We make the turn into the driveway of our small Otsego SDA Church. Once the Community Center comes into view, a few words come to mind.
Skateboards. Bikes. BMX bikes,they would correct you. Converse Sneakers. Basketball. Smiles. Laughter.
Then we get out of the SUV to hang out with the friends we’ve made over the years. A boy half my size makes a crazy basketball shot. “YEEEESSSSSSSSS!” his friends chorus with him. Backslaps and hair tousles show their approval and envy.
“Anybody wanna play Capture the Flag?” The swarm makes its way to the rectangular section of grass separating the church and the “Center”. A tall, lanky boy carries the bike rack across to the far end. A sister bounces over to drag the dumpster to its assigned position. The jails are officially set. A football flies from out of nowhere to hit a buddy. It misses and hits a bystander who shakes it off with a grin and intends to make revenge with the football in hand.
“Let’s play girls against guys!”
Mysteriously the staff always sneak onto the girls’ team without the boys’ approval.
“John, get Mike!” The director was busy taking a picture of the chaos that we find super fun. The lightning bolt of a boy made it right through the girls’ team to the flag base.
When the last game has ended, 20 voices yell in unison “One more!” as if they’d planned it. But we have popsicles and a Bible story yet to be had in the next 15 minutes. The friends I usually hang out with were inside the Center playing Scattergories, but now everyone is seated under the large shade tree. Our pastor tells us a simple yet acute story from the Bible. Some of the kids have a harder time keeping focus than others. We then all stand and huddle for closing prayer.
Skateboards. BMX bikes. Converse sneakers. Smiles. Laughter. Jesus’ love.