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Sports Ministry a Unique Addition to a Storied Program

Shaan Kalra, Staff Reporter

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                                                                                                                                 photo by Shaan Kalra
                                         A small-group talk during a sports ministry retreat day.

“My goal is that our students understand that sports are not just wins and losses. Instead, they are a brotherhood.”

These are the words of Trinity teacher and coach Steven Tompkins, who was asked a couple of years ago by Trinity Athletic Director Rob Saxton to take on the role of Director of Sports Ministry. Tompkins, previously the varsity baseball team head coach, was a perfect choice for the job, Saxton said. Saxton said he selected Tompkins because he is a very focused and dedicated individual.

Tompkins, who graduated from Trinity in 1981, played baseball all four years and tried as many other sports as possible so he could enjoy everything his high school offered.

Tompkins said, “I wish we had sports ministry during my time (as a Trinity student). It would have been extremely helpful in building my qualities — and helping me understand sports outside of what it is on the field.”

Sports ministry is a unique aspect of a high school sports program. Trinity is one of the few schools to have this resource.

Tompkins’ experiences at Trinity — as a student, as a member of the faculty and as a coach — help him in his sports ministry work.

Tompkins provides the student body with a “virtue word of the week” every Monday on TTV, a student newscast that airs every day. The word is defined and is followed by a short video clip (usually from a famous movie). “Compassion” and “respect” are a couple of examples of virtue words of the week.

Student and athlete Daniel Langford said,  “Sports ministry really helps me see my sports team as a family instead of people who were randomly placed on my team.”  

I realized that we became closer as a team after these meetings.”

— Trinity senior Cameron Gantt

Seasonal sports ministry retreat days consist of many things. They usually start with a prayer so the athletes truly realize who gave them the ability to play. The prayer is followed by a brief talk by Tompkins, which includes a lesson about appreciation.

The teams then break up into groups, and each group is assigned to a different room where they talk about many different subjects, from their relationships with God to significant moments in their lives.

Student-athlete and senior Cameron Gantt said, “I realized that we became closer as a team after these meetings.”

Athletes interviewed said they really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know their teammates outside the “sports world.”

Tompkins said, “Students have came up to me afterwards and told me about how much they were affected by the experience.”

Students sometimes get emotional during these meetings because they have the opportunity to realize the real struggles that many go through in their daily lives.

Langford said, “It helps me realize that not every student is living a picturesque life, and although some students seem like they are doing well, many of them are not.”

Gantt said, “This teaches me to respect everyone.”



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Sports Ministry a Unique Addition to a Storied Program