MOSES LAKE — Love is what makes a winning team. Even if they don’t win any games.
That’s what Mark Poth, athletic director at Big Bend Community College, told attendees at the 26th annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday.
Poth recalled legendary Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach as saying they key to his team’s success was love.
“Our players love each other,” said Poth, quoting Auerbach. “Maybe that’s why they play so hard, and are so determined.”
While he has coached players “from all over the place,” Poth said he has learned not to label or judge people, and takes seriously the command from Jesus not to judge.
“There’s great wisdom in that,” he said. “Charity, it’s the most powerful thing.”
Rather, as a coach, Poth said that he has learned not to care so much about the wins and losses, but try to get his players to love each other.
Poth was the keynote speaker at this year’s prayer breakfast, which has been an annual event organized by the Kiwanis Club and area churches since the early 1990s.
Poth, an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said he was grateful for events like the prayer breakfast, which brings the very diverse faiths of Moses Lake together for a common civic and social purpose.
“Unity does not mean we are all the same,” he said. “It means we can come together to find common ground, seeking the best for all.”
“All of us have our strengths and weaknesses. We’re not all the same, but when we can work together and help each other in our weakness, that makes us stronger,” Poth said.
Success is also not a matter of fortune and fame, and happiness is not pursued by seeking after personal pleasure, property and public acknowledgment, Poth said. Rather, happiness — the happiness referred to in the Declaration of Independence — is about seeking God and serving others.
“I think about the Savior who exemplified that,” he said.
Poth said that he learned to be empathetic by suffering from anxiety, and that he has come to understand that God is more concerned about our character rather than our comfort. And because of that, suffering is not a sign of God’s disfavor, but rather something that allows us to become better and more faithful people.
“My faith is not outcome-based,” Poth said.
Joining Poth at the morning’s breakfast were clergy of all denominations from across the city, as well as the Women’s Choir from the Sixth Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Moses Lake, and prayers were extended for the schools, the community, the state and the nation.
Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.