Monday, June 15, 2009

love and basketball, continued

By Andrew Lovedale

(with much encouragement, Lauren Biggers and Morgan Clark were able to get andrew to write about yesterday's basketball clinic, before his nap)

4pm was our estimated time for arrival at the basketball court but due to the fact that we left the hotel a little late, we got there at about 4.30pm. On our way to the basketball court, we saw Uche Gift (the boy that commented on the espn article: Davidsons other star) and gave him a ride to the basketball court.

The first time we went to the basketball court (on monday), we had about 150 people waiting for us, but this time around (wednesday), there were at least 200 waiting in anticipation that we will share shoes.

Before doing anything with the basketball, we called them together, said a prayer, and we all spent time working hard to put the new rims up. The basketball courts are in a lot better shape than they were the first time when we came.

This time around, the upright was painted and so was the court, with new basketball rims, a ton of basketballs and players with new shoes ready to take on the court. We prayed and before you know it, the basketball court was set up, looked new with spots filled and renovated and everyone excited for the evening. the backboard includes a painted dedication to davidson collge!

It was tough to make everyone play, so we decided to play a famous game called "simon says." This is where the essence of the trip comes in. These guys played basketball, but they do not know how to catch fun with the game without actually playing 5 v 5 or 3 v 3.

Like I told them before we started, it seemed silly doing it with over 200 people but as soon as we got going, the whole place became loud with people jumping all over the place and yelling. The last time I felt such an atmosphere was after the game against Gonzaga in 2007-2008 season. As Molly rightfully put it, "it felt like we were in Detroit all again with Davidson banners flying and witnesses relishing such rare moments that our lovely program will so strive to maintain.

Before the start of Simon says, the coach asked me if he should select the male players that could do anything, and I told him that even someone that cannot play basketball might even be able to win. He was nervous but again, a girl who just started learning the game, beat the experts and won a brand new leather basketball.

After Simon says, we split the players to four groups and played knock out. Again, the ladies came through as a girl (Amina) ended up winning a brand new basketball. The guys were very surprised but for me it was great news. (note from morgan: people were asked to choose sides to cheer for for the final round, and not only girls were cheering on the eventual winner - all the boys were excited too!)

We then proceeded to spend sometime playing basketball with them. Chris Easterling, Manny Ohonme, Uche Gift, Onaiwu (older player) and myself were on one team. It was such a good time as everyone got excited and wanted to beat us so bad. It was intense, the crowd was into it, everyone was happy, and we just cherished the opportunity to spend time with them.

One might wonder what th ladies were doing while we played basketball! Well, Molly was busy forming a little cheerleading group with our two little friends, Lauren was busy stealing babies, while Morgan was busy chatting with the guys who wrote here letters asuch.

One guy claims in his letter that Morgan was his Blue-eyed Angel(Morgan has green eyes by the way) and that he saw five attributes in Morgan that made his world namely: Her eyes, her smiles, her words, her heart and her friendship."

Molly also recieved a gift and a letter from a guy, and it was really appreciative of our presence and all we came to do for basketball in the state. he also gave her a bronzed gift, which was a nice touch.

After everything, we hopped on the bus and drove back to the hotel. We were so happy. Words are not enough to express how we felt because we talked about it all the way to the hotel. They were such a beauty to behold and even with very little that they have, there is one thing that they do not lack and that is gratitude that flows from knowing that despite tough times, they are still loved firstly by God.

The reward for stepping out of our comfort zone to say here I am, use me, is present in every muscle used by an individual to smile after touching their lives in one way of service or another. We did not give anything at this session except the basketballs and the renovted basketball court as well as equipments, but playing Simon says, getting to know them better and just loving on them, meant more than anything money could ever buy. What a glorious day!

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