Thursday, May 14, 2015


Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Belvidere High School

“The Bucs”

Belvidere, Illinois

School District 100


May 13, 2015

            I went to high school.

            Little log cabin near Springfield…

            Nah, just kidding…

            I was a totally non-distinguished graduate of Wyoming Valley West High School across the river from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.


           Today, I live 800 miles door-to-door from my upper-octogenarian parents who live near my alma mater.

             Funny, maybe not, I’ve never thought of moving back there; and even if I wanted to do that, I know my church on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere would be really upset if I tried to get a job closer to my parents…once…or 
twice…or three or four or…times.

[Parenthetically for those not living in Belvidere, the previous paragraph is an inside joke…to some] 
            But I did go to high school.

            Hated it!

            My coaches failed to see how “good” I was, lots of teachers along with the principal and superintendent didn’t appreciate my humor (Ben and Matt know what that’s all about), I didn’t think trig would ever be of any value to me and I was right, and Ruthie Mitchell fell in love with Joe Piscarcik because my coaches failed to see how “good” I was and he went on to quarterback for Arizona and then the Eagles and Giants.

            Truly, truly, truly, I say unto you, there are lots of things I didn’t

like about high school; like some teachers telling me to be interested in what they thought I should be interested in while never seeming to be interested in what we thought they should be interested in like our games and concerts and clubs and the kinda stuff that goes on at the Performing Arts Center.

            I did learn a lot; and some of it came in handy later on; like, you know, reading, writing, and, uh, that other stuff.

          While I still think I wasted a whole year on trig, I am very thankful for the privilege of living in a country that provides education for everybody with no respect to color, class, or culture.

            I am very thankful for teachers and administrators who taught me how to think more than what to think and showed up to support me even when they weren’t getting paid to do it.

            And I realize now more than in 1970 that the greatest lesson that anyone taught me back then that stays with me today is loyalty.

            Let me put it this way.

            Once a Buc, always a Buc!

            When I came to Belvidere about eleven years ago, I had lunch with Mayor Fred at the Huddle.  I asked him if Belvidere relates more to Chicago

or Rockford.  He answered, “Belvidere!”

            Once a Buc, always a Buc!

            Then, and remember back then there was still one high school about to become two, I asked if he was going to root for the Bucs or the Blue Thunder.  He answered, “I’ll always be Purple and Gold!’

            Once a Buc, always a Buc!


            As you move – let’s say matriculate to show we’ve taken that ACT thing – on to college or the armed forces or a job or another semester to get those credits to seal the deal or whatever – I’d like you to think about your loyalties.

            Whenever I interview anybody for anything, assuming they’re competent for the job, I mention three non-negotiable qualifications: (1) Loyalty; (2) Loyalty; and (3) Loyalty.

            So, tonight, I’d like you to think about your loyalties.

            Let me begin with two stories.

            One true.

            One kinda true in a metaphorical kinda way.

            Here’s the true story.

            Years ago, I was asked by lots of players and some coaches to be something of the chaplain for the football team; but somebody told the head coach that couldn’t happen because of some not true “separation of church and state” deception.  That’s not true.  Only ignorant people, even highly educated ignorant people, insult God and injure students with that lie. 

            But here’s the bigger problem.

            It betrayed a lack of loyalty to God in favor of…

            No wonder it’s so hard to beat Boylan Catholic and Rockford Lutheran!

            Second story.

            A pastor is giving a children’s sermon and says, “I’m going to say a word and I want you to say the first word that comes into your mind.”

            So the pastor says, “Frog.”

            A little boy yells out, “Jesus!’

            Well, this goes back and forth for a while with the pastor saying frog and the little boy yelling back Jesus until the pastor finally asks, “Why do you keep saying Jesus when I say frog?”  And the little boy says, “Well, I know you didn’t call us down here to talk about frogs.”

            You know I didn’t come here to talk about frogs or the good and bad and achievements and disappointments and otherwise of high school.

            That’s over.

            As some of our friends like to say, the day after graduation is the first day of the rest of your life; and your loyalties will determine what happens next.

            Cory Whitford, one of the best pastors in Belvidere who actually

says something more than three points and a poem when he climbs into the pulpit, told me about a doctor, lawyer, and pastor who were deer hunting.  They spot a deer and all three of ‘em shoot at the same time and claim to have bagged the, uh, buck.  The doctor runs to verify who did it and comes back to say, “Well, I didn’t do it and the lawyer didn’t do it.  The pastor did it.”  The lawyer protests, “How do you know it was the pastor who bagged the buck?”  And the doctor says, “Well, the bullet went in one ear and out the other.”

            Dan Pope, another of Belvidere’s best pastors, just told me that recent studies say goldfish have an attention span of 9 seconds and humans have an attention span of 8 seconds.

            So I’m going to stop now with the only advice that I beg you to remember from now on.

            Jesus is the answer to every question.

            That’s/He’s all you need to know.

            Here’s how He spells it out: “People who hear what I say and live according to My teachings are like a wise man who built his house on solid rock foundation.  For when the winds blew and earthquakes and floods and tornadoes of life came, the house did not fall because it had been founded on the rock.  I am the solid rock foundation of your life.”

            That’s the best advice that I can give to you for what comes next.


            Jesus is the answer to every question.

            If He’s your first loyalty, you get it.

            If not, you will if you will.

            Once a Buc, always a Buc!


            We need more loyalty around here!

            Once with Jesus, always with Jesus!

            Most of what comes next will be determined by that loyalty.



Blessings and Love!



Karry said...

My Brother! That was awesome!

Audrey said...

Bob, enjoyed your Baccalaureate speech! Short, Sweet, To the Point and SO TRUE. Today's kids need to hear about Jesus.