Carnduff for the Win

Sitting among the spectators in the Carnduff school gym on Tuesday night it was incredibly obvious that something very special was happening.  Three strands of story were coming together to create a sturdy net, catching our community in its fold.   It was the “Feel the Heat” challenge, the Carnduff Fire Department playing against the CEC Sr. Boys basketball team, as the evening unfolded it became clear that we all won just by having the chance to be there.

A post game picture of the teams.

The home team has a short history.  For the first time in 20 years the Carnduff school has put together a seniors boys basketball team.  With little experience, aside from a few members who have played with other teams, they came in as the underdogs in every league game.  With unswerving enthusiasm, growing skill and good sportsmanship they tackled each game, however there was not a game victory to be had.  This was the backstory for the home team part of the net being woven this night.

The guests on the court were men aged 19 to fifty something and one female firefighter.  They are the men and woman we call in some of our most vulnerable moments, and they rise to the task with resolve and skill every time.   They are a group who bring out deep feelings of gratitude and admiration from the community.  On this night they rose to the challenge put before them and showed up to the game with smiles, easy going spirits, hard running efforts and a few unforgettable fashion statements.

The third strand of the story was this moment in time we are living.  A community that has not had many opportunities to gather for fun in a long time was more than ready for what this night held.  A hearty mix of things that are good for the soul was being caught up in that net.  There was much laughter, delight, awe, and cheering that crossed team lines, all through the game.  It felt good……very good, with the only obvious downside being the possibility of some sore muscles come morning.  The audience that filled nearly every spare and safe spot in the gym had a great time.

So what happened?  The boys basketball team ended their season with the taste of victory.  They beat the firefighters, in a match that was never considered close in terms of score, but in terms of effort, the firemen really outdid themselves. 

What victory looks like.

There were so many things that people might be talking about or posting to social media as they do the replay of what we saw and heard at this inaugural “feel the heat” challenge.

There will be much amusement in recollecting the uniform of fire chief Clint Paton.  Decked out in a neon orange headband, black tights of some kind with knee length shorts overtop, neon orange socks and last but not least croc sandals, (in sports mode), he made a statement as soon as he entered the gym.  We all cheered when Clint sunk a basket. 

Those who love to see good basketball form will be delighting over the magic as Raf dribbled the ball, as if he was an elusive fly, always close but not stoppable, encountering every member of the firemans team within seconds it seemed, and moving right past them to get that ball one way or another into the key for CEC or the hands of a teammate . 

There is so much action and some definite smiles going on here as Raf deals with this ball.

In the crowd it was a remarkable night for a few reasons.  Its not very often that spectators in the stands at CEC are heard yelling out, “you got this Dad!”   That was the nature of much of the cheering and the signs seen.   Before the game one of the CEC basketball team was told by his father “pay attention, cause when the ol’ guys get tired they are going to start playing dirty and rough.”  It wasn’t far from the truth.  It was a more aggressive game than usual and rules became quite flexible as time went on.  In the last minute of the game the firemen had eight players on the court to CEC’s traditional 5.   No one was offended.  It was funny and seemed symbolic of their all in spirit for this game.  The crowd was privy to a very relaxed approach to the art of basketball.

Seven firefighters are seen playing in this shot!

Here a few other great moments caught on film…..

Jenn Meredith jumps high and gives the firefighters an awesome chance to get the play here.
There are alot of feet off the ground in this moment.
I think Barrett Paton should get an award for this moment.

Thinking back over what we experienced in the CEC gym on Tuesday night, it just doesn’t seem possible to say that anyone walked away having lost anything, we were all winners.

Saturday Morning

I was the first customer into the Flying M diner in Carnduff this morning. After dropping Morgan off at the school to meet his team for a basketball tournament I found the doors open and the coffee brewing ahead of schedule. It is now 7:55am and I am content. When I was a city girl it was one of my favorite things to do, grab my journal and head to a coffee shop where I could work through what was brewing in my head.

I have been wanting to blog all week but just couldn’t give myself permission to make it top priority. Its not that my week was full of big and urgent things, but just the regular stuff of life can take up time.

Something interesting happened last weekend. I was leading worship at our Church, our minister is on sabbatical and we laypeople have handled her absence by filling in. I was a bit overwhelmed by the reality of being the first to lead after Russia invaded Ukraine. As I sat at my computer outlining the service I had an idea come to me. I wanted to do the “Passing of the Peace” in a way that reflected this unusual Sunday. We have always used this part of the service to communicate peace between the people in the pews, but this Sunday pulled something different from me. I decided I would take our globe to church and I would offer everyone a chance to bless the world with peace by simply placing their hands on either side of the globe without touching it. As I sat at my computer I liked the idea. However, as Sunday morning drew nearer I found myself doubting, wondering, “is this stupid and cheesy?” Something compelled me to go with the plan. When the time came in the service I picked up the globe and I went to everyone where they were seated, everyone took the chance to do the blessing of the globe. I was still unsure of the plan, but I believe you could say “I went with God.” I started with those at the front which was Russell and Morgan. Russell whispered to me, “good idea” and that gave me some ease as I went to everyone else. I sensed it was well received, but after the service I received a couple of messages telling me how much it meant.

When we got home Russell was looking for an update on the war as I was making lunch. He went to BBC and found an article detailing the civilian lives lost already. He is tenderhearted so it was a double whammy to read about children who died after their kindergartens were bombed and find with that story this image.

It was a mirroring of what we had been doing in Church that morning. It was kind’ve mystical to see this. It was an affirmation of what we had been doing but also very much forged a sense of connection, the exact same action which had been enacted over and over in our pews that morning matched what a Ukranian person created as artwork and what was being used as comfort in announcing horrifying news.

Its 11:20am and I am now in D’Barrios in Oxbow, the first game is done. It didn’t go so well from a points point of view but as the coach said to me, “for some of these guys that was only their 3rd game ever!” My boy is one of those boys. From an experience point of view, it was major.

That is Morgan, #1 on his jersey.

There is perhaps no significance at all to the similarity of this picture to the previous one. Similarity you say? What similarity? Well…. hands are poised to hold a globe, there is a visual similarity. There is something else here…..eagerness. There is an eagerness to keep that globe (ball) from slipping through the players hands, to catch it. I see that eagerness in the response of people around here, as we lament the violence, suffering and harm we are seeing on the news and find our way clear to do something about it. We want to catch the earth from a free fall towards chaos and those of us who don’t remember WW2 perhaps feel like the guys who have only played 3 basketball games in their lives. We don’t yet know what we need to know. How do we catch the earth?

I saw a poster in the post office this week. I scanned this code. The link looks legitimate. As we think about “catching the earth” I think this looks like a good option. There is a fund to support the military effort and a fund to support the humanitarian work.

As I watched the game I found myself quite aware of one of the team members. Ivan came from Ukraine about five years ago I think, maybe more. He is in Jill’s class. I wondered to myself what he would be doing if he still lived in Ukraine, what would these exact moments in time hold for him as night falls there? The opportunity to share these moments with him feels like a vivid reminder that as humans on this earth we have so much in common.

Well….its back to the tournament as well as a trip to the Co-op to pick up supplies for a cherry cake . Jill turns 18 tomorrow and we have some celebrating to do!