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“Christ’s love is our best example. He gave His life for all of us, and the least we can do is live our lives in thankfulness and with a willingness to share with others what He has done,” said Rob Kinnard, president of the International Sports Evangelists.
Kinnard and fellow ISE members traveled to the Immanuel Church in Chelmsford, Mass., on Saturday, Mar. 28, to share their new program.
“Upward Basketball is a Christian sports program that teaches sportsmanship, teamwork and Christian principles,” said Kinnard.
Attending the basketball awards assembly, where he presented the Upward Basketball program, Kinnard said 203 kids participated in the basketball season.
“The coaches not only helped the first through seventh graders with basketball skills but, most importantly, life skills of living life with integrity, striving for excellence in everything they do,” Kinnard said. “The program also emphasizes that every child is a winner.” These traits are all part of the Upward program.
With over 500 families present at the assembly, Kinnard shared the importance of dedication. He showed them the basketball he used to dribble from north of Hardin to the school playground where he spent hours practicing. He put so many ‘miles’ on the ball that it is almost worn completely smooth. He also brought his letter jacket, which still has the many awards he received during his high school years.
“While these things are important, and was and still is a part of who I am, what defines me now is my relationship with Christ and the difference He has made in my life and how He can do that for others if they are dedicated to Him,” said Kinnard.
Kinnard went on to say, “Being competitive is also a part of our daily lives. Kids should strive for competitive ‘greatness,’ however, being a true winner is not defined by a final score or bottom line, but by the journey and how you conduct yourself in the competitive nature of life.”
Of course, no assembly of which Kinnard is a part, could be considered complete without his usual brand of excitement. He got the whole crowd to sing songs, such as “The River of Life,” do “The Twist” and even got the coaches doing their best impressions of the Harlem Globetrotters as they tried to perform a routine while dressed in Kinnard’s wigs and disco outfits.
“Do your best for God. Everything else revolves around that,” Kinnard told the players. “And finally, let love guide you in how you treat others. This world would be a better place if we approached everything in love, a love for each other, a love for teamwork, and a love for doing what’s right and being willing to work with others.”
No matter what activity he is involved with, Kinnard has a good time. “This was as much fun as any event I have been a part of, but I say that about all of them,” he laughed. “The bottom line is Upward Basketball is a quality program, and I applaud Immanuel Church and their efforts to reach the community with the Gospel of Christ.”
This year marks the 10th anniversary of The International Sports Evangelists. Look for a story this summer as the ISE celebrates this milestone.
Photo: Rob Kinnard, president of The International Sports Evangelists, takes a moment to sign autographs at a basketball awards assembly and Upward Basketball program at the Immanuel Church in Chelmsford, Mass. (Submitted photo)