One strength of Tree of Life Christian Schools throughout the years has been our community’s commitment to treat our guests with exceeding graciousness and generosity. In a culture that dismissively compartmentalizes what we say and do at athletic events as inconsequential, Tree of Life families have been a shining light in the midst of the intensity of competition. As the Lord continues to enlarge our family, rehearsing fundamental values we hold dear is an important practice.
If you are new to Tree of Life, it is my privilege to review the distinctives of our fan culture that are critical complements to the mentoring and discipling that occurs with the young men and women in our athletic programs. This is not a handbook, but my description (with my own vernacular and style) of the fantastic culture I see at Tree of Life. I trust it will be an encouragement to continue holding fast to our standards.
Tree of Life Christian School Athletic Fans…
…resist making comments about rude, unsporting or egregious behavior by opposing players. When things have taken a turn for the worse…most folks don’t like it rubbed in their face.
…cheer and compliment our players excessively. Heavy doses of encouragement and nothing else. If you need some practice on how to do this, sit next to Ken Clark for a quick primer. Be prepared to enjoy the event.
…resist comments about the referees. Like how we don’t appreciate the subpar job performance, how we wish to help them do their job, how we are shocked about how unfair things are, and general exclamations of incredulity at the calls that are made. Tree of Life fans know these kind of comments benefit no one, especially the referee, and usually only get everyone worked up.
…are joyful about the opportunity see their own child and others participate in an event…win or lose. Personal testimony…When I’m struggling with joy. I have to go watch from the parking lot or corner of gym so as not to infect others.
…resist unhelpful comments about our players needing to run harder or “hustle” or be better at what they do. Tree of Life fans know the players are trying and leave it up to the coaches to provide any motivational tough love. Tree of Life fans also know that no momma bear appreciates folks yelling at their son or daughter to “get the lead out of their pants” or to “wake up.”
…make opposing parents feel good about hanging out with us because someone has paid a compliment to their student athlete.
…know the fundamental reasons why we treat others with graciousness and generosity. It matches the character of God and it is a response to the grace shown to us.