October 23, 2007

Old School

Posted in anastasia kharchenko, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Camps, Christian Tennis Player, Fellowship, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, melody snelen, rachel snelen, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis tagged , , , , , , , , at 10:24 pm by Scott Paschal

Last year and in 2005, I coached a Polish- American kid named Marek. Really good kid. Good junior player, too. His top ranking while I coached him was #1 B18 in America. We developed a strong bond. He was raised Catholic, yet found Jesus when he came to train with me full time. We gave him his first Bible, which he read front to back for the first time ever. His new walk with Jesus was amazing and one of the highlights of my personal ministry to players..

Know what I liked most about Marek? His Dad. His Dad was old school. Old school Polish. How? Physical toughness? No. Brute strength? No. It was his consistency for family values. Marek’s Dad asked of Marek two things. 1. Call daily 2. Give him a kiss every time they see each other. Yep, give him a kiss. Just like when Marek was a little boy, and just like Marek’s dad does with Marek’s Grandfather. Not on the cheek. Right smack on the lips. Yep, you read that right. My friend, that’s old school. It’s toughness and strength, though not American style. And in a world searching for targets to hit, it’s controversial. Probably because it convicts.

dscf2283-1.jpgIn an American lifestyle of super-sized laziness, lost churches, image is everything, kids are an accessory… world, Marek and his dad stand out, and with an incredible example of old school, back in the day, the way it used to be… men actually being men, fathers and sons, grandfathers and grandsons, brothers and brothers, before “sexual orientation lifestyles” stole our rights… before it all got weird… old school ruled. And in some places it still does.

This pic brings me back to reality, old school-reality. This pic of me and Ana reminds me of my days as an athlete when I had a coach I loved and trusted. Ana won a Florida junior tournament where she competed with among the top juniors in the state. I said won, I should have said owned! Because she lost just 6 games the whole tournament. People tournament wide stopped and gawked at her huge game she is developing. People also saw a great bond between the two of us.

This pic shows the love, trust, and appreciation Ana has for her coach. When I first saw this pic, I thought about Marek’s dad. So, Walter, if you are reading this, thanks.

Let’s talk some more old school stuff. Today, an Indonesian family came to visit me. Mom and Dad and their two boys, 11 and 12. For the last month they have been spending a week at different tennis academies searching for the place to take the boys to the next level on a year-round, full time basis. It is a huge decision.

The boys have game. The 12 year old would probably be equal to the #1 B14 in America. His little bro is not far behind. For the last week they had been at IMG (Bolleterri’s). Apparently, they had toured the state spending a week at each of the well known tennis academies. In fact, they even talked to Nick Bolleterri for a while and he said their 12 year old hit the ball with more pop and spin than any 12 year old he had ever seen.

While Ana and I were taking my Jeep to pick David (from Australia) up from his flight back to America after a 10 day visit home, this Indonesian family called… actually for the 2nd time as they had wanted to visit last week, but I was working out of state. As they are related to one of my current students, I agreed, and shortly after they were all at my house.

We all hung out at the ICTAHouse, and went to hit some tennis balls. To make a long story short, they loved our tennis training and living environment. They were excited at the family/home environment and the healthy interaction between the students. No dorms, no unsupervised kids raising kids. And the dad felt my tennis workouts are at a much higher level and better for his sons than all the other academies he had visited. Awesome! What a great compliment. After practice, the Dad said we are on the top of his list of tennis academies to send his two sons… ahead of Bolleterri and everyone! Wow! They had just spent a week at Bolleterri’s and a week at each of the other top academies, and now have placed us at the top.

That was such an affirmation from God to me. Here is this international businessman and his wonderful wife bringing their two cherished sons to America to seek out the place they will allow to basically raise their children both on and off the court. They have the ability to send their sons anywhere. And within just one day in our environment, they decided no other academy is in our league. Basically, Mom and Dad came face to face with old-school work, old-school love, old-school dedication. The boys had a blast, too. To wrap this up, I didn’t agree to coach them at this time. I’m not looking for new students. Maybe they can come in for a camp next spring, and maybe full time starting next summer, but I have my time dedicated to my current athletes/missionaries! They completely understood and will stay in touch. They left full of excitement and appreciation at our ministry to students.

Is a church the building itself, or the fellowship of the people under the guidance of a pastor? What makes a “world-class” church? The amount of stained glass? How tall the ceiling is? The square footage? The gown worn by the priest? I guess it depends upon how you are raised.dscf2225-1.jpg

Is a tennis academy the facility itself, or the athletes training together with their coach? What makes a “world-class”tennis academy? The amount of courts? The whiteness of the director’s Nike shirt? Again, it may just depend on your background.

What I do know is the last 24 hours have brought up a lot of thoughts. And then God swiftly focused me in the direction He has for me to follow at this point in my life. The timing of this is amazing. It’s an old school direction. It’s “meeting under a tree for church”, back in the day type of stuff.

God has me coach world-class, mainly non-American, Christian athletes who travel world-wide. They have been raised in tennis by their parents and have become accustomed to traveling basically alone worldwide to tournaments since they were 13 to 15 years of age. When at the tournament, they seek out free host homes or find players to room with, both situations mean they stay with strangers.

A host home for a week in a strange country with a family or person they don’t know. That is their life. Planes, trains, buses, motels, host homes, tennis matches. I understand. I get it. It’s not American. It’s not lazy. It’s not supersized overprotection. It’s the real world. It’s life not seen through the lenses of having nursed on MTV. When these people do something, they get it done. When these people call themselves Christian, they mean it. When they seek a better life for their children, it’s a different better than American’s understand. It’s a toughness for excellence we just don’t comprehend. Don’t wonder too long why American tennis is so weak… and why American Christians are so… don’t get me started.

What International Christian Tennis Association offers is old school ministry to our players. Outreaches and discipleship. Nothing flashy. Nothing trendy. The tennis training is turning the heads of those who want substance and relevance and purpose. Again, nothing flashy. Nothing trendy. Just old school.

To wrap this up, the second pic is of the girl’s pro team at church. 5 girls. 5 amazing stories in life. God working in and through them.

Teamwork. Friendship. Hard work. Dedication. Caring. Missionaries.

Old School.


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