"I'm gonna miss seeing the team every day," Paige Schultz revealed to a room full of grade school students at Morning Son Christian School earlier this week. Paige is co-captain of the 2017-18 Lady Comets Basketball team. She stood on stage Monday morning at the First Church of the Nazarene to share the impact playing basketball at Hillcrest has made on her and her teammates this year.
Every year the Hillcrest Comets bring a message to Morning Son's weekly chapel service. Traditionally the Boys and Girls basketball teams have done the services separately, sharing specific growth points related to their teams. Through the course of the past few years the two Comet squads have united to do more things together, including buddy groups where the teams will encourage each other and prayer partners, where the boys will spend specific time each week praying the Lady Comets.
Schultz and fellow co-captain Anna Murray spoke to the special bond the Lady Comets developed over their year playing basketball. They specifically mentioned how they encouraged each other in their relationship with Jesus Christ through times in prayer and simple words of encouragement that they shared on the court and in the locker room. The two noted that the love formed within the team went deeper than basketball, where friendships can be strained by mistakes on the court. They said that the Lady Comets held together because of their bond in Jesus Christ and their desire to represent Him on the court despite on court miscues.
The Lady Comets' presentation was sandwiched between the Boys' Basketball team's co-captains' presentations. Eric Konynenbelt introduced the Lady Comets, after players from both the boys and girls basketball teams told the room of wide-eyed grade schoolers their names, where they were from, and who their favorite superhero is. Eric gave a quick overview of the Basketball teams before passing the mic to the Lady Comets, who then passed the microphone to Sam Ihrke to close the service.
Sam revealed some of the things the Boys basketball team studied in their devotion times during the season. While many teams will reflect on their record and successes, the Comets took their time to unpack the ways God used the sport of basketball to unveil the character of God and to form virtues in the Comet players.
Sam closed by highlighting specific lessons the team learned together in their time on the court and in the locker room as they not only worked on their basketball game but also spent time in the Bible. Sam mentioned how the group was challenged to consider the correlation the Corinthian church had to their modern day life as a student in the team's Bible study in First Corinthians. Sam said they were challenged to live and develop characteristics that align with the Bible versus reflecting the world.
After the Comets finished their presentation they gathered in the hallway leading down to the grade school classrooms. The room of students filed out to high five the more than twenty Hillcrest athletes who shared on the growth, encouragement, and lessons they learned in their time as a Comet basketball player this year.