“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”—Rocky Balboa to his son in Rocky VI.

At Cary Christian, we aim to produce winners in academics, athletics, and ultimately life. Why? Because Jesus Christ is the ultimate victor and our time on earth is to be spent becoming more like Him. Jesus faced unimaginable difficulty and eventually death before His resurrection, yet He endured the hits and kept moving forward by staying focused on the goal set before him and the joy that would accompany his victory (Hebrews 12:2). He demonstrated perseverance, character, mental toughness, commitment, dedication, courage, and sacrifice—all of which are characteristics that our students must possess to be winners both in the classroom and on the court/field.

As a former high school and college player and now a coach at Cary Christian, I have a strong appreciation for how the platform of athletics can help produce each of these Christ-like characteristics. Throughout our CCS sports seasons, student athletes are trained to endure challenging practices, and must become skilled at how to successfully handle both gut wrenching defeats and thrilling victories. Our players find out that it is easy to be mediocre but difficult to be great. They learn that it takes determination to keep battling when losing, to be relentless in pursuing a goal when encountering obstacles, and to stand firm with conviction when everyone around them has no convictions. They grow to understand that every practice and game must be viewed as a valuable opportunity to discover areas for improvement that when corrected can lead to even greater success in the future.

Being a coach is really enjoyable, but it also comes with a responsibility to develop in each player a powerful drive to be successful while not being afraid to fail or to give up when obstacles come. When Rocky Balboa talked to his son, he was basically saying the difference between being great and average is directly related to how easily a person gives up. My prayer is that the student athletes graduating from CCS are better prepared by their sports experiences to never give up and positively influence a world that “ain’t all sunshine and rainbows” while bringing glory to Jesus Christ in the process.