(image courtesy Click 2 Houston News)
They say that everything is bigger in Texas…
and that also might mean badder…that is, if badder was an actually correct word.
Texas and Texans are known for being tenacious.
As in they can take a ‘licken’ and keep on ‘ticken’ sort of tenaciousness.
As in tumbleweed tenacious.
As in nothing much gets in their way to stop them from doing those Texas things
that they do.
I know this because I have a dear friend in Texas, a tumbleweed of sorts,
who has been fighting the good fight with cancer treatment.
It has not been an easy road, nor a peaceful road, but fight she has.
Unfortunately, life has been such that I have not been the active cheerleader for her as
I wish I could have been or really should have been.
Our ages are slightly different and we happen to currently find ourselves
at different life junctures.
Isn’t that always the way?
Just when she was getting bad news of diagnoses,
I found myself consumed in the care of a new grandbaby.
We were headed in opposite life directions…each going 90 to nothing…
Yet it never left my mind nor heart that she was in the throes of a battle.
I found that prayer was my best recourse because in the end, when all is said and done,
prayer was and is so much better than anything I could have or could continue to offer.
And at last word, she’s hanging tough…
Because that’s how they are in Texas, they are tough.
So just know that I’ve not forgotten you, Natalie.
And so as we speak of Texas and tenacity…I caught a story a few weeks back
about a group of real cheerleaders in Texas.
A group of high school cheerleaders to be exact from the small town of Kountze.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a high school football game but where I come
from, and obviously down in Texas, it is customary for the cheerleaders to paint
a giant run-through banner on a weekly basis as a pre-game ritual.
The banner is usually a sort of visual battle cry that is held aloft just prior to
the team running onto the field.
It’s a banner the cheerleaders hold up, standing on either side holding it taut,
so at just the right moment when the football team comes running onto the field,
they burst through the sign all to the sounds of a roaring enthusiastic crowd.
At this particular school in Texas, the cheerleaders decided they wanted to paint
words of encouragement for their team…Scripturally based words of encouragement…
as in words from the Bible.
The short of this 5-year long story is exactly as you’d think…
the cheerleaders were told by the principal and superintendent that they could not paint
Maybe someone complained to the school authorities about a
violation of Church and state…as we all know public schools are state goods.
Or maybe the school administrators were fearful of complaints and they were the ones
to nix the signs.
And as a former teacher, I know first hand that if there is one thing that can strike fear
into a school administration, it is the fear of a lawsuit being filed…in particular
lawsuits that have the potential to be high profile.
And yet this school district’s administration actually decided to fight the girls and their
continued desire to make the Scripturally based run-throughs in court.
I’ve provided the link below to the story as the ending is not what I or you might have expected…
I was actually pleasantly surprised in this story’s end.
Five years have passed.
The girls have all since moved on…only to leave other cheerleaders to carry their torch.
There were filings and hearings in state courts which lead all the way to the Supreme Court,
who actually, just the other week, ruled in favor of the girls.
Ruling that yes the cheerleaders could continue painting Bible verses on the run-throughs
for the football team.
And as Todd Starnes, the author of the article so aptly notes…
“I reckon the Kountze cheerleaders have learned a very important lesson about perseverance
over the past five years. You really can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.”
Just as I know my friend Natalie is demonstrating better than most of us!