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June 2009 Archives

God bless you.

On Saturday night, I covered the 10th championship victory of a Chicago sports team

when the Chicago Slaughter defeated the Ft. Wayne Freedom to win the Continental

Indoor Football League title in the Sears Centre, a 10,000-seat arena in suburban west

Chicago.

In my 37 years of writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, I don't know of any other

sports reporter in the city who can claim that milestone. First, I covered the Sting and

the two North American Soccer League championships that they won in 1981 and 1984.

Next, I covered the Bulls when they, led by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and

coach Phil Jackson, won six NBA championships in 1991-93 and 1996-98.

Next, I covered the Chicago Rush, when it won the 2006 Arena Football League

championship. Then Saturday, the Slaughter's win enabled me to enjoy a tie, of sorts,

with Jackson, who, two weeks ago, won his NBA-record 10th NBA title when the Los

Angeles Lakers beat the Orlando Magic to win their fourth title under him.

What a proud milestone!

But on tomorrow (Tuesday, June 30), I will celebrate a milestone much prouder

and more profound than my being the lead beat man covering 10 championships won

by Chicago pro sports teams. I will celebrate my 41st wedding anniversary with my

wife and high school sweetheart, Joyce.

Thank you Jesus!!!!!!!

Yes, it was 41 years, two deceased infant twin sons, three living daughters, two

deceased fathers, three deceased brothers, one deceased sister, seven surgeries, five

grandchildren, 10 jobs and 155 pounds ago (all totals cumulative) that Joyce and I

married each other at 3125 North 29th St., Kansas City, Kan., a modest, wooden-frame,

three-bedroom house in which her family has lived for some 50 years and where her

mother, Mrs. Emma Wooten-Searcy, 87, still stubbornly lives to this very day.

We didn't have a lavish church wedding because neither we nor our parents

could afford one. Neither did we see the need for one or for any reception afterward.

We spent our first night in a Kansas City (Mo.) hotel that no longer stands, then spent

our honeymoon in Denver and Estes Park, Colo., and we're still married and in love.

We first met each other in the spring of 1961 at Sumner High School in Kansas

City. Kan. I was a senior and she was a sophomore. At that time, she weighed about

70 pounds and I weighed roughly 140 pounds. Boy, were we slim and slender in those

days! But over the course of time, good living and having and raising children can

round out the world's most svelte lovers.

I thank God for my wife and for the longevity of our marriage. Strong, long

marriages are part of my family's tradition. My mother, Sarah Loraine Sanders-Banks,

and my father, Rev. A. D. Banks, Sr., were married for some 26 years before the death

of my mother ended it when I was 11. My oldest sister, Mrs. Maude Lee Burrell, was

married to her childhood sweetheat, N. L. Burrell, for 47 years before she died in 2001.

My next oldest sister, Lue Kuicious Banks-Brown, has been married to her childhood

sweetheart, Sylvester Brown, for 51 years. My younger brother, Rev. Jimmie Lee Banks,

has been married to his high school sweetheart, Alice Yates Banks, for 44 years.

Yes, we both met our future wives at the distinguished Sumner High.

Marriage isn't easy and marriage isn't always happiness and perfect agreement.

But marriage is good. The two things that have most preserved my marriage to Joyce

are our faith in God and our love for each other.

I liked Joyce the very first time I saw her. As usual, she and her late brother, Roscoe,

Jr., came to school earlier than everybody else every morning because her father drove

them there on his way to work. I arrived early only because, as Sumner's student council

president, I was invited to attend a Kiwannis Club breakfast with other school officers

and we were to arrive early to be taken to the breakfast by a school administrator.

Joyce radiated the beauty of an angel and I liked her, not necessarily loved her,

from the first time I saw her because I thought she was so, so pretty. I introduced

myself to her and shortly thereafter tried to be her boyfriend. But when she refused to

say much when I'd call her on the telephone, I told her I was quitting her and didn't

want to be bothered anymore because I felt that her refusal to say much meant that she

really didn't like me. What stupid me failed to realize, however, was that she was very,

very shy and that she had never had a boyfriend before or had even ever been kissed.

