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I wnted to share a very special story with you. I have been a high school girls basketball coach for 30 years and I am so thankful for the relationships that are built along the way. Today's story is about one of them.

From my family to yours,
Author Michael T. Powers



Coaching Katelyn

By Michael T. Powers

I had Katelyn on my JV team her sophomore year back in 2008. She was the perfect player to have in our program. She was loved and respected by her coaches and teammates alike for her athletic ability, work ethic, attitude and character. During her junior year of Cross Country, she went through an incredibly painful injury. She tore the growth plate on her hip and missed the rest of Cross Country season and her entire basketball season.

By her senior year, I had stepped up to be the varsity coach and Katelyn was left with the challenge of competing in her first year at the varsity level after having missed all of her junior season.

Our starting point guard had graduated the year before and we had no one able to fill that role. As I looked at who we had on the varsity team, Katelyn was the most obvious choice to step into that position. I still remember the look on her face when I asked her to be our floor leader. “Uhhhh…OK.” She stammered.

“Katelyn, I know that you have never been a point guard before, but the coaching staff all talked it over and you are the best choice for it.”

“Coach Powers, I am willing to do whatever is best for our team.”

With that response Katelyn solidified the job.

She did amazingly well for not only her first year being point guard, but also her first year on varsity. She was also our best defender and every game I would put her on the other team’s leading scorer. Many times she would hold them way under their scoring average. Her defensive foot-work was impeccable and her longer arms caused all kinds of trouble for the opposing players when they tried to pass the ball around her.

One of my favorite Katelyn moments came when, early in the year, we were playing the Parkview Vikings, coached by my friend Tina Aasen. (Parkview went on to win the conference that year.)

They were leaving Katelyn open for three pointers so I told her she needed to start taking those shots.

“Are you sure Coach Powers?”

“Yes I am sure. I know you can hit them, so if they keep leaving you open, you nail it.”

It seemed like every time Parkview started to pull away from us, Katelyn made a long three pointer to pull us back into the game. They had stopped our inside game with their zone, but Coach Aasen extended their zone out even farther to try and keep Katelyn from hitting those long 3’s. We always talk about taking what the defense gives you, and the defense was giving Katelyn a wide open shot least 10 feet behind the 3-point arc. (Normally that coaching axiom wouldn’t apply here.) However, Katelyn was bubbling over with confidence so from 30 feet away she launched a shot with about 10 seconds left and swished it to bring us within 2 points of the champions.

As our teams walked across the gym floor to head to the locker rooms for half time, Coach Aasen walked up next to me and said, “Where in the heck did #22 come from? She is hitting 4 pointers out there! I don’t remember seeing her play last year!”

I just smiled at her and told her she was our secret weapon…

A point guard is an extension of the coach on the floor and she has to make a lot of in game decisions on the fly. Katelyn did everything I asked of her and then some.

I have had few young ladies come through our program with the work ethic, discipline, and leadership ability that Katelyn shows in her life. No one our team worked harder than she did. Her self-motivation was unbelievable and she inspired those around her to play harder, without her having to say a single word to them. She earned the love and respect of all her teammates and coaches and that of the opposing team.

As much as I enjoyed having Katelyn on the floor as my point guard it was the one game she didn’t play that year that showed me what she was truly made of.

It was Tuesday January 26, 2010 and we were playing Edgerton that night. We were pretty evenly matched with them and had a good shot of winning that game. However, Katelyn wasn’t on the floor that night. She wasn’t hurt or sick, nor was she sitting out for any kind of disciplinary reason. No, she missed the game that night because she chose to.

As a coach, you never want to go in a game without your full team. However, this night, I totally understood why she chose what she did. You see, she wanted to be there for her best friend who had just tragically lost her father. The visitation was scheduled the night of our game and Katelyn approached me at practice to ask if it was OK if she missed the game to stand along side her friend as she grieved that night.

It was a no brainer decision for me. There are so many things in life that are more important than sports and this was at the top of the list.

We went to the very beginning of the visitation as a team before we caught the bus to our game. I remember how proud I was of Katelyn as she stood by her friend. As I walked out of the church that night, I glanced back and saw her friend put her head on Katelyn’s shoulder, close her eyes and squeeze some of the pain out via huge crocodile tears.

