On Saturday, with the Baylor Nation watching, sophomore running back Trestan Ebner rushed for 100 yards, a breakout moment in his football career. On Sunday, with no one watching, Trestan Ebner, made a spontaneous generous donation to a children’s ministry, a moment consistent with his character.
On Sunday afternoon, I was working The Pumpkin Patch at Central Christian Church. I saw a young couple with a baby walking through the patch and taking pictures. I walked down and offered to take a picture of all three. They hesitated, seeming a little shy, but then let me take their picture. Later they brought their pumpkins to the checkout table. As I handed the young man his change, I thanked them for supporting our children’s ministries. Without skipping a beat, he looked up: “Is that what this supports?” I said yes. This time he didn’t hesitate. He handed me back the change (a $10 bill) and said, “Then keep this.” I tried to give it back, but he wouldn’t take it.
I asked if they were students and if they went to Baylor. I learned he was a sophomore communications major from Henderson. Noticing that he seemed to be in really good physical shape, I asked if by chance he was a student athlete. He was. Then I asked what sport. He said football. I asked what position and he said running back. I congratulated him on Saturday’s win and thanked him for believing in Baylor and coming to help rebuild the football program. He told me that he had always wanted to go to Baylor.
I then turned my attention to the baby and her mother. I wanted to invite them to visit our church if they didn’t have a church home. We discussed our children’s programs, then I asked for their names, which I put in my phone, so I could send a follow-up email.
True confession. Although I had been at the game on Saturday, I spent a significant part of the game visiting with guests because of my husband’s job. I knew generally that Charlie Brewer was having a good game and that our kicker, Connor Martin, struggled but redeemed himself with the winning field goal. (I even said a prayer for his mother as he was preparing to make the kick.) But after Sunday’s encounter at The Pumpkin Patch, I looked forward to getting home to read the paper and learn what else had happened during the game.
When I got home and read the Trib’s sports page, that’s when I saw it: “Ebner hits century mark.” Yes, that young man who gently held that precious little girl, had taken photos of his family and made a donation to our pumpkin patch had just had a big day in his football career, and he had not tried to turn the attention to himself or his success when we were visiting.
I was so touched by the humility and generosity of this young man. I wanted to tell people something positive that a Baylor football player had done. Before I shared the story I called a friend, Mark Mann, a prominent East Texas lawyer who lives in Henderson. Henderson is a small town and I figured he would know Trestan. He did. When I told Mark the story, it didn’t surprise him. That’s the kind of reputation Trestan has in Henderson.
Congratulations, Trestan, on your football success Saturday! Keep up the good work on Saturdays — and Sundays. That kind, gentle, generous humility will take you a lot further than 100 yards. Sic ’em!
P.S., I hope you visit Central Christian Church. The worship service is at 10:30. We have terrific children’s programs!