Older, heavier, less agile, not as talented, clearly less experienced and sucking lungfuls of 95 degree air, I was winded and sweaty as I looked across the net at a guy that was just plain better than me.

Last Sunday evening we started another round of coed sand volleyball, for fun.

Well, it’s fun when you’re playing well and competing in a heated match against the other team, and really fun when you’re winning, I’ve found 🙂

I’m still new to this game, as Lindsay and I were first invited just over a year ago to play with our Church’s team. (Once again, it was Debbie Soule, that pulled me out of my ‘I don’t play sports, have no ability to do this’, shell)

Anyway, Lindsay and I have had the chance to play together and it’s brought us closer as a couple in the process. Cool 🙂


Last Sunday, as we started up a new season, I was frustrated and exhausted. We were booked for two matches, we only had 5 of our 6 players, and we’d lost the first match to some (punk) kids 1-2 W-L-L.

I say punk kids, because when you’re older, heavier, less agile, not as talented and basically not as good, you wanna believe they are punks when you lose to them.

At least I did 🙂

But truthfully, they’re not punks. These guys are just really good at coed sand volleyball and want to win at least as much as I do, maybe more.

So there I was, in the beginning of our second match, up against a ‘new’ team and since they were short of players, a couple of the guys from the previous match filled in and were back on the court against us…


I’m setting this up to show you that at one point early in the match, I was across the net from a kid, that I just knew could handle himself and the ball and my attempted plays, better than I could. I was imagining the games from earlier, and seeing that I was not up to the challenge of beating my opponent mano e mano.

He is just too good! The guy’s legs are like springs! He can see the whole court! He’s quicker, he’s powerful and is in Much better shape than me!

I have improved my game a lot over the last year, but I was just plain being beat.

Have I proven my point, that this guy was into my head?

These were my exact thoughts in the moment.

I truly felt defeated before our second match began…

For just an instant.

Then a wise voice piped up in my mind and giving desperately needed insight.

“I don’t have to be a better player than this guy. I don’t have to beat this one individual.”

“In fact, I’m not even playing against him.”

“My TEAM is playing against his TEAM! Together, WE can do this. Together we have much more skill and ability and experience, than just me. Together, we could beat this team we’re up against.”


I was so thankful for this message!

Instantly, I relaxed. Instantly I had confidence.

When the ball was served and play began, I knew I may lose a couple individual battles to my opponent. I wasn’t going to win them all.

Yet, as a Team, we did hold our own. We pushed through. We found the rhythm of our 5 players. We adjusted our strategy, we served well and everyone played hard.

WE rose up to the occasion and WON the match.

Just for the record, the rest of my team is really darned good. I’m lucky to get to play with them, and sometimes be a contributor too 🙂

So, what’s the message here today?

We don’t have to do it all ourselves. We weren’t designed that way. We have a TEAM.

When it seems too daunting, and we’re winded. When we can visualize how life is going to be faster and tougher than we can handle. When it seems like we’re going to lose the battle, no matter what.

Take heart. Your Team wants to help you win. Your Team is collectively stronger than you’ll ever need to be. Your Team has a wealth of experience and stamina. Your Team has what you don’t have to have.

And it’s much more fun too!

I’ll be honest with you. My Team has grown a LOT over the last few years.

I was always blessed with a fantastic group of friends and family. Yet, in the changes and shifts I’ve put myself through, I’ve stretched some of those relationships. I know we’re still a Team when it comes down to it though.

I’m more involved than ever in our community, and have met and connected with great people through the Young Professionals, and other civic stuff.

Also, I’ve been blessed with a fantastic Church family. Every week I’m surrounded by wisdom, caring and deep acceptance of our flawed fabric of humanity. Our Wednesday Men’s Group is an astounding force of sincerity, love and dedication to the Word.

And the Love of my Life, Lindsay, my best friend, my balance, my smiles, giggles and tender honest listener, blesses my experience every day. We work together and play together too. I don’t deserve such a fantastic fit for me, but I do appreciate her, TONS!

Then there’s my relationship with God… Wow. Mind blowing. Ever Rising, flowing upward and expanding me beyond myself, again and again. Turning me inside out.

“… with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

With our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in my heart, I am not better than one person out there, but I am better than I used to be.

See, this is a Team that can Win. This is a team I would take to battle anywhere! This is a Team that can accomplish infinitely more than I could on my own…

I have to thank that punk kid on the sand volleyball court for reminding me of that.

Maybe he’s not so bad…

And, he may have needed some kindness, considering the results of our last match!

After all, his young agile group, did lose to an older, slower, worn-out team of 5 🙂

But, it’s all for fun anyway, right 🙂


Aaron Nichols

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