Friday, October 09, 2015

King For A Day

Sometimes teachers get frustrated with the behavior of kids. Sometime we need to be reminded of the times when the kids display greatness. This entry, from October 18, 2007, is one of those times.

Homecoming Week commenced today at WCS. Students compete among classes for points in a variety of projects. Today, the project was a coin drop where proceeds go toward our Honduras orphanage work. Tomorrow, the kids are bringing cans of food for the needy. As always, students are allowed/encouraged to dress up on theme days, also in the interest of securing points for their grades. Today's theme was Pajama Day and tomorrow the kids will sport the attire of their favorite colleges. Any day out of school uniforms is welcomed so kids are eager to participate. I'm looking forward to Twins Day. I am often mistaken for Brad Pitt!

I saw two wire stories last week about other schools' celebrations and both served as reminders that Homecoming is about kids and that heartache is part of life. In Colorado, during a tug-of-war between junior and senior football players, two young men had their hands partially severed by the rope. The boys wrapped the rope around their hands with disastrous consequences. The tug-of-war, at Denver Lutheran School, was witnessed by the student body. Imagine the nightmares those kids must be feeling after witnessing such a horrific accident! Surgeons report progress in the reattachment process and are hoping the two will recover use of their hands. (Ironically, my 1994 high school girls' team from Tennessee played Denver Lutheran in the same gym where the tug-of-war was contested!)

The other story came out of Michigan. Five senior boys nominated for Homecoming King at Lake Fenton High School rigged the voting so a sophomore could wear the crown instead. The tenth grader, Eli Florence, suffered from leukemia and was given little time to live. The former lineman on the football squad was absent on the day before the game when the senior boys informed the student body of their decision to abdicate to their young friend. The students of Lake Fenton were in complete agreement. During halftime ceremonies, in which Eli was the sophomore escort, the announcement was made and the crowd of several thousand stood and applauded....and wept. The flabbergasted Eli protested that as a sophomore he was not eligible but he was overruled. Last Saturday, Eli was slated to mingle with Michigan players before their homecoming battle with Purdue but Eli became too ill to meet the Wolverines as planned. On Sunday, Eli Florence passed away. His reign as Lake Fenton's Homecoming King was short-lived but not his influence. The next crown holder has huge shoes to fill.

One of my favorite Bible stories is when four friends bring their paralyzed buddy to see Jesus. Hoping for a miracle, they find the door to the house blocked with other seekers and go to the alternate plan of letting him down through the ceiling. The Savior heals the man and more importantly, forgives his sins. The three Gospel accounts do not record the names of the four men who bore the weight of their friend but without them, the Scriptures would lose one of its best lessons. Without the five senior boys in Michigan who selflessly stepped aside, we would never have heard of Eli Florence. He would have remained just another teen who died a heartbreakingly premature death. In the spirit of giving honor where it is due, let me leave you with the names of Jake Kirk, David Bittinger, Lucas Hasenfratz, Matthew Taneyhill, and Ethan Merivirta. Because of these five athletes, we know the story of Eli Florence. Kindness still matters.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Homecoming came first and there was the homecoming court. The five guys on the homecoming court were disqualified from being on the prom court. So being prom king was being sixth most popular."
Andy Richter

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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