Katelyn was a fiercely loyal friend and she learned one of life’s great lessons… “Shared joy is double joy; Shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”

To further illustrate that Katelyn and her friends really got it in life, was what happened the morning that her friend's father passed away. Kristi and I received a phone call and we were asked if we would be willing to come over to the house and just help the many teens that were gathered there that morning as they all processed what had happened.

We walked into the house and the first thing that we noticed was that all 20 or so teenagers were just sitting in silence. Kristi and I walked into the living room area and we just sat there with them without saying a word. The two sisters who had lost their father would cry and grieve and the teens comforted them with a hug, a hand on their back or by lending a shoulder to cry on. None of them tried to explain away the pain and no one was trying to tell them that things were going to be OK. They just grieved with them. They were a steady presence that lent this hurting family their strength.

Eventually the sisters starting sharing the good memories they had of their dad and for the next couple of hours, Katelyn and her friends provided something that most adults don’t figure out: That in times like these, no words need to be said. Just your presence is necessary.

My wife and I kept in touch with Katelyn as she went off to college to get her education and compete in Cross Country.

We continued to keep in touch after she was done with her schooling and we randomly ran into her at the movie theaters here in Janesville on New Year’s Eve night in 2014. She was just leaving the movie theater and she introduced us to the young man she was with. A kind-hearted handsome guy named Ian Harris. Kristi and I spent the next 20 minutes telling Ian how amazing Katelyn was and how much we loved, admired and respected her. We covered everything we thought this dapper young man should know about our Katelyn. We told him what an amazing athlete she was, how loving, kind and considerate she was and what an incredible leader she was because she had learned that to be a leader was to be a servant of others. We told him how she did everything in her life with excellence. Most importantly we talked of how she was living her life for the Lord and that she wanted to touch the lives of other people in whatever she did.

Then Kristi said this, “I can see already that you two are a good match.”

They looked at us nervously but continued the conversation for a few more minutes. We hugged Katelyn good-bye, told Ian it was nice to meet him and then went in to watch our movie.

Katelyn called us later and explained that, although she had known Ian for some time, that was their first official date! Poor Ian. Talk about some pressure already in the relationship!

Their relationship blossomed and they got engaged exactly a year later.

I vividly remember the voice mail I got from Katelyn about a week after that.

“Hi Coach Powers! This is Katelyn Harsevoort calling. I just wanted to talk to you about something whenever you have time to call me back. I am available anytime after 4:30 during the week. I know this is your day off so sorry for calling you on a Saturday. I hope everything is going great and hope to talk to you soon! Bye!” (I still have it saved on my voice mail at church!)

As soon as I heard her message I knew that she must have gotten engaged and I was hoping that she was calling to ask me if I would be the officiant at her wedding! (My full time job is being a youth pastor.)

I called her back and that was indeed what she wanted to talk about. They set their date for later that summer and I may have cried a little when I got off the phone with her. It meant so much to Kristi and I that Katelyn and Ian wanted us to be a part of their wedding day,.

What a privilege and honor it was to counsel with them in the months leading up to their big day, to lead them through their vows and to get to say to everyone there, “Ladies and Gentleman, it is my great honor and privilege to present to you Mr. and Mrs. Ian Harris!”

It was an amazing day for an amazing couple.

Within the next year or so, they expressed an interest in helping out and serving with us in youth ministry and I told them that there was nothing that would make me happier than to have them along side us investing in the lives of teens.

They do an amazing job of teaching, leading small group discussions and just plain loving on those students who they come into contact with.

We have really enjoyed just doing life together with them. From the really hard stuff that they have had to deal with, to the times where we all laugh until our sides hurt.

This past summer they had to take a temporary step back from youth ministry. Why, you may ask? Well, God blessed them with a beautiful baby boy. How precious it was for Kristi and I to sit in their living room and hold this precious gift from God! We get to see him almost every Sunday and he gets cuter and cuter every week!

We are looking forward to what God has in store for Ian, Katelyn and their growing family and I am so incredibly thankful for the life-long relationships that develop through coaching.

