Recently, I put on the best team uniform ever. I was one of about 600 or so teammates donned in an incandescent, lime green jersey. When I say lime green, I mean frozen ice-pop lime green with an extra added touch of bright. We were part of a jigsaw puzzle that, when pieced together, would accomplish great work and help thousands of people.
If you will indulge me for just a minute as I reminisce…I grew up wearing uniforms – mostly sports; mostly baseball – where I was considered to be a star player. And of all the accolades and “atta boys” I received, I still remember my favorite day being when coach would issue our uniforms. Pristine new hats with stiff brims completely free of any jagged perspiration marks were a favorite, but nothing rivaled that brand new uniform jersey. Bright white, clean and fresh, with creased sleeves dissecting the league’s patch, complete with golden inlaid thread was the harbinger that a new beginning, a fresh start was right around the corner.
But really, let’s be honest…it was the back of that jersey that made it for me. Emblazoned in three-inch letters running between my shoulder blades was “ADAMS.” I was recognized and distinguishable among the whole team. I remember the sense of team and belonging to something great, but honestly that “ADAMS” led me to a sense of boastful, personal pride. Yeah, there’s a team, but seriously check out that “ADAMS” kid. As I took the field against the backdrop of clapping moms, dads, grammas, grandpas, and a spattering of kids who were hanging out at the concession stand, I just knew it was all for me.
Well, times have changed. The other day, as I pulled on my brand new t-shirt jersey completely resplendent in “limeness,” the name ADAMS was nowhere to be found. In its place was the name above all names. My new uniform back said it all: “Honor God Help People.” I remember feeling a sense of purpose as I entered the field completely absent of applause. Far from being the star, I was humbled by the name on my jersey. Without fanfare, I had work to do.
Service to the north St. Louis community at Dwight Davis Park was our charge, and “Team Lime” set out to get it done. Listen to these stats…300 smoke detectors were installed in 90 homes; 1,500 new pairs of shoes were distributed; 1,500 pairs of socks as well; 1,500 backpacks complete with fresh school supplies; a complete paint job of Northwest High School’s football field; 170 dental exams and fluoride treatments; carnival games; face painting; inflatable rides; food & drinks; a rock & rap concert; and an invitation to go to heaven. WOW! All free of charge. Are you kidding me?
I never did anything close to that in a uniform with ADAMS on the back, yet I have never been more in the “limelight.” Being a small part of a team that did so much helped to renew my perspective on what matters most – and it has nothing to do with self.