Columbia Heights Christian Eagles
A Feature Article
(written in December of 1997)
(see larger cover at bottom of page)
Basketball has not been automatic for Tory Shelton. The fact is, he didn't even get interested in it until he was 13 years old. "We didn't have a hoop or anything," he explains. "Then I started going over to my friend's house and started playing a lot of basketball there. Then I went to the Y(MCA) when they had open gym. I really began liking it the more I played it."
And, just 3 years ago the door was opened for home-schooled students to play competitive sports at the high school level in the Longview/Kelso area. "It has been a real blessing to me to play at Columbia Heights Christian School," he stated. And it truly has. This is his third season on the varsity squad and as the starting point guard he is the captain of the team this year.
That role of leadership was also demonstrated on the soccer field this past fall as he was a co-captain on the soccer team. Blessings came from there also. He was voted "Most Inspirational" by his teammates as well as receiving the Coach's Award. Basketball is now one of Tory's passions. This year Tory would like to help the team achieve some long-awaited goals for CHCS.
"I would like to see us place high enough in the standings to be seeded higher in the district play-offs (First Round) so we can have home-court. And I would really like to play in the state tournament this year." Modestly speaking, he would like to be a League All-Star this year also.
This, along with being a leader on the team brings what his teammates classify as being inspirational. "I hope I'm a good enough role model or example for them on how to carry oneself on the court. I know I can't all the time but I hope they see God through me - the character of God, I hope I display that."
Asking others about Tory Shelton, many of those godly character traits are mentioned: Humble, diligent, cooperative, responsible, polite, and even humorous. Putting her biased opinion aside, his older sister Sharnessa says, "Tory is seriously one of the coolest guys I know. He has a tenderness about him that is very rare. He is extremely sweet, respectful, and this is probably unintentional (on his part), but he goes against the flow."
So, what has made the 5'9" senior like this? It is probably attributed to the fact that he is being raised and home-schooled (Tory also attends one class at Columbia Heights Christian School to enable him to participate in their sports programs) by Christian parents, Dave and Barb Shelton of Longview, Wash.
He began his Christian walk in Shekinah Christian Fellowship in Longview. About 5 years ago the Shelton's branched off with Grace Fellowship and just recently this congregation merged with two other churches and became Father's House. That is where Tory now is fully involved with the youth group as one of the leaders. In fact, for awhile he was an assistant youth leader for the Jr. High group as he led the teaching at times.
It was when he was about 7 or 8 years of age though when he asked Jesus into his heart. "There was a mime group performing at church during Sunday school and they had an altar call afterwards. They said that, in order to go to Heaven after you die, you had to ask Jesus to be in your heart. I realized that I had never done that before. I loved Jesus, so I went forward." (Insert from Mom: He actually had when he was about four, but he evidently didn't remember that. :-) )
Today, Tory Shelton is living his life for the Lord. He spends quality quiet time with Him by reading the Bible, praying and seeking God's will for his life. He has recently finished reading a couple of books that have helped him considerably: Hearing God by Peter Lord, and Place of Immunity by Francis Frangipane. "These two books have helped me to find that secret, special place," he went on to say. "They have helped me to realize the little things you have to do. Things you need to focus on and things to say Ďnoí to. To resist temptations."
Another thing that has particularly helped Tory is the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. "Joseph had everything taken away from him, but he never lost his faith in God. God brought him out of that and eventually lifted him up. It just shows that if youíre faithful with God and diligent with the little things He gives you, He will bring us to a place of His glory."
He went on to say, "Iíve gone through struggles in my life and basically with that and my momís help, I was able to keep my foundation strong in God and did not allow those struggles to pull me into the things of this world. My mom prays with me and for me during prayer time. She talks with me and helps me not to bottle my thoughts up. She helps me to express my thoughts and get them in the open."
"My basketball coach (Clint Van Fleet) helps me too. He reminds the team before each game that we are here for one purpose and thatís to glorify God. We should have fun playing basketball but we also need to uphold a standard of what a Christian should be like."
Currently, Tory is waiting on the Lord for His leading as to what he is to do in the near future. He would very much like to pursue athletics buy may choose to concentrate solely on academics. Whatever it may be, we know that the Lord will move him in the area of his strengths.
~ Vern Halverson
Here's the cover of the issue of Players Magazine that this story appeared in!
(Sadly, the magazine has since been discontinued.)
To Tory's TerriTory Main Page
To Tory's Basketball Notebook page