Friday, January 29, 2010

LEssons Learned from the Sports World - The Locker Room

Cold floors covered with dull colored nonslip tiles. Hard wooden backless benches against bare walls with a few metal hooks attached supposedly for our convenience but never enough to actually hold all that was necessary. The air filled with the smell of stale sports bags and the echoing noise of every sound emitted reverberating around the room multiple times as it bounces off the hard surfaces. The locker room was never the most glamorous or comfortable place when playing sports. However, I loved the locker room.
When I played soccer for my High School and College I always enjoyed the time before the game in the locker room with the team. The anticipation in the air. The excitement of getting out on the field to face our old rivals. The rush of adrenalin as we talked about going against the team on top of the league. Or the nervous apprehension of facing the team who was 'cleaning everyone's clocks' that season. There was a buzz that affected everyone in the locker room. You could not be in there and not be impacted. And, it grew as the moments passed. It would reach a crescendo when the coach walked in and gave his final talk.

Two things we can take from this - the second I wil share in my next blog.

Infectious Excitement
Something happens in that Locker room that does not happen anywhere else. It is something that is critical to the success of the team on the field. Something that cannot happen if you chose to get ready for the game at home and arrive at the field. It is an infectious excitement that spreads virally from player to player. It readies each player for the task at hand. It dispels all other thoughts and focuses the mind on the challenge ahead.

There were times when I needed to be infected by members of the team in order for me to get going and there were times when I was the 'infector'. But it always had to happen if we were to play to win. If we went out on the field feeling that this was just another game, or, I'll just do the same thing I did last week, or this one really does not matter, or had no enthusiasm for the game.....we were in trouble.

When it comes to serving on our team here in the US we need each other - I hope we would all agree with that. But it is more than a statement. We need to be around each other. If you are like me sometimes I get discouraged. I lose focus. I forget the urgency of the task at hand. Therefore we need to have those locker room experiences where we are infected by the excitement of others or refocused by the drive of those around us. Where we are reminded of the urgency of the task we are involved in - urgency because it is a hurting world dying without Christ and urgent because Jesus could return any day and we want as many to hear, before then, as possible. This urgency helps keep us working harder, encouraging harder, tackling the enemy harder making the most of every moment and opportunity because the days we live in are evil. The Locker room experiences as a team will help keep our fire alive. When we are down the other team members can encourage us ie. put courage into us/ put fire into us. When our vision has been weakened they can help focus and strengthen it. The list could go on. So the locker room moves past the obligation or mandatory status -'I have to be there' to the essential status of 'I need to be there' if I am to 'play to win'.

How are you doing with our Locker room times - I would say that these are any if not all the times we get together as a team or teams within the office - Prayer Morning, Team Development Time (Tuesday), Team Connect, Prayer Days..... I am sure you can think of your own team meetings.
Our attendance at them will be determined greatly by how we prioritize them. There will always be things to do...often that seem more important. However, I believe that if we want to function well as a team and accomplish great things we cannot excuse ourselves from the locker room. We need to prioritize these times above most things. Our absence does effect the bigger team and also it effects you as an individual. My experience both in sports and in ministry has been that when someone regularly excuses themselves from the locker room/team gatherings they slowly but surely disengage from the team and then function and feel isolated.
Their effectiveness diminishes, whether they see it or not, and ultimately the team suffers from not having that player fully functioning and engaged.

Paul's encouragement to the church was to 'not neglect the meeting together'. This principle concerning the church works exactly the same in our office.

How are you doing in regards to the Locker Room meetings?
If change is needed what are you going to do to change?


1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more. There are many times that I come in on a tuesday or thursday morning don't really want to go into the team meeting times because I I could really use this time to get other things done. But, I go anyways because no matter how I feel at the time, I always walk out of those meetings feeling like I'm a part of something bigger than just whatever tasks I have to get done. More times than not, I'm humbled before God and what HE is doing, and it send chills down my spine. It is exactly like the locker room because it reminds you that you are part of the body, and that you can do nothing apart from it.