NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Before you can play on a basketball court it has to be built.
That is the main goal for the Lipscomb women’s basketball team on a mission trip July 26 through August 2 to the town of Villa Bisona near Naverette in the Dominican Republic.
“We are going to miss almost four days of recruiting,” Lipscomb coach Greg Brown said. “We have been telling recruits that we aren’t skipping out on them. They think the trip is incredible.”
The trip was arranged through Lipscomb Missions and will be the first for one of Brown’s teams. All 13 players on the roster, along with assistant coaches Katherine Graham, Courtney Locke and Anna Bowers are in the travel party. Shannon O’Brien, director of women’s spiritual formation for athletics, and trainer Maggie Schweer also are planning to make the trip. Brown is also bringing one of his sons, Cole.
“There is no doubt this is a unique bonding experience,” Brown said. “We have five new players. We are a young team. This is the first time we will have all of the players we have recruited together. It is a special opportunity, but most important it is an opportunity for all of us to grow and get outside of our comfort zones.”
Brown knows he and his staff have only a limited amount of time to work with players. He wants to make the most of each week.
“We have 208 weeks with our players (4 years x 52 weeks),” Brown said. “The concept of 208 weeks makes us realize how intentional we must be with each player on a daily basis. To be as intentional as we need to be, we must be clear about our WHY—‘why we do what we do.’ This is one week of the 208 but hopefully this will set the stage for the other 207 weeks we have.
“At the center of our `why’ is their spiritual development—we want the stories of our faith and scripture to be deeply in their heads and hearts. We want the understanding of these stories to drive our faith. We talk a lot about the how and what we do. This will give us a launching point to talk more about the why.”
The players will be working with a Lipscomb Missions ministry partner called Marte Mission, and their Dominican partnership, Association Centro Cristiano.
“They are thrilled to have an athletics-based team coming to help build/rebuild a basketball court in the poor community they work in, but also help to introduce the idea of sports ministry and women’s basketball to the area in a big way,” Brown said. “We will be spending lots of time with the local youth especially the young women in the community.”
The mission team will drive out to the community on Saturday after eating lunch in Santiago. Sunday they will meet with the church members. They will play with the children and introduce themselves and talk about the work they will be doing.
From Monday through Friday they will be at the worksite, mixing concrete, tying rebar and building the foundation for a basketball court.
“It will be manual labor,” Brown said. “In the evenings we will be playing some pickup games and goofing around with local youth. It is a new opportunity for basketball there. We will also meet each evening for a program with a girls’ club.”
The coaches and players base everything they do on the court, in the classroom, in the community and in their spiritual life on five basic principles - thankfulness, humility, passion, unity and servanthood.
“This is an opportunity for us to show all five of those characteristics in a setting where none of us have ever been,” Brown said. “The bonding will come because they are working toward a shared vision and a shared mission.
“We believe that each of us is given unique gifts from God. But we must first find each of our unique gifts. Then, you develop that unique gift and give it away on a daily basis. It has often been said that we are a sum total of our unique experiences—the books we read, the people we meet and the places we visit.”
Donations are still being accepted for the trip. If you would like to contribute go to www.lipscomb.edu/missions. Click on “Give”. Complete under “Designate Your Gift”
-Trip Name: “Dominican Republic W Basketball”.