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  • Writer's pictureJohn Kim

I Want You On My Team

1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race, all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

So the boys have been in school here for a week, and I’m totally blown away at the transformation I’ve seen, especially with our oldest. Kyan hated Chinese and wanted nothing to do with his Asian identity, but the other night he said “Apa, I think I like Chinese now. Our teacher makes it fun.” He also used to say that he was not athletic, but he was excited to play soccer at Sofi Stadium next week (the same one that hosted the Superbowl) and he also joined the cross country team at school.

Yesterday they had their first practice, and he got cramps half a lap into a seven lap training session. Back in Singapore I would have expected to hear all sorts of grumbling about how he wanted to quit the team, but Kyan just recounted the episode in a very matter of fact manner. There was no trauma associated with the episode at all.

When I met Coach Angela Brown and told her about Kyan last week, she immediately said “I want him. I want him on my team. We have a no cut policy, and we love meeting kids where they’re at to foster a love of sports. A lot of them surprise themselves and go on to compete at a very high level too.” When I went home and told him about the conversation, Kyan surprised me by saying he’d like to join. I guess being wanted by a former Olympian and NCAA Champion did something for his confidence.

My understanding of Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 9 has been that we all need to take our spiritual lives very seriously. While I think that’s absolutely part of the story, as someone who considers myself a relatively intense person, sometimes I forget that competing at a high level first starts with meeting people where we’re at. Thankfully we have a coach in heaven who’s got more gold medals than can fill the sky. And he wants you on his team. And he’ll meet you where you’re at. And training with him will transform the tedious into the delightful.

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