The Camp Gray Family.

“Sport, properly directed, develops character, makes a man courageous, a generous loser, and a gracious victor; it refines the senses, gives intellectual penetration, and steels the will to endurance. It is not merely a physical development then. Sport, rightly understood, is an occupation of the whole man, and while perfecting the body as an instrument of the mind, it also makes the mind itself a more refined instrument for the search and communication of truth and helps man to achieve that end to which all others must be subservient, the service and praise of his Creator.”
– Pope Pius XII


Sam collects the ball and looks to distribute to a teammate.

By: Chris “Topher” Aderhold

As the final whistle blew, I looked up to the heavens, from whence rain had consistently fallen throughout the 90-minute game, and said a quick prayer of thanks. There was much to be thankful for on that soggy Saturday afternoon.

For the fifth year running, the Camp Gray Football Club had the privilege of competing in a game of soccer against the staff of Camp Chi, a nearby Jewish Camp. (Read about the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th game!)

We love competition at Camp Gray for many reasons, not the least of which is that competition gives us the opportunity to practice winning with grace, and losing with dignity. Over the past few years, in our games against Chi, we’ve been blessed with loads of opportunities to practice losing with dignity. Don’t get me wrong; we try with all of our might to walk off the pitch at Camp Chi as victors. On this day, however, it was another opportunity to practice losing with dignity.

Win or lose, the annual game is a blast. As has become tradition, we gathered with the Chi team and took a large group photo after the game. They’ve got a great group of staffers over yonder at Camp Chi – it’s fun to have a friendly rivalry with them each year. Big thanks to the fine folks at Camp Chi!


Playing stifling defense, Bill sticks with his man like white on rice.

After the photo with both teams, we took a Camp Gray photo, as well. As I put my arms around the shoulders of my CG brothers and sisters, I was filled with gratitude for the phenomenal group of people that serve at Camp Gray. It’s an enormous gift to be a part of the Camp Gray family.

Each year we make a new jersey for the big game against Camp Chi, and though only roughly 20 people play, every staffer gets a jersey. This is thanks to the generosity of our team sponsors. This year, we were thrilled to have the support of two big-time sponsors: OnTrack Communication and Endres Manufacturing.

You might think that it’s goofy to have sponsors for a team that plays but one game a year. Well, it is goofy, and that’s why we love them so much. Our sponsors don’t sponsor us so much for the opportunity to grow their brand, as they do to show support to Camp Gray. For that, we’re grateful. (However, if you have Communication or Manufacturing needs, PLEASE patronize OnTrack and Endres!)

Displayed prominently on our jerseys, the sponsors for the 2016 Camp Gray Football Club: OnTrack Communications and Endres Manufacturing.

Displayed prominently on our jerseys, the sponsors for the 2016 Camp Gray Football Club: OnTrack Communications and Endres Manufacturing.

Both OnTrack Communications & Endres Manufacturing have long histories of supporting Camp Gray.

Bill Mansfield, the President of OnTrack, has supported Camp Gray for years. His kids were campers at Camp Gray, and currently his daughter Katie serves on our Servant Leadership Team.

Sam Ballweg, the President of Endres, has a long history with Camp Gray, as well. Sam worked on our Summer Camp Staff when he was in college, and he currently sits on our Board of Advisors. Both his mom and dad have been immensely supportive of Camp Gray over the years, as well.

Folks like Sam and Bill play an enormous role in helping to make Camp Gray so great. They support Camp Gray in huge ways. They support Camp Gray in the goofy, small ways. Many, many thanks to Bill and Sam, and OnTrack and Endres!


Thanks Camp Chi!

Despite the loss, it was another outstanding day of soccer at Camp Chi, and there was much to be thankful for. The Camp Gray Football Club will continue to practice and improve and hopefully next year, we’ll have the opportunity to practice winning with grace.

Camp Chi: Let’s do it again next year!

Thanks for reading, friends! And thanks for your great support of the Camp Gray Football Club!

Do you have a question for the semi-regular Tuesdays with Topher Mailbag? Send them here! Check out the first, second, third, and fourth mailbag!