But a couple of weeks after I quit her, she skipped lunch on day and waited in the

hallway outside my history class, taught by Mr. Edward Beasley. She had two very

important questions to ask and a request to make.

When I came out, there she was as sweet, quiet and as pretty as could be.

"Hi," she said, rather nervously.

"Hi," I said back to her.

"Do you have a girlfriend yet?" she asked me.

"Naw," I said.

"Can I be your girlfriend," she asked.

"Yes, sure," I said.

"Then would you call me tonight?" she asked.

"Okay," I said.

She still didn't talk much. But if she hadn't come back to me, I probably would

have tried to hit on her again because she was so nice and pretty. She just beat me to

the punch. We courted each other for seven years. Since I didn't have a car, most of our

dates were on the front porch or in the living room of her home at 3125 N. 29th St.

We rode the bus to movies and to dinner at downtown cafeteria. It took us just a

couple of months to really fall in love with each another. That love has lasted to this

very day and will continue until we relocate to heaven.

Today (Monday, June 29), I have to go to the University of Chicago Hospital to

undergo tests and preparations for back surgery. Then tomorrow, my wife and I will

celebrate our anniversary.

So let me take this opportunity to say before the whole world, or at least that part

that is reading this Sun-Times blog online: I love you Joyce and happy 41st wedding

anniversary baby.

God bless you all.

A FATHER IN PRAISE OF HIS KIDS' MOTHER

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God bless you.

Today, Father's Day, is set aside to honor me and all the other fathers of

the world.

I'm proud and thankful to be a father. I'm even prouder and more thankful to

be a husband.

I owe both of these blessing to two sources: God and my wife Joyce. I love

my Lord and I love my wife dearly and shall forever do so.

As I continue to undergo God's healing in my battles with a brain tumor,

prostate cancer and end-stage congestive heart failure, my greatest earthly

sources of strength and support come from being both a good husband and a good

father.

Now, bear in mind that I was a husband to Joyce first before she made a

daddy out of me. And being old school, I still believe that that's the way things

should be. Couples should get married before they have children.

But I can't blame the women for this growing discrepancy. Most women

want to get married before they have children and want to stay married during and

after raising those children.

Unfortunately, we men increasingly have been messing things up.

Especially in my race. No woman on the face of the earth has done more

for her man and her children and gotten less reward, less respect and less

appreciation for it than the black woman. That's because too many of us black men

want to use our women as meal tickets, sex toys and punching bags.

It pains me Sunday after Sunday and church service after church service

to stand behind the lectern in the pulpit and preach to a congregation that is 80

percent women, who are 90 percent single mothers.

Don't get me wrong, now. I'm not saying that we black men have a monopoly

on mistreating women because in every race there are low-down men who

mistreat women. There are still cultures that deny women basic human rights and

treat them as third-class citizens and even slaves, which is an abomination.

But I believe there is more personal mistreatment of women in my race

than anywhere else because we have more single mothers running our

households, we have more women being violently abused and we have deadbeat

dads in obscene abundance.

Happy Father's Day?

Yes, but only because of loving, dedicated, hard-working mothers.

Obviously, there'd be no fathers in a motherless world. But there is an

increasing population of mothers whose babies' daddies don't want to be

husbands. They want to play the field. They want every woman they meet to

be a virgin when they are nothing near the same. It's a shame. It's a shame. It's a

low-down dirty shame. Too many men want to pimp, skimp and limp their way

through life.

A good father is a husband first. A good father loves his wife and children. A

good father works hard to support them. A good father is right there with the mother

raising those kids together in bad times and good times. A good father stands his watch

when baby is sick or needs feeding or needs a diaper change. A good father disciplines

his children and loves and respects their mother in full view of them. A good father prays

with his children and takes them to church. A good father lives his life in a way that makes

his children proud and happy to call him "daddy." A good father will sacrifice even his

life for the safety and welfare of his family. A good father never quits being a good

father.

