Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another Sports Related Post

Last night, Derek and I were watching the ESPYs and we only caught about 20 or 30 minutes of it, but it was probably the best 20 or 30 minutes of the whole awards show if I had to guess. Every year they award the Arthur Ash award for courage. This year it went to the family of the high school football coach in Iowa who was murdered. You've probably heard the story, but in case you haven't, here it is in a nutshell: In a small town of about 2000 in Iowa, a former student and brother to a current player on the high school football team, had a mental illness and ended up shooting the football coach. The coach was a huge part of the community and was loved by everyone. He had great character and faith and his death was a huge loss to the community. It was tragic for all involved, especially the family of the shooter. Obviously the guilt and associated feelings that they must have felt were unimaginable.

The part of the story that is amazing, however, is the reaction of the victims family. While they were in the midst of grieving for their dad/husband, they reached out to the family of the shooter and offered unconditional love and forgiveness. I really can't do the story justice, but they reacted in the most Christ-like manner possible. They harbored no anger or bitterness toward that family, but rather encouraged everyone who offered them support, to pray for and support the family of the shooter. I was crying just watching it.

So when the time came for them to recieve the award, their name was called and they got up and hugged those around them. The people sitting directly behind them were the shooter's family. Through the whole ordeal, the two families became close friends. It was such an illustration of the way that Christ would have us be in relationship with others. Truly forgiving, and loving and not just saying it, but really doing it. I have never seen a more powerful display of the love and grace that Christ offers to us and calls us too.

But it keeps getting better. The wife and two sons go up to accept the award, and one of the sons gives the acceptance speech. And he just brings it. He basically preaches to the crowd of athletes and celebrities. He says that all they did was what their dad taught them to do, and that is to do the right thing. He said how his dad's faith was the most important thing to him, his priorities were faith, then family, then football. He said how remarkable it was that they come from a small town of 2,000 people, and the influence that they have been able to have, just because they did the right thing. And then, he goes on to challenge all of the athletes and celebrities in attendance, that they need to focus on their character and doing what is right, because they have so much influence on young people.

It was awesome. We all hear the stories every day about athletes and celebrities getting arrested and doing stupid things. And this man from small town Iowa shows up to the ESPYs and basically tells them, look, we're from a town of 2,000 and see the way that us doing what is right has had such an influence on our country that we are receiving this award from Brett Favre, an award that has previously gone to people like Nelson Mandela. You all are already famous, imagine what you could do if you got your act together and just acted with some integrity.

After his speech the camera panned around to the facees of various people in attendance and you could tell that what he had said struck a chord. And he delived it so eloquently and with love. It was convicting because it was true, but nothing about it was judgemental or like he was pointing any fingers. It was so cool.


Kari said...

We watched some of the Espys last night and we missed that...I wish I would've seen it. What an amazing faith driven family!

Katie said...

I'm choking up as we speak... Wow!

Anna Baur said...

that sounds so awesome! :) how inspiring

Callie Nicole said...

Oh, what a cool story! Thanks for sharing it.