The Least of These

As coaches, it goes without saying that a primary aspect of the job is to win. Not figuratively or in the metaphorical sense, but to literally win. That's why coaches and athletes put in the long hours, mastering their sport and sacrificing so much.

In this pursuit of a larger "W" column, there is an obvious tendency to devote more time to those athletes on the team who are going to win for the team. While understandable and probably necessary to some extent, this often leaves the "runts" of the team on the sideline. I notice this in my own coaching and can't help but think it happens elsewhere.

The "runts," the players who might never even see a varsity line-up, they can still find meaning and purpose being part of a greater team. But for them to realize this, we must not further isolate them because of their lack of athletic ability. Honestly, in my wrestling career, both as a competitor and a coach, I have seen some terrible wrestlers. Yet, these guys with 0-15 records were absolutely vital to our team. They made the room fun. They made me a better man.

When you see the runt on the field and think to yourself, "This just isn't going to happen for this kid," remember that Jesus came and spent His time among "the least of these." We are reminded of the order of the Kingdom of God and that the last shall be first. While medals and trophies and titles are all great rewards for dedication, don't forget to love "the least of these."

"Fighting is the best thing a man can have in his soul." -Renzo Gracie

Mike Baria - Moeller Wrestling
Harvard University '06
Wright State Boonshoft School Of Medicine '11
Wright State Raj Soin College of Business '11