Hendrix College’s men won an early season nonconference basketball game Tuesday night against University of the Ozarks.
It was not just another game.
What was on the scoreboard was not as important as what was in the hearts of the Warriors.
They were playing for Jon Guthrie, whom they considered had the best seat in the house.
Guthrie, the longtime chaplain and advisor at Hendrix died Saturday. His memorial service was Monday.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving today, many in the Hendrix and Conway community are thankful for the life of Jon Guthrie.
He was chaplain-plus, chaplain-extraordinaire.
As an ambassador for a heavenly kingdom, Guthrie was a servant to whatever or whomever he touched on earth.
His scope of ministry was a broad as any person I have ever known — from Hendrix students to Hendrix faculty, to Hendrix staff, to people of all economic strata in our community, to folks in subsharan Africa, to elephants at a nearby sanctuary (actually all of creation everywhere). And I’ve probably left somebody or something out.
He was an advisor to hundreds, a counselor to thousands, a friend to all.
He was also one of Hendrix’s most devoted sports fans. I saw him at many a game and when we visited, he always seemed to have a perceptive insight. He wasn’t just a fan; he was a student and keen observer.
I don’t know of a happier person when Hendrix added baseball as a varsity sport. His dad played minor league baseball and he was passionate about the sport. He was often seen wearing a Hendrix baseball cap and wearing it proudly.
But here is what was really cool about Jon Guthrie.
Chaplaincy is a tough job. A chaplain is dealing with stress (sometimes extreme), agony, sorrow and an almost endless buffet of other people’s problems.
But you hardly ever saw Guthrie without a smile on his face. I hesitate to say never but it’s close — maybe a loss by the Warriors to the UCA Bears the exception. He smiled a lot, often with a humorous story to tell, an encouraging word to impart.
He was the human equivalent of a warm, comfortable, snuggly blanket in the cold of an uncertain world.
That warmth, the caring nature touched so many, near and far.
Hendrix’s motto of “Unto the whole person” represents the fusion of the spiritual, the mental and the physical.
Guthrie was all that. He was the template.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org)