I had not looked at my scrapbook for many years, but I was prompted to do so this week because of something that caught my eye on the internet. I was looking for an on-line video of a homily I gave about seven or eight years ago before moving to Wyoming. I typed my name into the search engine to see if I could locate what I wanted to see. I became distracted when I saw my name associated with a website of which I was unfamiliar. So I clicked on the site. To my surprise there was an article published in the Heartland Connection on March 31, 2015 which mentioned me by name. http://www.heartlandconnection.com/sports/story.aspx?id=1185091#.VVurR_lViko
It said, "On the mound, redshirt freshman Kent Frantz is the first Bulldog hurler to start 5-0 on a season since Vernon Dobelmann did so in 1982."
I was unaware that going 5-0 as a pitcher was that dramatic of an accomplishment. It was a bit surprising to read in this article that another pitcher at the university had not succeeded in doing so in the last 33 years until Kent came along this year. A lot has changed in those 33 years, including the name of the school. It was Northeast Missouri State University when I attended. Now it is Truman State University.
Reading this article prompted me to pull out my scrapbook and spend some time looking back. It gave me a sense of perspective of how things change through the years. I played basketball and baseball at the university level and enjoyed a certain amount of success in each sport. I received Honorable Mention to the Academic All-American Baseball Team my senior year. This was my favorite accomplishment because I valued the education I received in addition to the privilege of playing sports.
Why does any of this matter today? It fills me with a sense of gratitude. I was blessed to play in two different sports at the collegiate level and attain my academic education via a basketball scholarship. That is truly a blessing. It also reminds me that everything I have is a gift from God. It was only three short years after graduation from college that I was diagnosed with cancer the first time. I am about to hit my 29th anniversary of being a survivor since the first diagnosis and 14 years since the second diagnosis. The health and vigor I enjoyed as a young man in college is not something I take for granted. Major surgery and chemotherapy treatments have a way of letting you know just how precious the gift of good health truly is.
I can no longer dunk a basketball. I can no longer throw an 85 mph fastball or a sharp curve ball. However, I have the memories of those days. I have the memories of the college campuses I was able to see because of sports. I played as far away as Anchorage and Kotzebue, Alaska to the north and west and Florence, Alabama to the south and east. Those were some fantastic experiences.
My scrapbook may be fading and crumbling. That is okay. I still enjoy the pictures and the memories. My health and vitality is not what it used to be. That is okay. I am a child of God and blessed with grace. A trip down memory lane reminded me that life has not always been easy. That is okay. The suffering has highlighted the many comforts, pleasures, and priviliges that have also been present on the journey.
What are some of your favorite memories from days gone by? Take some time today to give thanks to God for all of the blessings.