To My Team

DSC_0176I can’t believe the last two weeks.

Terms like ‘social distancing’, ‘quarantine’, ‘shelter in place’ and ‘essential services’ were not a regular part of my vocabulary.

Life is made up of big and little moments….we just don’t always know the difference when they are happening.

Two weeks ago the Dordt softball team was cruising along, working its way through Spring Break and the busy-ness of the schedule it presented in Tucson, Arizona. The team started the year with a 6-0 mark and stood 12-6 after it split a doubleheader with Dakota Wesleyan on March 11.

By Friday the team knew it was done playing for at least a month and by Monday, March 16 the team and coaches knew the season was over.

13-8.

That’s what will show in the archives of the season recap.

A short season with lots of big and little moments….we just didn’t always know the difference as they were happening.

Softball Coach Jeff Zomer composed the following message to his team this week, and, with his permission I’m sharing it here.

I think it’s a good example of a coach trying to find his way through the end of the season while at the same time leading a team.

Here’s to simply dealing with rain outs to next year…

mbyk

I have been meaning to send a note to all of you for a little over a week now.  I have been sorting out what I want to say and how I want to say it as I reflect back over this academic year.  As you can imagine there are plenty of thoughts and emotions running through my mind as I know there are many running through yours.

As each season begins we don’t spend much time, if any at all, contemplating how the season will end.  The excitement of competing with others and against others, putting the work accomplished in practice on display on the game field, and navigating the ebbs and flows of anxiety stemming from unpredictable weather and schedule changes occupies much of our time and energy.

Common knowledge will tell you that almost all seasons end with a loss.  Very few teams have their season end holding a championship trophy.  As our journey began in September 2019, this “season” would prove to be something that none of us would have predicted…..

Due to our number of dual sport athletes and Peyton and Brittney joining us after fall ball, we were never together with our entire roster through fall ball or as we transitioned to the spring season.  However, when Brian Smith visited campus back in September to speak at the senior breakfast and address our athletic department in the BJ Haan auditorium, little did we know that providentially the Lord put us on a path to prepare us for this exact occurrence in our season.

As we began our study through “The Assist–A Gospel-Centered Guide To Glorifying God Through Sports” it became very apparent that the Lord was at work in this team.  Witnessing the various groups of players lead the chapter reviews, gather prayer requests, pray for the specific needs and concerns that arose was humbling!  We discussed what God’s glory really is, what He thinks about His glory, and what it looks like to give God the glory.

Giving God glory through winning and losing, health and injuries, and teammates and coaches was discussed often and yielded awesome discussions.  We spent a great deal of time discussing and reflecting on Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”.

Our awareness of the context of that passage (Philippians 4:10-13) reminds us that we are not promised any athletic achievement we want but that we are to be CONTENT regardless of the outcome because of CHRIST!  We were reminded that God is pleased with Christians, not because of anything we have done or will do, but because of what Christ has accomplished on our behalf!

We must view God as our Father, not as a fan!

I don’t think for an instant that it was an accident that we finished up our study of the book on Thursday, March 5.

Many of us were preparing to board a charter bus and embark on a 28-hour trip to Tucson, AZ.  Others were already home for spring break, or about to head home for spring break, or headed out on a mission/PLIA trip.

It is tough to describe the run of emotions that existed throughout our time in Tucson.

It all started with a weather forecast that looked extremely unfavorable for being able to get any games played beyond Tuesday, March 10.  As the week went on the forecast continued to improve each day and we continued to be blessed with opportunities to play!  News began to trickle in regarding some discussions of event cancellations, season postponements, etc.  Most of us, myself included, tried to push this news off as unbelievable.

Thinking persisted that this would not affect us until we finally received news of Dordt’s plan to extend spring break by one  week and move all classes online until April 13.  This news fired off another round of roller coaster emotions!

On Friday, March 13, we witnessed a team have their season abruptly ended only minutes before their first pitch.  At this point, the reality of what was to come became more and more apparent!

I truly believe, and shared with the parents and players in Tucson, that the Lord used our trip to Tucson, AZ to display that He is still on His throne reigning over all of creation!  His provision for us in allowing us to play every day while we were in Tucson prepared us for what we were about to experience.

Our discussions and scriptures that were opened up to us through our journey through The Assist prepared us for what we were about to experience.

What I witnessed from this team in your response to what was happening was remarkable!

Contentment, faith in God as our father, maturity, gratefulness are just a few descriptions that come to mind.

This was all setup by the reinforcement that our IDENTITY is not found in what is accomplished on the playing field, classroom, or our careers!

Our IDENTITY is found in Christ as we live out our lives as image bearers of our sovereign Creator!  I am not sure what the future holds for the rest of the semester.

I want to give you all some encouragement.  Your mission field location has changed now that you are back at home.  Please use this opportunity to bless those around you and share the good news of the gospel!

Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven” comes to mind.  Matthew 6:25-34 is another passage that can give some comfort as well.  Our corporate worship life has also been temporarily disrupted.  As I reflect on Psalm 122:1 “ I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord” we have a unique opportunity to engage diligently in family worship.  Use this opportunity to continue to search the scriptures.

I will leave you with this final thought.  Our varsity season was abruptly ended and our JV season was not able to see a game played.

Tears were shed, no doubt.

There is no shame in that!

Questions remain with few answers.  Seniors are wondering if there will be a commencement.  We wonder if we will be able to see each other back on campus in the next month or so.  The Lord has a plan through all of this!  We can look at Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”.  The Lord continues to reign on His throne and we can say with the Psalmist in Psalm 121: 1-2 “I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord”.  You ALL have been a blessing to me and I am beyond grateful for each and every one of you for being in my life.

Until we meet again….

Coach Zomer

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