News > Blog >
The Value of Sportsmanship, featuring Danielle Morales
January 3, 2021, 9:00 AM

Welcome to Immanuel’s blog. This is entry four in our series, The Journey of an Immanuel Family. I’m Danielle Morales, and I have one recent graduate from Immanuel Lutheran School and another child currently in fifth grade. I’ll be sharing about the foundation of athletics and extra-scholastic activities at Immanuel and the value of sportsmanship for my children.

First, I’ll give some background on my family. We moved into this area about eight years ago and really wanted to continue a private, faith-based education. I wanted my daughters to have that sense of community and another sense of family outside of our home.

I also wanted them to have ample opportunities, regardless of their talent and ability, to participate in sports and extra-scholastic activities. I interviewed Immanuel three times before we committed to sending the girls there, and every time I visited, I just felt it in my gut that this is where they belonged.

My oldest daughter, who just graduated last year, was involved in volleyball for four years and cheerleading for five at Immanuel. Meanwhile, my youngest daughter played her first year of volleyball last year. She wasn’t particularly excited to try a sport; she really struggled, and her anxiety level was high. At a JV volleyball game last year, though, she was at the center of a precious moment. It was my daughter’s turn to serve, so she went up and took the ball. Everyone was holding their breath because we essentially knew how this was going to go. To our surprise, when she served, she got it over the net! Right after that happened, her teammates on the court jumped up and down, shouted her name and clapped for her. The whole time they were doing this, play hadn’t stopped — the ball was still in play. The look on my daughter’s face was priceless. There was this true connection from learning how to play to playing to getting that ball over to her teammates’ support when she succeeded. It was incredible.

The Immanuel coaches also dedicate themselves to their teams and players and give so much of their own time to coaching.

They focus on the whole child and strive to promote Christian sportsmanship: treating everyone with kindness.

Ultimately, if students encourage and uplift their teammates and do the same for the opposing team, they’ve learned what they need to as they play a sport. Seeing my daughters walk through that has been a wonderful experience.

Immanuel looks at every single child individually and as a whole outside of extra-scholastics as well. When my youngest daughter was in preschool fours, she was having a particularly rough day. When they were able, the teacher said, “Let’s go take a walk,” and my youngest daughter said, “I really want to see my sister.” In response, she brought her down the hallway, and they knocked and asked to see her sister at an appropriate time. My oldest daughter came out, looked at her sister and said, “Are you okay?” To that, my younger daughter said, “I just need a hug from you.” So my oldest daughter gave her a hug, and my younger daughter said, “Okay, I’m better now.” Her teacher could have done something very different, but she listened to what my youngest needed — her sister. Fortunately, her sister was right down the hall and gave her that hug. But that’s what I mean when I say they look at every child as a whole — they’re extremely supportive in many ways.

As our family dynamics have changed over the years, they’ve consistently been in touch with me as I’ve filled them in on what was going on in our lives. When my kids’ great-grandmother passed away, it was a very difficult time for our family. I remember sending messages saying, “It was a rough morning. We were talking about grandma. Tears were coming. I’m not sure how she’s going to do today.” At the end of the day, we’d get messages back, saying, “She needed a hug today and talked about this a little bit.” Receiving these and knowing that she had support there (not just at home) meant the world to me.

When it comes down to it, Immanuel is our second family. When my oldest daughter graduated last year, I felt a sense of loss because I thought, I know we’re still at the school for another four years for my youngest, but what are we going to do for my oldest without Immanuel? I’m just so pleased with our decision to have our daughters there. There has never been a day where I’ve dropped them off and worried about them. I’ve always felt very secure and comfortable knowing where they are and who they’re with. Choosing Immanuel was one of the best decisions for my children’s education.

Stay tuned for our next installment when Immanuel parent Stacie Hassler will share about creativity at Immanuel. For now, those curious can learn more about our wide-ranging extra-scholastic offerings that aid our mission of forming the whole child.