“Jesus is my coach”

“Jesus is my coach”

In his book “The Chaplain of Champions”, Pastor Joël Thibault, former footballer, takes us behind the scenes of high-level sport.

Your book is a dive into the complex world of high-level sport. What prompted you to take up the pen on this subject?

Major sporting events are currently animating French society: the para-athletic world championships next May and the Olympic Games this summer. It seems essential to me to talk about the spiritual dimension of athletes who are often faced with loneliness, pressure and addictions. These professionals need support because, before being athletes, they are human beings.

From football to faith, what was the trigger for you?

Before my conversion to Protestantism, I thirsted for recognition. Through sporting performances, I sought above all the unconditional love of my father, with whom I was in conflict… But sport was not enough to alleviate my discomfort.

Shortly after realizing this, I decided to stop competing, as it was too addictive for me. I turned to God. He answered my call. Today, Jesus is my coach!

The movie you could watch a hundred times?

Eyes in the Blues, first legendary documentary on the players of the French team during the 1998 World Cup. This film built my dream of sport when I was 16 and inspired me to make my four documentaries on the subject.

People who meant a lot to your family?

My parents. I understood their love late, and realized that they had always been there, even when I was unbearable. Their presence was their way of loving me…

A gene you’re happy to have inherited?

A sense of service to others. I always saw my parents helping others. In an increasingly individualistic society, commitment is a great heritage.

What do you never tire of contemplating?

The texts of the Bible. It takes a lifetime to read it and rediscover the plurality of its messages.

You are offered immortality. Do you sign?

It’s already done. I have the assurance of life after death. And I believe that in eternity; we will do sports.

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