Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My Senior Athlete

Last night was the final home volleyball game of the regular season for the Lititz Christian School Lady Eagle’s volleyball team. It was a huge night for several reasons. First, we were playing the Christian School of York which over the last several years has been our biggest rival when it comes to volleyball. We have had some amazingly competitive matches with this school and over the past two seasons we have defeated CSY to win the Conference Championship. Last night’s game became even more special because earlier in the season CSY beat us on their court in three straight games.

Another reason this game was important is because our girls entered the game 4-4 and within striking distance of landing in the conference playoffs which many, including myself, did not think was possible at the beginning of the season. Our team graduated five very good senior athletes last year and had only 3 returning varsity players entering this new season. Along with two seniors, our team is made up of only sophomores and freshmen. To land in the conference playoffs would be quite the impressive accomplishment.

But the main reason that this was such an important evening is because it was our senior recognition game being that it was the final regular season home game of the year. This is special because one of these seniors and co-captains of the team is my wonderful daughter, Joy.

If you were to ask me what my greatest and most enjoyable hobby in my life is at this point I would quickly answer, “Watching my kids play sports.” My son plays on the varsity soccer and basketball teams and has always had a love for playing sports. Joy plays on the varsity volleyball and soccer teams. I love watching them play and cheering them on. I have made being at my kid’s games a major priority in my life.

As a pastor, my family many times gets cheated due to the demands and schedule of leading such an extensive ministry such as we have here at Grace. That is why I have religiously made it a point to be at my kid’s games. In fact, all season long, my wife and I will only have missed one game (this Friday due to a wedding that I am officiating and she is coordinating which was on the calendar before the sports schedules were printed). We don’t just go to the home games, we travel to all of the away games as well, even the all daylong tournaments that happen throughout the year. It isn’t a chore…it’s a joy (no pun intended!)!

It has been so fun to watch Joy play these past four years and to see her improve each and every year and each and every game. It’s hard to believe that her High School volleyball career is soon to an end. I will miss watching her make those string of impressive serves and seeing her aggressively digging out all of those hard smashes. I’ll miss cheering for her on the volleyball court but at least I still have a full season of soccer to watch her play. And even after that, the cheering won’t end. I’ll cheer her on all through her life.

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