Storms chafe, and soon wear out themselves, or us;
In calms, Heaven laughs to see us languish thus.
- from "The Calm" by John Donne
Manifest the blessings.
We began our tennis season at camp, contemplating the Beatitudes. We discussed them, debated them, and decided. We would be a team that would try to manifest the Kingdom within our team. Let's review what that means.
We would be dependent, on our brothers and upon God.
We would be be different from other teams, focused only on victory.
We would be slow to anger, with ourselves and with others.
We would hunger and thirst for doing things right, not our own way.
We would be merciful, for we all desire mercy.
We would play with peace, not stirring up conflict and controversy where there was none.
We would be a team of brothers, looking out for one another.
Then the storms have hit, and they've hit in so many different ways. The winds of wins, losses, expectations, confidence and its lack; they smash into us as we go like waves on the sea. I'm reminded of the story of Peter stepping out on the water to come to Jesus. He takes a step, and then gets distracted by everything swirling around him.
Our goal this season was to manifest and live in the blessings that have been given to us. We've taken our eyes off of this. I know that I have. As a coach, I've been enamored with our success and what it might mean. But just as last year, we talked about how our memories won't be of matches lost... the truth is that our memories won't be of matches won either. They'll be of what are blessings were: bus rides, team jokes, amazing tournaments, shots and matches... and the brothers that were there for us afterward.
Last night, we played like another line from the John Donne poem above:
The sea is now; and, as the isles which we
Seek, when we can move, our ships rooted be.
We had plenty of opportunity to play with confidence. We had plenty of blessings. But when we tried to move, to attack, to go and get it; it was if we were rooted in fear and doubt.
Some matches, some teams, are moving right along in confidence. Joel and Hans picked up another win, Sol continues his solid rhythm, the JV impressed once again with some little wrinkles (Lane Miller's singles win!). But this is on my mind as well. Success can blind us to what is important, and make a lack of success feel more immense. Expecting to always win can build pressure.
But the expectation is not winning, the expectation is blessing. We are never short of the blessing from our giving and merciful God. We've got our brothers, we've got this season, we've got our next breath. Let us live into that joy!
Several matches ago, I wrote that great teams don't flow, they turn. In Hebrew, the word for "to turn" is teshuvah, or "repent." Perhaps that is what great teams do. They realize they've taken their eye off of where they started, and they repent. That's where I'll start.
#1S - Abe Thorne - 0-6, 0-6 - Jack Julien (12)
#2S - Jesse Amstutz - 6-3, 1-6, 3-6 - Reilly Hicks (12)
#3S - Sol Brenneman - 6-4, 6-2 - Zac Erickson (11)
#1D - Joel Gerig/Hans Miller - 6-1, 6-2 - Pat Yergler (12)/Nick Gertzbaer (12)
#2D - Parth Patel/Landon Weldy - 4-6, 0-6 - Conner Dalton (12)/David Hicks (11)
#1SJV - Byeong Min Lim - 8-2 - Sam Cressey
#2SJV - Ethan Lapp - 8-0 - Brady Lesh
#3SJV - Bryce Miller - 8-0 - Jonah Davey
#4SJV - Justin Zehr - 8-0 - Ben Becker
#5SJV - Lane Miller - 8-6 - Jonah Davey
#6SJV - Jackson King - 6-8 - Sam Cressey
#1DJV - Ryan Duckworth/Simon Hurst - 8-3 - Michael Deranek/James Deranek
#2DJV - Neel Bhagat/Jack Erlacher - 8-1 - Brady Lesh/Ben Becker
#3DJV - Matthew Peters/Brandon Nguyen - 8-3 - Michael Deranek/James Deranek