Saturday, February 26, 2011


There are kids you coach who not only make lifelong impressions on you, they give you examples to use in class! One such young lady was Heidi who is spoken of below. Two weeks ago, I included essay questions on both my eighth grade and sophomore Bible tests based on this entry; The questions were:Discuss whether you believe the landowner was fair to the men who worked all day. Discuss whether you believe Coach Hawley was fair to Heidi. You must support you answers.
What do you think? This entry was from March 27, 2006.

Her name was Heidi. She was a junior when she transferred to Friendship Christian from a large public school right after Christmas. Heidi was petite, maybe 5'2", but unbelievably tough. Her senior year found her selected Homecoming Queen, not bad for a student who had been enrolled for less than a year. Post graduation, she worked as a sheriff's deputy- did I mention she was tough? Heidi was a tremendous athlete, excelling in basketball and softball. Due in part to knee surgery, she had not been playing at her previous school. On her schedule, she was put into seventh period, our basketball practice time. Even though she had been inactive for more than a year, she would have become our first or second best player. She was good and we were challenged talent-wise. According to the TSSAA, the governing body of high school athletics in Tennessee, she would have become eligible to play right before the district tournament. I did not think it was fair for the other girls who had been there from the start to let Heidi play. Some of my players were seniors who had been in our program since seventh grade and had never missed summer camp, practice, conditioning, etc. To put Heidi on the floor meant putting someone else on the bench, even though she would have made us a better team. You can guess what happened. We lost in the district finals by one point when a girl from Trousdale County hit a fifteen foot jump shot with three seconds remaining, the hardest loss I have ever suffered as a coach. (Suffered is kind of a strong word for a ball game!) I have always believed we would have won if Heidi had played but I never have regretted my decision. Heidi was fine with it. She knew from the beginning what the conditions of her joining our team were. She had a terrific senior year in basketball and led our softball team to its first ever state tournament berth besides being Homecoming Queen.

I outlined Heidi's situation to my sophomore classes, asking if they thought I should have let her play. It was a split decision. Both sides made good points. I used the Heidi story in conjunction with the parable Jesus told in Matthew 20, the Parable of the Vineyard Workers. In the scenario, a landowner hires men to work in his vineyard at the going rate of a denarius for the day's labor. Four more times, the man goes out and hires laborers, including a group at the eleventh hour, or 5:00 pm. When he pays the men that worked one hour a whole day's wage, those that worked twelve hours expected more. They were bitterly disappointed when their pay was also one denarius. They angrily complained that the owner made those who worked one hour equal to themselves who had done the majority of the work. The vineyard owner countered that they received what they had agreed to and he had the right to spend his money however he wanted. The students wrote an essay discussing whether they felt the men who had worked all day were treated fairly or unfairly. Most felt they had agreed to that amount so it was fair, in spite of the man's generosity to the late-comers. When I had them discuss issues of fairness in school and family, the arguments became more heated. I used this example. Let's say my three 10th grade Bible classes were assigned a difficult test for Friday. Second and fifth periods took it but we had a fire drill eighth period, so their test was postponed until Monday. With two more days to study, the eighth period made higher grades. I asked if the afternoon class had an unfair advantage and if so, what should I do? Some of the students believed I should throw out the test or make the Monday tests harder. I let my students express their opinions but I believe the ones who took the view the test was unfair are unrealistic. This generation is hampered by being raised with the belief that there is perfect fairness in every situation. Life is unpredictable and circumstances change to the extent that you react in different ways to similar circumstances. In the Matthew parable, I believe Jesus was not speaking about salaries or working conditions but about attitudes toward sinners or Gentiles; we didn't get to that part yet. One controversy at a time! But, we can be assured that we will be treated fairly by the one who made the rules in the first place.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like not expecting the bull to attack you because you are a vegetarian."
Dennis Wholey
God bless,
Luke 18:1
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Jon said...

thats a great story

JKC said...

Heidi was certainly an exceptional young lady whose understanding and acceptance of your decision truly puts her "head and shoulders" above many young people today.

This earthly story is a great parable to use in bringing to life, to young people today (and older people as well), the parable of the vineyard workers.

Keep up the great work.

Ajudando ao Próximo said...

much good a great story!
GOD BLess.

Belle said...

The ways of heaven are certainly different than the ways of earth. I think you made the right decision with Heidi.

Sometimes I wonder why some believers have a terribly hard life and others have an easy one (at least it looks that way). I have been guilty of feeling envy towards the people who had a great childhood and have good jobs and money to spare.

But envy of others and discontent at our life is wrong. It certainly doesn't help to feel that way. It only leads to bitterness. I guess that is one of the things Jesus was talking about.