As I noted on Wednesday, I have spent a few days at my local Youth Camp this week. My main task was to lead the Bible study for the guys on biblical manhood each day, which I enjoyed greatly. But that was not my only involvement during the week. I also got to stick around and play some games with the campers during the afternoon session. Games like ultimate frisbee, paint ball, and basketball (including a couple of rounds of ‘Knock Out’, which we called ‘Gotcha’ as kids). I thought I would end my week with some observations from these games:
- I am going to show these kids how to play… It seems that I started every game with this thought, which was quickly replaced with this thought…
- I am too old for this: It usually only took a few minutes of playing the game to realize that age really is a factor when playing sports. Granted, I kept playing and had a great time, but I am well past my prime…at everything!
- I am really terrible at Ultimate Frisbee: This was my second or third time to give this sport a try and it showed. I can throw a frisbee ok. I can catch one pretty good (sometimes on one finger, well not very much). But I am not very good at either of those when trying to move my team down the field for a score. I made terrible throws (one that cost us a score) and I dropped two throws in the endzone for scores (is it called an endzond in Ultimate Frisbee?) And after a couple times down the field, my lungs were screaming at me #2 (see above)! I am not good at this sport, which leads me to my next observation…
- Sports teach humility: It’s good for the soul to lose and to lose big! It’s ok to make the long walk to the other end of the field knowing that you are not doing well and that no strategy or plan (outside of cheating and getting rid of the old guy on our team) is going to help. And it’s good to laugh about it, line up for the coming throw, and just keep playing. These are good lessons learned on the fields at Youth Camp!
- I am really terrible at paint ball: I suited up, loaded my gun, listened to the rules, took my spot on the course…..and got shot. I suited up again, noted that my gun was still loaded because I only got off a couple of rounds, took a different spot on the course….and got shot again. And apparently I did not listen to the rules that well because neither time did the paint ball actually bust when it hit me, which means I could stay in the game. But I didn’t. I raised my hands and called myself out like the terrible paint-baller that I am, which leads me back to #4 again….and again.
- Summer camp is hot: I sweat through like 5 sets of clothes. On the first day I had to teach after playing/humilitating myself at Ultimate Frisbee. The Word was like a fire in my bones that spread to my arms and my legs and my shirt and hands and hair. I looked like a revival preacher before I even got started (minus the suit and tie of course)!
- Playing sports makes connections: I don’t want to make too much of this, but participating with the students in different activities helps build relationships. We bond when we lose together (I hear this happens when you win together as well but I did not get to experience that this week). We bond while trying to shoot each other with flying balls of paint that don’t always break on impact. We bond as we stand around in sweat-drenched clothes talking and laughing about how it all played out. The best way to love on students and point them to Christ still goes back to a simple truth: spend time with them. They appreciate that. They respect it, even if you are too old and too slow. They connect. I don’t know, maybe they even listen a little more to the guy who obviously needs a shower and a change of clothes, maybe not. Either way, having fun with them on the field is a great way to love on them and connect with them.
So there you go, seven observations from playing sports at camp this week. It was a great time and I already look forward to next year. Maybe I’ll practice on my frisbee throwing and my paint ball shooting between now and then. Nah, probably not. Gotta stay humble!