“I don’t know how you do it!?”
I couldn’t tell you how many times we’ve heard this in one way or another. I’ve never really thought much about it as we just do it. However, as I began to think about what we do, I realized there are a few things we do that separate us, identify us, and give us uniqueness. Although there are some tangible answers to the question, “How do you do it?” it is the intangible things that are more important.
We have a theme every year and it is the foundation to what we do on the field. We also have an overall theme for our organization, “To Everything There is a Season.” Aside from the sports seasons, our ministry goes through and has been through several different seasons, each one with new challenges, and each with new opportunities for growth. Sometimes these are more visible or noticeable to the UFA families, and often the struggles and improvement from them are kept within a small inner circle.
The same author of the above quote wrote, “Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!” “The last word, when all is heard: Fear God and keep his commandments…” What we do, the seasons we go through, the hours and hours of work on and off the field, the mentoring, the coaching, the counseling, the marketing, the branding, the merchandising, the networking, the planning of and hosting events, all that we do would be meaningless without a “Why.” How we do it is possible only because of why we do it.
The biggest reason we do it is because we feel called to do it. Sometimes leaders have difficulty letting go or delegating. I’ve recently realized that although I like to share the work, no one can do what I do, because I’ve been uniquely made for this mission in this place and time. My strengths and weaknesses complement those of Mrs. Fetter and no matter who I leave in charge of the field when I’m not there, it is always different; just not the same. This is our “Why.”
We’ve had several seasons of growth and change. We’ve been lead to this place and time in our ministry through soft whispers and gentle nudges as well as being yanked from one direction and pushed in another, or even worse, just yanked and left to figure out the way over time. We spend much time reflecting and discerning where we’ve come from, where we’re at, and where we’re headed. This is our “Why.”
We minister to hundreds of kids and families every season and year. Although we do athletics, our primary objective is to UnFetter Potential off of the field. I sometimes think of how easy it would be to coach one team of kids for the purpose of winning games. We currently have 90 plus kids on 8 baseball teams and a responsibility to help them grow in character. The athletic part is easy. We are constantly thinking of ways to improve and grow the true nature of UFA, and to do it in a way that stays true to the initial attraction and fun of sports. This is our “Why.”
We grow ourselves so we can help others grow. It is fun to share what we learn through several mediums including this blog, Facebook and Twitter posts, coaching on the field, private conversations, and so forth. We share our heart and mission and events like our Storm Chasers outing, the UnAthletics fall fundraiser, our Heart of the Hustler service project, and so much more. This is our “Why.”
The kids and families are amazing! We had a new player for 14U baseball in 2017 and he was concerned with how well our team would perform on the field and our win-loss record. I shared our mission and values and explained those were more important to us than the win-loss record of 14U recreational baseball team for one season in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It has been a joy to get to know this player better and help him grow as a person.
We had another player who was brought to tears when thinking about his time as a Hustler coming to an end as he is reaching an age beyond our ministry.
We had a player who years after playing only a couple of seasons with us quoted Coach Fetter and told his mom, “Look good, feel good, play good.”
We have sisters that are so excited for the chance to be a Hustler as a cheer leader, players that love the opportunity to just have a team on which to play, assistant coaches who thank us for the experience they’ve had and the growth from coaching with us, and many families that we’ve befriended and been able grow with on a personal level as parents. The kids and families are amazing! This is our “Why.”
Hustler Highlights, First Communions, Confirmations, birthday cards and parties, conversations about VBS, summer camp, school, teachers, classes, grades, homework, incidents, behavior, responsibilities, award ceremonies, and the list goes on and on and continues to grow. This is our “Why.”
“How do you guys do it?”