When word came last year that an anonymous couple would fund a concrete basketball court, a buzz of excitement flowed through Our Lady of Holy Cross School in Barakathal, West Tripura, India. This had been a dream since 2017, when construction was completed on the school building.
Even with funding in place, however, there were still many steps to be taken before students could start dribbling on concrete instead of dirt. Forms were built. Goalposts were securely installed. Concrete was poured and cured. Layers of paint were brushed on and allowed to dry. Finally, the day came when all was ready. What an explosion of joy! Teachers, sisters and students were glowing!
Lives built, hearts shaped
Part of their happiness stemmed from the knowledge that this was an important milestone in the school’s long-range plan. The Holy Cross sisters had always known that ultimately Our Lady of Holy Cross would become accredited as a secondary school. To gain accreditation, they would need to fulfill the government requirement for a full physical education program. In India, as in the rest of the world, children spend too much time with their mobile devices and not enough time developing their motor skills. Therefore, every child is graded on their participation and progress in physical areas. Having a concrete basketball court is a major asset in demonstrating the school’s readiness for accreditation. And it will no doubt be a part of attracting even more students to the school.
One thing is certain: there is joy on both sides of the equation. The anonymous couple who gave this amazing gift is so happy knowing what their gift is accomplishing. Far more than simply building a basketball court, lives are being built and hearts are being shaped. The donors said, “We want the children to know there are people out there who care about them and believe in them.”
More than basketball
What do the sisters dream of now? Is there more to still be accomplished? Is there room for other donors to join the “team” to help Our Lady of Holy Cross School in Barakathal “score a basket?” Yes, of course. For one thing, it would be nice to have a place for people to sit when they come to watch a basketball game. And it would be nice to have a scoreboard so everyone can see how each team is doing. And—shoes! The children are currently playing basketball in their school shoes. If they had shoes dedicated to sports, their school shoes would last longer.
Fruits of Holy Cross
Every month, Fruits of Holy Cross shares the good news of the ministries of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. Our “fruits” are nourished not just by the sisters’ labors or the seed of faith planted by our founder Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau, they are watered by our many prayer partners, donors and benefactors—by you.
There are many needs in a growing school, and not just in the sports arena. For now, the sisters are filled with gratitude as they watch the students play on their brand-new basketball court. They observe older students helping younger students learn the foundations of the game, and are grateful for the relationships and character being formed. They also notice that certain students are exhibiting an early expertise and a natural gift for the game. Some of those students dream of playing on the national and even the international level. And who knows? When hard work combines with opportunity, perhaps even some of those dreams will come true.