This is why I coach. For the relationships that are made through sports. Relationships with players, opposing coaches/players, athletic directors, principals, referees, custodians, bus drivers, sports reporters, score keepers and those fans who truly understand what sports are all about.

Of course we throw our whole hearts into preparing our teams to win games, but be classy about it.. We spend endless hours on practice plans, game films, scouting, coaching clinics, etc. We put the best team on the floor to give our schools a chance to be victorious each and every contest. However, none of that matters if we coach in such a way that most of our players never want to see us again.

Coaching has always been and should always be less about the wins and losses and more about building into the lives of those we have the honor to have on our teams…

Katelyn, you will never ever know how much your love and kindness has meant to Kristi and I over the years. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the many ways you showed us love, honor and respect. What a joy it has been coaching you and watching you grow into the godly young woman that you have become. What an amazing example you are to the young ladies in our youth ministry in how you conduct yourself, how you and Ian love each other with an unconditional love and how tirelessly you serve as a mom. We are so incredibly proud of you both!

I am a better person because you have been in my life and I am still coaching because God may still yet have a few more “Katelyns” he wants me to cross paths with.

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” – Philippians 1:3

P.S. If you have ever coached a "Katelyn" share this post with them!

If you are a "Katelyn" share this post with your coach!

Michael T. Powers
Copyright © 2019 by Michael T. Powers
Email Michael and let him know your thoughts on this story!

To see some photos that go along with this story you can see them at this link on Facebook!
Michael T. Powers, the founder of and, is the youth minister at Faith Community Church in Janesville, Wisconsin. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart Kristi and proud father of three boys.
He is also an author with stories in 32 inspirational books including many in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and his own entitled: Heart Touchers "Life-Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter." To preview his book or to join the thousands of world wide readers on his inspirational e-mail list, visit:
Most importantly, Michael believes that life is not about religion, but about a relationship -- a relationship with Jesus Christ.


Creation Q & A

What is in the Animal Kingdom's Medicine Cabinet?

If you live in the jungle and have an itch, where do you go to get relief if the local clinic won’t let you in? Not a problem for monkeys and many others of God’s creatures. They can find their own herbal remedies … without a doctor’s help!

Holly Dublin’s observations took a sharply unexpected turn. For more than a year, the World Wildlife Fund researcher had tracked the movements of a pregnant African elephant. During that time, the animal lived a fairly predictable life: a few miles’ journey with the herd each day to graze on the usual 500 pounds (227 kg) of leaves and herbs.

But then, around the end of her pregnancy, the animal broke the routine and trekked 17 miles (27 km) across East Africa in a single day. Much to Dublin’s surprise, the elephant suddenly had a taste for a tree in the Boraginaceae family—so much so, in fact, that the elephant ate all of it … leaves, trunk, everything.1

So, why would an elephant with plenty of food available make a long journey to track down a particular tree? The answer reveals something amazing about God’s care for His creation—and us—even in a world that’s groaning because of sin.

Consider the Ravens

Most of us humans are well armed when it comes to dealing with minor sicknesses. Our closets and cabinets overflow with pain relievers, fever fighters, cough quellers, and stomach soothers. We reach in, swallow the right pill, and expect relief soon.

For animals in the wild, the medicine cabinet seems at first glance to be pretty bare, and you might think they’re just left out in the cold when it comes to finding remedies. But even with the fallen nature of our world, the Creator hasn’t left untamed creatures, like the ravens that neither sow nor reap (Luke 12:24), defenseless against all the things that ail them. In fact, He’s stocked their “closets” with a cornucopia of cures.

Of course, you’d be excused for thinking these treatments look a whole lot like your run-of-the-mill sticks, insects, leaves, and dirt. But to animals living in nature, these everyday wonders are just as useful as that well-stocked medicine cabinet.

Dealing with Parasites

For most African apes, parasites are just a way of life. During the rainy season especially, parasitic larvae commonly infect the digestive tracts of chimps, bonobos, and gorillas. The troubled apes, however, have a unique method of dealing with these unwanted gastrointestinal guests. Even with much tastier treats around, the apes will swipe bristly leaves from plants such as Aspilia in the sunflower family, carefully fold them up, and swallow them without chewing.1

While these leaves offer no nutritional value and usually aren’t a part of the ape’s diet, the Aspilia-eating isn’t just for fun. Instead, these fuzzy leaves act much like Velcro in the apes’ stomachs and intestines. Parasites get trapped by the bristles and folds of the leaves and are swept out. Chemicals in the plant may also keep the parasites from overstaying their welcome.

