“This is not what I have ever seen sports be!”

So said Steve Hartman, of CBS’ “On the Road,” as he covered a very unusual game between the Gainesville State School and Vanguard College Prep in Waco, Texas.

To understand why he said this we need to understand the story. Gainesville State School is a juvenile correction facility for felony offenders. The Tornadoes normally do not have many if any fans at their games, particularly away games. Two players at Waco Prep, Hudson Bradley and Ben Martinson, thought this wasn’t right. Therefore, they refused to play Gainesville under those conditions.

It just wasn’t right in their eyes. No fans, no play. Fans, then play. They got the great idea to recruit some of the Vanguard fans to root for Gainesville during the home game with them at Vanguard. They got signs made and recruited cheerleaders to cheer for the Gainesville Tornadoes, all without them knowing anything about it.

That was until they came out at the beginning of the game. They heard the cheers. They saw the signs. They stared at the cheerleaders. “How can this be?” must have run through their minds.

All during the game, the cheering just kept building until the whole gym was rooting for the Tornadoes.

After the game, Steve Hartman sat down with Hudson and Ben, and said, “This is not what I’ve ever seen sports be!” to which Hudson responds, “In a way, this is how sports should be.”

Don’t let that comment just slip by. Do you hear what is being said amidst this competition? Vanguard wasn’t following the examples of the day and striving against Gainesville. Vanguard was moving in a different direction – striving with Gainesville in this basketball game. In doing so, they stood out to this broadcaster and many others by demonstrating what sports were really designed to be.

I watched the video below of Steve’s report for CBS News and was moved. I bet you will be too.

For us at CSO, Vanguard’s action are a demonstration of redeemed sports. A great demonstration as a matter of fact. The impact? It moved those involved as well.

  • “Something I won’t forget. When I am an old man I will still think about this thing,” said one Gainesville player.
  • “I’ll probably remember this for the rest of my life,” said another.

We bring it to your attention in the hope that seeing examples like this would move you to a particular end. That end we have in mind would be for each of you to:

  • Reject the broken examples being put forth so loudly today
  • Embrace the quieter examples of redeemed sports like this one
  • To personally move, like Hudson and Ben did, to set out to redeem sports in your own way.

By the way, if you know of other examples like this one, let us know. We’d love to write about them and spread the vision. Honestly, I hope I am writing about something you did as a result of this example in the very near future.


Credit: Bob Schindler – The Executive Director of our sister ministry, Church Sports Outreach
Submitted by Ken Cross.

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