Going ” All-In ” With The Watermelon Ministry

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)William Fleming players (L-R) Tyrell Adams, Warren Craft and Jerome Hill enjoy the fruits of the Watermelon Ministry after their practice on Tuesday.
)William Fleming players (L-R) Tyrell Adams, Warren Craft and Jerome Hill enjoy the fruits of the Watermelon Ministry after their practice on Tuesday.
William Fleming players (L-R) Tyrell Adams, Warren Craft and Jerome Hill enjoy the fruits of the Watermelon Ministry after their practice on Tuesday.

High school football practices have begun in the last two weeks. Coaches are looking for their players to be ” all-in.”

The two-a-day workouts send a message to all the prospective players, from freshman to returning seniors.

Come prepared, be in shape and be set to conform to team goals and expectations.

Everyone is presently undefeated and coaches attempt to have every player focused on the long journey ahead.

Earlier this week another traditional preseason mission began in earnest, likewise for the long journey ahead.

Fellowship of Christian Athletes director Al Soltis brings a message to the practice sessions with the ever-popular ” Watermelon Ministry.”

As players walk off the field after a grueling August practice, Soltis and his FCA team are waiting with ice cold slices of watermelon, along with a short message. Both are popular with the squads.

Fellowship of Christian Athletes director Al Soltis delivers his message during the Watermelon Ministry Tuesday evening at William Fleming.
Fellowship of Christian Athletes director Al Soltis delivers his message during the Watermelon Ministry Tuesday evening at William Fleming.

“We point out that all the talents they have come from God,” Soltis says. “We need to glorify Him in all we do, both on and off the field.”

Soltis’ talk is emotional and poignant. Players listen intently.

On Tuesday evening the “Watermelon Ministry” visited William Fleming High School where players walked around the Colonel’s field house to find the FCA and its slices of the delicious red and green post-practice bonus waiting.

As Fleming head football coach Bobby Martin whistled the athletes to attention, he invited the seniors to go first, then underclassmen in succession, to make their way to the huge slices.

Soltis then began his talk about playing for God, making the right decisions in life and becoming part of the championship field- one encompassed by the direction of God.

The presentation by Soltis was one of 28 that will take place after practices at various area schools this fall. The “Watermelon Ministry” ┬áis now in its eighth year.

After a closing prayer, Martin was presented with a ceremonial football to commemorate the gathering and to provide a reminder to everyone of what it means to have God as part of the upcoming journey they will face.

And, a reminder that God is always “All-In” with them as well.

Bill Turner