Note:  To listen to this blog on KWON or KYFM radio go to http://www.bartlesvilleradio.com/caffeine/uploads/files/ON%20Demand/Ideas%20Matter/Ideas%20Matter%203-30.mp3 .  To get a copy of Dr. Piper’s new book Why I Am a “Liberal” and Other Conservative Ideas go to www.okwu.edu or www.whyiamaliberal.com .

 

Every March for the past four years I’ve been blessed as few people ever are – I have been privileged to join my basketball team from Oklahoma Wesleyan at the national tournament and watch my students represent my university.

 

Every March since 2008 I’ve driven 3 hours to Branson, MO to cheer on the Eagles.

 

I’ve had the joy of watching Isaiah Peterson win the Mr. Hustle award because there is absolutely no one – and I do mean no one – who ever worked harder on or off the court and there’s absolutely no one who thought more about his team and less about himself than Izzy.

 

I’ve watched crowds shake their heads in amazement as Steve Briggs shot three pointer after three pointer, from the parking lot, on his way to tournament player of the year and NAIA player of the year recognition.

 

I’ve smiled from ear to ear as Sadiel Rojas scored 42 points and grabbed 23 rebounds in just one game on his way to taking his turn at NAIA player of the year.

 

I’ve collapsed in exhaustion after an adrenaline fueled celebration with all the guys holding their national championship banner high at center court. 

 

I even laughed a little bit as the entire community of Bartlesville showed up – police escort and all – to welcome the guys back to town as the NAIA II National Champions in 2009.

 

But by far the biggest blessing I’ve had over the years is knowing that we didn’t sell our soul to win a game and we didn’t’’ compromise our mission to bring home a trophy.  Yes we’ve been blessed with championships but far more important is the fact that we’ve taught our kids that honoring the lordship of Christ is the only way to truly win in the game of life.