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Soar with the eagles

Fannie Moore

Contributed by Columnist Fannie Moore

My friend and former pastor, Dr, Lynn Jones, pastors a church following his retirement, raises beautiful flowers and keeps up with friends by way of Facebook, where he shares some interesting notes of interest along with devotional thoughts. Today he shared a post concerning Tommy Joe Eagles and I am borrowing the info to share with you, our readers.

The two first met when Eagles was playing basketball at Doyline High School. Doyline was playing against Florien High School, the school where Dr. Jones (prior to Dr) was teaching. This game ended in a heartbreaker for Dr. Jones as Florien was beaten soundly by the Doyline team.

He followed Eagles’ career, who after college graduation, became basketball coach at La. Tech and then went on to Auburn where he coached for several  years.

While he was at Tech, Dr. Jones invited him to come speak to a group of young men and impart some of his wisdom about life and the game of basketball. Eagles always encouraged his players to do their best, in class, on the court and in life. This included staying in shape and keeping reasonable hours each night. As he was passing on this advice he told them, “You can’t soar with the Eagles if you hoot with the owls.”

As I read this, it reminded me of one of my favorites Bible verses, Isaiah 40: 31 (KJV), “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”

Coach Eagles had the right idea and he may have, in a subliminal manner, been advising his listeners to have the best life, they had to live their best life. There were many things involved that he might not have mentioned that day as he spoke to the young men, but as one contemplates his advice he can understand the underlying suggestions.

One needs to take care of his physical body. This entails eating right, exercising daily, getting plenty of rest and refraining from unhealthy habits.

One must take care of his mental attitudes. Choose the right company, consider others over themselves, be kind and good to all people and walk positively among one’s peers.

One must care for his spiritual body. Read the Bible, engage in corporate worship, pray, share with others and offer a helping hand whenever possible.

Don’t rush into anything without thinking it through.

It is my belief that those young men whom Eagles was in contact with all those years as he coached basketball were better men because of him. If they heeded his advice they would almost have to be better men.

As I was doing a little research on Eagles after reading Dr.Jones’ Facebook post, it made me wish I had known him. And it’s possible that I saw him play basketball for Doyline and never recognized what a renowned figure he would become. Our little school at Shongaloo played many basketball games against schools in Webster Parish and surrounding area. I played in high school, then our children played, so it’s possible we were witness to the beginning of a legend.  

In spite of the many accolades awarded him, Coach Eagles might have remained the humble kid from Doyline who excelled at something he loved.

And it’s my hope that he took the advice given in the book of Isaiah: “Wait upon the Lord, renew your strength, and you will mount up with wings of eagles.”

Let’s all heed that advice.