At the Jackson Parish Sports Hall of Fame ceremony: Larry Toms, left, introduced our younger brother Stuart, right, as we was inducted on Saturday evening. Stuart was inducted into the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989.
I just assumed that I would play basketball because my brothers did and everyone thought they were great. But, I didn't get the gene, nor was I encouraged by my parents to play. Nay, there was not even a goal in our yard by then. See, outside of basketball, we spent our time going to church and singing. And, we needed a piano player. My daddy had prayed for a piano-playing daughter, and, there I was. So, the piano was my destiny -- not basketball. He brought a piano to our home when I was five, and I started playing--first by ear until they could find someone who would teach a five-year-old.
I've wondered how our lives would have been different if one of my brothers had taken up the piano and I could have been the sports star. Oh, well; we all ended up loving basketball and singing together. There is one slight injustice, however. My basketball playing/coaching sister-in-law also plays a mean piano. She's my hero, and in my personal Hall of Fame! I grew up with her, and, even though she was five years older than I, she always had time for me. We spent many Sunday afternoons at singing conventions with our fathers. I thought it was torture. Why couldn't I be doing something that normal kids were doing on a Sunday afternoon? But, she was there, too, so it made it much more bearable. She taught me cool moves on the piano--fill-ins, rhythms, key transitions--and, we loved singing together (and still do when we get together). She's a pastor's wife and, next to my mother, the most Godly woman I know. I never had a sister; but, if I had been blessed to have a sister, we could have been no closer than this relationship that I have with my sister-in-law.
Johnette Toms, left, is married to my brother Stuart. My niece Catherine Lucas, right, came in from Jackson, Tennessee, for the induction ceremonies.
I didn't start to write this blog about her, but that's where God took it. Family is important. My parents taught me that, and I've tried to pass that down to my children. They taught us to look out for each other and protect each other, caring for each other as our Heavenly Father does. Whatever one of us did to the other, we forgave and were forgiven. I can still hear my father saying to one of the nephews spatting with another, "Son, that's your brother." And, we knew what that meant.
My "I wish I could play basketball" scripture:
Colossians 3:17 (NIV)
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
About my family:
Philippians 1:3 (KJV)
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.