On Community. And Faith

Not that kind of faith. Faith in our children. 

This morning, I had plans to go watch my nephew play what could possibly be his last soccer game of his high school career. I can’t believe our Mikey is a senior and will graduate in May and head off to college. But he is. And what an awesome young man he is turning out to be. 

For a lot of different, unexplainable reasons, I haven’t been around Mikey very much as he’s grown up. But I do keep tabs on him and I know some of the things he has done in his life. He’s played soccer quite a bit – probably since he was about four, maybe five. His dad (my “little” brother) enjoyed soccer when he was younger and he passed that on to all of his children, the boys especially. 

In his senior year, Mikey is one of the captains on his schools’ varsity soccer team. They made it to the playoffs, rounding out this season in 3rd place. Tonight was the first game of the playoffs, to be played in Greenville, Tx, against a team just down the road (as we say in Texan) – Mt. Pleasant. 

This morning, before we all got to work and to school, we learned that the Mt. Pleasant track team had an accident the night before on the way home from a meet, and they lost one of their coaches. In total, 19 student athletes were sent to three different hospitals in various conditions. Additionally, the driver of the 18-wheeler that hit them passed away as well. 

Lots of times, these horrific events go unnoticed by teenagers. Unless it happens to someone they know, they may pause, but they generally move on. And when it’s not someone they know, they usually don’t even register it. 

But not Mikey. When Mikey learned that it was the Mt. Pleasant track team – the very same school they were playing against in playoffs in less than a day after the accident, he did something that not many teenagers think to do. He called his mom.

Mikey and others on his team wanted to let the Mt. Pleasant team know that they had their support. That even though they were competing against each other, they stood with them in their sorrow for their fellow students with the loss of their coach. Mikey asked his mom to help him find black armbands to wear during the game. And not just for his team – he made sure that the Mt. Pleasant team had them also.

The team rally cry this year is “We Are One.” Usually, that kind of saying is something that looks good on tshirts and works to bring a group of athletes together as a team. Something coaches say in a pep talk. 

This time, it meant so much more than that. “We Are One” went beyond a group of high school teenagers hoping to make it to the next round of playoffs. Those teenagers came together, as one team, to let a rival community know that they weren’t alone in their grief. That they “see.”

This, is what we hope for our children. That they can “see.” We ARE One, and getting to see that from young men is a great thing. 

It was a great season, Mikey. I am so very proud of you, and I told many people this story today, always ending with “that’s MY nephew.” You done good. ❤️❤️❤️


About Michelle Barton

Things I find myself asking or saying in everyday life.
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