INTRODUCTION TO START PRACTICE/GAME
This week our virtue theme is LOVE – The strength to will the good of another. LOVE is necessary for everything in life! We need to LOVE on this team, in school, in our most important relationships, our family…..nothing truly worthwhile happens without LOVE.
Thank you, Lord, for this day, this opportunity, this time together. Strengthen our wills and forge our resolve to LOVE, no matter the cost or the circumstance. Does anyone have any prayer intentions? Who wants to lead us in a prayer?
STORY TO TELL IMMEDIATELY AFTER PRAYER
A LIFE-CHANGING ACT By Yvonne Abraham
Patty and Rick Parker were in their cramped kitchen with their 8-year-old son. Ben. Dinner was over. Bedtime was near. A few feet away was the narrow, winding stairway that is the family’s biggest burden lately. Until recently, Rick carried Sammy up those 14 stairs to his bedroom each night. But a few months ago, Rick had major surgery for a life-threatening heart condition, and now he can’t lift much at all, let alone a 75- pound child.
Patty couldn’t carry him, either. Desperate, she called her pediatrician, who put her in touch with Elizabeth Paquette, the nurse at Malden Catholic High School. Paquette said she’d take care of it. The boys at Malden Catholic are taught to embrace service: She’d find plenty of students to help.
Rudy Favard was the first kid Paquette came across after that call. At Malden Catholic on a partial scholarship from the Catholic Schools Foundation, this son of Haitian immigrants was one of Paquette’s treasures. The linebacker, co-captain of the football team and honor roll student was always willing to lend a hand. The nurse had barely begun telling Rudy about the Parkers before he said he’d help. Another boy would fill in for Rudy on game nights. And a third boy was on standby in case neither of the others could make it.
It is profoundly isolating to have a child as severely disabled as Sammy. It’s hard even for well-meaning friends to understand the immense strain of his all-consuming needs. Patty and Rick — who tried for 8 years to get pregnant before Ben and Sam were born — grieve for one son’s lost potential every day, even as they struggle to give the other as normal a life as possible.
Into this world of love and hurt comes Rudy. Four nights a week, he leaves his homework and makes the 10-minute drive to the Parker house. Around 8 p.m., he carries Sammy upstairs, chats a bit, hugs everybody, and heads home to finish his work. After considerable effort, the Parkers convinced Rudy to take enough money to cover gas, with a little left over.
In the few months the Parkers have known him, Rudy has become not just a help with Sammy, but a salve for their pain. He and Rick talk about football. Patty quizzes him on girls. Ben usually parks himself as close to Rudy as possible, looking up at him adoringly. And most nights, Sam will tremble with excitement as Rudy picks him up.
He greeted the Parkers, and went over to Sammy, gently lifting the boy’s left arm and sliding his hands under his back, the way Rudy’s father, a professional caregiver, had shown him. He lifted Sammy and held him close to his chest, and as the boy made his joyful O, Rudy carefully maneuvered him around the corners on the narrow stairway.
You couldn’t help but be struck by the painful contrast between the two boys: The robust athlete cradling the pale, helpless child; the young man preparing to go out into the world carrying someone who never will. It’s a comparison lost on nobody, least of all Rudy himself.
“He’s done more for me than I’ve done for him,’’ Rudy said. “There are times when I don’t want to go to practice, and then I look at Sam. By God’s grace, I can do what I’m doing, so I should keep it up. I’ve never been one to complain a lot, but just seeing Sam reaffirms everything, you know?’’
QUESTION TO ENGAGE PLAYERS
What impressed you the most about this story?
RESOLUTION TO WORK ON DURING PRACTICE/GAME
Decide to work as hard as possible in practice today, not for oneself but instead for your teammates. Notice if it’s easier or more difficult.
Ask individually as many players as you can during practice/game the below:
What do you LOVE about the sport you are playing?
What teammates do you LOVE? Why?
END OF PRACTICE/GAME PRAYER
Lord God, You didn’t run at the first sign of chaos or difficulty. Instead, You showed us how to LOVE, You showed us what a sacrificial, truthful LOVE looks like. We want to live like You! We want to LOVE like You and LOVE others the way You loved us. Help us to LOVE that way this week.
WAY TO LIVE THE VIRTUE THIS WEEK
Decide to help others, challenge others, serve others this week out of LOVE. Do these acts on the playing field, in the classroom and at home, no matter the cost.
LOVE QUOTES FOR THE WEEK
*Each day this week communicate the quote of the day.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – Jesus Christ
“Love means to commit yourself without guarantee.” – Anne Campbell
“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire with love.” – Ferdinand Foch
“You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; in just the same way, you learn to love by loving.” – Anatole France
“The first duty of love is to listen.” – Paul Tillich
“Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.” – Vincent Van Gogh
“The cure for all the ills and wrongs, the cares, the sorrows, and the crimes of humanity, all lie in the one word- LOVE. It is the divine vitality that everywhere produces and restores life.
– Lydia M. Child