What is it that you love the most? Do you pin your hopes, dreams, and love on winning football games, a league title, a playoff appearance, or a state title? Do you measure your success as a man by your job status, salary, bank account balance, home value, retirement account, boat, recreational vehicle, vacation home, clothes, and jewelry?

All of these things are merely illusions, that will fade like the morning mist as the sun rises. You are chasing empty phantoms if the focus of your love and desire as a coach is simply for “wins”, “victory’s on the field”. Does your validation as a coach hinge only on what is “seen” on the scoreboard at 9:30 pm every Friday night? Or does that validation come from victories in the souls of the young men that you coach that are “unseen” by the human eye. Our highest love should be helping build the souls of the young men we coach.

You are only pursuing empty phantoms if you strive for x and o victories that do not last, and pin your hopes on them; if you campaign for honors, distinction, and focus on you as the “coach”; if you sacrifice the health of the souls of the young men you coach in pursuit of more worldly goals; if you hope for a winning record and care little for growth of your players into virtuous men; if you think only of your players present season or career, and never give a thought to their future as husbands, fathers, and leaders; if you set your heart on things which are “seen” rather than things which are “unseen”, and do not focus your love on things eternal.

Be vigilant not to act as a hypocrite when it comes to your commitment to the pursuit of strengthening the eternal souls of your players versus “winning” football games. I have listened to many a coach tell me that they value building the character of their players and then turn right around and model that value by verbally abusing their players on the side lines, mistreating players before, during, and after games, cussing and yelling at fellow coaches and officials, showing fits of rage when losing, acting disrespectful to parents, teachers, and administrators, and every other classless act imaginable. Every one of your players is an eternal soul. They have not been placed here to serve you. You have been placed here to serve them. Always do what is best for their soul. Sometimes that decision is in stark contrast to what the world says is successful, or right, or just. You should always do what is right for their soul. I like to imagine 10,000 years from now, running into the eternal soul of an unskilled junior varsity player I coached in my temporal coaching career. A kid that only got in on a few special teams varsity plays in his entire high school career. To imagine having that kid come up to me and thank me for treating him right and helping him grow as a virtuous man,….that inspires me! I’ll wait for that kind of “win”, wouldn’t you?

So make it your goal to focus your love, desire, and attention away from the love of the temporary (seen), and transfer all of your affections onto the unseen ( matters of the soul); for those who follow the temporal impulses of pride, ultimately end up as losers in eternity.