Thursday, January 23, 2014
We played our last game of the season this afternoon and we won 38-30. It was a tough day for me- my last time coaching my five eighth graders in a game, even though we will still practice during first period until the end of the school year. I'm going to miss my eighth graders. Natalia, Elizabeth, and Sarena were new to us this year. Madison completed her second tour of duty with me and it was Jenna's third. We started all five of the eighth graders even though only two of them normally are on the court at the tip. I was surprised that we came out flat but that's girls for you. We had an emotional pre-game talk in which both myself and our Head of School, Greg Glenn, told all twelve of the players how proud we are of them and for them. At half time, we honored the 8th graders with a ceremony and since one of the girl's folks had been held up, I was the stand in escort. I've never been a dad before. Do I have to pay for her wedding in ten years???
A strange thing happened midway through the second half- the game came to a complete stand-still. One of our kids- I forget who- took a shot from the right side and it wedged between the rim and the backboard. The rule states that under those circumstances, a jump ball is called and the alternate arrow is in effect to determine possession. That was simple enough but there was another issue. How do we get the ball down? Neither of the referees were physically capable and none of the dads appeared to have any ups in their legs. I was dressed up and not stretched so that's my excuse. The normal protocol would be to throw another basketball to dislodge it but at half time, we lock all the basketballs up in the locker room. To send someone to retrieve another basketball might have taken two minutes and the game needed to continue. That's when I saw Bube. Bube Mokolo is a senior in our boys' basketball program. He was in the bleachers at the far end of the gym. I called to him and he ran to the other end, launched his 6'4" frame off the floor, and knocked the ball loose, earning himself a nice round of applause from fans of both teams. The game resumed and like I mentioned, we won and our season is history.
Bube's moment, it was a simple thing. He didn't come to our game expecting anything memorable to happen- he just likes basketball. And when he was called upon, he delivered. That's the way life works, isn't it? We never know when we'll be needed by a friend or a coach or a stranger. I think it's our Christian duty to be on call for the world, to do small necessary tasks within our capabilities and time constraints. Availability is not listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit but it makes a nice companion to the list. Helpful people are at a premium in a world of breakneck living and increased isolation. So, always have your kicks ready to save a basketball in distress. Oh, and Bube wasn't finished for the evening. After all the players and parents and officials had gone home to beat the incoming storm, I watched Bube assist our Athletic Director, Morris Gurnell, move the bleachers which are only partly mechanical back to their resting place against the wall. Then he rolled up the carpet that serves as a walkway in front of those bleachers. I'd say he had a very serviceable day. This would be a better world if more of us opened our eyes and simply followed Bube's example. It's breathtakingly simple.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Leadership is about being a servant first."
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Steve Hawley at 9:55 PM