On the night Hurricane Michael hit, my teammates and I knew that we were facing a pretty powerful storm.

We were hunkered down at the basketball facility, but even when we opened the door to look outside, we could tell it was a pretty ferocious hurricane. Even though we were almost 28 miles from the coast and away from the most devastating part of the storm's path, we could see the damage here in Tallahassee.

A few times we went outside and we saw the wind had knocked over trees. Even when we went indoors, we could still feel the storm's power. We were playing video games and playing football to try and keep things light, only to have our power go out. But losing power is nothing compared to what some of the people in our state have gone through.

At least 18 Americans have lost their lives, and many more have lost their homes. The hurricane had a personal effect on me, because I grew up in Chipley, which was right near the path of the hurricane. Fortunately, Hurricane Michael had lost much of its power by the time it hit Chipley, but I knew people in Panama City Beach that had their homes destroyed.

I can only imagine how devastating that feeling must be, watching a storm wipe away what you've worked so hard for, but on some level I'll never know what that feeling is like. What I do know is that God was there as the hurricane hit, and He will still be there as we try and rebuild our state.

I also know that God gave our basketball team the talent and opportunity to give people hope.

 
 

(Photo courtesy of Florida State Athletics)

Maybe it'll just be a distraction from everything for a few hours each week. Or maybe it will be just something positive they can look forward to, during the week. But I know that our team is going to do everything we can to help these people out.

One of my favorite Bible verses is Luke 12:48, which says “To whom much has been given, much will be required.” God gave us all these talents to excel on the court, and we want to use it for the right purposes. I think this year it’s never been more obvious that our performance on the court can shine a light in people’s lives.

It's never fun to see people go through tragedy like this, but I do know that great things can come from bad situations. All I have to do is look back at what happened last year.


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Title photo courtesy of Florida State Athletics

Thomas Hager