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WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS
"Falling down the stairs is not a sport", said Kim, staring down at Tamara. "Oh! you got jokes!", Tamara shot back. Kimberly Ann Johnson and Tamara Lee Whitney were vying for the same position, point guard, on the women's basketball team at Cumberland High. Kim, was in her senior year, had led the team for the past two seasons, but had never won a divisional title. Tammy ended up at Cumberland High in the middle of the school year, by way of immediate transfer. Something her last three schools described as a behavior problem. Yeah right! She was a natural talent on the court, very confident and, to say the least, very aggressive.
Tammy leapt to her feet with fire in her eyes and breathing like a bull with a red flag waving in front of it. "You don't scare me", said Kim, not backing down an inch. "You can huff and puff all you want, but you better step off me". Before Tammy could say a word the hall monitor was between them, threatening to have them both in the Principals office if they didn't go to their classes immediately. Since neither one of them wanted to jeopardize their chances on the team they left without a word.
"Ok team gather around", shouted coach Milford. Cheryl Milford was in her sixth year coaching the girls basketball team at Cumberland High. "This is our last practice before the big game tomorrow, so practice hard, but we don't need any injuries, everybody got that"! yelled the coach. Making sure everybody heard her. There was silence.
Word was Tammy was going to make sure nobody stood in her way for that point guard position, especially Kim. This was her last chance to make sure of it. Deidre, the teams shooting guard, was unchallenged for her position. She was averaging 21 points a game, 9 assists and, 2 steals. Her father was Pastor of Little Rock Church. She was the one who led the team in prayer before every game.
"Today I'd like to do something a little different", said Deidre. "Instead of waiting until tomorrow to pray before the game, I'd like us to pray now, before practice". Some of the other players, knowing the tension between Kim and Tammy, quickly agreed. While forming their customary prayer circle Deidre grabbed Kim by the hand and walked over to Tammy and took her hand too. While the circle was unbroken Deidre began to pray :
"Lord, tomorrow we play one of the biggest games in the history of Cumberland High, we have a chance to win the State Championship for the very first time. We come humbly before you Lord, asking you to help us put our petty differences aside for the sake of the team. True leadership is selfless, forgiving and, merciful; putting others before her, but taking the lead when it's time. Anything less is not enough. In Jesus name, Amen".
No one said a word. The practice was better than the coach Milford expected. It went so well that she couldn't decide who would start at point guard. Before the start of the game Tammy approached the coach and told her that she was giving up her quest for the starting point guard position. Her reason was, this was Kim's last year and she deserve the opportunity to take us to the promise land. " I'll try out for the position again next year", said Tammy, with a grin.
Cumberland High went on to win the State Championship. Tammy and Kim went on to college, and are playing for the same team, again.