JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Bobby Shows has always lived full-throttle — from growing up in rural Mississippi, to playing high-profile college basketball, to using his sports skills and enthusiasm to reach students for Christ.
James O. Preston has captured Shows enthusiasm, drive and love for God, people and sports in Level Fields of Play: Bobby Shows’ life and ministry through sports.
Preston vividly captures Shows’ part in the 1963 pivotal college basketball game, dubbed the “game of change,” that helped end segregation of the sport in the NCAA.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the game between Mississippi State University, where Shows played as center, and Loyola University of Chicago during the 1963 NCAA tournament.
An unwritten law that no Mississippi team would play against blacks had kept Mississippi State out of the NCAA tournament, even though it had won the Southeastern Conference title several times.
The team, coaches and staff had to sneak out of the state as the local sheriff hunted for the head coach and the college president to try to serve an injunction.
Level Fields of Play doesn’t sputter with the end of the game. Instead, the book reveals how God used Shows’ skills and commitment to help trigger Southern Baptist recreation ministries and to start Sports Crusaders, a ministry that uses sports as a connection with children and youth in the United States and abroad.
A portion of the book’s sales will benefit Sports Crusaders. Level Fields of Play is available in paperback and as an ebook from amazon.com.