WENONAH, Ala. (WIAT) — The three-time state champion Wenonah girls basketball team is getting ready for a special season.
To some players, this season represents the chance to win four in a row, but there’s something else making this year special.
Something that’s been missing in the gym so far this year
The Wenonah Lady Dragons are getting ready for their first game of the season on this coming Thursday, and they know that all of this hard work conditioning, and drills will pay off like it has before.
Senior Jayla Morrow was on one of those teams that saw the results when they are won the state championship with Coach Emmanuel Bell last year.
“He’s like my motivator, my dad,” Morrow said. “He’s more than a basketball coach to me.”
Bell’s chair has been empty at practice this year as he faces a new foe off the court.
When Coach Bell popped in to surprise the team on Sunday, they were glad to see him.
“There go our coach we got to turn up,” Morrow said. “We got to do it for Coach Bell. Faith not Fear.”
Faith not fear, the team’s motto from last year, has become Coach Bell’s motto for life as he battles Stage 4 lung cancer.
“The guy put in the paper ‘Coach Bell is suffering’,” Bell said. “Coach Bell is not suffering; the devil is suffering.”
Those around Coach Bell buy into his mindset as well.
“His faith in god is unshakeable, unwaverable,” Ashley Bell, Emmanuel’s daughter, said. “Amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s inspirational to me.”
But to Bell, there is no other option besides turning to God in times like these.
“Naw you either got have faith you can’t have nothing but faith,” Coach Bell said. “There’s no fear, there is no room for fear in my life.”
Cancer may be in a fight with Coach Bell, but even he will tell you that’s not his battle.
“My fight is right there,” Bell said, gesturing towards the Lady Dragons. “Every time I get a kid in college I win a state championship, whether I win that year or not.”
Coach Bell told CBS42 News tonight that he will return to work on Nov. 15, the day before Wenonah’s game with cross-town rival Ramsay.
The 6 p.m. game will be a whiteout to raise awareness about lung cancer, and everyone is encouraged to wear white to the game.
Ashley Bell told CBS42 News the American Cancer Society, and oncologist Dr. Katisha Vance will be on hand to educate people.
This November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month. You can learn more by following this link: http://www.lungforce.org/