Greg and Mia Pendarvis are celebrating 14 years of Victory Sports, their nonprofit Christian ministry in Fort Mill that aims to lead children, youth, and their families into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ using sports.

The Fort Mill Sun spoke with the inspiring couple recently about how they started, their mission, and how they differ from other leagues. They also addressed any critics of their participation trophies and why Victory Sports teams don’t always keep score.

Enjoy these video interviews and a few bonus questions below.

In Part 1, Greg and Mia speak about why they started Victory Sports, their expansion to summer camps, and how they differ from city recreation leagues.

Part 1

In Part 2, Greg and Mia talk about how Victory Sports has changed over the years, the blessing of good volunteers and their personal Christian testimony.

Part 2

The Fort Mill Sun also spoke to the couple about participation trophies, keeping score and how they differ from city leagues.

Fort Mill Sun: What do you say to any critics of your league, including those who may disagree with not always keeping score or handing trophies to every participant?

Greg Pendarvis: I saw a few years ago that some big NFL player’s kid brought a trophy home and (the father) threw it in the trash. I think that is ridiculous. Number one, our trophies being for participation is to show, ‘Hey, I was a part of something bigger than me.’ So that trophy doesn’t represent, ‘Hey, this is about me.’ Their trophies are a witnessing tool. Now a kid can go to show-and-tell at school and show their shirt, show their bracelet, take their trophy, take their bible and be a witness. Now that becomes a witnessing tool, not a participation trophy. It is participating in an awesome league that 20 years from now they will say, ‘I participated in a league that taught me more about life and purpose than anywhere I could have ever been.’ And keeping score? The kids keep score. They keep score.

Mia Pendarvis: Everyone keeps score. We don’t worry about the wins and losses, but we are still competing and the kids are learning the game.

Greg Pendarvis speaks to two girls’ basketball teams about Jesus Christ following practice.

Greg: We want to teach the game, how to play the game, fundamentals, more about life, most about Jesus.

Mia: One huge difference: Out here, it is just peaceful. We just don’t have yelling parents. We just don’t have the negativity involved. … It’s just a positive environment. It’s encouraging. Everybody plays, and it’s just how it should be. It’s a confidence builder. You feel safe to bring your children. I think our parents feel safe.  Another way we are different, when people sign up, we work to get all families on the same practice night. That is our goal. That is why we just do one hour (of practicing) a week, one day a week. We try to get families to slow down. If we can get you all on the same night, that way you are home the rest of the week, and you can come on Saturday and play. 

Fort Mill Sun: How can local families participate?

Mia: They can go on our website and register online.

For more information on Victory Sports, go to http://www.victorysportsoutreach.org/wpt/

A devotion follows each practice for Victory Sports, allowing the sports league to share the gospel with league participants. (Photos by Greg Rickabaugh)