The Words of the Jenkins Family

America Wins Gold Medals in Basketball and Track at IPSF

Michael Jenkins
July 12, 2007
Yoon Kwan Soon Indoor Stadium, Korea

Dear Family,

America shined in the Inter-religious Peace Sports Festival. Our teams were organized by Rev. Greg Carter, who fielded competitors from across the country in Track, Soccer, Badminton, Tennis and Basketball. The sports competition is becoming world class. The Iraqi team that competed in IPSF will be featured on ESPN, as they also will be joining the Peace King Cup tournament, which opens on the 12th of July.

We are very proud of our athletes. Rev. Lowery, who emerged during the World Peace Tour of 120 Religious leaders, came forward to coach the team. He did a great job. Lithuania was very, very tough in the competition and was strongly favored to win the Gold again as they won it last year. However, in an upset, Taiwan beat them to compete with America for the Gold.

The Taiwanese women's and men's teams were fierce athletes. They had very precise three-point shooters. The Taiwanese team was not small -- they had one player at 6' 10"! The Women's game with Canada in the finals was a seesaw battle, and Taiwan won in the end. Canada proudly brings home the Silver medal, won by a team who never played together until they got to Korea as Rev. Gray and assistant coach Sandra were recruiting from college teams across the nation. The Taiwan team was great - -they did have a serious advantage as they have been ranked as the top college women's team of Taiwan and have played together extensively.

Canada is rising and the Gold will soon come for them. Congratulations, Rev. Gray and all the team on bringing home a medal for Canada.

The Basketball final was played the Cheonan Sports Stadium in the Yoon Kwan Soon indoor stadium. This is the same location that the blessing was held on July 5, 2007. Cheonan is a significant city of over 500,000 people. It is close to Asan, where Sun Moon University is located,and Onyang, where the nation's most famous "hot springs" are reknowned. The drive from Seoul is a grueling 2 and 1/2 hours through bumper-to-bumper traffic. However, the region has been greatly served by the fact that the high-speed train called the KTX now stops in Cheonan / Asan. That means you can make it to Seoul in 26 minutes! This also created a boom in growth for the region and for Sun Moon University (that many predicted would not survive in the backwoods rural area where it was first built. Now SMU is a respected university that is strong in engineering and boasts 10,000 students).

The American - Taiwan battle for the gold in Men's Basketball was exciting and fierce. Taiwan is a dangerious competitor -- beating all other competitors by lagging behind until the final 10 minutes and then surging ahead, based on stamina and accuracy, to win. They could never be underestimated. The American team was composed of some players from the original Gold medal team formed from Washington, D.C., inner-city youth in 2003. The prominent ACLC Pastor Rev. Thomas assembled the young people and turned their lives around through sports. Most of the players were new and from across the country. Detective Delaney of the New Jersey Police was also a coach for the team. Detective Delaney is on the Youth Task Force for the New Jersey State Police and helped recruit some fine athletes. For many, this was the first trip outside of their city. The mentors in support were ACLC National Executive Committee member Rev. Carl Rawls, Rev. Adruma Victoria and David Harvey. Rev. Carter took care of all the athletes there in all sports. Many times taking care meant coaching, helping team spirit, and encouraging unity. One key thing that would boast morale was when Rev. Rawls would go to the KFC and get fried chicke!! This would get a huge response as the Korean dishes, though delicious, were a little on the hot side, as one player said. Rev. Rawls became very popular!!

The game was fast from the start. The American team had nicknames on the back of their jerseys. Names like "Bruiser", "Super Dave", "Stretch", "D-Eraser", "Zulu Child". It was tremendous. Taiwan launched hard and fast and immediately took the lead. America, however, fought hard and got the upper hand. Taiwan came back and America surged forward. America was tough on the rebounds; this made a huge difference. Some of our players were totally outstanding in pressing into the inside for the layup. All in all,it was a most exciting game. The Taiwan team is to be commended; they are tough. Knowing that Taiwan has a reputation for surging back at the end (like they did against Lithuania) Coach Lowery decided to keep maximum pressure on and never lost the lead after the first half. At the end, Taiwan lost its edge and America was strong -- the final score was 82 - 68. A little misleading because 8 of those points were right at the end. Taiwan was within range 64 - 66 with about 4 minutes left. America got the Gold. It was a solid, earned victory. It was beautiful to see Dr. Bong Tae Kim, President of Sun Moon University, giving the Gold medals to the winners.

Three second generation were on the team, David Raucci (New York), Joshua Mwamlima (Norfolk) and Ben.

David Raucci won the Gold in basketball; his brother John won two Golds in track!! Also Kiah gave support through her music and Eric Walters assisted the team Since this is an Inter-religious Sports Festival, Muslims, Christians, Jews and other faiths all are represented. The players are people of faith, playing side by side with players of other faiths. That's why America's jerseys had on the front "MROIS," meaning, Multi Religious One In Spirit.

The victory is sweet, and it is a victory for all faiths with respect for all nations. America has not seen the Gold for several years now. It has come back to America -- thanks to Dr. Yang for his unchanging support for the IPSF. We will have a celebration when the athletes return. Thanks to all Americans who supported these teams.



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