I thank God that I'm blessed. My wife Joyce and I have been married now 41

years on the 30th of this month. We started out as high school sweethearts at

Sumner High School in Kansas City, Kan. We courted for seven years before we

got married. During our four years of engagement, we had a joint savings

and checking account in preparation for marriage.

Few couples even court anymore. Driven by lust, greed, immaturity and

irresponsibility, too many young people rush into bed with one another and rush

even faster into a marriage doomed from the start because they really didn't love

each other and because they lacked the faith, discipline and hard work to make

a marriage work.

I am so thankful to Joyce for putting up with me for so long. She has been,

I really believe, a much better wife than I have been a husband. She has never

lied to me, has always loved and been true to me, has done whatever she could

to make me happy, has supported me in everything worthwhile I've ever

endeavored to do and has made me the primary focus of her life behind our

savior Jesus Christ.

Can I say the same about me? No, sisters and brothers, I can't. I have not

been a perfect husband. Yes, me, Rev. Lacy J. Banks, a baptist preacher for

56 years, I have not been a perfect husband to her as she has been a perfect

wife to me.

But I have been a perfect father. I love my three daughters Nicole Cherice-

Roxann Chapman, Noelle Victoria-Renee Banks and Natasha Sarah-Lorraine

Banks with all my heart. I am also thankful to Joyce for her effort to bear me twin

sons before she miscarried and they died of premature birth. One was still-born

and the other lived a day and died. We both still cry occasionally, especially Joyce,

over the memory of losing them and the agony of wondering what might have

been.

I have given my daughters a Christian upbringing. I have always been there

for them when they needed help. I have sheltered them from premature adulthood.

I made a good education a top priority for them and my wife and I fulfilled our

dreams of making sure each got a college degree before either marrying or getting

pregnant. My daughters have disappointed me many times. But my wife has

seldom disappointed me. Quite frankly, I believe she deserves somebody better.

So I am immensely grateful that she is doing me a favor to continue being my

pride and joy and letting me be her husband.

To all you mothers of the world, I wish and pray you joy and happiness with

your children, grandchildren and great grand-children. But I also wish and pray

for you to have a loving, faithful, hard-working (or at least willing-to-work or

seeking-to-work) husband be your side to cherish and support you as I cherish

and support my wife.

I am blessed to have a wonderful Christian, hard-working, faithful and loving

son-in-law in Larry Chapman. He and Nicole have been married for 15 years

now (thank you Jesus) and are the proud loving parents of two girls and two

boys, whom they are raising diligently in the Christian doctrine.

I wish Noelle and Natasha will be equally blessed to know the marital

bliss that their mother and I have enjoyed for 41 years. But although the pickings

are slim, the Lord is able. So I will not lose hope. But I also thank God that they

realize it is better to be alone and happy, than married and miserable.

God bless you.


God bless you.

Pull up a chair, if you will, and let me praise, preach and thank the Lord with you for

a moment. And if you are not too busy Wednesday and Thursday nights, June 17 and

June 18, join me in revival at the Community Covenant Church 12446 South Loomis,

where Dr. Mark Thompson is the dynamic pastor.

My latest praise report is the continued lowering of my PSA, which tells me that

God's healing of my prostate cancer is in continued progress because the disease is in

progressive remission.

Get back, cancer!!! Get back!!! Get up off of me and get on out of me!!! Be gone

from my midst, in the mighty and magical name of King Jesus!!! By the power of the

Holy Ghost and by the grace of almighty God, I claim victory over mine infirmities and

over your infirmities, my blogreaders, in the name of Jesus and under the anointed

authority of our faith.

