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Yes, I’m one of those guys! No, I don’t wear a carved out watermelon on my head on game day, but yes, I’m one of those guys: a Saskatchewan Roughriders fan. Our American friends may not even know what I’m talking about at this point, so let me explain. The Roughriders are a professional football team in the Canadian Football League (CFL). And it just so happens that at the time of writing, this team is 8 and 1 (8 wins and 1 loss). An impressive record for any team, but especially in a league where the regular season is only 18 games long. 

So, how have the Riders done it?  What can we learn about leadership from the Green and White?

The first thing I’ve noticed about the 2013 Riders is their humble leadership. The General Manager and coach are both relatively young, but are humble and hardworking. They’re obviously dedicated to their roles and team. Surely this provides a solid foundation for a winning team. This reminds me of the importance of leadership in the church. So much depends on godly, humble leadership! Leaders that love the Lord and His people and who build relationships with people and really lead the way. 

Seems to me that the players have noticed this solid, humble leadership, and they’ve followed suit. They’ve become leaders too!  And I think, mostly humble leaders. There seems to be a good team-spirit on the Riders this year. Players helping each other out. Taking one for the team. Giving credit to the team for the win. Thinking of others beyond themselves. I could be wrong on this, but that’s what I’ve picked up from my reading and listening. Another lesson for the church! We are a family (a sort of team). So, do we act as a family (a team), or do we do our own thing? Naturally, we will be a stronger family (a better team) when we work together; when we have a shared mission.

One final observation: the Riders have dedicated fans. Arguably the most dedicated fans in the league! Now, sometimes I think these fans are a bit extreme (i.e., watermelon helmets!), but nevertheless, they’re committed. They want to see their team win. So too in the church, leaders flourish when they have dedicated followers. This doesn’t mean, of course, that leaders are allowed to do whatever they want. We all need to be held accountable. But leaders lead well when they are empowered to lead! 

So, just a few thoughts on leadership—inspired by the Green and White. Go Riders!


Thank you Leon! Go Green and White!

We as church leaders can learn so much from leaders in other places. Learn both from the good and the bad. Not judging one way or the other, but applying.

That said... here is one of our sons with his "helmet" before the 2009 Grey Cup held in Calgary. The fall when stores had to make an extra large order for watermelons since Saskatchewan ran out that week.

Leon Johnston on September 6, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Hello Richard,

Great to hear from you! (We SK boys need to stick together! :)  Yes, I agree that we can learn much about leadership from many places.  Let's keep our ears and eyes open!

Another lesson I learned from the Riders, but didn't mention, is the importance of moving on and letting new leaders lead.  Remember when Coach Miller moved to the office after coaching, and Marshall was hired as head coach?  It appeared to me that Miller was still the coach, even though he was in the office.  I don't think Marshall was really empowered to lead.  And the Riders had one of their worst seasons!

Anyway, let's keep learning about leadership and cheering on the Riders!

Peace to you!


Richard Bodini on September 6, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

agreed with Marshall and Miller. But we've moved on.

We went to a game in Toronto... got tixs from a couple of parishioners. There were more Green and White fans than Blue fans. We made a lot of noise! The UofS alumni folks thought we were alumni and invited us to a party. We declined.

Take care... and enjoy Alberta.

Leon Johnston on September 7, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Glad to hear you were able to catch a Rider's game in Toronto, Richard.

I haven't been to one in years!  Hope to catch one in Edmonton some day. 

The Lord be with you and your family!


Not very helpful for Edmonton football fans. Edmonton is at 1-9 The whole team is quite humbled by the ordeal. can we learn more by those who do not have 'success'?

Leon Johnston on September 14, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Hello August,

Yes, I know the Eskimos are struggling right now.  Actually, they look a lot like the 2012 Riders!  But since I wrote the blog, the Riders have also lost--to Winnipeg!  A humbling experience for them, I'm sure!

Actually, I think that perhaps there's more to learn from losing than winning.  So much to gain from reflecting on our mistakes and failures.  I suspect the Eskimos are doing that, and will improve before the season's end. 

Peace to you!


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