The Least of These

In 1987, NFL players went on strike and the league scrambled to find replacement players to keep schedules running.  In the end, between players crossing picket lines and the availability of many who wished to fulfill their dream of playing in the NFL, the league only missed one week worth of games and was able to keep going along.

The Washington Redskins did exceptionally well that season and ended up winning the Super Bowl.  However, not everyone was celebrating.  One of the replacement players for them was a running back named Wayne Wilson.  Wilson was injured during the season and did not play in most games.  When the team was awarded Super Bowl rings, Wilson did not receive one.  This led to a 1990 lawsuit in which Wilson alleged that he was owed a ring.  I do not know how the lawsuit turned out, but I seem to recall that it was thrown out.

I sympathize with Wilson.  When you spend your career seeking that top award, it could be absolutely maddening to not achieve it.  I think of the many greats in the NFL who never won a Super Bowl Ring.  Jim Otto… Carl Eller… Jim Marshall… Paul Krause… Sonny Jurgensen… Jim Kelly… Thurman Thomas… and probably most famously:  Dan Marino.  All of these players were once at the top of their profession and none of them won a Super Bowl ring even thought they played–or were on a team that played–in the Super Bowl.

Of course the lesson here is that football is a team sport and no one player–no matter how great–can win the Super Bowl.  Football is a team game and great teams over-achieve beyond the sum of their parts.

How about your school?  Do you have a great team?  Or do you have a collection of individual superstars?  What steps will you take to build a great team?

I am blessed to be a part of a team.  Actually, TWO teams.  First is our school team.  Our faculty consists of teachers with various backgrounds and a wide variety of approaches to teaching.  Some teachers excel at using technology; some excel in simply sharing the love of Jesus with their kids.  I guess we are like many teaching staffs.

But here is the secret:

Our staff is great because

1–They have competence.

2–They are put in positions which highlight their strengths.

I hope our teachers know how much I appreciate them.  That is the third aspect that we are working diligently on for the future:  Cheerleading and encouraging the staff members in ways that are meaningful to them (not us as administrators.)

The second team to which I belong is The Lutheran Schools Partnership.  The Partnership is a collection of our Lutheran schools in Northeast Indiana.  As I look at the administrative leadership in our Lutheran schools, I see the same thing.  I see principals that have unique gifts and abilities and yet are Called to positions in which those talents are put on display and utilized to God’s glory.  Principal “A” might be the perfect fit for his or her school, but may fail miserably at another.  Principal “B” may have gifts that the school he or she serves needs RIGHT NOW, but maybe not in the future or in the past.

God has Called them to be here.  Now.  And it is inspiring to watch Him at work through these people.

So… as for me?  I am in awe of the Mike Singletarys, the Richard Dents, the Walter Paytons that I get to work with.  And I’m just happy to be the Henry Waechter, fulfilling my role to help those stars shine.


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