I am super excited to share this post to you. Kyle Froman, my good friend and Chaplin for MRO (an organization that works with NASCAR drivers) wrote a book called “The Race: Living Life on Track” legend Darrell Wallrtip (and for you Disney fans, Darrell Cartrip in Cars), and Billy Mauldin; also from MRO and spiritual advisor on this season’s American Idol.
Since NACAR is definitely a team sport, I asked them to share with you guys about why teamwork is so important when there is only one driver. So Boogity, boogity, boogity and enjoy.
Growing up under the same roof as an extremely athletic father and brother, I always felt the need to prove myself athletically. They both shined at every sport they played—from baseball to football, soccer to swimming. The bar was set very high. Thankfully, I, too, had some sporting moments that were worth some highlight reels. One of my earliest shining moments came when I was around nine years old, playing Little League baseball for our community team.
As I stood at home plate, gripping my aluminum bat, I stared at the pitcher with sweat dripping down my back. I gave him one of those mean baseball stares—the one that says, “I’m about to knock this out of the park.” The pitcher stared back, wound up, and released the ball. I shut my eyes and swung that shiny bat with all my might.
“Strike one!” the umpire yelled from behind the plate.
When I opened my eyes, I could see the dust settling around the pitcher’s mound as he began to take his place again, glaring at me.
Our season was coming to a close, and that at-bat could potentially have been my last chance to prove myself that year. I attempted to reposition myself over home plate like I had been taught. I had two more pitches to make it happen, and I was determined.
There in the hot, summer sun, the pitcher wound up again and released the ball. I shut my eyes and swung. “Strike two!” the ump bellowed as the ball thumped into the catcher’s glove.
My shoulders sagged as I opened my eyes again. My bat felt like a bag of bricks as I lifted it to my shoulders one more time, enduring this humiliation at the plate. Nevertheless, I pushed onward.
One last time I eyeballed the pitcher as he gestured to the catcher. He nodded and then hurled one last fastball toward home plate. I closed my eyes again and swung that aluminum stick with everything I had. Then I felt it—the unfamiliar vibrations of the bat connecting with the ball. I opened my eyes, scanning the outfield to see where it landed . . . and quickly realized that instead of driving the ball over the outfield fence like I had imagined, I had managed to clear the catch-fence behind me. Foul ball.
You would’ve thought I had just won the Little League World Series. After a year of swinging that bat time and time again, I had finally accomplished my yearlong goal. Earlier in the season, after several failed at-bats, my parents had promised that they would throw me a pizza party if I made contact during a game. Foul ball or not, all I had to do was touch the bat to the ball to prove myself, and I had done it! Pizza Hut never tasted so good.
As you would expect of anyone whose Little League career stats read “one foul ball,” I was not the all-star athlete in school. I was accustomed to being in the bottom two anytime teams were picked in gym class for dodgeball, and I certainly didn’t win any of our school’s chin-up or sit-up contests. To be bluntly honest, I even failed to qualify for our school’s jump-rope team and struck out in T-ball!
My lack of athleticism left me with a cynical, negative outlook toward teamwork. Within a team, I had nothing positive to contribute and my shortcomings were highlighted in comparison to other players. My negative self-perception when it came to sports, coupled with many benchwarming jokes, caused me to become jaded toward teams of any kind.
Personally, I’d rather run my race of life alone, without a team.
, racing taught me something different. The more I learned about NASCAR, the more I came to realize that individuals don’t win races; teams win races. The reality is, alongside every winning driver is a team of men and women who are on board, working tirelessly and pursuing excellence together. It’s the melting pot of talents and wisdom, experiences and gifts coming together that creates winning race teams.
A winning race team is a great parallel to how Paul described the body of Christ to the early church in Corinth. They were a team coming together to function as one. Paul reminded them that the body consists of countless different parts—each one with its own special function, and each one equally important. Your legs need your feet to stand on, and your feet need your toes for balance. They all have to work together in order to take a step forward.
Everyone was valuable. Everyone was needed. Everyone contributed in their own way.
Someone once said, “Teamwork divides the effort and multiplies the effect.” In ministry, teamwork lightens the load you are carrying while strengthening the impact being had.
I don’t know it all, and I assume you don’t either. I do not need to duplicate your mistakes, and you do not need to duplicate mine. But I do need to learn from you, because you have your own wisdom to share. So do I. As DW always says, “Your two, plus my two, equals five.” We need each other.
Don’t be afraid to do ministry together. Remember, even the Lone Ranger had Tonto.
Be sure and get your copy of “The Race: Living Life on Track” by Kyle Froman, Billy Mauldin and Darrell Waltrip.