Football Cuts Through the Fog
Three key words are often used to describe what we do at Trinity Western. Education. Transformation. Impact.
Many other organizations also strive to make this potent trio work. One that comes sharply into focus for me is community football – specifically, the North Langley Bears, an organization I’ve been enthusiastically participating in for the last few years as a football parent.
The new emphasis in education on going beyond memorization and regurgitation has been challenging to science educators like me because there is just so much to know about the physical world. However, I have really enjoyed tackling experiential learning. There are so many more dimensions to learn via a field trip or two. Or a trip to Hawaii.
I’ll never forget the first real football game I saw my son Luke play in, September 2007. The team had been practicing since March, but the experience of the real game was something altogether different. Especially educational were the sweeps the opposition team did, whereby the running back ran nearly the length of the field against the hapless bears. Experiential learning. Good stuff!
The emphasis of Trinity Western on developing the whole person is crucial. The word “crucial” is of course, related to the cross. We believe at TWU that someone cannot be truly transformed by knowledge, or even experience alone. God transforms. We try to provide the football field for that transformation at TWU.
Early on as a football parent, I saw it was about more than just learning football skills. It was about life skills, played out on the football field. Confidence. Comradery. Teamwork. Excellence. That first season I would watch as Luke’s team played game after game without even scoring…and yet, Luke would come home excited about how they scored in other ways…even if it was just one or two good plays.
It is so exciting to see how students I have mentored go out and make an impact. Recently I had a great talk with Mike Shulz, a TWU alum in Alberta who has completed an M.Sc. and worked for many years as a field biologist. He was calling me for a reference to apply to a Ph.D. program but the very next week he was offered and accepted a job at Portage College in Lac La Biche, Alberta. It is great to see someone like Mike get repeatedly recruited by good teams. Did I mention his dynamic family of six (four daughters!) sharing the career with him?
Football impact…need I say more? Impacts in football are like the jarring reminders that reality matters. This world is filled with fog. What is God’s will for my life? Should I do this, or should I do that? Should I believe what my friends say is right, or should I look for a deeper answer? Is what I learn in church really important? Football breaks through this fog, somehow. Once you have the ball, run with everything you have!
The inspiration for this little diatribe was playing two-on-two football with my sons on a foggy beach in Ocean Shores, Washington this summer (see below L-R: Luke, Adrian, Vincent and me). It was one of those experiences characterized by 3 words: education…transformation…impact.