Get High On Life

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 24, 2001


Hornets winners in life My wife and I decided to journey to Lafayette last week for the Boy’s Top 28 High School Basketball Championships. This year, only one River Parish team, St. James, qualified for the tournament. That really didn’t dampen our spirits, because we enjoy high school athletics. Last year, we saw 14 games in four days. The tournament started Monday, but we didn’t get there until Wednesday. We saw five games that day and stayed overnight Wednesday and Thursday at the Red Roof Inn. Thursday, we saw three games and didn’t know if we would attend any games Friday, or come home. Well, when we got back to the motel that night, a school bus was just arriving. The bus was transporting the Rayville Hornets’ basketball team that was going to play St. James for the State Championship Friday night. The first person I met was the Rev. James Smith. I found out he was a pastor of a church and the truant officer for Richmond Parish. He was also the chaplain for the Rayville team. Believe it or not, he talks more than I do. He was excited about the Hornets’ basketball team, but even more excited about what God is doing at the school. He asked if we were going to stay for their game Friday. I said that we would. The next morning, I was up early, as usual. Guess who was the first person I met talking to the maintenance people? You guessed it! Bro. Smith! Later, he introduced me to one of the assistant coaches, Donzell West, and a couple of the players. We talked at length about his job as a pastor and truant officer, helping kids stay in school, or getting their GED. He told me the team would practice at the Cajundome at 1 p.m. and then have a meal at Sonny’s BAR-B-Q at 2:30 p.m. He invited Jeanne and I to join the team there. At Sonny’s, we met the head coach, Larry Wilson. We also met assistant coach Donzell’s brother, Damon, who was also an assistant coach, and all the players. We were impressed with everyone associated with the Rayville high school team. The coaches were a class act and the players were as well behaved as any group we’ve ever seen. Jeanne and I were blessed to have met all of them. When I asked one of the players, Jarvis Brown, if they were going to win, he answered, “We’re here to take care of business.” Trailing 6-0 one minute into the game, they roared back to win the Class 3A Championship 82- 59. Many teams win championships on the court. The test of true character is determined by the player’s actions before and after the game. The people in Rayville have a lot for which to be proud. Their team, the Rayville Hornets, were champions on and off the court. HAROLD KELLER writes this column as part of his affiliation with the Get High on Life religious motivational group. Call him at 652-8477.