Many of you have seen and been touched by the story of Lauren Hill, the 18-year-old Mount St. Joseph University basketball player who has been given weeks left to live because of an inoperable brain tumor. If you are not familiar with the story I highly recommend watching Cincinnati Local 12’s Brad Johansen’s feature on Lauren:
Recently I began a Sports & Spirituality Club with some of our 6th-8th grade students at Saint Agnes School. The other day I showed them this video. I followed the video by informing them that public demand to watch Lauren’s “Last Game” has been so overwhelming that Xavier University offered the use of their 10,250-seat Cintas Center to host the game, a game the NCAA permitted to be moved up to November 2. I also told them that the game at Xavier sold out in minutes and that Lauren’s story has become national.
Once I updated the 14 students in the room on the story I asked them a very simple question: “Where is God in this story?”
Some commented that Lauren’s bravery and attitude was where they saw God. Others thought the support of Lauren’s family are examples of true love. A couple noticed God in Mount St. Joseph providing Lauren with the opportunity to play basketball despite her circumstances. And another mentioned Xavier stepping in and offering their facility so thousands could show Lauren their support.
Throughout the rest of the hour-long meeting our conversation moved to examples where we have seen sports provide moments to benefit others – cancer-awareness games and the special-needs team manager who plays in a varsity game, to name a couple.
The common theme among all of these examples, including Lauren’s, is that in these sport settings everyone involved benefits. Not just Lauren. Not just cancer research or the team manager. We all benefit when we help others.
Sports are an instrument to help others. These are the kind of memories that will make our world a better place. Thank you, Lauren.
Question: How can we better help others through sport?
If you would like to follow more on Lauren Hill’s story, check out these articles:
“Facing Death, Lauren Hill Teaches Us Life Lessons”
Cincinnati.com, October 26, 2014, http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/local/2014/10/26/facing-death-lauren-hill-teaches-life-lessons/17937979/
“Lauren Hill, college hoops player with brain tumor, living in the moment”
USA Today, October 24, 2014, http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaw/2014/10/24/college-player-with-brain-tumor-ready-to-play/17821667/
“Devon Still Visits Lauren Hill, Forms Positively Inspirational Pair”
ESPNW, October 21, 2014, http://espn.go.com/espnw/athletes-life/blog/post/15204/devon-visits-lauren-hill-forms-positively-inspirational-pair