Saturday, December 01, 2012

The Game Ball

Today we won the consolation bracket of the Middle School Girls' Basketball Tournament at St. Mark's Episcopal School. The following, from November 29, 2005, is about the same tourney and my assistant coach at the time, April Cusic. She was a kindergarten teacher and my assistant coach at WCS for two years: she was terrific in both roles. But, her heart was in missions and she left to prepare to tell the people of Brazil about the love of Jesus with her new husband. I/we still miss her.
We had a trophy presentation today in middle school chapel. My 7th-8th grade girls' basketball team won the consolation round of the St. Marks Episcopal tournament right before Thanksgiving and this was our first assembly since. I am proud of these kids. 'Overachieving' is an overused word in sports but it applies to what these kids have done. The Lady Wildcats have won four times when I, their coach, thought we would be lucky to win a game. So much for adult faith! We do many trophy presentations at Westbury Christian School. We have two assemblies per week and we like to give honor when it is due. A third place piece of hardware might not seem like much to those accustomed to the million dollar spectacles played out on the NBA/NFL/Major League Baseball stage but it is huge to 12 and 13 year old girls. Surrounded by our team, I presented the trophy to Greg Glenn, our WCS athletic director. But that wasn't the end of the ceremony. I missed the last game of the tournament because of a conflict with holiday airline schedules. My assistant coach, April Cusic, coached the girls in my absence. It was her first time coaching by herself and she led the girls to a victory over John Cooper, a school which beat us twice last year. April is one of our wonderful kindergarten teachers and tremendous with the young ladies in our program. To show our gratitude, we autographed a basketball and presented it to her. At our team meeting , five girls said they wanted to say something in the presentation but when the microphone was staring them in the face, they froze. Maybe next time- public speaking is a challenge for any of us. It was a great moment for April and the kids. They need her and today, they let her know that they do.

Someone once said, "All you need to know about awards is that Mozart never won one." There is some validity in that statement. I let my players vote for all the awards we give at our athletic banquets and the truth is, I don't always agree with the selections. At times, the obvious choice to me is not who the kids pick. They have a different angle of vision than I do. My vantage point is court side while theirs is on the playing surface and in the locker room. Jesus singled out people for special recognition who his followers would have overlooked or disputed their worthiness. A Roman centurion was said to have greater faith than any Israelite-you know that had to please the disciples who were fiercely proud of their heritage. The Master praised the offering of a woman who gave a minuscule amount but percentage-wise put all of us to shame. He called the tax collector Zacchaeus a 'son of Abraham' after the huge crowd lashed out at Jesus for inviting himself to dine with perhaps the most hated man in Jericho. That's the kind of recognition I love- the unexpected, off the cuff praise. The term in the modern vernacular is a "SHOUT OUT." Jesus was the king of the shout outs. He praised those who never got the pat on the back or what my Dad calls The Blessing. We all have the ability to bestow The Blessing on those in the orbit of our lives. You know someone who, like April, deserves a game ball. You have it in your power. You don't need a NIKE ball (although they are nice) or a Sharpie to attach your signature to a round piece of leather. Be creative: a little praise has the ability to change a life. Just ask Zacchaeus when you arrive in heaven!

Applicable quote of the day:
"Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust."
Jesse Owens

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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Jon said...

That was very nice to give Ms Cusic a signed basketball

Trina said...

April is SUCH a wonderful person...if I can see that in a week in a third-world country, ANYONE can!! Definitely an example to us all...she completely deserved the tribute!! These posts are AWESOME, Mr. Steve...KEEP THEM UP!! =)