At the end of every game, win or lose, the Valparaiso University basketball team gathers at center court in thanksgiving for all blessings they have received. The ritual is followed by all the players and coaches, a group consisting of members from various faiths, and frequently they are joined by the opposing team, which is always invited to participate. When photographing the games, I always take a picture of this moment, which seems symbolic of unity and a reminder of aspects in life more important than a game.
In fact, after winning the league championship game last season, while jubilant fans were still celebrating on the court, the team retreated to their locker room for a private gathering, and amid the cheers and congratulations, the coach briefly led his team into a circle for a moment of thanksgiving before they returned to the court for further festiveness. Another photographer and I happened to be in the locker room snapping pictures of the activities. We engaged in the prayer with the players, an event I will remember fondly as much as any other that evening.
Indeed, as I recall that time, I also remember the many blessings for which I was thankful, those great gifts I have been given, especially my son Alex, my wife Pam, both of our families, and the everyday comforts we are lucky to enjoy but too often take for granted. For all of these, I give thanks again today.