By Seth Thomas, Senior Pastor
I had the evening free on Friday night and stopped by the Highline Football game. It was the end of the first quarter, and they were already up 28 to 0. Since I wouldn’t be there long, I hesitated to enter, but I decided to get a ticket and go in anyways as a small gesture of support for my city. Little did I know how substantial of a visit it would be.
I don’t have kids on the team, nor do I work for the school or really have much reason to be there, except I’d met Coach Cooper and a few of the guys on the team. I’ve heard rumblings of powerful things transpiring from the Pirate’s Football program, both on and off the field. A program that unites the team as a family, teaching young men to let their yes be yes, and their no be no — to love others well. Teammates who recognize that what one of them does on and off the field affects everyone else. These athletes are being raised as leaders in their families, schools, and communities.
As I watched the game, it was immediately evident that this team functions with a distinct unity — they run together as a pack with one heart. They exude discipline, character, and grit. At halftime, they began the Senior Night procession. Each senior was announced and came down the walkway with their family, surrounded by teammates, a significant milestone celebrating their growth and resilience.
As Coach Cooper announced each player, it was evident how much his heart burns for more than just sports; he genuinely cares about each player, manager, parent, and fan. He’s created an impressive culture that overflows into the city of Burien and beyond. As a pastor of a local church, I gleaned some valuable insights tonight on how to build a culture of teamwork and raise individuals up to overflow into their city with character and compassion, just as Jesus did. If you haven’t yet gone to a Pirates game, I highly encourage you to do so — there is something special going on in Burien.