When I coached at Friendship Christian School, we had pep rallies every Friday of football season during last period. Since this was our basketball conditioning time, our practices were cut in half. During pep rallies, we had Spirit Competitions, judging who made the most noise in a creative fashion between the freshmen-sophomores-juniors-seniors. One Friday, the seniors hid rolls of toilet paper and at a signal, threw them on the court. I don't remember if they won the Spirit Stick but I recall the floor being covered. As soon as the cheerleaders finished, I got a new trash bag and collected the rolls that didn't open. It was good stuff! The seniors bought expensive brands like Charmin. (Remember Mr. Whipple and the "Please don't squeeze the Charmin?" ad campaigns?) I must have collected thirty rolls. You have to understand that school toilet paper is one grade up from sand paper. We had a very nice girls' locker room/bathroom for my high school team and now we had first-rate toilet paper. I thought my players would be excited and proud of me when I told them. I was wrong. As one voice, they proclaimed:
"Coach Hawley, it was on the floor."
Now the floor was clean because we swept it before practice and I wet-mopped it on the weekends. That did not sway them. I suggested we could remove the outside layer of each roll; same response.
"Coach Hawley, it was on the floor."
I couldn't persuade them so I took the trash bag home and enjoyed comfortable toilet paper for several months. At least, I gave them first choice!
Our memory verse in my Bible classes this past week was James 1:27, a passage we will spend much time considering this year:
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
The final part of the verse, the purity addendum, is more difficult to adhere to than the helping the downtrodden section. The kids admit they are growing up in a filthy moral environment but many are reluctant to distance themselves from the popular culture. I asked how many would use the toilet paper from the gym floor- every girl maintained she wouldn't. I countered by asking how they could use paper in a public restroom which had been touched by strangers. The consensus was, "That's different." I guess from a female perspective it is but not from mine. I think that is how we view the issue of soul pollution that James speaks of. We aren't consistent in what we partake in or stay on the fringes of. My favorite words my students fall back on are, 'that bad.' I ask about a movie, a song, a video and the reply is ,"It's not that bad." The admission is that it is bad but it has an acceptable level of impurity. Three years ago, several of my players were riding with me to a middle school girls' basketball game. I let the kids pick the radio station with the rule that any bad language will result in a change. A song began and after a couple of notes, the girl in the passenger seat turned it off. I asked why and she replied, "You don't want to hear that, Coach Hawley." I appreciate her protecting me but the fact is that she knew the song, and so did her teammates. Good kids from good families and they know what is acceptable with me but they would insist they are not affected by lyrics. I think they're wrong. On the other hand, I don't switch off a TV show when it portrays adultery. Not very consistent on my end, is it? Maybe I'll rethink my toilet paper position.
Applicable quote of the day:
"I've learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes."
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