One of my best friends serves as youth pastor in Cardiff, Wales. He loves the image of the 'All Access' credential I wear around my neck at the stadium on match day. From the earliest days of my work with the Colorado Rapids, the badge around my neck has given me the chance to move freely - whether into the locker room or on to the pitch, into the stadium boxes and stands, or into the most obscure hallways and stairways. Even when the team played at Mile High Stadium and Invesco Field, as well as its current location at Dick's Sporting Goods Park - there have been few doors that have been shut and inaccessible - an amazing sign
It's probably a feeling and phrase that I have felt an innumerable amount of times as I visited the stadium or training grounds. It's like a bad voice in my head that won't go away. It feels condemning at times. "You're a fool." If you are reading this and have worked in any capacity as a chaplain before (whether professional sports, healthcare, or military) there are times when you cannot help but feel overwhelmed. The people, institutions, and organizations where a chaplain ministers can unknowingly and unwittingly contribute to the frustrating sense that is all to common to a chaplains experience. During my years as a hospice chaplain, it was easy to feel the fool while in the midst
It's that thing that I wait for at the beginning of every season - I wonder how many sports participants, fans, and even the casual observer wait for it too. I liken it to getting a new car and pulling out onto the road there is so much joy and anticipation, but in the back of your mind something lingers. Something isn't right... Then it happens - the first rock chip, scratch, dent, or ding on the new car. No! It's almost like we can't believe what has just happened - perfection ruined, buyers remorse, "What have I done?" "Can we start over? How could I have avoided that?" Many times that is the feeling that surrounds that first damage
As I prepare to head into the training ground, today, and speak with the players about the issue of racism. I have been reflecting on my own journey and wrestle with attitudes of racism and prejudice. Growing up near Detroit, Michigan through my teenage years, I wasn't sheltered from issues of race and prejudice. I still can remember driving through the inner city and seeing two homeless men - one white, one black fighting each other. One taking a lead pipe and threatening the other over a blanket and shopping cart - whom stole from whom, I couldn't tell. My small, private school was near the suburb of Pontiac which had a large community of African-American people and while not
As a chaplain in professional sport, it is so disturbing to see athletes injured, and especially when one collapses or even suffers death in the midst of competition. Saturday's incident where Fabrice Muamba of the Bolton Wanderers of the EPL (English Premier League) collapsed and suffered a heart attack during an FA Cup match, was one of those shaking moments for all - players, coaches, officials, and fans to see. As I reflect on the trauma (the match was abandoned) caused, I am reminded of the fragility of life and how much more pronounced that tenuous space feels when we watch one of the best fall - these are the ones who are in the prime of life, the peak
I just wanted to share some personal reflections as the new Major League Soccer season is now underway. After 11 seasons as team chaplain for the Colorado Rapids, there has been a lot of things (as I look back) that have happened over the years - from injuries to players, to coaching changes, to championships, and everything in between. This week, CrossTraining will change a bit too - though mainly superficial, I can sense more change coming. We will, of course, change the website look and feel, but there is more - as I read back through the couple of years of stories and shared concerns, there is something that seems to be missing, and for me it is huge.