A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he that has found one has found a treasure. There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, no scales can measure his worth. (Sir 6:14-15)
When Drew and Jake were about 8 years old or so, he and his SLDM basketball teammates were warming up very early one Saturday morning at the Indiana Basketball Academy. The doors had just opened and clearly the heat had been off during the night. It was quite chilly at 7:30am, so Drew grabbed his gloves and put them on as he warmed up. Drew suffers from Raynaud’s Syndrome. When the temperatures get too chilly, he begins to lose circulation in his fingers. He’s an ace at managing it. This particular morning, a player warming up on the opposing end starting harassing Drew a little, making fun of his gloves. Drew ignored him. However, his good buddy Jake was having exactly NONE OF IT.
“Hey, dude! He’s got like a disease or something. How ’bout you BACK OFF!”
There you have Jake in a nutshell. He’s about loyalty, courage, and integrity. I’ve told that story 100 times, but that’s because it captures his essence with such clarity.
When a person does what is right by their own personal values and morals, that’s integrity, and that’s Jake. He properly cares for others, even when it costs him something or he has to stick his nose out a little. He’s faithful in the way he shows up, in good times and bad times. If Jake’s your friend, he’ll call you an idiot to your face if it needs doing, but behind your back, no one will defend you like he will. He loves with his whole heart.
Jake Andriole is a guy’s guy and strong as an ox, but also he’s a big teddy bear. He’s gifted when dealing with children, and has zero sense of entitlement. It’s so refreshing.
I’m not at all sure Jake realizes how much God has been at work in his life, but He truly has graced this talented, loyal, confident, grateful, outgoing, and sunny young man with outrageous riches. His presence at my breakfast table definitely set the record for most pancakes ever eaten in one setting, but make no mistake, he’s welcome ALWAYS. This kid has been a terrific blessing to our family.
Watching you run your race is something I’ve been doing since you were a very little boy, Jake Dan. You’ve been strong, fierce and sure, following the path laid out before you– even when you are not entirely sure what is coming next. Wherever you’re headed, you always encourage others. I’ve seen you encourage fellow athletes as well as friends and family members. 100% of the time, I want YOU on my team.
HAPPY 19TH BIRTHDAY, JAKE DAN! Thank you for always making me smile, for the great big bear hugs, and for the gift of your sunshine in my life and the life of Drew, to whom you have been the most loyal friend imaginable. I LOVE YOU, KID!!
Let us run with perserverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2)