After retiring from the military after 25 years of service and settling in Lee County with his family, Mike Adams became interested in starting a youth ministry that combined faith with sports. Through the help of Jason Scott and several others, they’ve done just that with Southern Christian.
Southern Christian athletics has been established for middle school and high school kids who are either homeschooled or attend private schools in Lee County and the surrounding areas. At this time, the Southern Christian Patriots are preparing to play eight-man football and volleyball and has future plans to field a number of other teams, including boys and girls basketball as well as baseball.
“My kids have played basketball at Trinity Christian School, but they don’t offer football and some other sports that we like and like to play. This sort of started from my part trying to find an opportunity for them. I was able to link up with Jason Scott. We both had this desire to have a sports program that was a little bit different from what was otherwise available,” Adams said. “We really want to have this to be a ministry focus. We don’t want to have it be win-at-all-cost but to use this opportunity as really a basis to develop character, have high moral expectations and to really focus on sportsmanship.”
Adams, who is the varsity head football coach, stressed the importance of encouraging the kids rather than being hard-nosed or negative with them. He pointed to lessons learned under Lt. Gen. James L. Terry, who discouraged officers from yelling and emphasized the importance of teaching and truly caring and being concerned with those under his command.
Southern Christian has 26 boys out for football, and about one-third of that group attends Trinity Christian — which does not offer football. The team is attempting to join the Alabama Christian Sports Conference, which has bylaws stating Southern Christian can have teams made up of homeschoolers, kids from private schools or kids from schools that don’t offer athletic programs.
Adams said Southern Christian is finalizing a contract with the Opelika Parks & Recreation to play at Moore Stadium. The team has been practicing four days a week this summer, with three being held at Providence Baptist Church and the other at Floral Park in Opelika.
Adams has a number of assistants who have stepped up to help with the football program, including Scott — who is Southern Christian’s athletic director — Billie Watts, Jason Washburn, Dustin Bailey and Dakota Overton. Adams is also encouraging parents to get involved as much as they can in order to make the most of experience for families.
Southern Christian has endured some of the growing pains that come with a new program, which includes waiting patiently for their gear to arrive. Still, the team has about five games scheduled for the fall so far, and the kids are eager to hit the field for the first time.
Adams stressed how important instilling discipline is in the Southern Christian athletes, explaining that the coaches will do so while refraining from being negative or hard-nosed in their approach. As for his message to anyone interested in joining, Adams said faith will be a part of how Southern Christian’s coaches conduct their business.
“We’re unabashedly Christian. We want the focus on the moral aspect,” Adams said. “We have a lot of kids there, and obviously not everyone is a Christian that’s part of the program. If you’re uncomfortable with that you may not enjoy it as much, but at the same time we’re not trying to convert anyone there. We are trying to make sure that they know that we’ll expect very high moral character and integrity with the boys. We don’t have a hidden agenda with anyone.”
Adams encouraged anyone interested in joining the football team to email email@example.com or to come out to a practice and talk to the coaches personally. The team practices at Providence on Monday, Thursday and Friday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and Tuesdays at Floral Park during the same time frame.
“We’re not going to have lower standards, but we want to minister to people,” Adams said. “We want them to be able to be a part of this.”
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