A Night to Remember…for all the wrong reasons

Sunday night was certainly a night to remember…or maybe a night to forget! It seemed like it would be a relatively normal night: I was going to a talk at a parish youth ministry night, and then ref the annual LIFE TEEN vs. Knights of Columbus basketball game at my home parish of St. Paul in Richmond.

I made my way to the Vancouver parish (that will remain anonymous…haha) and met the youth ministry coordinator and core team to set up and prepare for the night. I put a lunch bag into the fridge; it contained a sports bottle full of milk and an unopened bottle of Pepsi…I was going to use each of them in my talk. We locked up the kitchen (so I thought) and headed upstairs for Mass. So far so good.

Immediately after Mass, I went downstairs, booted up my computer, and booted to the fridge to retrieve the bag of goods. Immediately, I sensed that the bag felt too light. Much to my surprise, someone had taken the bottle of Pepsi! The youth ministers were embarassed and very apologetic for my missing prop. I assured them it was no big deal, and that I could re-work that part of my talk. I then remembered seeing a box of Pepsi in one of the storage rooms earlier in the day. I was able to retrieve a can and all was good in the hood.

It was certainly a first: I’ve never had one of my props stolen. Thankfully, it was a $2 bottle of Pepsi as opposed to a laptop, LCD projector, or my notes!

In hindsight…perhaps the perpetrator was just trying to help me keep my Lenten promise. I guess we’ll never know.

The night ended at 7:45pm, just enough time for me to bolt back to Richmond. As I drove quickly (yet safely) to St. Paul’s, I quickly (yet safely) texted Rich (the head organizer of the game) and Dave and Chris (techical producers) to tell them that I would arrive well ahead of my promised 8:15pm arrival time.

I’m not sure if 3 minutes counts as well-ahead…but I was able to furiously don my gym attire and charge into the gym just as the national anthem ended (literally 30 seconds before tip-off).

The game was exciting as usual, with the teens scoring with 13 seconds left to squeak out a dramatic 51-50 victory. Kim and I did our best to be fair, competent referees…and I think we succeeded. None of the Knights were waiting to jump us in the parking lot after the game.

In hindsight…maybe fair, but not-so-competent. In probably one of the most embarassing moments of my life (and that’s saying quite a lot!!!), I proceeded to trip over my own feet while making a 180 degree turn. I was sprinting down the court ahead of the developing fast-break when I tried to pivot to face the play. In the midst of what should have been a simple maneuver, my legs intertwined with each other (remember I was going at full speed) and I did a complete backward somersault, rolling head over heels into the end wall in plain view of close to 150 people in the gym.

The end result was ugly: I was lying on my stomach, heels pressed against the wall, my watch hanging from my wrist, and my self-esteem ripped to shreds. I looked to the right, and saw Gail, Jennifer, Pat and Krissy pointing and laughing. My lovely wife Gail claims she was laughing out of concern, but I didn’t have the time nor energy to press her on the issue.

As the 10 players ran in my direction, I tried my best to push myself up but I felt a sharp pain in my gluteus maximus. Thankfully, the play went the other way and I was able to eventually stand and start moving again. Needless to say, I was moving rather gingerly for a few minutes and today I still have a bruise on my left cheek (and I’m not talking about my face).

A stolen prop and a thunderous tumble. All in the name of youth ministry. That makes it all worth it.

I think.


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