Have you ever been to a wrestling match? I don’t mean “rasslin’” like they do on Saturday night at the Farm Center. I’m talking about a legitimate competitive sport recognized by the high school and collegiate associations – and the Olympics. I’m told that there are several styles: Greco-Roman and Free Style among them. I don’t really know the difference between the styles but I do know this: it is the MOST intense and nerve-wracking sport I’ve ever witnessed!
Both of our sons have been on high school wrestling teams at some point. And being the loving, supportive parents that we are, we attended most of their matches. And it was agonizing.
As a spectator/supporter, a parent must sit semi-quietly and watch her son’s body get twisted into positions she never thought possible. And the noise! Fans and competitors yelling at the tops of their lungs to “shoot the half” or whatever. And there were cheerleaders, too. Did you know that some schools have cheering squads for wrestling teams? Ours did. They not only scream and chant but they also pound the gym floor in support.
Worse than school matches were tournaments where several schools participated. Three or four matches occurred simultaneously in a gymnasium. Imagine the noise, the smell, the chaos. I was totally spent after one of those.
At one tournament, however, I tried to detach from the chaos as best I could so to preserve some energy and sanity. It was hard but for brief stints I was able to focus on one thing. One of these times I chose to watch our team’s coach. I’d never really watched him before mostly because he was a gentle, unassuming man by nature and he didn’t often draw attention to himself. But what I saw him do that day made a lasting impression on me.
Coach Dalton was often down on his hands and knees almost at eye level with our boys – watching, evaluating and admonishing, but not loudly at all. Just in a normal tone. I wondered: how could those guys hear their coach’s voice above all the rest? And then it hit me. This coach had worked with some of his team members for many years and so the guys recognized his voice. He had also led his team to many state championships and it was obvious he knew the sport. The boys trusted him.
Jesus taught a similar lesson about Himself using the analogy of sheep and shepherds:
(John 10: 3-5) “The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Recognition and trust are important when filtering out His voice from the rest.
Also, this Father’s Day, I commend all fathers especially those closest to me: my dad (whose been in heaven for 40 years), my husband who has been and continues to be a fabulous dad, and my sons who are or will be godly examples to my grandchildren.