For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. – 2 Cor. 2:15
Following last night’s fall athletic banquet, I was thinking about the role of athletics at a Classical Christian school. To a large percentage of people, athletic experiences were (are) the pinnacle of their school career. While we all know the right words to say when asked to rank the important parts of getting an education (academic preparation for college, social training for the “real” world, organization, obedience, spiritual development for Christian school kids, etc.), many of us would have to admit that sports are what really gets us excited. I have found myself living vicariously through my own kids on several occasions, dreaming of the professional sports career that I never achieved, or thinking of the thousands of dollars they will save me with their impending college scholarship. No doubt that we live in a world where sports can be our god, a delicate balance that many Christians struggle with.
But, when listening to the HCA coaches talking about their teams and seasons, I was reminded that school sports can be used for the greater purpose of the gospel when approached properly. Everyone would agree that HCA is in a position to positively influence the community around us, but we rarely pinpoint athletics as being the way to do this, even though it is by far the most frequent way by which we encounter those from other places. In other words, a Christian school athlete can be a missionary who takes about ten short-term missionary trips per season to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ to strangers who are watching him intently. The reputation of HCA, Christian education, and Christian people in general is reinforced each time these athletes get on a bus to travel to another school.
A couple weeks ago, our varsity soccer team played at Trinity Christian School in Durham in the 1-A state playoffs. The game was very tight and competitive the entire time, and eventually went into overtime. There was a point where our guys scored in the overtime, only to have the goal erased by a controversial offsides call. We eventually lost a heart-breaker, and the season was suddenly over. If there was ever a time to sulk, fuss, and complain, this was it. However, our “missionaries” did just the opposite. The next day, I received the following letter from a parent from the opposing team, describing the moment from the eyes of someone who doesn’t even know any of our names. I wanted to share this letter with you as a testimony for our team, but even more as a rallying cry for HCA to continue to promote Christ-likeness above all else. May EVERYTHING we do bring glory to the Father. Remember, the world is watching us.
To whom much is given, much is required. Thank you to everyone at HCA for keeping the standard high.