MU Lions give back to community by playing hoops with hospitalized kids
Multnomah’s basketball team accomplished a lot on the court this season; they scored many points, they won hard fought games, they had players get voted to All-American teams and they performed admirably in postseason play. Did I mention they shot many threes?
The team performed well and the players represented Multnomah University and Christ in a reputable manner on the court; the team did not tally up technical fouls or demonstrate any form of disrespect toward their opponents, but rather treated the opposing team as honorably as they could. There were even shared meals with their opponents following a game.
After the season ended, Coach Curt Bickley and Senior Brent Looyenga assembled a group of players that were willing to participate in sports ministry. Kevin Coverson, Jackson Flah, Steve Bustrin, Daniel Aguilar, Mike Kamlade (who is the brother of the great Nikolas Kamlade), Erik Mendoza, Matt Johnson, and I volunteered to serve in this ministry.
The sports ministry entails serving at Providence Child Center, a hospital for disabled children, by spending time with the kids, helping with various tasks during Spring Thaw, and running a basketball camp for kids living on an Indian reservation in Washington.
Every Wednesday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. the basketball team ministry ventured to Providence to hang out with the kids. For about an hour each week, team members were able to bless the children with a light-hearted, enjoyable time by playing games and interacting with the kids. And the kids were able to bless the players with their innocent appreciation and gratefulness, seen in their smiles and shrieks of rejoice.
“My little girl at the children’s hospital blesses made my week every time I got to see her. She blesses me, said Mendoza, a sophomore guard.
“It was fun getting to hang out with the kids,” noted Bustrin, a sophomore point guard. “Being able to be here with these kids who can’t do the things that normal kids do is cool. It was a real blessing to be able to see these kids being excited to hang out with us. I enjoyed every moment of it.”
And, on April 27th, the basketball ministry ventured to White Swan High School on the Yakima Indian Reservation in Yakima County, Washington to conduct a basketball camp for elementary students in the local school district. The team promoted the camp on the 27th by going to different schools and personally inviting kids to come to the basketball camp the following day.
At the camp, the basketball ministry players were able to teach between 50 and 70 kids the game of basketball through fun games and drills.
“We took the kids through various dribbling drills, and shooting drills,” said Coverson, who is a freshman point guard. “The kids really loved it. Although my group won most of the games, I think all the kids had a great time.”
The basketball team ministry was also able to assist Rob Hildebrande during Spring Thaw. The players were given the task of maintaining the efficiency and cleanliness of the kitchen as well as run the concession stands during the concerts and breaks.
In ‘Bickley-era’ of MU basketball, the basketball team has consistently run a sports ministry every year, never failing to serve the whomever they are called to serve.
The MU Lion’s have been able to represent Christ in their lives and MU, not only on the court, but off the floor as well; they’ve shown love and have been loved just by playing basketball.
“I think we’ve shown that we aren’t just about shooting threes and having a good time,” said Aguilar, a freshman forward. “We have been able to show that we are very willing and capable of serving others for the Lord.”
Being members of the basketball team doesn’t limit these players’ ability to serve; they chose to go beyond the court and serve others in need, and be blessed in return.
–Gian Cook is a a junior Journalism major.