By Chris Willertz, Winton Woods Wrestling, OH
There was a time when coaching a sport was all about coaching a sport. Teaching specific sport skills, emphasizing teamwork, having fun and enjoying young people were the prime elements of the life of a youth coach. As so many of us realize, coaching is so much more now. The emphasis on winning, developing talent, getting kids into college or the best schools has become the priority; like what your sports involvement can do for you!
At Winton Woods, our wrestling program is about all of the things mentioned above, in various degrees. But, I would argue, our program is most about trying to train boys into men. Sadly, we have a lot of absentee fathers in our community. There are many single mothers trying to raise children and make ends meet. I think God asks everyone of us to father our own children but to help the orphans and the widows as well. Since this is the majority of our boys at Winton Woods, I feel it would be an injustice NOT to try to father our fatherless.
Fathering the fatherless is hard work! This is true especially in the spring when school is about to let out. If you’ve ever really tried to train teenage boys you know what I mean. So many want an adult fighting for them and against them! So many crave the attention and the discipline.
Don’t throw up your arms and say I can’t do it. Get smart. Use your brain, your wisdom. Figure out rewards for good behavior, figure out consequences for bad behavior, expect to fight the same fight over homework, effort, respect, day after day after day after day.
I can’t remember the number of times my dad told me to do my homework and the punishments I received for not doing it. But he did it for me and my older brother, and countless students he taught at Saginaw Valley State University. Convince yourself that you can do it too and that you are not going to give up.
Our work at Winton Woods is difficult. I see forty or fifty teenage boys a day that need fathering. And I am supposed to teach them history and wrestling too!? It’s a daunting task. I can’t do it by myself. We can’t do it by ourselves. We need you! We need you to pray for us. We need you to help us financially (so many of the boys don’t experience real initiations provided by their own families, we have to provide them for them).
We need you to father fatherless teenage boys. We need you to tell friends and family about the plight so many boys are facing, NO INITIATIONS INTO MANHOOD BY ADULTS WHO REALLY CARE ABOUT THEM! We need our society to see how weak uninitiated men are harmful to the women they love, the children they create, the communities which they live and ultimately to themselves.
It is clear God wants all of us to do our part, to help Him. Are you willing to do your part, to fight for the soul of a young person? Christ did it for you, why not return the favor?
“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.”
Deuteronomy 10: 17-19
“Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice.”
Deuteronomy 24: 17
“Do not withhold discipline from a child.”
Proverbs 23: 13