Life Lessons-Coach Lynn
Coach Lynn - December 7, 2016
Faith…. “’Cause I gotta have faith, faith, faith…” I am a product of the ‘80’s, a time when many of you reading this were yet to be born; this line is from the chorus of George Michael’s single from his first solo studio album in 1987. I was a sophomore at West Chester University, and daily I counted on that phenomena – FAITH: defined as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something; strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.” How do I celebrate my faith? Here’s my journey.
I feel very blessed. I grew up in the church; a Christian. I was baptized at Yeadon Presbyterian Church, the family church of my mother, and attended Calvary Presbyterian Church in Upper Darby, PA for some thirty years of my life. [A side note Sr. Jeanne Marie Hatch will surely be expecting that I point out – Presbyterian is the original denomination of Cornelia Connelly before becoming Episcopalian and ultimately Roman Catholic.] Cornelia Peacock was raised Presbyterian in Philadelphia, PA as was I (or just outside of Philadelphia). I became a member of my church at 12 or 13 and quite frankly don’t ever remember a time in my life where God was not a part of it.
I come from a small family, and church, well that was our family. At Calvary, my parents had a core group of friends. They were all within the same age range and all had young families. Their children, we grew up together, and even though we have all moved on in life, that core group of friends (and thus their children) stay connected. A friendship; a family who have known and supported each other for over 40 years brought together by God. I don’t say that lightly…while many people shy away from professing their faith or acknowledging an active Divine being, I don’t ever fear saying that. There are many things in my life I freely acknowledge were touched by God, and our being a part of Calvary Presbyterian Church in my youth and early adulthood was one of them. My mother, who had a cancer scare about two years ago, embraced the phrase, “It’s a God thing,” after we found out she did not need to have major surgery to remove organs and cancer (or radiation or chemo) because the cancer had been completely removed through the biopsy and didn’t even show up by the time we had done research, gone to specialists, done major testing, made preparations, and were just hours before she was cut open. Difficult to argue with, “A God thing.”
More specific to me in celebrating my faith….well, I do that every day as part of my day. I have found that my Oral B mechanical toothbrush with its timer has made a fabulous impact on my prayer life. Sounds very cavalier, but it’s true; it is on a timer to encourage people to brush for the appropriate amount of time and I have come to use it as dedicated prayer time in the morning. My dentist is in full support since my prayer list has grown I do at least two full rounds of brushing and my teeth and gums are healthier for it. Prayer life has always been important to me and the older I get the more power I believe it has. It’s not uncommon in the sports world to see a batter go to the box in an MLB game and cross himself, or in the end zone of an NFL game take a knee and give a silent prayer. Heck, if it weren’t for that Tim Tebow may not have had any career. Or in many instances you hear in the post-game interviews that the player would first like to “give glory to God,” or “thanks to their Lord and Savior.” I think my career choice and my time as a student-athlete (again, almost all my life) only accentuates my faith.
Early on I realized I had athletic ability and that I loved sports. Sports were challenging, required commitment, created a unique dynamic in working with others, provided mentoring, and had purpose. It didn’t take long to realize my affinity and ability was a “gift.” In his book, “Uncommon,” Tony Dungy (former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts) talks about the gifts of “humility and stewardship…."
“Pride goes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18). Pride is all about me, but confidence is a realization that God has given me abilities and created me to fill a unique role that no one else is called to fill. Borne in humility, confidence is a recognition that life is not about me but about using the gifts and abilities I have been blessed with to their fullest. And it’s not just using the gifts to benefit me, but to help my team and impact others.”
As Coach Dungy points out, we all have God given gifts. It is our job here on this Earth to recognize them and use them for the greater good. It is what guided me through my days of playing and certainly now when I am trying to mentor and guide student-athletes through their lives of finding their gifts, strengthening, and using them for good.
It is no coincidence. I have been guided to do what I do and how I do it. In 2 Corinthians 4:18 Paul writes to the people of Corinth,
“…so, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
My job, and I am lucky enough to have one of those that uses my “gifts,” is to help people reveal their “inner nature” as Paul refers to it. Especially now in the hustle and bustle, travel, and stress of the holidays it is to quiet the heart, set aside the exterior pressures and activity of life, and reflect on what is good and what is right. That, will reveal your gifts and ultimately uncover the path to follow.
One last thought about how I celebrate faith comes from Coach Dungy’s book, Again, as he talks about another great coach, and man, Tom Landry, and the Reverend Billy Graham. Perhaps a little uncommon as one of my favorite coaches (having coached for the Dallas Cowboys), Coach Landry and Rev. Graham never sought the spotlight despite their extreme differences in how they presented their message. Coach Dungy writes,
“Both began as ordinary men – submitted and available to God – whom God then used to touch the lives of others. Interestingly, that is often how God works: through ordinary, available people who have submitted their lives to Him. He transforms the common work that we do into something majestic and eternal. Something uncommon.”
In so many Bible stories I grew up with – Jonah and the Whale, David and Goliath, etc. there was always this support of the common ordinary person, even the underdog, empowered by God to do extraordinary things in their everyday life. This has been a gift to me – ordinary and available to God with the ability to touch so many lives and help empower them to reveal their gifts.
So, in short I think I can say I celebrate my faith every day in my very ordinary life using my gifts that my God has given me and sharing them with others.