Today marked the end of a great journey for our team. Personally, it’s the day you hear so many other seniors talk about. I admit I downplayed how I would take it. It’s one of those things where you have to experience to fully understand. The day when your college career ends and the next best thing athletically is church league basketball. By the way, I plan to win every church league I participate in. Man, what I would do to re-live a handful of moments we went through together. I never thought the day would come that I’d say “I’ll miss waking up at 6am to run sprints and lift weights with Coach Whaley waking us up with energy.” But here it is. I wish I could go back to conversations I’ve had with teammates about how the Lord is working in their heart. I wish I could go back to prayer meetings with Coach Clark. I wish I could go back to locker room memories that only our team would understand. I wish I could go back to acting like fools together and not having a care in the world. I wish I could go back to babysitting the Tonagel kids. I wish I could go back to the time I saw up close and personal what a Godly marriage looks like in all of our coaches. I wish I could go back to prayer and worship times we had as a team. Simply put, I wish I could go back and re-live all the memories I experienced Jesus in. I saw His love, joy, strength, patience, understanding, forgiveness, toughness, endurance, persistence, passion, hope, grace, and power in this program in ways I could have never fathomed or imagined.
In Ephesians it says, “20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” That verse has taken a whole new weight in my heart. What God did in my life through the silly game of basketball at IWU is miraculous, beyond anything I could’ve imagined. I’ve seen people come to Christ, hearts stirred closer towards Christ, and God till the soil of people’s hearts who I never fathomed could be reached. Our coaches understand that basketball is nothing without Jesus at the forefront. Crazy how a perfect sinless man who was crucified, flogged, and whipped and the game of basketball go hand in hand, right? I think it just attests to how big and powerful our Creator is. I walked off the court for the last time with my brothers, but I’ll keep walking in the grace the pours over me each day. I shot my last jump shot, but I’ll keep shooting for God’s will to be done. I recorded my last assist, but I’ll keep passing on the power of the Gospel to all. I read my last scouting report, but I’ll keep reading His word. I ended my athletic career with a win, and I will continue His mission to win souls.
It all started with digging a ditch (2 Kings 3:16), and I’ll dig one more as Wildcat player:
“Jesus thank you for who you are. Thank you for forming this program the way you did. Thank you for all of the coaches and teammates that made my two years at IWU one I’ll tell my kids about and never forget. Thank you for showing me how much I need you each day through the game of basketball. Bless this program and honor their desire to advance your Kingdom. Give them a passion and desire for you that builds each day. In the powerful name of Jesus I pray, amen.”
A future church league All-Star,