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After six Saturdays of basketball games and many practices, the West End Baptist Church concluded their Upward Basketball season with a banquet honoring the hard work and dedication of the players, coaches, and program organizers, Monday, February 26.
The banquet, held on the campus of Mary Holmes College, was full of excited children and great fellowship amongst everyone in the gymnasium. Following a great meal, former Mississippi State University Womenâ€™s Basketball head coach Sharon Fanning Otis took to the podium to deliver her words of wisdom.
Coach Fanning Otis spoke on the three pillars which had been the core of West Endâ€™s Upward mission for this 2013 season. The pillars were â€śhope,â€ť â€śself-control,â€ť and â€śresponsibility.â€ť Fanning Otis delivered an eloquent speech which hit on all three themes that were taught to the kids during the season devotionals. She also drew an example between two balloons, one rose to the ceiling and one sank to the floor. Coach Fanning Otis said that it all mattered what was inside the balloon that counted.
Also getting to speak during the banquet was West End member Carolyn Atkins. Atkins told the story about three menâ€™s journey to heaven and how only one had the correct ticket. A powerful message, Atkins hoped that everyone knew the way to heaven was â€ś...through the cross.â€ť
After such moving and powerful spoken words, the kids were recognized with their involvement in the basketball season. The children received a lunch sack with the Upward logo and the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments with their teammates one last time.
Upward Sports is a Christian-based sport league for kids. The league provide fun sports experiences for the athletes while also teaching the values of life.