Below are the prepared notes from the homily delivered by Marissa Powe, CCES Class of 2020 for Lower, Middle, and Upper School Chapels on November 20th, 2019.
Good morning everyone. As few of you may know, I play basketball. It is my favorite sport and probably one of the only reasons why I am still sane. Without it, I do not know where I would be today. It has equipped me with leadership skills, time management skills, the best group of friends a girl could ever ask for, among other incredible things.
When I was about 10 years old, I decided that I wanted to play basketball throughout the whole year on an AAU team. I had found a team that I loved with a group of girls that had the same mindsets and goals as me. Even though basketball made me the happiest that I’ve ever been, it was a huge time commitment. My family was constantly traveling on weekends; therefore, we were rarely in attendance at church. I soon began to recognize this fact as I slowly began to drift away from my faith. Basketball had become the center of my life, and I had unknowingly put God on the backburner. I had no idea what to do about this situation, and I felt lonely. I didn’t know who to tell about this, or if I should even say anything at all.
But, instead of internalizing this like the old Marissa Powe, I decided to turn to the people that I could tell anything to: my teammates. With them I could never feel judgement and I knew that they could handle a deep discussion such as this. So, while we were playing in one particular tournament, I decided to open up a discussion about the amount of time that we put into basketball and its effects on our lives. Many people expressed that they missed going to church not only for the amazing homilies, but also for the sense of community and the friendships that they had built with others there. As a result we decided to make our own little community that encompassed the different religious beliefs of the girls on the team. Every person on the team was in a different place in terms of their spiritual journey through life, so we agreed to act as a support system for each other. Especially when we could not be supported by our own individual religious communities.
For me, I thought about how I could better mold my moral principles and spiritual obligations into my daily life. The best way for me to do this was to incorporate it into what I do best: play basketball. I began to think about the Holy Spirit as a comforter for me. To me, basketball is way more of a mental game than a physical game. Through my faith I learned that I am never alone no matter what, and that I am never too old to make mistakes. In turn, I became more mentally tough and more confident, and now I can spread this to my teammates and other people in other areas of my life; therefore, bettering the community to the best of my ability.
In everything that I do, I try to focus my attention to applying the moral principles that I personally value. Just as the spirit serves as a comforter for me, empowering me in everything that I do, I try my best to uplift my friends in everything that we do. Whether it is encouraging someone try out for the school musical or one of our sports teams. I believe that no one should ever feel alone when trying something new. Inspiring this new confidence in people not only makes them feel amazing, but me as well. Spreading this positive energy to those around me gives me purpose in my life. This also gives me motivation to continue spreading love everyday.