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The Grace of Emmanuel Omogbo

February 27, 2017

At the press conference following CSUs win over San Diego State on Saturday, after hitting the game-winning three-ball with just seconds on the clock, Emmanuel Omogbo said something that really resonated with me.

He had talked about his Mom and Dad and niece and nephew, how they helped him on that shot but also how he wished they had been there..  And then he talked about his given name Emmanuel.
Emmanuel.

According to the Gospel of Matthew Immanuel refers to Jesus Christ. Immanuel (Hebrew: עִמָּנוּאֵל‎ meaning, “God with us”; also romanized Emmanuel, Imanu’el) is a Hebrew name which appears in chapters 7 and 8 of the Book of Isaiah as part of a prophecy of God’s protection from rival kings during the life of Jeshurun.

Emmanual Omogbo has dealt with tragedy at a young age that none of us would ever hope to experience.  Not only has he survived, he has thrived.  He has transcended his position as a very good college basketball player to become a leader of men and a shining example to the rest of us.  

He delivers a double-double nearly every night but that is not what it is about.  It is about the passion, the energy, the love, the selflessness that he plays with night-in and night out.  It is about the honor be brings every time he steps on the floor wearing the Green and Gold of Colorado State.   

At the start of the season, he said in an interview that he wanted this season to be a Thank You to the people of Fort Collins who had helped him through his personal difficulties. He sought to honor us and he has in ways that even he cannot imagine.

The great Oscar-winning movie Chariots of Fire presented the story of Eric Liddell, a devoutly religious man who ran for God and country in the 1924 Olympics. God and country in that order. And there’s a part in the movie where he receives a note from a fellow competitor right before the 400 Meter final.  The note read “He who honors me, I will honor”.  A paraphrased passage from the Bible that describes the ultimate respect between those who compete.

And so when Emmanuel Omogbo is introduced on Senior Night on Tuesday Night, I will be there to honor him.  He has spent this entire season honoring me through his play and through his unbridled enthusiasm. Ultimately it is his courage and his spirit that I admire the most.  Those of us young and old can all learn from his shining example.

Yes we all hope for a win and a first place finish for our team.  But Emmanuel Omogbo is already winning the most important race.

Emmanuel.

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