When Covenant opens next school year, it won’t just be the trophies and banners from this year that make the place look different. The gym will be brightened by a brand new floor.
The Lions and Lady Lions won’t have to worry about slamming into concrete anymore. A new SnapSports floor has been put down, giving Covenant the latest and best court as it moves forward with its athletic programs.
“It’s a step in the right direction and a sign of more good things to come,” said Covenant headmaster Tim Miller. “It’s a blessing from God to know people are willing to step up and help us out.”
For far too long, Covenant parents, coaches and staff have held their breath when athletes hit the floor in the gym. Miller knew from the moment he arrived that he wanted to find a way to upgrade the floor – all it took was the Covenant family and local support to get it done.
“We knew there needed to be something other than the concrete floor for the kids, especially when you cringe every time a child goes down and you’re asking ‘Are they coming up without a head injury, an arm injury?’ I had some parents and grandparents come and say, ‘if you’ll start it, we’ll help you,’” said Miller. “We got a quote and I sent it out to the parents and teachers. The next thing I know, we have a $10,000 donation from an individual. In 21 days, we had enough for the floor plus painting the outside area of the gym.
“Most of the money has come for private individuals, people hoping to support Lion athletics and businesses who have come through and wanted to be part of it.”
The biggest donor wished to remain anonymous, “and we are granting them that wish,” added Miller. That initial surge was enough to get the ball rolling and three weeks later, Covenant had enough to get Snap Sports from Franklin to install the interlocked floor.
“What I said to our teachers and parents was, ‘we’ve been floored with an opportunity,’” Miller said with a laugh.
Covenant has been playing sports in the gym for over a decade, seeing many athletes develop on the concrete. Senior Madisen Madewell basically grew up on the old court. She won’t suit up for the Lady Lions on the nice new floor, but she’s still happy to see it.
“It’s exciting. We’ve talked about it for years and wanted to get new floors. Getting to see it while I’m still at the school is really cool,” said Madewell, a star on the volleyball team that won a TNCAA championship in the fall. “It’s going to look nice (next year). It’s a great look for a proud school.”
More thoughts from Covenant athletes and coaches
Junior guard Noah Mason – “It feels good. We’re blessed by God to have this floor. We’re thankful for all the people who donated. I can’t wait to play next season. It’s going to a look 10 times better – maybe we can add another banner next year.”
Basketball coach Ryan Smith – “It looks nice. All of the floor cost came from donations. We are going to have an alumni night after soccer season is over so the alumni are the first to play (a game) on it.”
Volleyball coach Chris Madewell – “I am very excited about it. It looks nice. And the thing I like most is how much safter it will be for our players.”
It's a whole new look for Covenant guard Noah Mason while shooting on his home floor.
Miller knew the outgoing seniors, which won TNCAA titles in volleyball and boys basketball this season, needed a chance to enjoy the floor. Last Friday, he let all the kids come out and play, a nice gesture to those who have poured out plenty of blood, sweat and tears in the Covenant gym.
On Sunday, it was ready for its public debut.
“The seniors were the first to shoot on it and they were so excited. We met with the church Sunday and gave the state of the school address before opening the doors to the gym. The parents and the people from the church were saying, ‘Whoa.’ It’s been great,” said Miller.
The new court has been the talk of the school for the last few weeks, from the time the money was raised, the construction started and the unveiling happened. Miller is one of the most excited to have the new court, but he knows it’s just a cherry on top of what Covenant offers to its students.
“The No. 1 thing here is academics and Christian values – walking with Christ. This helps for those who want to partner their academics with athletics. It makes a big difference when you can offer something like this,” said Miller.
Proudly displayed in the lane on each side of the court are references to Philippians 4:13 and Proverbs 3: 5-6:
“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me”
“Trust the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and He will make straight your paths.”
The path to a new floor was long, but Covenant never lost faith.