The final result of my blood work during my May 28 visit with Dr. Allen Anderson, my

cardiologist at the University of Chicago Medical Center, included the report that my PSA

is now down to 1.01, a marked improvement from my February reading of 2.01. My good

friend Eugene and the Kizart brothers (David, Milton and nephew Clay), Samuel, Andre,

Joseph, David, George and Jacqueline are all happy about this.

Hallelujah!!!!

Ain't God good!!!!!

First, the tumor on my brain was ruled benign a year ago. Now, my prostate cancer

is dissolving more and more toward oblivion.

It's unfortunate that my heart is no better. I'm still an end-stage congestive heart

failure patient, needing a heart transplant. It's still very, very weak. Its pumping efficiency

has been rated at 19 percent and less. But I am blessed and fortunate that it isn't worse.

Right?

Praise the Lord for every little bit more of His grace and mercy trickling down on me.

In my smackdown with death, that ol' despicable grim reaper, God is giving me the

victory. That gives me continued cause to sing,

"Victory is mine.

Victory is mine.

Victory today is mine.

I told Satan, 'Get thee behind me.'

Victory today is mine."

If God is likewise blessing you in your battle with whatever health issue or adversity,

why don't you join in with the rest of us redeemed with our healings in progress and sing,

"Victory is mine. Victory is mine. Victory today is mine. I told Satan, 'Get thee behind me.'

Victory today is mine."

Praise the Lord!

I want to thank all of my blogreaders for your continued prayers and support. You

are a great part of the reason why I am not just still holding onto God's unchanging hand,

but that my overall health issue, including a bad back, is slowly getting better .

I know that, for my enemies, I am not dying fast enough.

Neither are you.

If our enemies had their way, you and I would have been dead a long time ago. Am I

right about it, Gwen, Donna, John, Connie, Carrol, Natasha, Tomas, Mary, Cheryl, Darrell,

Gregory, Henry, Tommie, Jimmie, Veryunca, Flossie, Spencer, Maria, Patricia, Bill,

Wardella, Marsea and the rest of y'all? I just had to give a shout out to all y'all.

Am I right and ain't God good?

But while we're not dying fast enough for our enemies, we're dying slow enough

for our friends. Moreover, we're dying slower than a lot of people who presently are

younger, healthier and wealthier than we are. One does not have to be sick or old or

both to die.

Once more, am I right about it?

Yes, we are in a smackdown with death just like our dear departed loved ones were.

A smackdown with debts.

A smackdown with sickness.

A smackdown with unemployment and economic hardship.

A smackdown with divers temptations.

A smackdown with doubt, despair, depression and disaster.

A smackdown with all manner of evil.

But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord. For

greater is He who is within you and me than he that is within the world.

Yes, we may have to suffer sometimes. But we have the victory.

Our burdens may get heavy and our souls may feel dreary and weary. But we have

the victory.

We may have to cry, drink tears for water and toss and turn all night in beds of

affliction, sometimes. But we have the victory.

Our friends may desert us and our enemies may outnumber us and even seem, at

times, to have the upper hand. But weep not. Be encouraged. Take heart and be

thankful. For whereas weeping may endure for a night or two or even three sometimes,

joy cometh in the morningtime and we shall gain the victory.

So, keep on praying, trusting and believing in God, because our God is an awesome

God.

God bless you.

Lacy J. Banks

Lacy J. Banks, 67, has been a Sun-Times sportswriter/columnist for 38 years and a Baptist preacher for 58 years. He has preached at more than 100 different churches in the Chicago area. A native of Lyon, Miss., Banks graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in French and he served three years in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Naval officer. Lacy and wife, Joyce, have been married 42 years and have three daughters and five grandchildren. Among beats Banks has covered for the Sun-Times are the Bulls, Fire, defunct Sting, Blackhawks, Wolves, Cubs, defunct Hussle, Rush, Sky, college football and basketball and pro boxing.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2009 is the previous archive.

July 2009 is the next archive.

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