INTRODUCTION TO START PRACTICE/GAME
This week our virtue theme is CAMARADERIE – The strength to have mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together. CAMARADERIE is necessary for a great TEAM! We need CAMARADERIE to become the best we can be and for our teammates to become the best they can be.
Thank you, Lord, for this day, this opportunity, this time together. Strengthen our wills and forge our resolve to embrace the virtue of CAMARADERIE – giving into selflessness and love instead of doing our own thing out of selfishness. We love You and we want to love each other more and better! Does anyone have any prayer intentions? Who wants to lead us in a prayer?
STORY TO TELL IMMEDIATELY AFTER PRAYER
A LESSON FROM THE MOUND
My father was always the pitcher in our back-yard baseball games. He got this honor in part because my sister, brother, and I couldn’t get the ball over the home plate, but also because, with one wooden leg, running after a fly ball just wasn’t his strong suit. And so he’d stand under the hot sun, pitching endlessly while we took turns at bat.
He ran our games with the authority of a Yankees manager. He was the boss, and he had requirements. We had to chatter in the outfield, for one. And we had to try to outrun the ball, no matter how futile it might seem.
Going up to bat against my father was not easy. None of this self-esteem stuff for him, trying to make kids feel good about hitting a ball that’s standing still. He was never the least bit sorry when he struck me out, and he did it all the time. “Do you want to play ball or don’t you?” he’d ask if I began whining about his fast pitches. I wanted to. And when I’d finally connect with the ball—-oh, man, I knew I deserved the hit. I’d be grinning all the way down the first-base line.
I’d turn to look at my father on the pitcher’s mound. He’d take off his glove and tuck it under his arm, and then clap for me. To my ears, it sounded like a standing ovation at Yankee Stadium.
Years later, my son was to learn those same rules about baseball from my father. By then, though, Dad was pitching from a wheelchair. In some medical fluke, he had lost his other leg. But nothing else had changed. My boy was required to chatter from the outfield. He had to try outrunning the ball, no matter how futile it might seem. And when he whined that the pitch was too fast, he got the ultimatum: “Do you want to play ball or don’t you?” He did.
My boy was nine years old the spring before his grandfather died. They played a lot of ball that season, and there was the usual litany of complaints that my father was pitching too hard. “Just keep your eye on the ball!” Dad would holler at him. Finally, at one at-bat, he did. He swung and connected dead-center. The ball slammed down the middle, straight at my father. He reached for it, but missed. And in the
process, his wheelchair tilted backward. In ever such slow motion, we watched him and his chair topple until he came down on his back with a thud.
My boy stood stock-still halfway to first. “You don’t ever stop running!” my father roared from the ground. “That ball’s still in play! You run!” When my boy stood safe at first base, he turned to look at my father lying on his back on the pitcher’s mound. He saw him take off his glove and tuck it under his arm. And then he heard his grandfather clap for him.
QUESTION TO ENGAGE PLAYERS
How many of you have received praise or an expression of gratitude from someone you respect or love? What was the circumstance? How did it feel? Did a feeling of CAMARADERIE emerge from the experience? How?
RESOLUTION TO WORK ON DURING PRACTICE/GAME
Challenge and praise a teammate today at practice-creating more and more real CAMARADERIE.
MENTORING MOMENT TO SHOW YOUR PLAYERS THAT YOU CARE ABOUT THEM
Ask individually as many players as you can during practice/game the below:
When doing mentoring sessions today, don’t go through the motions or ask “canned” questions but instead show the true spirit of CAMARADERIE by actually caring about your player and just enjoying this brief time spent together.
END OF PRACTICE/GAME PRAYER
Lord God, You didn’t reject the opportunity to come to earth and love us-giving us your CAMARADERIE. You showed us how love is best expressed in community-in person-giving and sharing time with each other. Help us to imitate this great virtue of CAMARADERIE! We want to be like You- we want to love like You.
WAY TO LIVE THE VIRTUE THIS WEEK
Spend time with family this week trying to build up the spirit of CAMARADERIE within your family. Don’t take “no” for an answer; be creative it will create more love and trust for all of you.
CAMARADERIE QUOTES FOR THE WEEK
*Each day this week communicate the quote of the day.
“We all came together six months before the 1980 Winter Olympics with different styles of hockey and different beliefs…but we made ourselves a team. Individually, we could not have done it.” – Mike Eruzione
“And the strength of the pack is the wolf. And the strength of the wolf is the pack.” – Rudyard Kipling
“In the game of hockey, it takes six to dance. You gotta stand up for your teammates.” – Phil Esposito
“The praises of others may be of use in teaching us, not what we are, but what we ought to be.”- August W. Hare
“The most important measure of how good a game I played was how much better I’d make my teammates play.” – Bill Russell
“If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can be great!” – Mark Twain