Spain Tenerife, Day 11, June 30, 2014

The day started off with breakfast in our homes and then directly to the gym here in Santa Ursula.  From all parts of the town, kids descended upon the gym ready to participate in the free clinics that we are hosting.  We had a variety of kids attend, some from the town of Santa Ursula, some from neighboring towns, and some that are children that attend our host church.  We had a great turn out and enjoyed working with them.  Although the skill level was different from the previous town we were in, the coaches worked hard and the kids enjoyed the clinic. There were even a few of the young ones, ages 4 and 5, who we had do some of the basketball things as well as some fun games that were geared just for them.  Following the clinic, we walked 5 minutes from the gym to our host church for lunch.  A great meal helped refuel our bodies and helped to renew our strength.  As the food digested, the entire group gathered for team time in the main room of the church where worship is held Sunday mornings.  With Sajid on the guitar, we sang praise and worship songs to our great God.  Kylie and Jessye each gave their testimonies and we listened to how faithful God has been in the lives of His children.  Team time concluded and the whole team packed into 6 cars for a 5 minute drive and we headed back to the town of La Victoria for the 6th year in a row.  Given a warm welcome by one the directors of the basketball club, Hector once again made us feel welcome.  Some kids from the morning clinic in Santa Ursula joined us again for the La Victoria clinic but the majority of the kids came to us from the La Victoria area.  One of the kids is a six year veteran of the Push the Rock clinics and two followed us from the Adeje clinic!  As is the format for all of the clinics, we opened with our sportsmanship thought and prayer.  With the skill level close to that of the first week, the coaches challenged the players to work hard in a variety of skill stations.  Following stations and wanting to give the players a new and higher level experience, we separated the players by age/ability and allowed the younger and developing players to full court 5 v 5 games.  With the older and more advanced players, we played teaching 3 v 3 games in which the coaches would pause the games and teach technique, help make adjustments, and give basketball wisdom.  The players participating in both divisions enjoyed the games, enhanced their skills, and responded well.  As we do everyday, we closed the clinic in prayer and with the whole clinic in one big huddle, we cheered, “Push the Rock”.  After a quick snack, the PTR women changed from their blue camp attire into their red and white PTR uniforms, ready for a game against the La Victoria girls.  Fortunate to have two ministry players with us, Desi and Sara, our team totaled eight players.  The La Victoria bench was filled with almost twice as many, most of whom did not attend the clinic that day in order to be ready for the game.  With a headache and other difficulties, one of our players, Reghan, was unable to play, reducing our team to seven.  With our own PTR member Tim wearing the stripes as he has done all trip for us so far, the game started and PTR was off to an early lead.  Known to be a strong team, the La Victoria girls continued to play hard and they battled back, but the lead was never secure for PTR.  Back and forth, the lead changed hands and late in the third quarter, PTR teammate Hannah went down with a sprained ankle.  Unable to play the remainder of the game, she is treated on the sidelines by a nurse who is one of our local PTR team members.  Down to just 6 players, PTR continues to work hard and play well.  The lead is taken by PTR, but then La Victoria overtakes PTR by 1 point with 20 ticks left on the clock.  With possession of the ball, PTR ministry player Sara drives to the basket and is fouled, leaving 8.9 seconds in the game.  On the foul line, she is handed the ball.  Sara’s first shot goes right in and ties the game.  With ice in her veins and very little emotion on her face, she puts the ball through the hoop to give PTR a one point lead.  La Victoria calls a time out and when back on the floor, receives the ball at half court (FIBA rules).  Playing great defense, PTR holds the La Victoria girls as best as they can with their tired bodies.  With less than three seconds left on the clock, La Victoria shoots, misses, rebounds, shoots again and as time express, the ball goes through the hoop.  The La Victoria team celebrates the win as the PTR team remains calm, full of poise and grace.  Although feeling disappointment, the PTR team’s testimony was never compromised.  Holding their heads high after an intense game, fully exhausted from the entire day, the PTR team was exemplary in attitude and sportsmanship.  They clearly demonstrated that they were a great team athletically but beyond that, they were great in their character.  A great way to lose a game, the PTR team won in many respects, some which may not be known for a long time.  Ending the day in such a way allowed God to be glorified and praised.

For the team, Coach Brendan

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