By Amy Bode
Even though Joey Davidson has an impressive resume of stats, he doesn’t want to be defined as a basketball player. He’s been a starter for Timothy’s varsity basketball team since his sophomore year. He was named All-Conference his senior year. He also became the eleventh player in Timothy Christian history to score 1000 career points. In fact, he’s actually scored more than 1000 points over the course of his high school career. But he can’t tell you exactly how many.
Those stats, though, aren’t really important to him.
“Those points don’t define me,” Joey shrugs. “I’m not keeping a tally.”
Joey, who is a senior, is a natural athlete and leader. He is just as sure and confident on a basketball court as he is on the baseball field. Sports have always been part of his life. It’s the way he’s connected with so many people over the years.
Joey transferred to Timothy as a sixth grader from Arizona. He was comfortable in his old school. But his dad, Matt Davidson, was hired as the superintendent at Timothy Christian Schools. “I was shocked when my parents told me we were moving,” Joey admits. “Given the choice at that time, I would have stayed in Arizona.”
Sixth grade, Joey says, is a hard year for a kid to move to a new state and attend a new school. But Timothy was different. From class parties at the park, to teachers who worked hard to build a community, it wasn’t long before Joey once again felt connected at school, like he was where he belonged. But it was on the basketball court where he found his confidence and stride in junior high. “I always say, if you’re struggling, join a sport,” Joey says. “Any sport. You’re automatically connected.”
Like most junior high players, he wanted to be the best player on the team. He worked hard, and his reward was a starting position. “I know all these young kids really want to be the best player,” Joey says. “But I can remember my dad and grandpa telling me that sports were a good thing. That winning was fun, but there’s more important things in life. My dad has always said: ‘Keep the main thing the main thing.’”
Even though Joey was a natural on the court, his dad’s mantra—keep the main thing the main thing—kept him grounded throughout the years. And while he proudly remembers things like beating rival Illiana with a buzzer beater his sophomore year, it’s the service projects off the court that have had the biggest impact on him.
This year, he went to Arizona for a Renew Trip in January with the basketball team. It was not only a bonding experience for the team and coaches, but it was also a chance for them to serve together. Joey and the rest of the team served low-income and homeless families. He had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with two ten-year-old boys. “I played a game with them,” Joey says. “I was told they didn’t have a positive male role model in their lives. It was simple, we just talked.”
It was just time and a few kind words. But for those two young boys, it was a lifeline. To Joey, it was more than just a service project. It was the possibility of making a positive impact on two boys. “I don’t know if they knew Jesus,” Joey says. “But my prayer is that they do find God. And maybe they saw a little bit of Christ in me.”
It is service like this—not the wins and losses—that have shaped and molded Joey’s perspective. He is thankful for the Timothy community, for his family and friends, and for the support of his coaches. His coaches have not only helped honed his skills on the court, but have prayed for him and challenged him to grow in his faith. The Renew basketball trips have helped him become more aware of people who are in need, both economically and spiritually.
Joey played his last game as a Timothy Christian basketball player. “It was bittersweet,” he says. “Nothing compares to high school sports. I have a lot of great memories. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to play basketball at Timothy.”
Joey plans to attend Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais next year and hopes to major in business. And he’s made the decision to retire from basketball. He admits that it will be strange that people on campus won’t know him as the All-Conference basketball player who once scored over 1000 points or made game-winning clutch shots. But he’s comfortable and confident with his decision.
While he knows his parents would love to see him play at a collegiate level, they support him. They have also taught him being an athlete does not define him—being a child of God does.
And that’s what he wants to focus on.
“I learned a lot from basketball, like perseverance, teamwork, and sportsmanship,” Joey says. “But that’s just a platform for other things in life. I don’t want people to know me as a basketball player. I want to be known as a man of God. I want to keep the main thing the main thing.”