We played our last Upward basketball games of the season today. We have an awards ceremony on Monday and Aaron’s team party next weekend, and then 2013-14 Upward will be in the books.
Basketball is only part of the point in Upward. It’s also about learning sportsmanship and character in a nurturing, Christ-centered environment. Kids of all skill levels have equal playing time. Coaches, referees, and parents practice the Circle of Affirmation, seeking to model only positive behavior for the children.
By many measures, Upward is Good Shepherd‘s single largest ministry. It takes more volunteers and person-hours than anything else we do. It brings a lot of the community to us.
We turn our church kitchen into an extremely well-regarded restaurant. I showed up to work in the kitchen early one morning to find an ambulance, a state police cruiser, and a sheriff’s department cruiser in the parking lot. Thought something bad must have happened. Nope; they were there for breakfast. Word gets out.
This was my second year to have been a head coach, and my third to coach overall. Upward blesses me at least as much as it blesses the children. It’s such an honor and privilege to be there for a part of these boys’ walks with Jesus. My heart is warmed when I’m with them and am reminded that there are still parents who get it; parents who are genuinely concerned with doing everything they can to make their children successful adults.
I’m awed and humbled to be a small part of that progression.