With the beginning of the college basketball season around the corner, we once again enter what, for many sports fans, is the very best time of the year. For many, no sport is better or more exciting than college hoops—and for them the long wait is nearly over.
What I find so interesting about college basketball is that it is the one major sport where the focus seems to be more on the coaches than on the players. Yes, there are great players and they do get noticed. But the abiding superstars of college roundball are really the Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewskis and Jim Boeheims and Tom Izzos—the coaches of the programs that are always at the top of their game. These top coaches face the same challenges of expectations, competition, media, alumni, and recruiting. They feel the same pains and pressures.
As a result, this coaching fraternity forms a kind of “band of brothers” that seem to always speak well and respectfully—often even affectionately—of one another. It is really a pretty refreshing thing to see that level of camaraderie among highly competitive people who compete passionately against one another. The brotherhood of coaches, while far from perfect, seems to be a very cool coaching fraternity.
In the body of Christ, we are also part of a fraternity. As brothers and sisters, we also share much. We have positions in the same family as children of God, we face the same struggles in a fallen and broken world, and we face the same need for encouragement and accountability. Perhaps this is why the New Testament focuses so often on “one another” statements. As part of the family, we need one another—and can provide a ministry to each other that cannot be found outside the “fraternity” of faith. To that end, Paul told the church at Thessalonica, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11 ESV).
We have a wonderful privilege in the family of God to share such significant relationships—and it should be the mark of brothers and sisters to seek ways, as Paul said, to encourage and build up one another. In the very least, it is a noble goal worthy of our best effort.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain