It was a rainy and cold Thursday evening, and the parking lot at Grace Christian Academy was full of cars rushing to the gym. Once inside all you could hear was the sound of cheering and the feeling of excitement was tangible. It is officially basketball season and it is in full gear at this small private Christian school in Waldorf, MD.
You see the pandemic affected this school like a lot of small private schools around the Country. The school in its over forty-year history had to close down its once successful High School due to dwindling enrollment numbers during the pandemic. The school now is the home for PreK 3 through 8th grade students.
Upon entering the gym, the crowd is packed and jumping to their feet to cheer on the Knights of Grace Christian Academy. The cheerleaders are on the sideline leading the crowd into a chorus of “Let’s Go Knights”! The Knights, are comprised of fifth through eighth graders in order to fulfill the numbers to have a team.
Their skill level consists of varying layers of experience from joining organized team sports. Many parents due to the pandemic looked into “pay to play” organizations so that their kids could still play sports. You wouldn’t be able to tell that these athletes have never worked together; as they move as one unit. The philosophy of training these young athletes is driven from the Administration and Coaches visions of serving the over-all child. They are teaching these young people what the characteristics of leadership, humility, service, and integrity are all about.
Today, they faced another small Christian school from St. Mary’s County, MD. These teams are part of the MISAL League (Metro Independent School Athletic League). This league meets the needs of smaller private schools’ ability to offer their students the opportunity to join organized team sports. The sports seasons are: Fall, Winter, and Spring. It is now the Winter season and participation numbers are on the climb to join one of the organized teams that each school offers.
At Grace Christian Academy, they are experiencing a fever of excitement and willingness from their student athletes to play. They are also seeing growing support from families coming regularly to support their respective athletes and the school overall.
The Knights gave their all during a challenging game. The athletes continued to drive the basket, and hustle up and down the court; despite facing defeat. The Coaches shouting words of encouragement to them during the entire game.
These young athletes are showing that despite what the scoreboard shows, the true character of winning is being resilient regardless of what challenges they face. Way to go Knights!