Last night I watched the CLA Lions High School basketball season come to an end. It was a moment filled with conflicting emotions.

There is something to the well-worn phrase “the agony of defeat.” No one likes to lose especially, in a tournament. Additionally, there was some sadness as well. This team will never be together in exactly the same way again. If nothing else, we know two seniors will graduate and move on to the next step in God’s journey for them.

At the same time, however, it was a time of grateful reflection. A few years ago when we started basketball, we had no idea what we were getting in to. These players spend many hours on the road traveling to play anyone who would play us—even traveling the country miles to Coker Creek. Many times they had to go into games without practice because we were not able to secure a gym to practice in. At every game for years, they were the villains. What I mean is they were always the visiting team which meant they were always the team the majority of the crowd cheered against. They were normally outnumber and undersized. Yet, there they stood, a scrappy team who never quits with a dedicated band of parents cheering till the end.

And in the process, something wonderful happened. They became a team, a band of brothers. Not only did their skills improve, but the bonds of friendship did as well. And it was a joy to see.
Now we say goodbye to a couple key members of that team. Baily Womac played hard until the end. Never intimidated and always willing to take the challenge, Baily was a joy to watch. Kirby Key, the consummate team player and servant leader, was the kind of teammate who would pass up a shot to give a younger player a chance to score. Through the years, we watched them grow, and they often displayed before us the heart of a lion which is the heart of a champion.

Sometime in the near future we will raise championship banners in the gym we believe God will provide. We will remind all who are there to see it that they are standing on the shoulders of those who were willing to service to build a program. And for that we will be thankful.

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