Monday, August 11, 2014

Trey Turns 25

"But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God." (Luke 18:16, ESV)

Trey celebrated his 25th birthday this past weekend.

The party was epic.

Even the mayor came by and had his picture made with the guest of honor.

It was a surprise party even though Trey had been helping his mom plan the party for a year now. Trey still wanted all the lights down low and for us to yell “surprise!” when he walked in the room.

When you are a local celebrity you can make unusual demands like that.

Everyone in our town knows Trey. He has been a friend, mentor, role model and inspiration to me for several years.

Trey has a gregarious personality and never met a stranger in his life. His laugh is loud and infectious. When he gets excited everyone in the room gets excited.

Trey is the oldest son in a family with two brothers who are gifted baseball players.

Oh yea, Trey also has Down syndrome.

When Trey was a young boy, his mother found herself taking Trey with her every time she went to her other son’s ballgame and the parks. He would sit with his mother and watch his younger brothers play the sports that the whole family loved. But there was nothing for Trey to participate in for himself.

So he sat and watched.

Most moms would lament the situation, grieve for opportunity lost, and wish the circumstances were different. But most moms aren’t like Trey’s mom, my friend Kim.

When holy discontent reached its boiling point in Kim, she decided to do something about it. So Kim started an organization called Structured Athletics for Challenged Children (SACC.) SACC is a sports league for individuals with special needs that includes baseball, basketball, rodeo, bowling, and gymnastics.

Several years ago a new dad in our town saw a picture in the local paper about SACC. The dad was a big sports fan himself, so the league intrigued him.

Out of curiosity he went to one of their afternoon sessions where the kids were playing basketball.

He was hooked from the very first moment, watching the children with challenges playing, laughing, and celebrating with their "buddy" assistants.

The new dad began volunteering with SACC and then later began serving on the board. He couldn’t explain it or understand it, but he just felt like God was calling him to be a part of it. Up until then, this dad was a pretty selfish and arrogant person living for himself and his own enjoyment and pleasure.

The children in SACC taught him so much about life, true contentment, giving of yourself, purpose, and service to others. He fell in love with children with special needs.

Shortly after the new dad began volunteering his time with SACC and serving as a coach, his whole world was rocked upside down.

The new dad discovered that his own toddler son had profound special need of his own. He had been living in denial up to that point, hoping and believing his son’s “developmental delay” was temporary.

But cerebral palsy and autism aren’t temporary.

In an ironic twist, the new dad’s son would later become a participant in SACC himself. The dad’s dream of someday coaching his own son in sports teams actually came true! So did the dad's dream of his son earning trophies.

The dreams, that came true after all, were just not in the way the dad had once envisioned before his son was born. But the joy he felt was exactly what he had dreamed he would experience before his son was ever born.

I was that new dad.

My son is just one of hundreds of lives blessed by the life of Trey and God's purpose for his life.

So Trey’s life changed my life, which changed my son’s life. And Trey’s story became intertwined with my son’s story. And Trey’s family’s story became intertwined with my family’s story.

Both our stories are intertwined in the telling of God’s story. Because that is what God does. He takes our stories and weaves them together into one beautiful tapestry of his work.

God is writing his story on a human canvas, and he weaves the pieces together as only he can do. God makes nothing but masterpieces. God takes the broken pieces of clay and from them he constructs vessels of beauty to contain the essence of himself.

God’s story never ends. The story continues. We just get to play our part.

Happy Birthday, Trey.

PRAY: "Father, thank you for the gift of challenged children from whom we can receive so much. Thank you for the lessons they teach us and the way you use their lives to draw us closer to you."


  1. For several years, my family helped with the SACC rodeo as part of the Tennessee High School Rodeo. When we first started planning the rodeo, we all had a desire to do something for the SACC students and introduce them to something new. As we were preparing for that first Saturday afternoon, Melanie Bussell meet with all the THSRA students and parents to answer any questions and give a few suggestions. Although a little unsure at first, all the cowboys and cowgirls showed up ready to rodeo with SACC. That afternoon, we got to witness something wonderful. The SACC students were excited to learn and our kids were now excited to teach them the sport they love. We saw relationships form that have that lasted for years, a little girl who would "never" get to ride a horse be supported by her buddy and ride a horse for the first time, we saw students teaching their buddy dance moves and we saw our THSRA contestants take more away from the day than we ever imagined. The SACC rodeo is now an event that everyone looks forward to when they come to Cookeville the first weekend of October. Several alums return to see their buddy. As the parent of one of those alums, I want to "Thank Kim and SACC". You not only did something great for Trey and his friends but for everyone that comes in contact with SACC. Happy Birthday, Trey! Have a great birthday-the Capps

  2. Oh my goodness, I am literally in tears over this post! I'm so happy for you that you have found the joy of embracing a new dream for your special child and that you have invested your time to make it possible for our kids to play sports. My son was able to join a local Special Olympics team this year, and we had a wonderful experience. I can't wait for next season :)

    1. Thank you Rachel! So grateful for Special Olympics too. Glad your son had such a great experience.

  3. I love this story. It makes me think of the member of a worship team at a church we visit about once a year. This young woman lives with Down syndrome and she sings with her whole heart. Someday, I want to be more like her.