Charity basketball game raises more than money 2009: Started Fundraiser

Charity basketball game raises more than money

What started out to be a fundraiser to help people in need in Lincoln County, and perhaps a one-sided basketball game (teachers' favor), ended

up being "more than just a basketball game." The night opened up with both teams on the floor warming up and practicing for the start of the game. Preparing for half-time activities, concession stand, team rosters and people continuing to come in was the noise of the night as everyone got ready for what was sure to be a "blowout" and fun-filled night. Many came to see the preachers stumble and bumble and fumble their way through the game. Others came to laugh at the teachers, coaches and faculty - knowing they wouldn't get in trouble. Donations were received at the door and the stands filled with people wondering, amused, and curious as to what the night would hold. Within five minutes, the teachers jumped out to a 11 to 1 lead. As this writer clowned on the court, assistant principal Christy Mattison stole the ball and laid it up for 2 points. That seemed to be the wake up call the preachers needed. It was "game on." At half-time the score was close to tied up. Both teams had played hard and fair. Both teams swapped baskets throughout the night. Each time one team would open a small lead, the other team would come back and tie it up. There were good shots, funny shots, missed shots and made shots. In some ways it was obvious the preachers were novices at the game. Sometimes they would dribble the ball and sometimes the ball seemed to dribble them. On both sides, shots that should have went in missed and shots that should not have gone in seemed to find their way in, nothing but net. After all was said and done, the final score was 52 - 52! What a game! What a night! Neither team won according to the score board. But it was more than a basketball game. Indeed, it was a "time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord!" That night at half-time after Rev. Keith Etheridge gave a devotion and Rev. Dennis Quinn prayed, Karen James sung a song dedicated to all the people in the stands as well as both teams, "Thank You For Giving To The Lord." The preachers and teachers came together near center court as a way to say thank you to all those that came out to support this basketball game of love and care. This was expected. But what wasn't expected was what happened next.

As Benton Belangia played the keyboard and Karen sang, people from the stands came out on the court in a tremendous show of unity. This was not pre-planned. People came down to the court, many holding hands, some with tears in their eyes (of which I am unashamed to say I was one of them) - different colors - black, white, all colors and races different religions - Pentecostal, Methodist, Baptist, etc. different political preferences - republicans, democrats, independents all sizes and shapes - tall, short, heavy, skinny and in-between. And there they were on the basketball court in the mighty presence of the Spirit of God locked in the all powerful entity of unity!

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