Posted by: Andrea Mullins | 12 March, 2010

Clowning around in Vancouver

Attending an Olympic sports venue is thrilling and unique. The teams of the nations are on the playing field. Fans are wearing and waving the colors of their countries. The athletes are the best in the world. Flags are flying and the Olympic rings can be seen everywhere.

When we bought our tickets to see the semifinals women’s hockey, we didn’t know we would be seeing China and Slovakia fighting for seventh and eighth place. The Slovakian women were at the Olympics for the first time, but they still played masterfully. They scored the first point, and their strength was easy to see. Every player on both sides was giving it their all, and fighting to keep the puck within their control.

But China wanted to win. I could hardly take my eyes from China’s goalie. She moved like a ballerina on ice whose grace couldn’t be hidden by the bulkiness of the pads and uniform she wore. Before long, China was up 3 to 1, and in the end they took seventh place.

I was seated by myself, but it didn’t take long to find Cherry and Suzy. Across the way I saw them facing the fans, making balloon art, and sharing their faith with everyone in their section. They came to see the game, but in the small space between each period, they fulfilled the mission that had brought them to Vancouver.

Cherry and Suzy did more than yell. They hadn’t come from Texas to Canada only to cheer a team to gold. No, they came with a much more important message. “There is something worth more than gold.”

Cherry and Suzy, in their real life, are clowns. Face painting, balloon art, jokes, colorful outfits, spectacular hair, and finely crafted faces, make them a hit wherever they go.  I watched them easily reach out with smiles and fun to any person within their reach. Age was no barrier. Suzy tied over 1,000 balloons in the first two days in Vancouver!

I watched faces without emotion break into smiles and laughter. And while the recipients of the balloons and face painting enjoyed these serendipitous gifts, Cherry and Suzy gave so much more. They gave eternal life. While a balloon retains its shape for a short time, and the beautiful design on a face will eventually wear off, Cherry and Suzy gave a gift that will last for all eternity and bring abundant living right now.

Is it only at the Olympics that a sports event is a place of witness? I guess it depends on our viewpoint. If we believe that knowing Jesus is worth more than gold for every person in every situation, then it seems this might be a message worth sharing at our children’s soccer match, or the summer softball game, or the neighborhood basketball hoop. While Cherry and Suzy have a unique and compelling approach, it doesn’t take anything extra to smile at someone and ask “Did you know there is something worth more than winning gold?”

You will want to read Jennifer Kennedy’s new book, Life Unhindered!. We don’t need to be clowns to give ourselves liberally to God.



  1. that is wonderful.

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