Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The Value Of The Ball

The same basketball foundations still ring true today as they did in this piece from January 29, 2013. We played our last basketball game of the season yesterday. We played well but lost by six points. Considering the other school beat us by fifty last year, it's easy to tell we made strides. After going 0 for the 2011-2012 season, I was thrilled that we ended up with a record of 7-8. If you are a frequent reader, you know I really love this bunch of kids on my team this year. They were an absolute joy to coach and with only two eighth graders, I'm looking for more improvement next year, in basketball but more importantly in maturity and spirituality. If you've never coached, you find you can connect with young people in a short period of time. I did.

There was a girl on the other team yesterday who really impressed me. I don't know her name; unlike my high school coaching days, you don't really scout enough to acquire that kind of information in middle school. But every loose ball belonged to her. It didn't matter if it was on the floor or in the air, if it was an errant shot or a pass from her teammate or a pass from one of our kids. She went and got the ball....and she retained it. From the first day of practice, I tell my players that the two most important things in basketball are:
A. being a TEAM

B. the BALL
Please understand that we don't speak about winning. We  talk about competing and improving and the team we play is always ourselves. We emphasize relationships with each other and family and most importantly, the Lord. But when it comes to playing basketball, you have to be good at A and B. We were very good at A. We were not very good at B. You have to value the ball and we did not for the most part. You see, if we have the ball, the other team can't score and we can't lose AND we can only score ourselves if we have it. You know, we played hard but we were very careless with the ball which is my responsibility. We didn't take care of it like it was valuable or precious. We gave it up easily and frequently and we talked that this has to change if we want to be good. Things of value cannot be wasted or given up without a fight. 

Things that are valuable to us are the things we take care of. In my eighth grade, second period class, Everett and Annaliza sit side-by-side due to my seating arrangement. This morning, I asked Everett if he would shave his head for $100- of course he would. It will grow back in a couple of months and it's $100! But when I ask Annaliza if she would shave her head for $10,000, she quickly and emphatically shakes her head no. Why? Hair is precious to a girl and it's not for sale, no matter the cost. So, which of these two kids do you think will take care of their hair and protect it the most? I don't even have to answer that- we all know. In Matthew 13, Jesus tells about a man who found a pearl of great value and invested everything he had in it. Do you think the man left that treasure lying around carelessly? As inhabitants of this transient world, though, we often value the temporary over the eternal. Again, Jesus taught this in Matthew 16, verse 26:What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
If we value our soul, won't we guard it above all else? Won't we protect and guard it at any cost? So often, we treat our souls carelessly and recklessly, while we place an inordinate emphasis on what the Savior tells us is in danger from moths and rust and thieves. You can buy a basketball like we use, a Wilson Evolution 28.5 model, for about $65 but when it's in the air during a game, the owner of that sphere is whoever wants it the most. Satan desires to have us- our Father in heaven wants to have us. That leaves it up to us. And if you don't think we can be collectively careless, consider this: we played the entire second half yesterday WITH A BOYS' BALL and no one noticed; neither team nor the coaches or the referees. It just slipped through our fingers. We can't let that can't happen with things of value

Applicable quote of the day:
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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