Monarch butterflies seem to know a useful plant when they see one. When a mother has been infected by a tiny parasite that pokes holes in her skin, she carefully flits around to taste various milkweed plants. Her fussy behavior doesn’t mean she’s a picky eater. The evidence indicates that she’s looking for the tropical milkweed to lay her eggs on. When her baby caterpillars munch on the tropical milkweed instead of the more common swamp milkweed, the extra doses of plant steroids keep the parasites at bay for the next generation.3

The pesky fruit fly has a similar weapon in its arsenal when fighting off parasitic wasps, which lay their eggs in the flies. To deal with the infestation, the fruit flies eat foods rich in alcohol. While the alcohol doesn’t impact the flies, it often prevents the wasps from developing.5

Protecting the Home

Parasites also come knocking where animals live, but God provided a number of resources for animals to protect themselves. For example, the duskyfooted woodrat builds its nests from piles of sticks, which may reach several feet in height and width. To make their hovels cozier, the animals construct several chambers connected by tunnels. Researchers at Vassar College in New York discovered that the rats scatter bay plant leaves around their moss-covered sleeping chambers, even tearing the leaves to release the strong aroma. These bay leaves appear to inhibit the growth of flea larvae, a common nuisance for the furry creatures.

6Birds, too, know a bit about protecting their homes. While the nests themselves are a study in masterful architecture, what goes into those nests can be just as fascinating. Many avian species select plant materials that reduce pests and hinder the growth of bacteria. For instance, starlings weave into their nests a few leaves from wild carrots to repel mites.8

Rubbing It In

Pests never rest, at least that’s how it seems when gnats and biting flies swoop in. While many large creatures have tails to swish the bugs away, other animals have rubbed up against another God-given solution.

In the tropical forests of Venezuela, swarms of mosquitoes descend on whatever animals happen to be close by—except for some clever capuchin monkeys. Instead of bug repellant, these simians use something a bit more … well … natural. The monkeys poke around in termite mounds or tree bark until they find a certain millipede (Orthoporus dorsovittatus) and then smash the specimen into their fur from head to feet. Powerful chemicals in the millipede drive the mosquitoes to look elsewhere for a meal.9

The common grackle also knows a thing or two about rubbing in relief. Like many other birds, the grackle bows to the ground with its wings outstretched to let ants crawl on (called “anting”), or it sometimes rubs them over its feathers using its beak. The ants secrete formic acid that helps keep pests away. But if it can’t find ants, the bird has been known to “wrestle” with marigold blossoms, take a dip in walnut juice, or splash on some lemon or lime to do the same thing.11

Eating Dirt

The pharmacy God provided is a bit more down-to-earth for some animals—really down-to-earth. Leaf-eating giraffes, for instance, have been known to scoop up a mouthful of dirt from termite mounds and swallow it down. Scientists call this behavior geophagy, which comes from two Greek root words that essentially mean “eating dirt.”

The giraffes aren’t just playing with mud pies, though. The clay in the termite mound contains elements that coat the animals’ stomachs and give them relief. (It’s not too different from you gulping down some antacids to soothe a bellyache.) Those compounds may also neutralize plant and bacterial toxins in the giraffe’s diet.12

Dirt connoisseurs come in smaller sizes, too. One researcher observed several bird species in New Guinea flocking to dirt exposed by a landslide. In a land covered with trees and grass, the rare exposed clay proved irresistible.14 But why would animals eat dirt? Well, dirt may in some cases contain minerals essential for health, or provide grit for gizzards (a digestive organ) to aid in grinding up food.15 In this case, the dirt provided chemicals that detoxify poisons in plants.

