“Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change, there is no sin which he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him.”

Pope Francis

When a desperate email came out from our CYO director looking for volunteer field hockey coaches, I offered to be a “helper.” Before I knew it, I was the unofficial JV coach of 20 girls between the ages of 10 and 12. I can barely get the one 10-12 year old I have in my house to listen to me, so the prospect of 20 times that challenge has been, well, a little overwhelming. Halfway through the season, my record is 3-0 - I have made three girls cry and we have won zero games. Among all the fundamentals I’m trying to patiently impart, spreading out and playing your position on the field is essential to the game. Despite countless drills at practice, encouraging cheers, less encouraging yelling, and even occasional bribes, they continue to crowd around each other and in some cases even steal the ball from each other before the other team has had the chance. At one exasperated halftime, I asked the girls if they understood what I was asking when I said “give and go”- pass the ball and get up field so you can receive. They nodded. I then asked the next logical question - if you understand, why wont you do it? “But Coach Cellucci,” one girl raised her hand, “what if we don’t think our teammate will pass it to us? What if we don’t think they can keep the ball?” They all nodded their heads as if they all had the same question. In my all practices, I discussed lots of plays, but I never mentioned trust.

As we lined up to congratulate the winning team - again - I couldn’t help but wonder how often in other roles of leadership and life am I crowding on top of people like my JV team does? How often do I refuse to pass the ball and move because I don’t trust them to continue the play? Unfortunately, if I never “give and go”, whether they can finish the play or not, the ball never gets up the field. All relationships come with risk. Am I willing to give others not only the chance, but the space to play their role? If I believe the Lord is always open to receive what I give Him, how often do I really trust Him with the ball? We may have a relatively short season, but I reminded our girls (and myself) that the game feels very long if we try to play it ourselves. Prayers for your opportunities to give and go this week.

by Daniel Cellucci

September 27, 2021

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