He who pursues righteousness and love (or love for one’s passion) finds life, prosperity and honor.   – Proverbs 21:21

Two nights ago my 11-year old son and I were trying to enjoy my older son’s lacrosse game, but it was hard because of the mouthy teen who sat behind us. He came with fans for other team and criticized everyone and everything about the game.  Apparently he knew it all and no one else knew anything.  He criticized the players, the plays, the refs, and the calls.  He criticized their coach for not playing their best varsity players.  “I know this is a start-up team (referring to our team), but they’re varsity so he should play our varsity players!  He has freshmen out there!”  To that I thought, “Smart coach.  This is a good opportunity to save his better players and give his freshmen experience playing in a game.  He must also be a respectable coach who doesn’t feel the need to bully us by running up the score with his best players.”

Then the teen started making comments about our coach and said, “Why would a coach like that coach a team like this?”  With that remark I finally turned around, looked the teen in the eyes,  and with pride in my voice and a smile on my face I said, “You know, this coach has a passion for starting up new teams and teaching new players how to play the game.”  The teen just nodded in response.  I turned my attention back to the game.  Shortly after that, we scored our first goal!   Yay!  Our fans went crazy!  While cheering I turned back to the teen and excitedly added, “Just a few weeks ago, some of the kids on our team didn’t even know how to use a lacrosse stick.  Our coach has really helped us!”

It was true.  This coach and those who coach with him have brought our team a long way in a short time.  I was proud of the coaches and proud of our team.  However, I understood what the teen was thinking when he commented about our coach.  Our coach is recognized nationally and considered to be the best by many.  He works with elite players and teams.  When I learned of his background and established reputation, I’d also wondered why he’d want to come to our small school and help us start a new team.  I learned that despite his other involvements, our coach has a passion for starting up new lacrosse programs, teaching kids who have never played the game, and helping everyone rise to a better level of play.

I hope that someday the teen who sat behind me will come to realize that success isn’t always measured by wins and losses.  Sometimes it’s measured by how you share the game.