Sunday, February 1, 2015

Life Lessons from Basketball

This week has been full of basketball-David's upward practice and game, Kyle's middle school team, and Kyle's AAU team had a tournament yesterday.

About five years ago Mike and another guy started a county-wide AAU team. We have made lots of memories together watching our boys grow from tiny grade schoolers until now being on the verge of becoming men.

We have driven in snowstorms to get to tournaments, we have left before dawn because we were scheduled the play the dreaded 8 a.m. game, hosted tournaments and worked our elbows off to keep these ever-growing boys in new uniforms and to keep the parents from dipping in their own pockets.

Sometimes we have questioned why we would spend HOURS in the gym watching our boys play hoops. Unless God performs a height miracle our boys will probably not be the next Lebron James. Yesterday ; however, during one play of one game I had an epiphany of why we have encouraged our son to play basketball or really any team sport.

Yesterday we were in our second game of the day. We had already been beaten by a great team full of some pretty cool boys we have played against for years. In this second game it was tight with the lead going back and forth. With a few seconds left we were down by two and our team was driving. A three point shot would have ended the game with our team winning, and a simple bucket would have tied to have put us in OT.

One of the guys shot the ball with less than seven seconds left and it barely missed the hoop. Another teammate rebounded and threw it back up and yet again it missed. A third teammate tried again with less than one second on the clock and it bounced out again. Finally with the buzzer going off, Kyle tipped it in. We went into OT and we came out of the game winners!

After the game when Kyle came up to me I proclaimed to him "that is why we never ever give up!" Sports teach us so many life lessons and yesterday it just hit me that some may think we are crazy for traveling all over to play whatever sport is in season, but we value the life skills that come from playing and working on a team.

As we watch our players blossom into young men, I so appreciate the crucial life lessons of persistence-even if you miss the hoop, keep rebounding and throwing it back up. Never give up. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Kyle is not the leading scorer on our team who often makes those ESPN worthy baskets, but that play yesterday reminded me that everyone contributes on a team. Everyone is important. I so pray that my children understand that in life everyone can contribute something.

Yesterday was also a reminder to never give up on your teammates. Every position is crucial in basketball-the rebounders, the shooters, the passers, those on the bench ready to jump in and play, and the coaches. Yesterday watching this one play out of the thousands that they have played, it hit me that we have made some awesome memories together, and that I am thankful that my son is learning the lessons that sports can teach us. Right before our eyes these players have grown from being allowed to step a giant step forward for their foul shots, to now having facial hair and playing (and smelling!) like grown men.

I know we will miss these days of spending saturdays in every gym in southwest VA and east Tennessee, but tonight after a full week of basketball I am thankful that my son has learned persistence, teamwork and character from the game of basketball. I pray that God will use these life lessons to use my son for His glory. Because truly in the game of life, the only thing that really matters is that you are playing on God's team because he is the ultimate Coach!

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