By: Carson Panovec
This Summer I had the opportunity to Coach at Brentwood Swim and Tennis Club. Monday through Friday I would work with kids between the ages of 2 and 15. There is something special about working alongside a player, giving them instruction, and watching them improve their game. Even though it is an individual sport, you both are on the same team, and both of you are focusing on making the player the best that they can be. This common purpose forms a bond between coach and player. This bond allowed me to improve not only my players’ tennis game, but also their attitude, work ethic, and behavior. Working with kids gave me so many opportunities to show the love of Christ. Things like comforting crying children, putting bandaids on cuts, helping a kid who got a nose bleed, hitting with kids during break time, or letting kids “have the honor” of pushing me in the pool might seem like they are just part of the job description, but when they are done intentionally with love, it makes a world of difference to the kids.
Working as a tennis coach this summer has been a huge blessing to me, not only do I get to impart the love of tennis to younger kids, but also the love of Christ.
After tennis camp finished, I received the opportunity to fill a similar role as a counselor at Harpeth Hills Church of Christ’s Church camp. Although I had attended this camp, I had never before been a counselor. As a counselor, I had more responsibility and had to focus not on myself, but on my campers. Even so, I enjoyed counseling more than I did being a camper.
Seeing the Lord work in each of my guys and occasionally being His mouthpiece to them instilled a sense of satisfaction and success unlike any other.
I got to watch my guys, who on the first day didn’t say a word during devotional, open up to each other, pray with one another, and worship our God with their entire being.
Winning tennis matches feels great, but fulfilling my higher purpose by helping further God’s kingdom is what brings me true joy, satisfaction, and peace.
That being said, I believe the disciplines that I have learned from tennis have made me a better person and have furthered my walk with Christ. My team and I have been working hard preparing physically and mentally for the fall, and I am excited to see how we will grow as players, as people, and as a team. Go Bison!