Monday, September 22, 2008

A Spirit of Power, Love, and Self-Discipline

My husband has been coaching high school football players for 15 years. This is his 10th year as head coach at our local high school, and I cannot begin to express the range of emotions that go with being a coach's wife. The amount of time and energy Mark puts into his program, his team--it is endless. Five years of losing records, sometimes getting shellacked (for lack of a better word)... we have been through it all. At times like these, finding the right words to encourage your man is impossible. I have learned to say very little, but to just be there to listen and encourage when the time is right.

Mark kept pressing on, working so hard to make this experience the best it can possibly be for any young man on his team. My husband is a very focused person, very driven, very hardworking...he literally took down cement walls and expanded the school weightroom to become the training ground where every student in our high school can condition themselves for lifetime fitness, injury prevention, and mental & physical strength. Mark enters that weightroom 4 mornings a week at 6:00 a.m. to work out and supervise others. He does not drink, smoke, or swear...and he expects his players to live cleanly & simply, as well. He loves football not only for the physical challenge it provides but also for being what he calls "the ultimate TEAM sport". Our team includes everyone from the players to the coaches, to their families, fans, statisticians, managers, etc. From the 1-8 season of 1999 to the playoff-contending team we are now, Coach Siegert has established 3 main themes to this program. These are what we stand for: PRIDE. PERSISTENCE. POWER.

What used to be a football ghost town is now "the place to be" on Friday nights for home games. Outdoor sound system, signs of support lining the field, hard-hitting enthusiastic team is something to be proud of. This is the 50th year of the high school being built, the 50th year of football in our town. Like our 50th year t-shirts say, it is an "EVOLUTION". It hasn't happened overnight.

On Saturday we faced one of our most formidable opponents, a perennial conference powerhouse who plays up 2 divisions in the playoffs. We went into their homecoming having never defeated this team. We're talking EVER.

The spiritual theme of the last 2 books I've been reading included Paul's counsel to Timothy: "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirt of power, of love and of self-discipline." It is hard not to feel timid against this team (green and gold)


But God does not want us to be afraid. He gives us the spirit of POWER (one of our program themes), something that came in handy in the 3rd and 4th quarter when the 80-degree weather and hard hits started to take their toll...

Our defense allowed no first downs in the 3rd quarter. We ground the ball into the endzone --once in the 3rd, once in the 4th-- by controlling the line of scrimmage and the time of possession. You've heard this before, but I really felt that there were no "stars" on our team that day. I felt like it was everyone doing their job, helping each other out in a true TEAM effort. That is what I call the "spirit of LOVE".

And we definitely had to practice the spirit of SELF-DISCIPLINE. On several occasions the opponents were trash-talking, late-hitting, etc. We were the pesky mosquitos that just wouldn't go away. They were used to having the game in hand by halftime, and here we had the audacity to still be in contention at intermission! In the 4th quarter their premiere player threw our rushing quarterback into the sideline ropes, pulling off his helmet. Believe me, it took lots of self-discipline on the part of our quarterback (and us nearby fans) to not retaliate!!

This game was 10 years in the making. How poignant that the field where my husband deubted as head coach (vomiting behind the bleachers in nervousness before the game) became the site where we handed the hosts their first homecoming loss in 27 years, our first conference victory over them in team history! GO CHIEFTAINS!!

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7


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