Ten years ago, I was blessed with the opportunity coach and mentor the young men at Ephesus SDA Church in Columbus, OH. Our basketball team, mostly high-school underclassmen, barely squeaked into the Allegheny West Conference playoffs after a pedestrian season filled with mediocrity. However, after two upset wins, we advanced as underdogs all the way to the League Championship Game. Sadly, the grandmother and guardian of one of our captains Terrell passed away suddenly. She was laid to rest on the same day of the Championship Game. Several team members accompanied me to the funeral and we embraced our brother paying respects. We proclaimed to him that the Ephesus Warriors would bring home a championship in his honor. Terrell then taught us a lesson about the definition of teamwork and said “Coach, I’m leaving with you because I am playing tonight.” He cried in the car as we made the 2 hour drive to the game, he cried in the locker room as he put on his jersey, and he didn’t score a single point in the game, but his presence and commitment galvanized our team and we went out and won the title.
Terrell was not a Seventh-day Adventist. He never attended an SDA school. He didn’t keep the Sabbath or understand the concepts of the Health Message. He would wear jewelry when I would bring him to church and had sleeve tattoos that intimidated both children and adults. But over a decade later he stays in touch with his former coach, teammates and friends from Ephesus SDA Church. He still occasionally stops by on a Sabbath morning to sit through a service sometimes bringing his mother and family members. The irrevocable bond that young […]