The Gainesville State Tornadoes reached the Grapevine Faith field on a Friday night.
They were met by an unusual scene. Some of the Grapevine fans were cheering for the rival team! They even formed a spirit line for the Tornadoes to run through when they came onto the field. Half of the Grapevine cheerleading squad was also rooting for the opposing team.
Gainesville’s quarterback and middle linebacker, Isaiah told ESPN, “I never thought I’d hear people cheering for us to hit their kids. I wouldn’t expect another parent to tell somebody to hit their kids. But they wanted us to!” That night, the Tornadoes lost the game, 33-14. But they were encouraged!
The question arises: why would Grapevine Faith do all this for a rival team? Gainesville State School is a maximum-security correctional facility. Every game they play is on the road.
Players are escorted to and from the field by 12 uniformed guards with handcuffs in their back pockets. They are serving time for drugs, assault and robbery. It is a hard road they are traveling and few people really believe they can change.
Kris Hogan, Faith’s head coach, said “Here’s the message I want to say, ‘You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth.’” It was almost more than the Tornado quarterback could take in.
“Lord, I don’t know how this happened, so I don’t know how to thank you, but I never would have known there was so many people in the world that would care about us.” said Isaiah.
As Tornadoes walked back to their bus, they were handed a bag for the ride home. Inside was food, a bible and an encouraging letter from one of the Grapevine Faith players. That night started something significant to all involved.
The annual game between the two teams is now known as the “One Heart Bowl.” Every year the Grapevine fans are split. As part of their admission to the game, fans are encouraged to bring ankle socks and gloves for Gainesville students to wear during the game.
You may struggle with self-worth like many of the players from Gainesville State School. But you have tremendous worth in the eyes of God. So much so that He sent His one and only Son into our world to provide a way for you to have relationship with Him.
Your life has value. You may struggle with how you feel about yourself, but make no mistake, God values you. He gave His most precious gift to you when He offered you salvation through Jesus Christ. Now the decision is yours. Will you choose Jesus?
If you are ready to find your worth in God’s love for you, pray this prayer: “Dear Jesus, I am sorry for the wrong things I have done. Please forgive me for all those things. I ask You to become Lord and Savior of my life. Help me to find my worth in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
If you prayed that prayer today, please click the “yes” button below and someone will contact you soon.