Enduring the tough challenges of the game of life

Published 8:55 am Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Being a sports enthusiast and a sports writer at the same time has been a blessing that I don’t even know where to start.

I have been privileged to witness a lot of exciting times in the arena of sports such as the Hampton boys and girls in state basketball tournament action, the Unaka Ranger boys and girl’s baseball and softball teams at the state level, and numerous teams from Elizabethton competing at a high-level including football, basketball, baseball, softball, tennis and soccer.

This year, however, I have witnessed one of the toughest sports around called life and have witnessed someone close and dear battle through one of the biggest games of her life.

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My wife, Cathy, was diagnosed as 2017 ended with breast cancer. Now comparing that to a sport, it could very well be like taking a blind-sided tackle in the ribs by an imposing NFL lineman or a helmet to helmet at any level of play in football.

It was hard news to hear as I would have much rather have had to put in as a pinch hitter and taken that at-bat myself.

But as she has almost all her life, she tightened up the laces on her shoes and with what I can only describe as the most intense and heroic battle far exceeding any Ali and Frazier prize fights ever and with eyes straight ahead on the finish line began her epic journey.

There were many times that her strength waned and feeling death at the door leaned on the best coach one can have in life and that was her creator and maker — the God of the universe and his son Jesus.

And better than any athletic trainer or coach, through the encouragement of the Holy Spirit Cathy would hear things like we’ve got your back, you are a fighter — you can make it, one step and one day at a time to the finish, and most importantly — we love you!

Through that encouragement and the prayers coming from the grand stands of Valley Forge Freewill Baptist Church, Roan Street Church of God, Englewood Church of God, Elizabethton Freewill Baptist, Stoney Creek Church of Christ and so many more we have overcame the high and low hurdles along the way.

Now, having passed the three-quarter mark of this race, the finish line is in sight as 16 rounds of the fight against chemotherapy has been knocked out as well as 16 rounds of radiation.

As the days pass, the regaining of strength from all the battles will eventually return and in a few short months, Cathy will be looking back over her shoulder at a course courageously completed knowing that in the race she was never left alone one time by a loving God who often carried her when she needed to be.

Thanksgiving is an extra important time of year, especially this year, as we take time to lift up our thanks to God for his presence, strength, and love as well as for those who have stood by our side through all that we have endured.

Our prayers are that everyone will have a blessed and healthy Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Don’t forget to who all blessings come from and honor Him for all he has done!