Lenny Krebs in the girls’ basketball coach at Warsaw.

But I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that thousands of fans from all over Northern Indiana are cheering for him this week.


Because this week is a week unlike any other for him.

This is the week, we hope, he’ll begin to hear.

Krebs is having the external processor for his cochlear implant turned on, which will allow him to hear.

Imagine that: a full grown man with teenagers who has missed a majority of the sounds that have ever been made around him is about to be able to hear.

He’s lived his life with almost no hearing in one ear and none in the other. He read lips, and I think it’s also fair to say that he reads them proficiently. For three years, he’s never missed a question I have asked him in a pregame or postgame interview or during Tiger Talk—except for three.

I remember those three, because I asked them with my head turned to away from him—he couldn’t see my face and he couldn’t read my lips.

Imagine how hard it’s been for him since the middle of March. He can’t talk to people on the phone, and masks are communication barriers of the highest order.

For most people, the lack of natural hearing would prohibit them from any sort of professional success. But this man is not “most people” you meet. He is relentless. He is driven. And he has refused to let his circumstances dictate how he is going to live and act.

Lenny is on a mission, given by God Himself, and he intends to fulfill it.

Again imagine, here’s a man who isn’t 50 but he can see 50 from where he is, who has lived a virtually soundless life and learned to adapt to it every way possible to the best of his ability.

So it begs the questions: “Why? Why now? When it’s always been this way, why change it at this point of your life?”

I wanted to know, so I asked.

“I have been praying for more than 40 years for a physical hearing,” he told me, “but two big things kept me from going through with it.”

The first was fear of the unknown.

“When you have the first surgery, you lose what little hearing you have,” he said. “That little bit of hearing was mine!”

He had to release that in order to grasp something better. So how did he get past that?

“How do I tell my kids and my players to leave their own comfort zone if I never leave mine? How do I tell them to embrace their fight if I won’t embrace my own?”


Cost was the other barrier.

It’s an expensive process and prohibitive to most people. God has a way of working these things out.

Krebs says someone came forward to offer financial assistance to make his life-long dream of hearing come true, and insurance is coving more than what they had expected.

One by one, the obstacles began to crumble, and here he is — on the verge of a brave, scary new world.

Scary? Scary.

He’s about to pass through uncharted waters.

If this surgery is successful, he’s going to hear the ball being dribbled down the court instead of just feeling the vibration of it in his feet. He’s going to hear his cell phone ring, and he will be able to answer it!

More importantly, he will hear his wife tell him that she loves him loudly and clearly. He will hear his children say “good morning, dad” and “can I have $20, please?”

He will be able to listen to music in the car while he drives to scout opponents. He will hear someone calling out to him in the hallway at school, and he will turn to waive to them. He will hear bacon sizzling in the pan on the stove.

Over all these years, we’ve sought to encourage him and always walked away feeling like he was the one encouraging all of us.

And that, friends, is why so many people—in Goshen, in Nappanee, in Benton and here in Warsaw and Winona Lake and beyond—are stopping to pray this week for Lenny Krebs.

Include me in that group.