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Basketball and shepherds

To the dismay of just about everyone in these parts, Tony Bennett is leaving. Mr. Bennett is the beloved basketball coach at Washington State University. In the last three years, he led his team into post-season tournaments each year, a significant accomplishment considering that the team has seen post-season play just six times in its entire history.

“Sacrifice” was his motto, and Tony lived it. Last year after a stellar run, he was offered jobs elsewhere. But he committed to staying, and he voiced it loud and clear: “This is my home,” he said. To many of us, it was a personification of sacrifice for a big time coach to covenant to live in this rural area of rolling farmland, faraway from the glamour schools, faraway from the big bucks. Faraway from Seattle.

He is young; he is handsome; he is building another powerhouse team with young players. And he is leaving.

Some said it felt like a punch to the stomach. Others were simply in shock. Players felt abandoned. One, a young man with a background littered with foster homes, wondered why he wasn’t good enough for Tony.

In this life are many sheepfolds we’d like to belong to. And we like the shepherds that lead us.

God bless Tony; he’s done us a service. He’s reminded us there is only one Shepherd. All others are hired hands.


John 10.11-15 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away - and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.


Daniel Leslie Peterson April 1, 2009 at 10:48 AM  

Listening to this section of John's gospel (driving to Portland this morning), this part struck me: "... and there will be only one flock, one shepherd." (10:16)

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