Christian Response to Tragedy is Generosity

Post a Comment » Written on April 6th, 2006     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (April 6, 2006) – The head coach of the North Park University rowing team played an instrumental role in making certain Northwestern University’s team was able to continue its 25th anniversary season following the destruction of their boats.

On March 24, the Northwestern team of nearly 60 members was traveling to a race at Clemson University, when the pickup truck pulling their nine boats slid off the road. The trailer fell on its side and all of the boats were crushed.

It looked like the season was over. But just 20 minutes following the accident, the women’s team head coach, Anthony Brach, was calling North Park’s Tim Grant, who had become a good friend.

“Minutes after the accident, their primary concern was for their athletes,” says Grant. “They couldn’t bear to tell their athletes that the season was over. For all of the hard work and training they had put in as a team, that a single accident would end it all, seemed an impossible thought.”

Northwestern’s team is a club activity, so it only receives roughly $9,000 a year, with the rest of the needed money coming from fundraising that has included selling food at other sporting events and cleaning the football stadium. The team had purchased several boats just the year before.

Pete Eck, a junior rower and team treasurer for Northwestern, told the Chicago Tribune that, “We finally had a respectable fleet. Everything was looking up.” He added, “To go from being excited about the spring season to hearing that the fleet is destroyed and the team is in jeopardy is a hard thing to swallow.”

Grant told Brach that North Park would loan its boats to Northwestern whenever the Vikings weren’t using them. He also began to make phone calls. He called the coach at Washington University who donated the use of both 4-person and 8-person boats to be used for the rest of the season. Other schools also donated boats and equipment.

“Rowing is a terrific community,” says Grant, adding he wasn’t surprised by the willingness to help and that other coaches would feel as he did. “I couldn’t imagine seeing a team end a season for that type of misfortune. It would break my heart to know what they were missing out on.”

Grant says making the decision to offer the boats and seek other assistance for the team was an easy one. “Generosity is the Christian response to tragedy,” he explains. “I never thought twice about it.”

The decision also will help build even stronger ties that already had been developing between the North Park and Northwestern teams. “Once a week our boats scrimmage against each other,” Grant says. “This makes for truly intense practices, and both teams benefit from it.”

The results prove Grant’s point. Last year, Northwestern earned a gold medal in the lightweight 4+, and the Vikings snatched a silver medal in the Open 4+ at one of the nation’s premier events, the Dad Vail Regatta.

Since the accident, Northwestern has been able to lease several boats and had enough others donated that the school no longer needs the Viking boats, Grant says.

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