Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
— Romans 5:1-4

Preseason. This is a dreaded and well-known term among Dordt athletes; or just about any athlete in general. Playing a collegiate sport takes massive amounts of time, commitment, perseverance, and determination. This die-hard mentality is especially crucial and evident during the first couple of weeks; which coaches like to refer to as preseason. For those of you who have never experienced this "joyous" period of exercise—No worries! Here is a brief description of the training an athlete goes through before launching into the actual season; please enjoy and count your blessings.

Typically this month-long period of conditioning consists of early morning practices; which means waking up at around 5 am, heading to the gym, lifting weights, and then launching into a grueling series of sprints and agility drills. Other fun details include long distance runs, multiple repetitions of anything involving the word "up" (ex. pull-ups, sit-ups, etc.), countless visits to the trainer’s room, and sweating so much one could probably fill the Pacific Ocean (gross right?). However, while these experiences are daunting, exhausting, and downright terrible; this duration of death soon passes by and most athletes become so absorbed in their love for the game, that preseason is quickly forgotten. 

The Dordt Women's Basketball team after a 6am preseason workout. We decided we had to capture the beautiful sunset God blessed us with and pure relief of being done with our morning workout. :)

The Dordt Women's Basketball team after a 6am preseason workout. We decided we had to capture the beautiful sunset God blessed us with and pure relief of being done with our morning workout. :)

Even though reading about athletes working out is interesting and sounds like loads of fun; this topic may not seem relatable for most readers and probably pretty depressing. However, my intentions for writing about past and current experiences of training prior to a sports season is not to scare any future athletes about participating in sports or dis-hearten those who are suffering through the initial stages of intense exercise; rather, I wanted to provide an analogy of the preseasons that are intertwined in the reality of each individual’s life. 

A season is typically viewed as a period of the year characterized by particular conditions of weather, and depending on the location, one may experience four different seasons. However, choosing to view season as verb instead of noun, can add a whole new perspective on the word; especially when concerning the topic of hard work and renewal. To be seasoned means to become mature, developed, refined, or of like characteristics. Therefore, the definition of preseason transforms from encompassing a negative connotation associated with sports; to a period prior to becoming established and accomplished. 

Throughout life, many people encounter new experiences that seem intimidating, frustrating, and pointless upon commencement; and hope for relief seems out of the question. Aside from competing in a sport, another example of this concept would be starting college. The first couple of weeks can be a stressful experience and everybody who was and is currently a freshman can attest to the nerve-racking events that faced you each day; whether these moments involved making friends, completing homework, finding somebody to sit with at lunch, homesickness, etc. These events are unique for each individual and bring about various feelings of discouragement; some other examples of these trials could include the beginning of a new job, project, friend group, and so on. While these first couple of weeks leave a person feeling defeated at night; as time passes by connections are made, progress significantly improves, daily tasks become easier and rays of light start to shine. Before one notices, the feelings of self-pity are overcome with motivational and innovative thinking that create an inner sense of accomplishment and peace. What once seemed unbelievably difficult and unachievable, transformed into a thing of the past; and the gifts and talents that were discovered along the way, became evident and refined within an individual. 

Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think that you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.
— Asha Tyson

Becoming seasoned takes time and perseverance; and requires a person to reach above and beyond any previously perceived level of potential capability. Life is a journey and involves hardships; however, it’s using those moments of lessons learned and digging deep that further develop the person God intended you to be. Even though preseasons are tough, take time to look past the negatives and see the positives that lie beneath the surface just waiting for the perfect moment to be exposed; and there you will find hope and the energy to fight until these blessings are perfectly revealed through Christ.