hope and heartache

This past weekend, we headed up to Wichita to join Aunt Patti for Race for the Cure and watch Ren kicking at Bethel's first home game of the season.

We arrived Friday night in time to enjoy some dinner with Ren before heading to bed — we had to leave by 8 a.m. (i.e. 7 a.m. mountain time) for Race for the Cure. The three of us arrived at the mall bright and early while the guys slept in a little longer. After checking in, we wandered around, scored some free swag, and took photos with some wandering stormtroopers. It was so exciting to see so many people there (nearly 7,500 racing), raising money and awareness for breast cancer. There was so much information about risk factors and early detection, and with the money Susan G. Komen raised and continues to raise, hopefully the cure is one step closer.

race for the cure @ wichita
anna, stormtrooper, micki, patti

The walk, our race, started at 9:15 a.m. When we arrived at the starting line, I couldn't believe how many people were walking.

a look back @ the starting line
through the neighborhood

After 5K, we finally arrived at the finish line.

the finish line

addition: I just found out we made it on TV! If you watch close (we go fast), you can see us girls walking in the video clip here, and you can read the article here (we aren't quoted or anything, just if you're curious).

We made our way back to the stage and vendors, where the guys met us to visit more booths (including free Starbucks!). We picked up a little more free swag before heading to the Good Egg for lunch. My banana-coconut pancakes were fantastic but if I were to do it over, I would get a single pancake instead of two — they were massive!

I took a much needed power nap, and we all got decked out for Ren's night game against Kansas Wesleyan. Ian's cousin Alli made it to the game, and we got to meet Carson, our first cousin once-removed, for the first time.

ian & carson, first cousin once removed

Bethel played great — it's a tribute to the coaching staff and players that they were able to come back and play well after a heartbreaking loss in the last seconds at their game the previous weekend.

In the fourth quarter, Bethel was trailing KWU by six points. After recovering a fumble, they put together a solid drive to score, and Ren nailed a perfect point after to pull the team ahead with 15 seconds remaining in the game.

The defense did a fantastic job, and after two plays — an incomplete pass and a completed pass that fell short of a touchdown, the clock ran out and Bethel started running out on the field. KWU's coach started arguing with the referees, saying he called their final timeout with one second remaining. The refs conceded and put back one second on the clock.

As KWU ran their final play, their quarterback scrambled and finally launched a pass into a mass of players around the five-yard line. Bethel defense was doing its job, then one of the KWU players pushed off a defender to catch the pass. In the newspaper article the next day, the player admitted he pushed off, which should have incurred a penalty. After catching the ball, he looked to the refs, then seeing no flag ran in for a touchdown, making the final score 19-14, KWU.

I've never seen refs run off the field as fast as they did Saturday night. The Bethel crowd was in disbelief and angry at the series of events that ended the game. The refs allowed an additional play for KWU at the request of the KWU coach (perhaps correctly — I can't watch replays), then they missed a big offensive interference call that even the offending player acknowledged to the newspaper. Perhaps KWU would have managed to score after a penalty, but we'll never know.

It would be one thing to lose in a heartbreaker to a classy team after a tough and evenly matched game. What makes this loss hurt more is what we witnessed at the game: the lack of class shown by the Kansas Wesleyan coaching staff, players, and fans. Near the beginning of the game, a KWU player threw a very late hit, punching a Bethel player in the helmet. While they received a penalty, he was not ejected or pulled out by their coach — he continued to play. Fans shouted obscenities at the Bethel players as they headed to the locker room at halftime. After the game, a player chanted something along the lines of "you can't stop us" although the win leaves room for questions and was by no means a blowout.

I'm very thankful for the coaching staff at Bethel, knowing the character that Coach Moore instills in his players. To him, football is much more than winning or losing. As painful as the game was, I'm thankful for Bethel's integrity and class and I admire their resilience in the face of defeat. I wish them luck in their next game.