I have actually known very few Scott’s over the years and is one of the reasons I’ve always loved my name. For this trip however, I was serving alongside Scott Wilkins. During our trip over to Portugal, John was always having to clarify himself as to which of us Scott’s he was talking to when speaking with us. So as camp got started, it was apparent, that identifying which Scott was being talked too, would continue to be a problem.
Alta Christa Church was blessed over the last month to have a youth mission team from Summit Church serving them and Pastor Rui. Their group consisted of seven 17 yr. olds along with two leaders; Jeremy and Megan. This group of young people were phenomenal in every way imaginable! Full of passion for serving and an energy level to match, they were great to have around to take part in the camp!
I believe it was Sammi, who coined the nicknames to be used the rest of the week at camp for not only us Scott’s but also John and Jackson. At some point Sammy looked at us and said “you’re UpScott and you’re DownScott!” Obviously puzzled, we asked her why Up and Down Scott? “well, UpScott has the mustache and DownScott has the goatee.” So the rest of camp, I was UpScott and Wilkins was DownScott. John garnered the nickname of bald Scott because he had no facial hair at all. Luckily for him, his nickname did not stick. Jackson, not be left out was often referenced as BlondeScott!
This was just one of those silly moments that tend to happen on mission trips but was an indicator of the fun we would have getting to know this special group of youngsters from Raleigh, NC. Jackson, Jace, Sarah, Hayden, Ashton, Sammi and Caroline were all exceptional people to work with and along with Jeremy and Megan, just made our time in Portugal that more enjoyable!
Monday started a little slow with us only having a handful of local kids learning football but the rest of the week we wound up having 18 to 25 kids everyday. Everyday we had to start with the basics. How to hold the football. How to throw it and not push it. And ultimately how to catch it. These fundamentals were reviewed everyday. For most of our audience, they had never seen a football, much less how to throw or catch one.
Tuesday afternoon was fun as we actually had the opportunity to start teaching them how to run various routes and even worked a little on how to do hand-offs. The little kids enjoyed the hand-offs and being able to run a little. For the older kids, the excitement was in catching the passes. The teaching was fun and kept light as possible. There would be no championships won or big game on the line that losing would cause great distress for months to come.
As the week unfolded, I fell in love with teaching and coaching all over again. Seeing these kids progress during the week in being able to throw a nice pass or catch a long bomb was awesome and very satisfying. I was reminded that far too often we tend to focus on the failures we encounter during our journey and never fully celebrate all of the successes we experience during our life.
Football here in the states will soon kick-off again and the passion we have for the game will once again be in high gear. I’ll ride the roller coaster of emotions with all of my teams big wins and devastating losses but thanks to this trip, I will remember a week of no wins or losses but just a group of kids simply enjoying the act of playing the great game of football.
Peace and thanks for reading,