Tag Archives: Athletes

Shared Courage…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂


Inspiration this week comes from the Gospel of Matthew 18: 20

“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”


The 2019 swim team season kicked off last week. The first morning practice with the high school swimmers began with an air temperature of 38 degrees, and we were very glad for a heated pool! It was 55 degrees by the time the younger swimmers practiced in the middle of the day, but the air still carried a bit of a bite to it…The weather might not think it is summer, but we have more than 40 young athletes that are excited to be in the water!

This year’s theme for the season is courage. In particular our quote to live by is, “Courageous faith calls us to finish strong!”. We spent our weekly off-season winter practices talking about what it takes to be a good teammate. That provides a great lead-up to a summer of courageous fellowship 🙂

Just as being an athlete takes courage, so does life.

  • It takes courage to be grateful regardless of your circumstance.
  • It takes courage to persevere with steadfast grace.
  • It takes courage to continue to put in the work even when you can’t see a victorious outcome.
  • It takes courage to stand firm and cling to your faith.

My hope is that our team will build meaningful habits to help us be courageous while simultaneously building fitness and strength in the water. I opened up the first practice asking the swimmers what it means to have courage. A ten year old boy on the team immediately responded, “courage is keeping going and working hard even when you are scared.” A second swimmer followed that statement with, “when we have courage we don’t settle even when it gets hard.” By the end of the week, we all decided that it was easier to be courageous and to make courageous choices when we came together to support each other as a team.


I believe that God calls us to be all in – To live with heartfelt passion in order to share his love with others. The athletic team is an awesome place to learn this. It provides a fun and engaging way to introduce many of the challenges that we experience throughout life. When done correctly, athletics teach the value of hard work and unselfish fellowship. At the Cozad Swim Team, we start each practice with a character lesson, a bible verse, and a daily devotional. I do this because I believe that the first thing that my swimmers need to learn is that God is always with them. He is the ultimate source of courage and he uses each one of us to help build a fellowship of strength. That is the purpose of TEAM.

For where two or three gather, God is among them.

I think that all of my swimmers know how important my faith is to me. I hope that it provides a light to them as they travel the journey of building a meaningful relationship with our Lord. What they might not know is that sharing faith with them brings me courage. My swimmers inspire me to live with grace – to be brave – to have a grateful attitude – and to work with purpose each and every day.

2019 has been a year of challenge for me. During the various times of trial, I have thought of my athletes and how I would counsel them. This keeps me centered on my faith and reminds me of the importance of practicing what I preach. In about a month, I will undergo a third surgery on my leg. As I fight the fear of another invasive procedure, the reality that today I am unable to walk without pain, and the knowledge that the future is unknown, I draw on the shared courage that we build together in fellowship on the pool deck.

I pray that I will walk this path with grace so that my swimmers can see Jesus carry me with the courageous faith that I need to finish strong 🙂

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Passion—Preparation—Perseverance

Friday afternoon brought record temperatures (a high of 104 degrees) for the first Haymaker Cross Country meet of the season.  It was hot—there was no other way to describe it.  Mother Nature’s harshness presented an incredible challenge for the young athletes that gathered to compete.

My favorite teenage in a huddle with her teammates before the Junior High race...

My favorite teenage in a huddle with her teammates before the Junior High race…

There were some that were victorious—those that worked hard over the summer months to build a running base that would carry them past the vicious hurdle of a long run through what some might describe as the fires of hell.  There were others that were defeated both mentally and physically by the ruthless conditions.

As I watched the hundreds of athletes make their way across the course, there were several words that ran through my head:

  • Passion
  • Preparation
  • Perseverance

There was a visible difference between the young people that had developed these life skills, and those that were still searching to find them.

A gutsy run brought her both a 3rd place finish and a smile...

A gutsy run brought her both a 3rd place finish and a smile…

I was reminded of my own years as an athlete.  Little Anne Gibson was never the most physically talented athlete in the competition, but my 5’3” frame was packed full of the three P’s.  Although there were certainly times when I longed for another 6”s of height and muscles that would move me just a little bit faster, the three P’s brought me many athlete victories.

A younger Anne with her coach---a great mentor in her search for the three P's...

A younger Anne with her beloved coach after a victory in an ocean mile swim…

Although I retired from competitive athletics almost twenty years ago, I have taken that same passion, preparation and perseverance with me during every day of my adult life.  It is what drives me toward excellence as I raise both my children and my cattle on the prairies of Nebraska.

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I cherish the opportunities that I have to pass along the three P’s to my daughters, and it brings me tremendous pride to watch them mature into hard working and determined young women.  I am also incredibly thankful for both my parents and my youth swimming coach for instilling these values so deeply in my heart.  I hope that they realize that every success that I achieve is linked back to their diligent mentoring.

Youth that develop the three P’s learn not to settle…

They learn to aspire for greatness, and figure out that the joy of success is sweetened by the hard work and determination that ensures it…

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