Inner City Experience

I spent 2 days with an inner city high school football team last week. I don't think I will ever forget the experience. It showed the necessity of FATHERING!

As the guys were arriving I tried saying good morning to most of them as they came in - most walked by without responding or looking at me, some looked at me as if I just landed from planet 816. 

I told the head coach - lets get the guys talking (35 of them), lets learn some more about them personally. Here goes:

- 5 had been in prison already, one for 3 years.
- 70% had been arrested at least once
- 34 of the 35 suspended from school at least once
- Only 2 lived with both Mom and Dad

Some questions we asked:

- Who had breakfast this morning (it was 10 AM)?: 0
- If we organized a father-son event, who would invite their Dads? 2 hands went up
We then learned some Dads were in jail, dead, missing ... had never met him before.

It was apparent that the only goal I wanted to go for was some healing. These kids were hurting in ways I couldn't fathom ...

At one point Coach asked everyone in the room (myself included) to stand up and talk about something they regret. 35 players and 5 coaches ... I think 33 were weeping at one point ... not welling up ... no - weeping.

The Head Coach was amazing. The kids respected and loved him so much. He was absolutely the only person many of these guys had - seriously - the only one. He would hug many of them for a long time as they wept ... "You're one of us now. You're wanted. You're one of. You belong here." It was amazing.

At the end of the day we had the players write letters to someone they wanted to thank. Coach told them to invite this person to the end of practice tomorrow (Saturday).
13 of the 35 had someone present ... heartbreaking. 

Coach asked one player, "J where is your Mom?" "She never came home last night. I called her but nothin" "Did you have dinner last night?" "No" ...

Coach shook his head and began to cry ...

May the testimony of this coach persevering amidst all this adversity encourage you to COACH and TEACH for the right reasons - the real reasons.

God bless, Lou