By Kevin Eickman
During the recently completed 2012 football season, there was one constant. No matter how bad the loss, no matter how discouraging the results would appear, there was never any panic. While the total of wins never reached the goal for the season, Milford just appeared to dig deeper and refused to let the fact that they had lost a football game define who they where.
Talking to coach Mike Tkach recently, he felt that one of the key elements was the association of the football team had with the the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). FCA is an interdenominational Christian organization that seeks to strengthen the word of Christ, through athletics.
While the FCA has been around for several years, this season was the first time that members of the football team asked to be active in the organization. When approached about the idea, Coach Tkach didn’t hesitate. “There are a great many challenges that the kids today are faced with and with the opportunity for such a positive venue, we were happy to embrace it,” Tkach said.
FCA finds its roots at Milford from soccer coach Ken Outten. Athletic director Glen Stevenson believes that Outten has done a wonderful job with the program. “Ken has been fantastic, it has always been about the positive aspect that the program represents,” commented Stevenson. “It’s great to know that it simply isn’t about sports, it’s about character.”
One of the key aspects of the program was Bible study, every Tuesday night there was solid participation of about 18 athletes. On game nights there where typically 20 to 23 participants for pre-game chapel. During these events, Tkach believes that the kids gained a better understanding of themselves, as well as each other. “Repeatedly, they would open each others eyes as to what each other was about,” stated Coach Tkach.“That was what was so special; the more they learned about each other, the more they realized how much they had in common.”
The religious aspect goes without saying, but there was an aspect that did not go unnoticed as the football season wore on. Milford struggled after getting off to a 2-0 start to the season, wining only one of their final eight games. However, unlike in seasons past, where the team has faced adversity, they refused to become petty and small. They chose to dig deeper, be better human beings. It is this turn of events that Tkach attributes directly to the program. “One of the the great dividends is the faith that the kids have is translating to all aspects of life,” commented Tkach. “It’s great to see them growing up in many different ways.”