Raising Expectations… for Everyone

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                    August 27, 2012


This is football season, and, believe it or not, I’m in my seventh year as a football coach with Timberview Middle School. Seven years ago I saw the Assistant Principal/Athletic Director at Pike’s Perk Coffee one July morning, said hi to him, and he responded with “Hey, Coach! Do you coach football?” I had been coaching boy’s basketball at the school for three years at that point, and suddenly I was a football coach. Quickly I made it known that I was a basketball coach who happened to be standing on a football field.

Seven years later I’m in my second season as head coach…and probably the most clueless head coach around, but I’m a great organizer and I’ve learned to delegate well.

As we headed into this season one of my goals for the team was to increase our number of players participating. Goal achieved. We’re over 90!

Next goal! Include everyone on the school teams. In the past we’ve had some players who were only intramural players, and others who were interscholastic. Intramural players left practice at 4:00, while the others stayed until 5:15. The interscholastic players were the ones who were either more talented, more experienced, or who had parents who had poured more money into their football careers up to that point. In essence, the way we had done things meant that the better players got twice as much coaching as the ones who needed to learn more.

So I asked the question: “Why?”

With that step we launched into some recently uncharted waters and new challenges. How do you keep 90-95 seventh and eighth graders involved? We’re learning the “do’s” and “don’ts” of that every day. I scratch certain things off the list with comments like “Never try this drill again” and “A Worthless Waste of time!”

But along with the higher participation level this year has come something else that I’ve instituted…okay dictated!

Higher expectations!

Each player has signed a “contract” saying that he agrees to living up to certain expectations: Academics, Character, Commitment, and Responsibility. If players don’t live up to the expectations they are held responsible. For example, an unexcused absence from practice disqualifies the player from participation in the next game. Three unexcused absences means they are done for the season. I have sign-in sheets that they put a check on beside their name indicating they are there for practice that day. We have ten designated 8th graders who lead in opening stretches and warm-up runs. The locker room is expected to be clean after practice. (8 additional sprints the day after a locker room that was not up to my expectations has resulted in a clean locker room for the past week.)

What has happened is that almost everyone is there for practice every day. It is only the sick who aren’t. Last week I had a mom come to practice because her son was sick, and he was worried that he would not be able to participate in the next scrimmage.

Higher expectations.

I can not say that we will win any more games, but we will teach more boys about what it means to not only be football players, but be responsible participants on a team.

I believe the church should be more similar to that, than dis-similar! How it loves with a good dosage of grace mixed in makes it unique, but, honestly, we expect too little from the people who are part of the Body of Christ.

We hope that people will show up on Sunday morning, and we hope that some will volunteer to help out in some way, and when they don’t we bemoan and grumble. It’s kind of the other side of the coin from the Israelites who were ready to stone Moses for suggesting that they enter into “The Promised Land.”

Being a football coach for twelve and thirteen year olds has taught me some things about being a pastor.

Perhaps I need to raise my expectations as well!

Explore posts in the same categories: Christianity, Community, Grace, Teamwork, The Church, Uncategorized, Youth

Tags: , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

One Comment on “Raising Expectations… for Everyone”

  1. Charly Says:

    Higher Expectations are great, just hope that people won’t set them for the other people in church and it becomes a pointing of fingers… well he didn’t…. she did….. it’s so easy to see the splinter in some other person’s eye….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: