Rio 2015

More than Basketball

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With just days separating him and the rest of the Belmont women’s basketball travel party from their mission trip to Rio de Janeiro, head coach Cameron Newbauer sat down with to talk about how this trip would not just be a regular international excursion.

Why Brazil? Have you been there before?

One of the places on earth I have dreamed of experiencing is the “Christ the Redeemer” statue in Rio.  The view from the pictures I have seen looks breath taking and the majesty of the statue itself is so powerful. When Betty and I first spoke of our vision for an international basketball mission trip, she immediately said “we can go to Rio as we have a major contact there.” After talking more in-depth about the vision for the trip, it became apparent that this dream of mine could become a reality the upcoming summer.

Why is this trip different from other overseas team trips?

This tour is different from most foreign basketball trips in that we will be participating in more mission work and serving those in need than playing basketball games and site seeing.  This is a tremendous growth opportunity for us as individuals and collectively as a team.  I’m not really sure any of us, besides our trip leaders, understand the poverty and living conditions we are going to witness.  We talk about serving others and assisting those in need; for our players to sacrifice part of their summer to serve and spread the gospel in a foreign country speaks volumes about the character of these young ladies.

What does it mean to have WBB program and sports evangelism founder Betty Wiseman accompanying the team?

BW was the founder of the women’s basketball and sports evangelism programs here at Belmont. In many respects, she is a pioneer on our campus.  Without her passion and courage to build His Kingdom and serve others, we would not have this opportunity.  Our program is honored that she is leading our trip and the partnership that she has created with Brentwood Baptist Church.   BW has had such an impact in the lives of so many young people on our campus and throughout the world on her mission journeys.  We are grateful to work by her side and witness her in her element.

Talk about your partnership with Brentwood Baptist for the trip

Betty Wiseman has been an active member in a number of capacities at Brentwood Baptist for the past 37 years. During that time she has developed a dear friendship with Ray and Sharon Fairchild, fellow Brentwood Baptist members who were missionaries in Rio for over 30 years.  They actually met in Rio on a sports evangelism trip in 2000.  When I mentioned the idea to BW about a team trip combining basketball and mission work she immediately said Sharon’s name.  The two of them spoke and were excited to volunteer to help lead this mission journey for our program. Through, Sharon and Betty we have gained substantial financial support from the Brentwood Baptist community and they have created an incredible trip for all of us.

Why is it so important for the women’s basketball program to have such a strong emphasis on service?

Our student-athletes are very fortunate to have the opportunity to receive a full academic scholarship here at Belmont and they have worked very hard to earn that opportunity.  They are very blessed to have all of the accommodations on this beautiful campus, in great city from their athletic talents.  However, what they do on the basketball court does not define who they are as individuals. We talk with them often about getting outside of their comfort zone and serving others.  It is important to me that our young ladies understand the power they have as human beings.  They need to see the impact they can have from loving and serving out of the goodness of their hearts, especially people that they don’t even know. This experience will help them understand how we can use basketball as a means to relate and connect with others from various cultural backgrounds.

What are you most looking forward to in Rio?

What I am most looking forward to on this trip is watching our players interact, serve and create friendships with people from another culture in a country none of us have visited.  This trip is going to provide growth opportunities for us that we can’t see right now.  It is the blind trust and faith that we must have as believers in knowing that the greater purpose of our trip will be reached. I believe that we will see personalities in our players that we may not have witnessed before. This experience will help us all to be more grateful for the many blessings we have bestowed upon us here in the United States.

Since the entire 2015-16 roster is traveling, what are your expectations for the team during the trip?
How do you believe the trip will benefit the overall women’s basketball program?

Any time a group can come together for a greater purpose outside themselves, there are numerous opportunities for personal and collective growth.  This experience will challenge our players to be vulnerable, reliant on each other, and intentional with their words and actions.  This unique setting will allow for us to learn and witness each other in different a capacity then we have ever experienced together.  We can never fully understand

We know that God will work though us in wondrous ways and we can’t wait to see what He has in store.