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Why Christian Athletics Makes all the Difference

March 26, 2024
By Katie Levis

A great quote that speaks to me in my role as Coach and Athletic Director is from Billy Graham, “A coach will impact more people in one year than the average person will in an entire lifetime.” When reflecting on my high school and college experience as an athlete, my coaches, teammates and all the hundreds of competitions through the years are a part of almost every memory. It’s true, my coaches had a great influence on me, positively and negatively.

I attended a public high school in New Jersey and truly valued my experiences being a part of very competitive athletic programs.  My coaches gave me many great character-building experiences, but they were not because of Godly values, they were simply about being a “good person” or a “better teammate” or “being successful”. I also learned character traits I didn’t want to emulate. While all my coaches had my respect, it wasn’t always because they earned it, but because I grew up in a Godly home with parents who reinforced that we are to “be like Christ”, no matter our circumstances.

Playing basketball at Messiah College was my first experience having Godly coaches who inspired me and my teammates because of their love for God. The values they taught translated with a greater depth for me because living my life dedicated to being a follower of Jesus, was above all other things. Success was not just winning the game, but striving to win, because God desires us to be excellent in everything we do and to do it the right way (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). Loving our teammates and coaches wasn’t because we were supposed to, but because God commands us to ”love others as ourselves” (Matthew 22:39). My coach and his wife hosted a player's Bible study because they knew life was bigger than practice and games. Athletics took on a greater love for me than ever before.

Throughout the past 20+ years, I’ve been involved in athletics professionally. I’ve worked in public and Christian schools and at all levels. The value and joy found in the relationships with other coaches and the athletes I’ve mentored bring special memories. However, there is a greater depth to those relationships when I’m able to coach while also sharing how much God loves each of us, enough that he died. There is no greater message to share!

At CHS, we (coaches) get to mentor, coach, and share God with our athletes through words and actions in every practice, every game, in the hallways and simply when we are together. This upcoming spring season, many of my seniors have played for me since they were in 6th grade. One of these players, when she was in middle school,  often grew anxious during games. When those moments arose, we had a verse for the season, and she would say it even while still on the court. Over the years,  coaching my players has provided a foundation of trust and respect.  Now there are many days when I’m sitting in my office and a player comes in and says, “Coach, can I ask you about something?” I’m blessed to be one of those people for them, as we look together for God’s will in life’s moments.  Our coaches at CHS not only love their sport, but love having a role in the lives of their athletes and, in turn, our athletes are blessed to have Godly coaches.

Now as we enter into the 2024 Spring athletic season, I pray for more opportunities for our teams to grow together, not only in our athletic skill, but in character development through teamwork. Let’s end this year strong!

This is Coach Katie Levis’s second year in her role as Athletic Director.  Prior to that, she was a classroom teacher at CHS for 4 years, as well as being a Varsity Coach.  Coach Levis has been a coach at the middle, high school and college level and helped start the first lacrosse team at her high school in NJ. This season her team will be focusing on Philippians 3:12-14 and what it means to ""Forget what is behind and press on toward the goal."

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