There was a tangible excitement and energy for the Ontario Summer Games. These multi-sport games for youth under the age of 18, much like the Pan Am Games or the Olympics, occur every two years. Originally scheduled for 2020 but postponed twice because of COVID-19, this was the first time these athletes had been able to participate in any organized event since the closings. Chris Timm, a pastor and FCA Canada’s Director of Coaching, was more than eager to return to the fields and participate as a track and field jumps coach.
“There was so much excitement building with 3,500 athletes coming from all over Ontario. It was cool to march in with all the athletes for the opening ceremonies and have dinner together in the village,” said Chris.
As a 360 Coach, Chris has had many opportunities to share his faith and be what he calls a “lighthouse” to coaches and athletes, a guiding light to the ultimate Coach, Jesus Christ. During conversations while coaching, he often gets asked what he does and receives a range of reactions.
“I’m a bit of an anomaly [being a coach and pastor], and I am happy that it can be a doorway for conversation. I have had the opportunity to share my testimony and walk with people through difficult circumstances,” Chris said.
As FCA Director of Coaching, Chris’s role is to develop coaches. One of his biggest tasks is to communicate the concept of being a transformational rather than transactional coach. As a 360 Coach, he wants to reach the heart of both the coach and the athlete, and at the Summer Games, he had several opportunities to do that.
One of his athletes was an incredibly talented long jumper. While practicing for his jump, the young man was surrounded by several well-meaning family members and his school coach all stepping in to solicit advice on his take off time.
As the athlete’s frustration became evident and he began to shut down, Chris stepped in and removed the kid from the situation. Taking him away from the sand, he listened as the young man expressed his frustration and stress.
“We continued to talk, but mostly I just listened,” says Chris. “I was able to help him get his heart rate down, his emotions under control and his focus redirected. He ended up winning his jump.”
Throughout the Games, Chris had other opportunities like this one to pour into the hearts of his young athletes. He recognizes the powerful impact a coach has, and when used positively, the care of Christ comes out in the form of a coach who cares about every part of the athletes: mind, body and soul.
This is the “lighthouse” effect that’s on display in Chris’s life as he continues his coaching and pastor roles to lead others into a deeper purpose as they compete and experience more than just winning.
Photos courtesy of Christopher Timm