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A Famous Athlete, a Teenage Boy, and Family
by Norman Bales

    In recent days the news media has deluged us with information, analysis, speculations and recommendations in the wake of shooting incidents on school campuses. The subject has surely been explored from every possible angle. One wonders if we have not been over informed.

    Sandwiched in between the Littleton tragedy and the Conyers misfortune was a heartwarming story that probably didn’t make the news away from North Louisiana, where I live. It’s a story about a teenage boy, a famous athlete and his family and it deserves wider exposure.

    Let’s start with the athlete. The year was 1959. Harvey Haddix pitched the longest no-hitter in the history of baseball. He lost the game in the twelfth inning when Joe Adcock of the Milwaukee Braves hit a home run. Joe Adcock was from our neck of the woods, a place called Coushatta. Although some of his teammates - Eddie Matthews, Hank Aaron, Lew Burdette and Warren Spahn were better known, Adcock left his mark on the game. He hit 336 home runs in 17 seasons and played on the team that won the World Series in 1957. After his career was finished, Adcock went home to Coushatta, where he lived until his death earlier this month.

    Now let’s talk about the teenage boy. His name is Jamie Adams. Jamie is an 18 year old senior at Lakeview High School in Coushatta. He maintains a 4.0 grade point average and he plays tennis. As a matter of fact, he plays tennis very well. He won three state championships and may have been on his way to a fourth one, when he learned of Joe Adcock’s death. Oh, I forgot to tell you. Joe Adcock was Jamie’s grandfather. Jamie was in the midst of the championship game, when the matches were halted for a rain delay. The rain delay meant he wouldn’t be able to attend his grandfather’s funeral. He chose to withdraw from the match.

Jamie Adams is a young man who has his head on straight.
    Why did Jamie do it? That’s where family comes in. From Jamie’s point of view, family was his grandfather’s priority. He said, “Family always came first to Papaw. I wanted to come home and be there for my sister and my cousins and I wanted to say goodbye.”

    From what I can see, it sounds like Jamie Adams is a young man who has his head on straight. I’m sure there are thousands of young people in our world who value family just as much as Jamie does. They’re not going to walk into school buildings and start shooting. They’re going to make good grades, respect adults and behave responsibly. At an early age they developed enough character to make the right decisions in life. I don’t know of any law or even any principle that would have required Jamie to relinquish his quest for a state tennis title, but I have great respect for his choice.

    His decision to give priority to his family wasn’t really made on the Highland Park tennis courts in Baton Rogue, where the championship matches were being played. His decision was made gradually as a result of his respect for and relationship to a man he called “Papaw.”

    Joe Adcock was a man, who lived in the spotlight for awhile, but what he gave his family may have been his most important achievement. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have heard that story on CNN or even ESPN?

    In the Bible the names of Eunice and Lois have survived for many centuries. We don’t know much about them. Perhaps they possessed remarkable culinary skills. They may have been proficient in the use of the loom. Who knows what remarkable things they may have done? We remember them for one thing. They passed along faith to their son and grandson (2 Timothy 1:5). I just wish the members of the media had enough wisdom to recognize the value of that accomplishment.

From Norman Bales' "All About Families" web site. See http://www.allaboutfamilies.org for more great articles.

HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
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© 1999 Norman Bales. Used by permission.