Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tread Lightly

Sometimes, I have such a hard head, it takes repeated mistakes for me to learn. This is from October 30, 2012.
On my middle school girls basketball team, we have what we call the Britney Spears' Rule. Let me explain in case that seems a little out of the ordinary. When she came on the scene, Ms. Spears was invariably shown with her belly button visible, kind of her trademark. The girls who play for me have the tendency to position the ball when it is in their possession at belly button level, the weakest place they can hold it in terms of protecting it from the defender. So, invoking the name of Britney Spears is an easy prompt for them to remember. Speaking of the lovely Britney, I only can name two of her songs. I know the former Mouseketeer sang, "Hit Me, Baby, One More Time," a curious title in the age of anti-violent lyrics. I also know she sang "Oops, I Did It Again"- and that's what I need to address.

Except for teaching and worship services, I live in running shoes. Since I became a basketball coach, I've always loved NIKES. As a high school coach in Tennessee, my players wore the swoosh shoes and NIKE even sponsored our summer camps. For years, I wore NIKE running shoes to coach, lift weights, and to run. But I began noticing a disturbing trend- the tread on my NIKES began separating at the toe, annoying and possibly even dangerous in terms of tripping. This went on for several pairs so I took a vow: I would buy no more NIKES and instead purchase only New Balance which never has exhibited the same issues. I held out until last summer. I had a 30% off coupon at KOHLS and they had a beautiful pair of NIKE Compete 2s like those shown above on sale and I just knew this time would be different. They were comfortable and looked good and I never wore them for workouts. Of course, you know what happened after about the fifteenth wearing; the tread on the left toe separated from the shoe. Just like every other pair, repeating the past. Being me, I didn't save the receipt and I'm stuck. They're still wearable but they are damaged and I've learned my lesson for good this time.....maybe.

This morning, I spoke to our coaches at a 6:45 devotional and wore the shoes to illustrate a point. I told them about a girl I once coached who was supremely talented but defiant. As good coaching dictates, I proceeded through all the prescribed steps of discipline and correction and nothing worked. Finally, I had to remove her from the team, one of the very rare times I've had to take that measure. You see, she was talented and I knew I could change her, only I couldn't. I knew this time would be different because she would see what was in her best interest and would be transformed into a good teammate and someone I loved to coach....... but she didn't. And this morning, I wondered aloud if the kindest thing I could have done was cut her at the outset and teach her a tough lesson immediately but I didn't. She left and went to another school and of course, the pattern continued and she was removed from her new team as well. In the end, any positive effect I had was negligible.

As I think about the NIKE illustration- and let me interject we never had any problems with their basketball shoes- I have to wonder if there is any connection between the Lord and me. Is it possible He is the buyer and I represent the shoes? Could it be that He is the coach and I am the player? Will He write me off or give up on me? Should He teach me a tough lesson for my own good as I continue to fall into the same traps? The story takes a different turn when I become one of the actors instead of the director. And as seems to be the case, there is always going to be a sequel. At least my shoe size is consistent! I wish the rest of me was.

Applicable quote of the day:
"I don't want to pierce anything. I think it's outdated. Belly rings and all are, like, old." 
Britney Spears 

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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