With the London Olympics just six weeks away Olympic Ministry Award Receiptent Mark Tronson, the chairman of Well-Being Australia is writing a weekly series of articles leading up to this world gala event which encapsulates the nations of the world in sport, politics, economics, culture, benevolency and religion.
Mark Tronson recalls meeting members of the Australian Boomers at the Atlanta Olympics and how pleased they were to see a friendly face. Olympic chaplain Peter Nelson, the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) chaplain and the then Canberra Cannons NBL chaplain was in regular touch with the squad.
Peter Nelson was a known face and entity to the Boomers and Canberra Cannons Coach Barry Barnes (Boomers coach himself) and some years later when Barry Barnes moved sideways into the AIS Elite Athletes Services manager that link continued with bountiful good-will.
But this was not the only link with Olympic basketball for Mark Tronson, as he has also had the privilege of meeting numerous former Olympic and professional basketballers in his ministry to athletes.
He recalls in 2009 how he and his wife Delma met former NBL basketball star and Christian, Paul Mokeski, and his wife, Linda. After his playing years Paul Mokeski coached and when they met up, he was coaching Anaheim Arsenal which competes in the USA National Basketball Development League.
Christian coaches remarkable influence
Christian coaches, as men of God, have a remarkable influence upon their young charges, explained Nelson Cook, Coaches of Influence CEO, who went on to say that they see “young athletes” find their way in sports and in life and in eternity.
Mark and Delma Tronson had been in Los Angeles as guests of Nelson Cook and engaged in a week of ministry with his 'Coaches of Influence' network of Christian coaches across eleven Christian universities and numerous high schools.
It was on one of those lunches that Paul and Linda met with Mark and Delma. What came home to Mark and Delma in these Coaches of Influence meetings, was the commitment every one had for Jesus Christ, in that Jesus meets our needs regardless of our situation.
That week of ministry with Nelson Cook, meeting so many 'Coaches of Influence' illustrated three very specific aspects of a Christian coach's life.
First, their relationship with Jesus Christ impacted their daily integrity.
Second, they placed an emphasis on their family life, and
Thirdly, their coaching placed an equal emphasis on an athlete's holistic growth.
Mark Tronson said these three objectives have proven over and over that having the right motif provides a steadiness to Christian living that brings with it a Christ like confidence and self assurance for the future.
Basketball is huge in the USA and when the Olympics come around Lay Witnesses for Christ International (LWFCI) always have in their mission team of at least one former basketball star. Globetrotter Andre Bryant is usually on hand.
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 www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html