|Stober seeking to build local FCA one person at a time|
|Monday, April 01, 2013 8:39 AM|
DELPHOS — The Fellowship of Christian Athletes was started nearly 60 years ago — in 1954 — to “see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes,” according to its web site.
It’s for athletes and coaches at all levels: professional, college, high school on down to junior high and youth; striving to do just that.
It’s a way for athletes to strive to be the best they can be at the particular sport(s) they are involved in and yet remember Who it is they are really playing for.
For Josiah Stober, former high school and college athlete and now Jefferson varsity girls soccer coach and varsity fast-pitch softball coach, seventh- and eighth-grade boys basketball coach and High School Intervention Specialist (teaching reading and study skills), it is a way for him to continue that mission in an area he loves.
“It gives me a chance to mix two things I love: God and sports. I was involved when I was a high school athlete at Spencerville and played in college at Bluffton University and it gives me a chance to stay involved now that I am into coaching,” he explained. “I have been involved since my year teaching at Marion Harding and since I came to Jefferson in 2010.
“I find that the kids are responsive to the message, especially when they see others live that way.”
For some, like professional athletes, it may be about speaking at conferences — like WNBA star Tamika Catchings or Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh — writing books/articles, starting necessary charitable foundations and other such work as part of spreading their message.
For others, it isn’t so far-reaching but just as vital.
For example, Stober — besides his year-long duties as a coach of three sports — has instituted the annual Dodgeball Tournament on a Saturday night.
This year’s edition — the third — was on March 16, with players from St. John’s, Elida and Paulding participating, in addition to the Jefferson crew.
“I know in our district (8), we’ve been trying to get something going but it hasn’t quite caught on. Here, it has,” Stober continued. “It’s a nice way to offer a competitive atmosphere but yet have a team-building experience for the kids and give them a chance to fellowship; those are the main reasons, as well as faith. We seem to be growing with the number of kids and teams in it, not just from the school but from the surrounding towns, too. That is what we want to see.
It is just one event in what Stober — and the FCA — hopes to use to “see the world impacted for Jesus Christ …”
“We have movie nights — where we try to show edifying films — and game nights that basically feature fellowship — pizza and pop — and team-building games — it’s not just sports we’re using. It’s trying to build togetherness and community brought together by faith,” he added. “We have our meetings as well throughout the school year; we meet on Fridays and again, we have team-building competitions in a relaxed atmosphere. You can also give more individual attention as needed.
“We want to help give youth a more positive, uplifting message than the one(s) they are getting on a regular basis that are tearing them down.”