by Eric Johnson
SPANGLE, Wash., March 1, 2017 - At 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 26, 2017, a bus full of student athletes from Upper Columbia Academy (UCA) in Spangle, Wash., began their trip to Walla Walla University to compete in the annual Friendship Basketball Tournament. Coach Rob Gettys set the tone for the trip by sharing with the students how important it was for us to represent Christ well both on and off the court and for the team to look for ways they could demonstrate the love of Christ while on this trip.
The students took coach’s words to heart. After a stop in Pasco, Wash., for breakfast, the student athletes noticed an individual standing on the corner of the street with a sign saying he was hungry. Several students immediately asked Coach Gettys if they could stop and help. The bus pulled into a parking lot right next to where the man was standing. The students then proceeded to collect leftover breakfast money from those on the bus. A group of about eight students then went with Coach Gettys to give the money to the man. They shared with him who they were and where they were from. After giving the man the money, the students then circled with the man and prayed that God would bless him. As they were getting back on the bus, one student commented, “It doesn’t matter what happens at the tournament now, because we have already won.”
As for the actual basketball games, UCA played hard and played well. They demonstrated the character of Christ as they played and as they cheered. Both UCA men’s as well as women’s teams took third place at the tournament.
This tournament served as a reminder to the basketball players that we can be the hands and feet of Jesus at any time and any place.