I am Just Like a Professional Athlete

Have you ever seen an interview with a major professional athlete, when they say something like, "I get paid to play a game that I love!" At which point I experience a bit of anger, jealousy and loath. I usually think something along the lines of, "well of course you should love to play a game and get paid millions of dollars to do it! Everybody would love that!" I guess I have to admit that the wishful thinking in me always wishes I would have pushed myself in some sort of sport, because then I surely would have been a professional athlete!!!??? Maybe that could be me saying that in an interview! "I get paid to play a game that I love!" In that moment I wish my Dad would have been more like Tiger Woods dad and spent hours and hours and hours and hours on the golf course with me...MAKING me a better golfer. Then I snap out of it...I would never have let my dad do that, I was way to lazy!

So, I realize I will have to settle into being who I am, the non-paid professional athlete (I win most times when I play bump at youth - that counts right?). I also realize that I am in just as good a situation as a professional athlete. Does anyone know what a professional youth worker does for a living. Here is an insight into some of the things I do:

  1. Watching youtube videos as "research"
  2. going out for cokes (paid for by the church)
  3. holding random crazy competitions (like seeing how many double bubble you can have in your mouth at one time)
  4. going out for burgers
  5. beating grade 8 kids at bump
  6. going out for lunch
  7. watching people snort spaghetti through their nose and out their mouth
  8. going out for coffee
  9. smashing up an old car on purpose and legally
  10. going out for fries
  11. seeing people grow up in their faith (and, sadly, sometimes out of their faith)
  12. blogging
  13. having theological discussions
  14. getting to hang out with people I love
  15. challenging people and having them accept those challenges
  16. doing things I would do even if I did not get paid for it
Hey, maybe I am just like a professional athlete! What do you like about what you do?


phil said...

bro, this is great. Lately I have been wondering "what the ell am I doing. I don't farm, I can't fix things, I just do what I do, but I love it. Thanks bro.

Outgoing... said...

You know i used to say that and probably still would say that if i was still in youth ministry. I think everyone hopes to do something with thier lives at which and in which they can find a sense of fulfillment. If that is achievable it's hard not to find alot of joy in it. And no matter how much politics or interpersonal conflicts are a part of the equation (cause they always are) you can still feel really good about what you do.
It makes me think about how so often in the literature and at conventions and training sessions youthworkers are positioned as the underdogs. I always found that a little disingenuous. Yes there are struggles and disapointments but we get or got in my case) paid for doing stuff most people would never dream of doing.
I have a theory about this in terms of why so many youthworkers pack it in. I think that there is just too much of difference between the world that youth workers live in and the church that they are hired to serve. its like living in two worlds. anyways...
great post

roverT said...

Dale, sounds like you are missing being a youth pastor. I always get frustrated with the positioning of youthworkers as underdogs, I wasn't sure if anyone else noticed that.

Phil, glad to hear you can love what you are doing.