I really like the kids on my basketball team this year. They grow on you as they grow up. Life in middle school is a roller coaster. Here is a story of our first scrimmage ten years ago. This is from November 5, 2006.
(In case you're wondering, the picture goes with the quote.)
We had our first basketball scrimmage yesterday. My Westbury Christian School Lady Wildcats, took the floor versus St. Michael's junior high team. The final tally was 36-9 and we were on the right side of that score. It wasn't an official game. It was the first time we have played full court this season. Being out of our gym the past six weeks left us with many situations yet to cover. I told my players beforehand that it would be ugly...and it was. You know that line about babies that only their mothers could love? That would be us yesterday. And yet, I left the gym with great optimism from what I saw. I saw a very young and inexperienced team playing as hard as they could. I witnessed kids who listened well and tried to apply each coaching point I threw at them. I watched girls cheering for their teammates while they were sitting on the bench. Mostly, I found I have a bunch of sixth-seventh-eighth graders who were not discouraged by what the scoreboard read. They were realistic about our level of play and where we need to be and extremely confident we will improve quickly. That's one reason I love this bunch of kids.
It doesn't take much to knock us off stride. My students tell me one comment or look from another person can destroy a wonderful day immediately. The ability to overcome distractions, hostility, and setbacks is one mark of maturity. In Second Corinthians 4, Paul writes of the persecutions he and others faced:
"We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed."
Paul goes on to say that his source of strength was Jesus and the hope of eternal reward was fueling his hope in the face of overwhelming obstacles. What a tremendous spiritual outlook on the struggles of life. The magnitude of Paul's problems should make us embarrassed at what we consider travails. I tell my players they need to work on their focus. Their coach would do well to take lessons from Paul. I bet he was the best coach in all the first century Church!
Applicable quote of the day:
"In spite of everything, I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing."
Vincent van Gogh
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org