From the Rev: Preseason Form
Preseason often offers a challenge to players, coaches, and chaplains alike.
For the player, there are the tasks of securing a contract, getting into match-fitness, making the starting 11, or, sometimes coming back from surgery or injury.
For the coaches, they must make decisions on what players to name to the squad, what positions need more support, what formation to play, and what strategies to employ through the season.
Teams spend their preseason time refining and working out the mechanics of the game and their work. Often, both player and coach are looking to work out of “preseason form” and begin to ascend to the peak of top shape, top form – physically and mentally. To accomplish this, each goes through rigorous exercise and repetitive drill – preparing over and over to do what must be done when the game is on the line, when they are playing for what counts. Preseason sometimes means extra work – “two a days” and weightlifting and strenuous tests and perfecting skills and re-forming professional habits.
Chaplains must, too, come out of preseason form – there are new faces and names to learn, there is planning for the season ahead, and even a bit of “spiritual conditioning” and exercise that must be taken on (whether praying, studying, or more). All of this with the purpose and intent of preparing to fill in a gap that exists for those who ply their trade in professional sport.
That gap often consists of the lack of community and connection into bodies of faith. Games, travel, practice, recovery – all are often at the mercy of the performance-driven culture in which the athletes, coaches, and staff are part of. Results and success are the drive and demand and there is little space for other things, especially if those things are deemed not worthy or not helpful in attaining the goal.
The chaplain, amongst other things is a representative of God, a connector to faith community, an advocate for persons and their well-being – body, mind, and soul. This work can be emotionally, mentally, and spiritually exhausting and chaplains must often times be “ready in season and out of season” to do the work that God has called each of us to. Your prayers and support in this work are tremendously important. So please take a moment, pray for your local chaplain working with sports teams. Pray that they work out the “preseason form.”
Rev. Brad Kenney