Monday, February 22, 2010

A Display of Faith

I know I've been missing on this blog forever, but I just had to break the silence. You all just need to hear the story I'm about to tell, because it's blessed me so much.. I know it will bless you.

My twin sisters are senior starters for their varsity basketball team. They love the game immensely, such as is common in this "neck of the woods". The area in which we live pretty much LIVES for high school basketball during the winter. This year, their team went into the tournaments in the number one spot. They had the full potential to win states.

Twice this past season they made a decision that our family is all too familiar with. They chose not to play in a game because of religious convictions. We believe in keeping the Sabbath, outlined in the Bible as the time from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. During this time, we abstain from work and set our attention on worship, building our faith, and encouraging others. My sisters and I all made the decision when we were young not to play competitive sports during the Sabbath. Over time, we've had to make some tough decisions because of this belief, but none as tough as my sisters made this last weekend.

In the tournament, they had won their quarterfinal and semifinal games and were advancing to the Eastern Maine Finals. The only game after that is the State Championship. The finals were scheduled for 9am Saturday morning. My sisters didn't just decide not to play that day. They had already made that decision a long time ago. But that didn't make it easy.

Thursday night, after they won their semifinal game, we were all pretty much in tears because we knew it would be their last game. The community knew as well.. and every member of our family was incessantly asked questions. The press took note as well, and their story has since been featured in several newsprints and online editorials.

We were sad, but not because they "couldn't" play.. because the game was on that day. They didn't regret their convictions for a second, even though they knew that their presence on the court on Saturday could have meant a win.

Saturday morning came and we anxiously waited for a phone call on our way to church. We got the news just after the game ended. We had been defeated.

Defeated in a game, but not in faith and conscience. I've never been more proud of my little sisters. The coach of the opposing team in the finals summed it up better than I could ever:

"This is just a game of basketball. Theirs is a game of life and they're the champions for making that decision and following that."

I couldn't agree more.