3 Cases of Perseverance and Late Bloomers
Does God play with the NBA Miami Heat?
In 1969 Johnny Haslem of Northwestern High School was considered the best basketball player in Miami and the entire state of Florida. Von T. was a cheerleader and cheered him on to great achievements for his team and community. She talked of her cheer leading days often. We’ll get back to Von T. later.
Hosea 12:6 “So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.”
In 1998 Michelle was a freshman at St. Agnes High School in St. Paul, MN. No sooner did she enroll at St. Agnes, she tried out for the cheer leading squad just like her mother Von T. What a shock it was to all that all along she knew just what she wanted to do. Not a blink, she just threw herself into what became her passion. Michelle was a terrific dancer right from the start. Teaching local neighborhood kids the latest moves and styles. She continued at St. Agnes to become captain and then coach after graduating. When the family moved back to Florida, Michelle danced for both the Palm Beach State College squad and Palm Beach Makos semi-pro football team. Kept at it for so many years until finally she tried out for the Miami Dolphins. You guessed it. Her knowledge of dance and cheering combined with her personal style made her a shoo-in for the team. The amazing thing is she was 35 years old ! All the other girls were 19 or 20, but she had the moves. Those who knew her were happy for her.
Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Joseph grew up in a home filled with constant music, usually Frank Sinatra. His father, Andrew [AKA - Clarke Andrews] was a professional who sang in the NYC area. He really was terrific and sounded just like Sinatra. It was the sound of his generation. Consequently, Joseph also sang but not in public, Eventually he gave it up as a youngster because none of his friends were into entertainment, but rather played sports. So, he too played all the sports in the neighborhood - football, baseball, and then wrestling in high school and college. Twenty years after graduating college, he was staying in Naples, Italy at the home his uncle Carmine. His cousin Maria, got married that summer where at the reception her husband sang ‘Anema e Cuore’ [soul and heart], a traditional Italian song. What a terrific song and rendition of it Joseph said to himself. He wished he could sing that, just like his father always sang Italian songs both in the NYC area and with the U. S. Air Force band when living in Spain, Italy and Greece. Well, soon after he hooked up with the Miami Chorale for 12 years singing in such classical concerts such as ‘Mozart’s Requiem’ and ‘HMS Pinafore’. It was a polishing of his inherited talent. But it wasn’t until 1999 almost another 20 years, when Sinatra came back into the picture. And how quickly it happened that he found himself singing at clubs, casinos, concert halls, for Presidents [President Bush] and President’s mansions [Donald Trump]. It was a trip.
2 Thessalonians 3:5 “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”
Not to be outdone, Von T. still had the moves. Von T., Michelle and Marie often were back-up dancers in many of Joseph’s shows. Always the great dancer, they suggested she try out for the Miami Heat Golden Oldies dance team. She agreed. So at age 70, Von T. is a dancer for the Miami Heat. And for whom does she dance and cheer? None other than the son of Johnnie Haslem, Udonis [mentioned above] who is a Miami Heat favorite. Over 50 years later Von T. continues to dance for the Heat and the Haslems. That’s 50 years people. Friends suggest daughter Michelle tries out for the Golden Oldies when she reaches 70.
2 Peter 1:10 “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”
Joseph’s daughters Marie and Saba are also hard workers and persevere We’ll get to their stories the next time.
Revelation 3:10 “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.”