Special AYA ‘team’ wins championship

Published 12:02am Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sept. 4, 2013, was a tough day. It was the day we lost a very special lady. My wife and Jack’s mother, Beth Brown Mallett. It’s been very hard to get through this past six months, but with the help of family, close friends and this community, they have made it a little easier.

Beth Brown Mallett was a special person and friend to everyone she met. Beth loved everyone, and nothing would change her, not even Pancreatic Cancer. I never once saw her get angry or mad that she had this terrible disease.

She looked at it as a test, an opportunity to share what God had done in her life and she did. We all know where Beth is in Heaven with her son Preston, her former husband Barr Brown, and her Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

This past March 4 was six months since Beth passed. This has been a very tough six months. There have been several people that God has placed in our lives at the right time to help us through these past six months.

I’ve had the pleasure of coaching an AYA basketball team made up of six special boys and a special assistant coach. I’ve tried to share something much larger than basketball with these six special team members.

Beth changed my life forever. She showed me what was really important. Relationships, helping others, kindness to others and putting yourself last were just a few things I learned.

I tried to share these things with our team by coaching teamwork and giving our all so when God judges our effort, he can be proud. I wanted them to play for each other and be unselfish toward their teammates — to think of the team and not self.

This world we live in tells us just the opposite; to put ourselves first and put others last.

I prayed with these boys at practice and before games. We missed a few but not many. I prayed with them so they could see Christ in me. AYA basketball this year was so much larger than basketball. It was about life lessons, and I pray that these six boys saw that in me.

They don’t have a clue what they did for Jack Daylon and myself. These team members of Jack distracted us from deep sorrow, loss and broken hearts.

They drew our attention and took us away from our house to the gym to help heal us. They don’t know how special they are to both of us.

I will never forget them and how God placed these boys in our lives at the right moment.

Oh and I want to mention our AYA team was undefeated, a perfect 9-0 record and won the league!

Yes, we were on a special mission that was going to succeed regardless of how bad the coaching was.

Somehow I know Beth, Barr and Preston were watching and cheering us on six months after Beth passed. Yes it was a simple AYA basketball championship to a lot of people, but to Jack and I, it was much larger than that.

Keith Mallett is a Natchez resident.