they never seemed to temper it with any encouragement or affirmation. It was like showing affection would make their son “soft.” On the night that I signed my college football scholarship (one of the proudest moments of my life) the William and Mary coach had left the house and my parents and I were standing around. My dad walked over, placed his hand on my shoulder and said, “Good for you son. I never thought you would do it.” KABOOM!!! Talk about your bubble bursting! But… this was my dad’s way of congratulating me. Unfortunately, some 45 years later, it still stings!

We all need sympathy and support. Why? Because we all stumble and need help getting back up. Sympathy addresses our struggles; support gives us strength to overcome them. Sympathy says, “I know what you’re going through and I’m here for you.” It actually meets an important need: the need to be understood. It’s when life comes crashing in that we need friends the most.

Sympathy shows us there are people who care. Support doesn’t just show us others care— it lifts us up when we can’t do it by ourselves.

I always think of the story in the Bible of when the Israelites went into battle for the first time after miraculously crossing the Red Sea. God told Moses to climb a hill behind the battlefield. “As long as you keep your arms lifted up, I will bless your army with victory, Moses. But, if your arms drop, the enemy will overwhelm the Israelites,” said God. As the battle ensued this proved to be true. The only way Moses was able to keep his arms lifted for any length of time is that 2 of his friends held his arms aloft for him when he couldn’t do it on his own. That is support.

We need to be willing to offer sympathy and support to others and… be willing to accept them in return. That’s teamwork!

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