How integrity, leadership and selflessness each play a valuable role in one's life is illustrated by senior student athlete, Aaron Southerland. It's a powerful yet personal story of how sports at Coram Deo shapes our future world leaders.
Soccer is, honestly, ridiculous. Just the other day I was reflecting with my teammate, Cole Pack, about how he and I have spent a significant amount of our lives running around a field in the freezing cold, attempting to kick a ball into a rectangle. Ridiculous.
So why do it? Why dedicate so much time and effort into soccer? Well, there is just something fulfilling about putting the ball in the back of the net. Every time our team has scored, there have been eleven other people doing everything in their power to keep us from putting the ball where we put it; and one of them even gets to use his hands. Through playing this sport the Lord has brought me closer to Him through teaching me three important characteristics: leadership, selflessness, and integrity.
I am one of the captains of the Varsity Soccer Team. Please do not think that that means I am one of the best players on the team. I will be the first to tell you that I am not. As a matter of fact, I might have the CDA record for the most missed shots on an open goal. Despite that heroic claim to fame, I am still a captain, why? Through sports at CDA, I have learned that leadership is not based on skill, but on your ability to love others. Christ didn't come to this earth to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45, paraphrase). The two greatest commandments are summed up in “Love God. Love people.” (Matt 22:36-40, paraphrase). CDA sports has taught me that true leaders are people who love the Lord first and love people before themselves through service.
One of the beautiful things about soccer is that it is impossible to do even remotely well without the entire team working together. I have played with guys who can dance around a ball so eloquently that the defender either ends up with his ankles twisted behind his head, or faints out of confusion. But no matter the skill of the attacker, the team will not be able to compete well. The magic touch of the striker is useless when defending a corner. Every person on the team must be dependent on their fellow teammates and must be completely selfless on the field if they want any chance at succeeding. Philippians 2:3-4
At halftime in our most recent game, our coach was telling us what we could do better in the second half and the main thing he wanted to get across was what we would remember 15 years from now. We won’t remember some game that we won on January 4th. We will remember having a blast playing soccer in high school. During the second half, Caleb Johnson chased a ball down the sideline, being guarded by a defender, and took a shot on goal. The goalie saved it, but the referee made a bad call. The ref thought that the defender had passed the ball to the goalie which means that picking the ball up with your hands would concede a penalty kick, giving us a sure goal. Caleb knew that he had kicked it, not the defender, and informed the ref of what really happened. He told him that he kicked the ball and didn't deserve the penalty kick. The ref overturned the call and play continued. In 15 years, I won’t remember having won that game, but I will remember that man’s integrity. 2 Corinthians 8:21
Sports at CDA matter because they can be used to give God glory. I have learned some priceless things through participating in sports at Coram Deo and I praise the Lord that He has allowed me to compete and be an ambassador for Him on the field.