It has been my privilege since 1984 to have been hosted innumerable times by Nelson Cook in my years in sport ministry, the most recent was in 2009 where I addressed coaches over breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
This is Nelson Cook's latest letter:
If you are a female (coach, spouse, or friend), you can pray for those of us men this is directed to. Bob Shank put out a letter that I've taken part of for a challenge to men.
Once upon a time, men wore the pants, and wore them well. Women rarely had to open doors and little old ladies never crossed the street alone. Men took charge because that's what they did. But somewhere along the way, the world decided it no longer needed men. Disco by disco, latte by foamy non-fat latte, men were stripped of their khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny.
But today, there are questions our genderless society has no answers for. The world sits idly by and cities crumble, children misbehave, and those little old ladies remain on the side of the street.
For the first time since bad guys, we need heroes. We need grown-ups. We need men to put down the plastic fork, step away from the salad bar and untie the world from the tracks of complacency. It's time to get your hands dirty. It's time to answer the call of manhood. It's time to wear the pants.
That isn't a Scripture text, its part of a new marketing campaign from Dockers. It captures some of what the Wall Street Journal addressed last month under the headline, "Where Have All the Good Men Gone?"
From the opening paragraph: "Today, most men in their 20s hang out in a novel sort of limbo, a hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance. This 'pre-adulthood' has much to recommend it, especially for the college-educated. But it's time to state what has become obvious to legions of frustrated young women: It doesn't bring out the best in menï'¼"
Allow me to state the obvious: we have a man-crisis in America today, and the culture is suffering from the absence of men being men. At the core of the cause: men not being men, as fathers.
Ask Rosie O'Donnell about the need for fathers in the family system, and watch out. She has concluded that men are simply sperm producers, unnecessary for the development of healthy children. Where does that come from?
According to Richard Cohen, MA, the director of the International Healing Foundation: "In her book, Finding Me, Rosie recalls being estranged from her dad while growing up: He was unable to allow his daughter to express her deeper feelings and support her growth. He was also overwhelmed raising five children alone. Rosie has a negative view of men based upon the relationship with her dad and being sexually abusedï'¼"
Coaches (men), we have a phenomenal opportunity to ramp up our game ... let our light shine ... be a living display of our servant leader ... THE MAN ... JESUS CHRIST.
Mike Matheny, manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, is such a man. In his book, Intentional Walk, he said:
During one of our first meetings in the spring, I sat the guys down and made it very clear. I made a promise to them. I am who I am. I am not going to shove my faith down your throat, but when the opportunity presents itself, don't expect me to walk away. This is who I am, and Jesus Christ is at the centre of my life. It's all that I am, every day, every decision that I make. I'm going to stand up and tell you what I believe is.
Coaches, it is time for us to STAND UP! If He comes to have first place in your life, the world will begin to see a REAL MAN ... that's Christ in you!
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at