As we begin another year of Franciscan University sports, I would like to reflect on what it means to be on a team. I grew up playing sports. I played basketball and soccer, and currently am a Tae Kwon Do black-belt. I was told that basketball was in my blood. This was probably due to the fact that I was over six feet tall by the age of 14. My father was a great athlete as well, but it didn’t quite work for me. However, there was something I learned through playing those sports.
Everyone has heard the old saying, “There is no ‘I’ in team.” This could not be more accurate. I was never the best athlete on the team or the most talented, but I definitely had the drive. That drive cannot be allowed to take over, though. As athletes, we can’t let our desire to win take over so that we try to do everything on our own. Every athlete has a proper task that he must fulfill within the construct of the team. Without this the basic structure the team would fall apart.
At Franciscan University this same lesson should be present in our spiritual lives. The Church has a structure that is in some sense very similar to the structure of a sports team. Christ is at the head of the church, but we here on the earth are his body, his hands and his feet. St. Paul said that in the Church there are many gifts. There are teachers, prophets, healers, priests and servants. On campus we have a similar dynamic as well. We have athletes, musicians, actors, journalists, students who are great with technology and a great many more. It doesn’t matter what your talent is, just don’t use it simply for yourself. Use it for the good of the team.
As this year continues I pray that God will bless our athletes and give them success in their endeavors.