GREENVILLE – Randy Brown, a 1969 Franklin Monroe graduate and his wife Sharyl can be seen at most FM boys and Lady Jets basketball games and continues to be a fan of high school sports.
“When I was in school, FM and Arcanum were great rivals; those games brought the best and worst out of players and fans. We had county champs, and during my high school years, Arcanum had some very good teams, winning reserve state champs in ’67 and state champs in ’69.” My cousins played on those teams and I knew many of the players. It was a special time, for sure.
Brown continued. “My brother Eric was a good athlete and played at Arcanum. I think I am a horse of a different color. I tell people when I was in the seventh grade I went out for track and I was so slow people thought I won the next race.”
Brown’s daughter, Ashley Brown was an excellent basketball player for the Greenville Lady Wave in the late ‘90s playing for Coach Dave Peltz.
“We won the conference, we beat Trotwood for the first time, we went to regionals and got beat by a Cincinnati team,” noted Brown. “It was a really good team.”
Brown, known as Pastor Randy to many, serves as the pastor of Northside Community Church located just north of Greenville on U.S. Route 127.
The conversation moved to the current COVID-19 epidemic and the effects it has on student athletes with the cancelation of sporting events and school.
“I’m disappointed,” Brown said. “I wanted to watch the girls go on, especially Fort Loramie, since they beat the FM girls in tournament play. I’m also a UD fan. We hadn’t had this in 60 years. UD had a team that could have gone to the Final Four. I like Coach Grant. I thought if UD gets to the Final Four Coach Grant is going to have a lot more power in recruiting.”
“It’s a hard pill to swallow. I was so discouraged I couldn’t watch March Madness. That’s my favorite time of the year. That is a tough one especially like the A-10 was two minutes from tipoff and they called the game.”
I asked him about the many Darke County players and coaches have shared their faith over the years which has not gone unnoticed especially with the onset of the coronavirus.
“When a player or a coach shares their faith; No. 1 it shows their strength, it shows their resolve and shows they’re not afraid,” said Brown. “It shows that deep in their heart there are spiritual disciplines and underlying security during an out-of-control time. This is especially true this year when we’ve had a major interruption right in the middle, right in the heart of basketball tournament play. It’s nice to be able to go to kids and share this “having faith in God” and be able to talk through the disappointment.”
“Hopefully their faith helps them immensely through a very difficult time. It shows them that every experience that we go through doesn’t always go our way. We go through a lot of disappointments as we go through life. The older we get, the more our disappointment list grows on things we wish. Hopefully, we finally come to a spiritually more mature knowledge that God is in control.”
“Life gives us life lessons that are not always sweet. The story of Joseph in the Bible shows he lived a life that he had a lot of disappointments and injustice done to him. At the end of it he said to his brothers, ‘you meant it for bad, but God meant it for good’.”
“If we can grab it and say God’s in control, I think it helps us mature. I hope these young people, coaches and all of us during this time say, “God’s in control. I’ve never walked down this path. I never lived in this type of pandemic. I need to have strong faith.” Faith is believing when we walk through something we have never been through before or we can’t see. We’re all point men in a place we’ve never been before with this virus.”
Pastor Brown enjoys sports and believes it is good as long as it is kept in perspective.
“Sports is not something that is taboo, but you can make it a god and it’s a bad thing,” said Brown. “The Bible talks about – Paul uses the example about a runner running, and a boxer boxing and doing it to win even though they receive a crown that is temporary. In Bible times, sporting events were a big thing. They had Greek and Roman culture that was very big into that.”
“Sports can be good,” Brown added. “I think everybody needs something as a point of relaxation.”
The topic turned to the cancellation of many sporting events including grade school, junior high, high school, college and pros; is God a mean God to allow this to happen.
“God is not a mean God,” Brown stated. “God is really a loving God and a gracious God. I don’t think we know how much love God has for mankind. He had so much that he sent is Son Jesus Christ to die for us and for us to accept Him (John 3:16).”
“Kids learn so many great life lessons through athletics, from being a team player and individual efforts that are given – win or lose. Sport, disciplines, work ethics, practices, the fortitude to not give up are all learned disciplines that will pay dividends throughout their lives.”
“They will learn how to handle disappointments. This might be a good life lesson that no other person and no other way could teach it to them. There are times in our early life that we look back and there was a major disappointment. It stuck with us for the rest of our lives. Some things don’t always go the way we want, and we don’t ride off into the sunset happily ever after in a lot of things of life. Life gives us good and bad.”
Pastor Randy Brown had a word of encouragement, going to his favorite Bible verse.
“Proverbs 3:5-6 shows that I should not trust in myself. It says,trust in the Lord with my heart and don’t lean on my own understanding. Even as adults we are going through a time where it’s hard for me to understand where this will end.”
“This Coronavirus, the economy – I need to trust in the Lord and not lean in my own understanding and in all my ways I need to just trust in Him and he will direct my path. In all my ways acknowledge Him and that is even in disappointments. That three-letter word, “all,” in the Bible sometimes confronts us hard and it shows us whether we are spiritually mature or not. When a big disappointment or these things come around, I say, “Ok, I am going to trust the Lord.”
Proverbs 3: 5-6
5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.