Reverend Billy Graham understood that influence and impact occur with all leaders whether they are pointing people to God or themselves. With athletics, those on the sidelines often wield the greatest influence. Graham pointed out that “A coach will impact more people in one year than the average person will in an entire lifetime.”
Today is National Coaches Day
Richard Nixon started this day as an acknowledgment of coaches’ hard work after our country began to increasingly embrace Olympic athletes as well as professional and collegiate athletes. Nixon understood that not everyone would reach the highest levels of athletics. He also understood the value sports and teamwork can have in our society.
Whether or not they achieve athletic distinction, most of those who participate in organized sports will become better citizens because of the lessons they have learned from their coaches and because of the example which their coaches have set forRichard Nixon
them. Coaches are highly qualified teachers—in highly specialized fields. But more than that, they are friends and counselors who help instill in their players important attitudes that will serve them all their lives.”
I’ve witnessed first hand the way coaches’ words and actions influence athletes both in positive and negative ways. Coaches speak life into their athletes when they encourage and they speak destruction over them when they shame them rather than COACH them. Impact doesn’t always have the effect we intend when we don’t salt our words with God’s love. Let’s pause to say thank you to the coaches who take their roles seriously and who intentionally invest wisely in the next generation.
What many don’t realize is that it’s not just by coaching that athletes develop character. Coaches model integrity by living consistently on and off the field. They plant seeds about marriage and parenting as well as leadership when they love their families in front of their team. Today we celebrate our favorite coach knowing he has intentionally invested in every team he’s led whether they have embraced his words or ignored them. Ultimately, what’s most important is that Team Walker is also impacted positively by our Coach’s intentionality. For that, we are most grateful.