95942_000_013They knew the score. If you want to share the gospel with your coach, you can’t drop the ball.
It happened by accident—literally.
After his wife hit a car in the parking lot at Caesar Rodney High School in Delaware, where they are both teachers and coaches, basketball coach Jeff Savage offered to pay for the damage.
“I told the young man who owned the car to get two estimates for the work to be done and I would give him a check for it,” says Coach Savage. He pretty much forgot about the incident, until the boy returned and gave him a check for $100.
“He told me the work had cost $100 less than the estimate, and that I should have the difference back. I was so impressed with this act that I told my team.”
After practice, three LDS boys on the team, Frankie Victory, Mark Lee, and Jason Badell, told him the boy was a member of the LDS church and had returned the money because he knew it was the right thing to do.
That small incident aroused the coach’s curiosity, a curiosity the boys were prepared to satisfy with missionary work.
The boys never missed an opportunity to show the coach how much they loved their religion. One day, for example, during a difficult practice, priest Mark Lee seemed to be having trouble holding on to the ball.
“I said ‘Lee, hold on to that ball like it was the Book of Mormon.’ Mark caught the next five passes,” says Coach Savage.
At the end-of-the-year basketball banquet, Frankie, Mark, and Jason, seized another opportunity to share their religion. They presented their coach with a gift, a Book of Mormon.
“We hope you’ll hold on to this book like you would hold on to a basketball,” read the inscription from the three boys.
The coach did more than that. Not only did he hold on to the book; he read it and believed it. Not long after he received his gift, he and his family were baptized.
Whether serving the Lord full-time, as Frankie is now doing in Tempe, Arizona; awaiting a mission call like Mark; or simply setting an example for their friends and teachers at school like Jason, these boys know the meaning of the phrase “Every member a missionary.”