Preparing for New Life

For some motherly animals, the expectation of new life is a vital time to hunt for remedies. Pregnant sifaka lemurs sometimes munch the bark of fig and tamarind trees before giving birth. Compounds in the bark help encourage milk production and also get rid of nasty gut parasites (now that’s a combo meal).12

This type of behavior also helps explain the unusual craving that drove a pregnant elephant to tromp 17 miles to wolf down a special kind of tree. As the local researcher continued rustling through the leaves for an answer, she found that Kenyan women in the area have long used tea from the same tree to induce labor. The elephant, which gobbled up the whole thing, apparently preferred a quicker method.

The Father’s Care

According to Jesus, studying how God takes care of the animals can tell us quite a bit about how He cares for us (Luke 12:24). They don’t hit the supermarket, worry about where they’ll eat, or stock medicine cabinets full of pills. Instead, the Lord faithfully supplies their needs—even in a sin-cursed world. They suffer from parasites, diseases, and infections, but they find remedies right at hand. (The solutions may not always be so palatable for us, but we can’t argue with the results.)

That doesn’t mean we should necessarily empty our medicine cabinets and start scrounging for more natural cures, covering our skin with smooshed millipedes, or sampling dirt. Rather, the example from creation is much more powerful when we see the bigger picture: If God provides so well for the animals, you can be sure He knows how to handle the problems in our lives as well.


Creation News

Click on the Bible above or visit the web site listed below!

This new addition to our web site will give you an article on the leading news in the
Creation/Evolution controversy each day. This section also includes a rotating
Question and Answer feature and a weekly Creation Comic strip from the people
at Be sure to come back and visit each day for an informative
article that will help you keep up to date on the latest news in this controversial area!




Thought For The Day

"It is what we give up, not what we lay up, that adds to our lasting store."--Hosea Ballou

Verse for the Day

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth... but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven...For where your treasure is there your heart will be also." --Matthew 6:19-21

Toddler's Thought For The Day

"If it is closed, it must be opened. If it does not open, it must be screamed at."

Parent's Thought For The Day

"The main purpose of holding children's parties is to remind yourself that there are children more awful than your own."

Coach's Thought For The Day

"The Lord gave us two ends to use; one to think with, the other to sit on. Which one we use will determine how well we do in life. In other words, heads you win, tails you lose."

Deep Thought For The Day

Hypocrite: Someone who complains that there is too much sex and violence on his DVR.

Creation News

Click on the Bible above or visit the web site listed below!

This new addition to our web site will give you an article on the leading news in the
Creation/Evolution controversy each day. This section also includes a rotating
Question and Answer feature and a weekly Creation Comic strip from the people
at Be sure to come back and visit each day for an informative
article that will help you keep up to date on the latest news in this controversial area!



Thought For The Day

"Only when we have knelt before God, can we stand before men."

Verse for the Day

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time." 1 Peter 5:6

Kid's Thought For The Day

"Maybe the best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had."

Parent's Thought For The Day

"I always wondered why babies spend so much time sucking their thumbs.Then I tasted baby food." --Robert Orben

Coach's Thought For The Day

"Perform the best you can for when you find that you perform your best, there is still so much more in volleyball to do better, harder, faster, and smarter. It is just like when you go for a long journey. You go as far as you can see, and when you get there, you can see farther." --John Kessel

Creation/Evolution Thought For The Day

"Considering the way the prebiotic soup is referred to in so many discussions of the origin of life as an already established reality, it comes as something of a shock to realize that there is absolutely no positive evidence for its existence."-- Michael Denton,Molecular Biologist. Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Adler and Adler.

Writer's Quote For The Day

"When I couldn't find the poems to express the things I was feeling, I started writing poetry." --Audre Lorde

Deep Thought For The Day

"Some people have a way with words, others not have way. "

Inspired Audio -- Inspirational Audio Message of the Week!

Inspired Audio is a brand new offshoot of Every week we will offer a different audio message that you can listen to right on your computer as you are surfing the net or just getting things done around the house. Be sure to come back and visit each week!

This Week: "How to Train Your Parents" by Michael T. Powers (A youth related message)


Over 750,000 people have listened to popular Chicken Soup Author Michael T. Powers' free inspirational message entitled: "Breathing Life into Others". If you aren't one of them just visit: and click on the link to listen to the free streaming audio message.

Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business

Dear Michael,

"I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever!"

Silverhill, AL

Let me make you a video from your photos! Check out my video production business by visiting:


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