Grapevine Faith’s football team was scheduled to play the Gainesville State School. Gainesville was 0-8 and only scored two touchdowns all year. Gainesville was a state school. Many of the kids had been convicted on drugs and assault and robbery. The families of many of them had disowned them. They were playing with pads that were 7 years.
Grapevine had an enormous following as a Christian school by the parents. They had 70 kids and the latest equipment. They had a full coaching staff and were 7-2 going into the game. Overall 400 parents and fellow students came to support their team. Everyone knew the score of the game weeks before they actually were due to play it.
So Grapevine’s coach, Kris Hogan, called the students and the parents together earlier in the week and prayerfully told them his idea. He told them who their opponents were and asked that for this game that half of the Grapevine fans become Gainesville fans for this one night. “Imagine you didn’t have a home life. Imagine if everyone had pretty much given up on you. Now imagine what it would mean if hundreds of people would suddenly believe in you. Here’s the message I want you to send: You are just a valuable as any other person on planet Earth.”
They agreed. These parents made a banner for the Gainesville kids to run through and cheered them on in a forty foot line sprint. They cheered the Gainesville kids to make the hits on their own kids. 200 Grapevine parents and students cheered the Gainesville team by name. Grapevine even gave them cheerleaders for that night.
"We can tell people are a little afraid of us when we come to the games," says Gerald, a lineman who will wind up doing more than three years. "You can see it in their eyes. They’re lookin’ at us like we’re criminals. But these people, they were yellin’ for us! By our names!"
The score? Grapevine won 33-14 but Gainesville did score the last two touchdowns of the game. Afterwards, the Gainesville coach grabbed Coach Hogan hard by the shoulders and said, "You’ll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You’ll never, ever know."
Related Sermon Illustrations
Contributed by Christian Cheong on May 4, 2004
George W. Truett, a well-known Texas preacher, was invited to dinner in the home of a very wealthy oilman. After the meal, the host led him to a place where they could get a good view of the surrounding area. Pointing to the oil wells and punctuating the landscape, he boasted, "Twenty-five ...read more