I called Greg Glenn before Bible study tonight. Greg is our Head Of School but before that, he was the boys' basketball coach at Westbury Christian School, winning numerous state titles and earning national rankings during his tenure all the while filling the dual role of Athletic Director. We had an odd situation today. We almost never play games on Wednesday but we did this afternoon. The gym is always set up for us as there is invariably one of our other teams practicing. (We have a total of nine basketball teams between middle and high school and space and floor time are valuable.) But today, we were also the only game with no middle school boys' contests following ours. We put the chairs and balls and water up after the final buzzer sounded but that left the scoreboard and possession arrow still lit up. This may sound incredible to some of you but I've never had to put it up because there was always another group about to use it. I investigated but thought better of pulling a bunch of wires randomly and causing more problems. Greg told me he'd take care of it on his way to his Bible study. Our talk turned to the game. He had been on the other side of the curtain separating our gym from the cafeteria/stage area when he heard an enormous amount of noise. He thought there must be a pep rally going on. What he saw as he came into the gym area was the scene portrayed in the picture he snapped and shown above. What you see is our girls' high school basketball team cheering for our middle high school girls' basketball team. Greg told me he saw a number of very good things today and that was the best of all. I did not see the day through his eyes but I enthusiastically added my AMEN to his sentiments. And I'm adding it again right here.
You might wonder why that's such a big deal. Believe me, it's not the case everywhere. Many of the schools we play only go through 8th grade so there is no older squad to look up to. When there is a high school team, often they are too busy to pay any attention to the younger girls which is a shame because it's really a chance to minister. Our high school Lady Wildcats have enjoyed a great deal on the court success, winning numerous Texas private school (TAPPS) state championships as well as cracking the top ten national rankings twice in the past seven years. This year's team has the chance to be a powerhouse again and there they were, after their own practice and film session, cheering on a bunch of much younger kids like it was the NCAA finals. There are numerous links between our two squads. A number of the girls played for me in middle school and I baptized one of them into Jesus. All but one has been or is currently a student of mine. Marie is my student coach and my players absolutely love her with good reason. And Tyra comes down and spends time with my little ones every morning. I love the connections. When I was our high school girls' coach- you can see me in the championship picture right behind the cheering players next to Joanna Laman in the orange dress- I did little to encourage a relationship with our middle school team of which I was also the coach. That's right- I was coaching both teams at the same time and we played 61 games combined that season. I would have never made it without my assistant, Russell Carr. Not coincidentally, I walked away from the high school job that spring and have focused on the middle school in the intervening years. Josh Bailey, our current varsity girls, has done a masterful job of allowing his players to serve as cheerleaders, albeit cheerleaders without skirts. I'm not sure how much his team knows how much it means but the value of their actions cannot be overstated.
The scriptures often speak of building each other up. A few well timed words from a person we admire speaks, maybe even shouts, volumes. Paul wrote these words in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 and verse 11:
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
There are also admonitions for those who are older to teach those who are younger. Teaching can come in any number of formats; sometimes, it's just your presence. I know twelve middle school girls who look up to twelve high school girls and not just because they sit in the upper part of the bleachers. Just a reminder to our high school kids; being a hero comes with a price tag called responsibility. You are being watched by your little sisters in the halls and on the floor. You have the chance to divert lives for the better..... and there is no doubt you will.
PS- WE WON!
Applicable quote of the day:
"Instruction does much, but encouragement everything."
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
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