Ruby turned fourteen today. It’s hard for me to believe- she was only a one year old infant when I moved to Houston. I’ve watched her go through our summer basketball camps since she was five and witnessed her turning into an excellent player, becoming only the second WCS girl to start three years on our middle school squad. In the coming years, she has a chance to be a major contributor to our high school team which ended the season ranked in the top ten nationally. Ruby has to work hard- she’s not the biggest girl on our team- but she has developed an excellent skill set and court awareness that can carry her to her goal of playing collegiately. This morning, we celebrated Ruby’s birthday in practice with the favorite beverage of the Lady Wildcats, Capri Suns* (*with 25% less sugar to boot!)
Besides basketball, I’ve also had the honor of being Ruby’s eighth grade Bible teacher this year. Yesterday afternoon, as we made cards of encouragement for a former player (see A Pleading For Prayers), I reminded Ruby it was only one year until her Quinceañera, or fifteenth birthday celebration for girls of Hispanic descent. Since this is a really big deal and I am her coach, I felt it my obligation to offer my services to Ruby and her wonderful family as a singer for this extravaganza. She very graciously reminded me that a large portion of the gala would be in Spanish. Not a problem! I called up my favorite Latino country singer, Freddy Fender, on you tube and played one of the few songs that chokes me up, Before The Next Teardrop Falls, which is sung in both English and Spanish. I sang along to this classic tearjerker, hoping to impress Ruby enough to give me the stage on one of the biggest evenings of her life and guess what? She hired me! Of course, we have twelve months and some actual talent to consider but for once in my life, I passed a musical tryout and that in two languages! I guess Ruby isn’t the only one with reason to celebrate!
In one of my classes this afternoon, the question arose as to whether or not Jesus would have made a good coach. The class was split on the question. Some of the students believe He would get mad and yell at players while others can’t see that at all. One contended the Savior would corral all the best athletes but one voiced the opinion that the Christ would take nobodies and make them winners. Who knows? I do know Jesus took a dozen average Joes and turned them into a world changing force. But I also know this: when I decided to give my life to the Lord, there was no audition. He took me as I was, flawed as any twelve year old boy can be and He still loves me, in spite of me. I don’t have to jump through hoops or impress Him with my goodness of which I confess there is little on many days. He won’t change His mind, as I know Ruby might do AND as Ruby should do. I made it to His stage without having any stage presence or being required to sing one note in any language. We all want to know we made the cut and when I look at it from that perspective, I feel it’s like my birthday, too! Maybe we can strike a deal. Ruby’s family, the most musically gifted relatives I know, can play at my wedding. Then we’ll be even! I love happy endings. Happy birthday, Ruby!
Applicable quote of the day:
Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.
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