Saturday, January 04, 2014

Brace Yourself


I miss my basketball players- I haven't seen them  in sixteen days. I DID see one of my former players, Athena, at a college game today where she came to see several of her former teammates in action. The following, from November 28, 2006, is about Athena and the most unique present a coach ever received from a player.

Christmas season is officially on. Even before the Thanksgiving leftovers are stale, the next holiday has taken over. One Houston radio station, 99.1, will play nothing but Yuletide music until Christmas night. A Charlie Brown Christmas aired this evening on ABC, a sure sign of the season. And we are still days from the twelfth month! I have to admit, I have started thinking about what gifts to buy this year, already purchasing the presents for my basketball players, One Year Bibles. (They already know so I'm not spoiling the surprise!) I enjoy giving presents and I like getting them as well. Yesterday, I was given the most unique gift of my life but it isn't a Christmas present. It's for my birthday which is not until mid-February.

What do you give to the coach who has everything? I don't need much but girls like to give presents so I accept them graciously. Even after their career with me is finished, I still pray for them and try to stay in touch as much as possible, especially with the ones who are in grades nine through twelve at Westbury Christian School. Athena falls into that category. A junior now, she was a joy to coach in seventh and eighth grades and a privilege to teach in Bible classes. Athena is consistently cheerful and upbeat and very bright. She has graduated from basketball to soccer and is hard at work becoming the world's greatest female guitarist. There is one more pertinent piece of data that is essential to this story. Like many other students, Athena wears braces. Falling in line with a recent trend, Athena's braces are changed monthly and come in a variety of colors! Constantly in the hallways, she updates me on her latest foray into orthodontic chic. And so for her birthday present to me in twelve weeks, Athena is going to let me pick the color of her braces for the month of February! Let's see you top that! I am already nervous. I am not good with matching colors and I want it to be just right. Think how much she is trusting me. This girl has known me for years, understands my fashion limitations, and still is bestowing on me the honor of adorning her very valuable and precious teeth for thirty rotations of the earth. (My bad: February only has twenty-eight days.) Truthfully, I can't say I'm speechless but I can tell you this: Athena is giving me a gift that I will never have replicated.

What makes a gift memorable or even unforgettable? Why do we remember some childhood presents but can't recall what we received on other special days? Perhaps it was the timing or the unexpected nature of the present. It could be it had no monetary value but was absolutely symbolic in nature. Maybe it was not even intended as a gift but was simply a kind remark or compliment which carved an eternal impression. Paul spoke of the intent of our giving in Second Corinthians 8: 12 when he wrote, "For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable, according to what one has, not according to what he does not have." Athena's gift will cost her nothing but to me, it means everything. You can't put a price
tag on what she bequeathed to her junior high coach. Well, I have to try.
A tube of CREST toothpaste: $2.49.
Dental floss and a soft-bristle toothbrush: $4.25.
Braces and orthodontist visits over two years: $4,000.00+.
Selecting the colors of those braces for a wonderful young lady: beyond priceless.

Merry Christmas, Athena.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Give what you have. To someone, it might be better than you dare to think."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

http://www.hawleybooks.com/
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

1 comment:

Lon said...

Thank you for sharing!

God Bless!!!

Lon